View topic - Looking for advice on my first solo canoe

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PostPosted: August 7th, 2020, 12:32 pm 
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Location: Freeland, Maryland USA
RAY1984 wrote:
I to am on the look out for a replacement solo. I have for one reason or another sold all the ones i have had. I thought i had nailed it down to a souris river tranquility but apparently I'm to heavy for that boat (250 LBS).

My top 2 choices are a wenonah wilderness, ideally in some sore of composite or a Northstar north wind solo. but the market in Ontario this year is though with our dollar hurting and limited distributors here these boats are hard to come by. I had a wilderness in RX and i regret selling it though at the time it was the right move.


Ray, what did you think about the factory seat placement on the RX Wilderness? We have one, in RX, and I find the seat too close to center hull for a big guy. Fits my tall, slender son like a glove though.

One consideration might be to find a 15 ½ to 16-ish foot tandem and soloize it. My go to big boy do-a-bit-of-everything tripping canoe is a soloized Old Town Penobscot.

A friend your (our) size likewise soloized his Penobscot with likewise agreeable results. When he decided to spring for a new, lighter weight composite solo canoe he was looking for something dimensionally similar and spent a year test paddling different canoes.

In the end he had Swift build him a Keewaydin 16 with a center seat and thwarts at his specified placement. The up-charge was negligible and he got the light weight big boy solo of his dreams.

https://swiftcanoe.com/boat/keewaydin-16/

There is probably a tandem out there, new or used, that would meet your desires.

I am still looking for a used Bell MorningStar in composite, preferably cheap in need to repairs/new brightwork, to convert to a big boy dedicated solo tripper. Or maybe a composite Wenonah Solo Plus.


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PostPosted: August 7th, 2020, 1:43 pm 
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I have a couple of boats that i can easly solo, but that i find the problem with tandems turned into solos is they are just too wide to be fast and or efficient enough to make it worth while. The one exception to that I have tried and really liked was a wenonah P15, It was not as fast as a solo, but because wenonahs prospector is not that big to start with i found that it worked out quite well. Again though. American hulls are hard to get in Ontario. I have somewhere a picture of a nova craft 16 and a wenonah 16 side by side. you would never know they were both 16 prospectors.


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PostPosted: August 7th, 2020, 2:07 pm 
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Mike McCrea wrote:
Ray, what did you think about the factory seat placement on the RX Wilderness? We have one, in RX, and I find the seat too close to center hull for a big guy. Fits my tall, slender son like a glove though.
.



I found the factory seat placement worked for me, and i really like the adjustable seat. I know its loud when portaging but i found I liked the options it gave me when tripping with it.


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PostPosted: August 7th, 2020, 3:06 pm 
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RAY1984 wrote:
I have a couple of boats that i can easly solo, but that i find the problem with tandems turned into solos is they are just too wide to be fast and or efficient enough to make it worth while.


When I soloized the Penobscot 16 I removed both seats and the thwarts and drew the gunwales in by 2 inches in center.

Contrary to what I have often heard that 2” reduction in gunwale width had no appreciable impact on the hull’s waterline; rocker and waterline width stayed the same, I just had a narrower paddling station, with a hint of tumblehome at center.

The actual ratio of change is minor. The Penobscot 16 is 16’ 2” long (194 inches). I wouldn’t expect a 1/97th change to make much waterline difference.

I did the same with soloizing a Mad River Explorer with the same results.

About the Wilderness seat; ours is a first year Wilderness. I have heard that Wenonah mislocated the seat on the early RX Wilderness hulls. Or it may simply be that I prefer my solo seat more like 10 – 12 inches back of center, and the seat in the Wilderness is 5” closer to center than that.


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PostPosted: August 8th, 2020, 3:33 pm 
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Clipper Caribou? Can be found in the east fairly easily.


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PostPosted: August 8th, 2020, 6:38 pm 
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Mollycollie wrote:
Clipper Caribou? Can be found in the east fairly easily.


I would love to try one, there made out west in BC. Very few here in ontario, im not even sure there is a distributor.


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PostPosted: August 9th, 2020, 9:42 am 
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Picked up Northwind Solo in Starlight, 27 lbs, two weeks ago - beautiful boat, handles well, more stable than I thought it was going to be, good capacity for 215 lb paddler and gear. Crazy light after managing a 17' tripping canoe. Starlight seems very thin - repairable but not likely really durable if not treated carefully. Maybe longer than what you are looking for at 15'6" - Phoenix would be something to look at, shorter, symmetrical, bit more rocker. IXP layup from Northstar same price as Starlight, no foam, little bit heavier but appears to be much more durable. Brute Force (with foam) from H2O and Tuff Stuff from Nova Craft similar?
Caribou S was initially very appealing, durable construction, dimensions appropriate for a range of activities, Canadian maker, but found Northstar through dealer in Toronto similar price to Caribou and cheaper than Swift or H2O, also quite light, no gel coat and a little bit different from what one sees around here.
14' Fox and others do seem a little small for your needs if you are going to load up but great for day trips, Super Nova is a big boat with quite a bit of rocker so takes some technique to paddle straight in the flats but can hold a ton and certainly playful. A smaller lighter prospector without a keel might be just the ticket, maybe draw in the gunnels a bit to decrease width...some manufactures may be willing to reduce depth too if concern for windage greater than capacity and dryness.
Main regret in whole process for me, not getting out in as many boats as I could - still time, as many indicate on this site there can always be an excuse for another boat...and really, paddle what you like or what you have - we are pretty adaptable as are the boats.
I imagine NFLD is more of a challenge but most builders will ship their boats if no dealers near...Clipper would ship to Ontario for around $500.


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PostPosted: August 12th, 2020, 11:40 am 
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Location: Freeland, Maryland USA
Carpenter wrote:
Main regret in whole process for me, not getting out in as many boats as I could


That is a daunting challenge. Other than some shows and events, which are often brief flatwater/pond test paddles, it is hard to get seat time in different canoes from different manufacturers, especially for same day head-to-head comparisons.

I am admittedly of the “Wouldn’t want to belong to any club that would have me as a member” persuasion, but early on I belonged to two local canoe clubs. While I availed myself of (free) club paddling instruction and safety/rescue classes, led a few trips every year and went on others, I was equally interested in trying as many different canoes as possible. And in cherry picking members as likeminded off-club-trip paddling companions.

I don’t remember a club member ever saying no when asked “Hey, do you mind if I try your canoe for a bit”. Some of those canoes quickly proved unsuitable for my desries, but those “Oh hell no” design lessons were important in narrowing my criteria. More importantly a few canoes became immediate targets of used boat searches, and are on my racks to this day.

Some of those cherry picked companions too. Not on the racks, although I have space, but everlasting companions.

$15 a year dues at each club, best canoe-related $30 a year I ever spent.

Aside from trying companions canoes on club daytrips, in the US there is the Western Pennsylvania Solo Canoe Rendezvous, which includes some Canadian manufacturers. Not just solo canoes , and sadly not this year (cancelled for 2020).

https://wpascr.org/

For a decade there was a much more informal car camper gathering at Raystown Lake, which started as a solo paddle and compare; a half dozen paddlers meeting up on a car camper, each bring a solo canoe or two. That eventually evolved into years with 50 -70 paddlers in attendance, manufactures with trailers. Even brand aficionados hauling trailers of personal collections; Sawyer George with an 8 stacker of nothing but Sawyers, a different selection each year.

Think 100 yards of beach adjacent to waterfront campsites. A beach lined with canoes, some new, some used, some rarities, all left there with the understanding that, if it’s on the beach, it is available to try. We did a back of napkin calculation one year and figured there was easily 100K worth of canoes on the beach.

ImageIMG009 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

ImageIMG007 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Folks would bring canoes for sale, swap and trade, stack paddles & gear at their campsites with price tags. “Sure, take that paddle or boat out and give it go”. A lot of used boats, paddles and gear changed hands during that 4-day camper weekend.

It became frequently a “transfer point”; some regular would buy a geographically distant used canoe, and attendee from that area would haul it to Pennsylvania, and the buyer would leave empty rack space to haul it back home. I hauled a few canoes up there as middle-man, including beautiful composite MRC Guide a distant friend bought stupid cheap 20 minutes from my home. I paid the seller his asking price in cash, and so hoped the buyer would somehow come up short of $250.

Someone would always organized a day trip down some local river, made easier with every vehicle having ample rack space and a trailer or two available. Hell, the pot luck dinners alone were legendary. Aged, rubbed venison backstrap grilled to perfection? Please Sir, may I have another?

I don’t know if similar paddle & compare events held in Canada. Hint for someone with organizational/internet skills; THERE SHOULD BE! The CCR community would be a good start.

But not too organized; some live and let live, everybody do what they want when they want, no clip board and whistle schedule disorganization can be a thing of beauty.


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PostPosted: August 14th, 2020, 7:24 pm 
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After all the discussion about getting a boat I think I am going to get a swift prospector 15 in expedition Kevlar. Between all the posts here and with talking to the swift dealer, you have me convinced I need a bit bigger boat. I was a little hesitant as I thought it might be too big and cumbersome to handle but in the past few weeks I have been taking out the 17 foot prospector and putting a bit of weight in the stern after I flip it around. I can handle the 17 ft no problem it seems, even in a little wind I have no trouble. So a 15 foot tandem boat should feel pretty good and hold all my gear that I want, maybe even my dog.

https://swiftcanoe.com/boat/prospector-15/


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PostPosted: August 16th, 2020, 7:01 am 
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Looks like a good choice for your stated use.

I think you will appreciate the extra capacity and length, might even accommodate the dog on some trips.


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PostPosted: August 18th, 2020, 2:41 pm 
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Joined: July 9th, 2020, 9:20 am
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So thank you everyone for your advice and help on this thread. It's now over I ordered a swift prospector 15 in expedition Kevlar,with the carbon Kevlar trim. Emerald green with a champagne gel coat bottom. I'am pretty excited about it and look forward to more canoe adventures next summer.


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PostPosted: October 24th, 2020, 4:06 pm 
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Hello from New Brunswick canoe709.
I am a little late on this as I see you have bought your canoe. I was also looking for a new solo boat and, like you, had the Esquif Adirondack on my short list. On Thursday, I went to my nearest Esquif dealer to test paddle one of these; long story short: loved it/bought it. Even though it has a poor "formula", it paddles great!! As it is a shorter boat, it needs some correction but tracks, IMO, very nicely. As to speed, I was very satisfied with the speed, it moved along quite well. I took it out yesterday for a couple hours paddling in a brisk wind and, again, was pleased. All this to echo what Pook said, "So please, choose your canoe based upon what you want to paddle. Period." Formulas be damned; the best formula is a test paddle. Happy paddling.

_________________
1989 Mad River Explorer Kevlar
1991 Mad River Explorer Royalex
2020 Esquif Adirondack


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PostPosted: October 24th, 2020, 4:51 pm 
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Location: Burns Lake, BC
Congrats to both of you.
Getting in one is the real important thing.


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