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PostPosted: July 15th, 2020, 7:47 pm 
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Hey how's it going everybody? I'am new to this forum and would like some input regarding a solo canoe. I own a tandem Novacraft 17 foot boat in tough stuff right now , which I have tried to solo with some success but it's hard to manage a 17 foot by myself and portaging just plain sucks. So I have decided maybe a solo boat might be a good idea for me for when my wife can't go out canoeing or I just want to disappear into the woods to go fishing. I am thinking about getting a 14 or 15 foot solo boat but I have a few questions first for anyone that might own one. The first is that I plan on using this to get to remote back country and for me weight/ability to portage is a big key, as I will be going over bog/swamp, rocks and very thick woods potentially. But the problem is the area's I plan on going are rocky flat water ponds, the shore lines usually have some jagged rocks. I also plan on using rivers to get from pond to pond, which are going to be mostly impassable so I would be dragging/portaging up rivers as well. So I really want a Kevlar canoe, something light for just me and maybe my dog(we are working on that one). How do you think Kevlar/aramid would hold up with lot's of rocks around or hitting them while on the water? My tough stuff canoe is still looking well, I have taken care of it and it's still in pretty good shape so I think the Kevlar would be fine. Also what weight do people find a 14/15 foot canoe comfortable to portage, is a heavier more durable material still be manageable to portage?


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PostPosted: July 16th, 2020, 7:06 am 
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Swift's Keewaydin 15 in expedition kevlar weighs in at 32 pounds... this should be durable enough to take some dragging. The lighter ones will need more care.

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

You'll notice that there is an optimum load range given, combined paddler, dog, gear and canoe weight. This might not be in the range you'll be needing so look around for larger or smaller. Pack canoes will be smallest and lightest but maybe not large enough, depending.

Also a good idea to test-paddle before buying, eg. Algonquin area or at dealers... good luck.

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PostPosted: July 16th, 2020, 10:32 am 
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OK, what about something a little different -- a real pack canoe. We have taken my wife's Hornbeck 10' boat on a number of trips with the 70lb food barrel in it and not had any problems. It weights about 16 lbs. We've done big lakes and lots of small rocky lakes and I don't have any durability issues with it.

My daily driver on whitewater is an Echoee which has an Innegra based outer layer -- weighs about 25 lbs. and has been bashed up a bit over the last 3-4 years. No serious damage to report, although I did dent the stern dropping onto a rock off a 2' ledge, but easy to repair. Lightweight shells in modern materials are really durable and should not deter you from shedding weight.


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PostPosted: July 17th, 2020, 6:55 pm 
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Have you considered getting a smaller tandem boat and paddling it solo? I say this because this way you avoid having to take a yoke on and off all the time. Check out a Nova Craft Bob Special 15' or a Prospector 15' in tuff stuff or blue steel. My solo and tandem boat is a blue steel Prospector 15 and I just absolutely love it. Very stable for fishing. Either boat would give you plenty of room for you and your dog, or even another paddler if you want some company fishing, and you never need to take a yoke on or off.

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PostPosted: July 17th, 2020, 8:57 pm 
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ontariofishingquest wrote:
Have you considered getting a smaller tandem boat and paddling it solo? I say this because this way you avoid having to take a yoke on and off all the time. Check out a Nova Craft Bob Special 15' or a Prospector 15' in tuff stuff or blue steel. My solo and tandem boat is a blue steel Prospector 15 and I just absolutely love it. Very stable for fishing. Either boat would give you plenty of room for you and your dog, or even another paddler if you want some company fishing, and you never need to take a yoke on or off.



How do you find paddling the prospector 15 in the wind solo? And as far as lifting the blue at 45 lbs by yourself do you find it hard, is on/off the car tough? My current 17 foot prospector is just awkward i think at 60 lbs, but I can lift it and portage by myself(just is not that easy.


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PostPosted: July 17th, 2020, 10:14 pm 
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When I'm paddling the p15 solo into the wind I have to load weight forward (gear, or a rock inside a drybag). That is the disadvantage of the taller hull design. The Bob would be much better suited for that, but as soon as there's waves I feel much safer and stay drier with the Prospector. The 45lb weight feels very light to me as I'm coming from a 60lb boat before this one like you are. It's not an issue to load or unload off of a vehicle, and feels very light on the portage. 45lbs sounds like a scary number, but trust me, its not.
I did a review video on my boat on my youtube channel, here's a link to it if you want to check it out.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wXVwhhQ6JWw

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PostPosted: July 18th, 2020, 2:44 pm 
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Good explanation of the intended use and desire for a lighter weight canoe. What different people find “comfortable” to portage likely varies considerably from person to person and portage to portage, not to mention single trip, double trip, gear weight & volume carried.

Shorter hulls may be easier to thick wood bushwhack into remote areas, longer hulls will usually have a better length-to-waterline ratio (speed). Better gear capacity too of course.

That still leaves a LOT of possible canoe choices, and a lot of missing information:

Do you prefer to sit, kneel or some combination of both? Would a sit on the bottom pack canoe (and double blade) work, or would you prefer a raised seat and a single blade?

What is your height & weight? (Personal question I know, but it matters)

Length of trip, typical solo gear load, weight and volume.

Do you have a preferred paddling style?

The possibility of bringing a dog (how big?) along adds to the capacity issue, and a lightweight pocket tandem might serve you better as a tripping dog hauler than a 14’ dedicated solo.

About the only questions I can answer is that a well made kevlar canoe will handle considerable abuse on rocky flatwater ponds and rocks. Dragging up shallow rocky rivers will leave some scars, but composite boats are repairable. Provided you still have all the parts and pieces once you get back home ;-)


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PostPosted: July 19th, 2020, 6:39 pm 
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Mike McCrea wrote:
Good explanation of the intended use and desire for a lighter weight canoe. What different people find “comfortable” to portage likely varies considerably from person to person and portage to portage, not to mention single trip, double trip, gear weight & volume carried.

Shorter hulls may be easier to thick wood bushwhack into remote areas, longer hulls will usually have a better length-to-waterline ratio (speed). Better gear capacity too of course.

That still leaves a LOT of possible canoe choices, and a lot of missing information:

Do you prefer to sit, kneel or some combination of both? Would a sit on the bottom pack canoe (and double blade) work, or would you prefer a raised seat and a single blade?

What is your height & weight? (Personal question I know, but it matters)

Length of trip, typical solo gear load, weight and volume.

Do you have a preferred paddling style?

The possibility of bringing a dog (how big?) along adds to the capacity issue, and a lightweight pocket tandem might serve you better as a tripping dog hauler than a 14’ dedicated solo.

About the only questions I can answer is that a well made kevlar canoe will handle considerable abuse on rocky flatwater ponds and rocks. Dragging up shallow rocky rivers will leave some scars, but composite boats are repairable. Provided you still have all the parts and pieces once you get back home ;-)


I prefer to sit on the seat, when I'am doing a fast river or anything where I have a chance of tipping I will use my knees. I usually keep a pad in front of me.

Maybe a weekend trip 2 nights. Not sure of load at the moment as I'am new to this but maybe 150lbs -200lbs of gear. And maybe pass on the dog coming on the overnight trips for now, I can take him camping in my other canoe with my wife.

I paddle almost always on the right side?? Not really sure about paddling style.

I was thinking of something like this boat.

http://esquif.com/en/canoe/adirondack/

I was thinking this could hold enough gear for a night or two and also be good for fishing/exploring. The guy at the local canoe shop suggested it, it's like royalex and is only 37lbs. It's also fairly cheap compared to a kevlar canoe as well. Anyone ever try one before?

Another option I had in mind which would satisfy every need canoe wise. It would hold my gear, dog, fishing poles with lots of room to spare. I was thinking about a Novacraft Prospecter in blue steel at 45lbs, a little heavier but more versatile. The biggest cost is the price tag and a angry wife, where I could outright just buy the Adirondack right now.


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PostPosted: July 19th, 2020, 7:25 pm 
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https://classicoutdoors.ca/products/swift-prospector-14

Here is another beautiful solo boat with a excellent capacity and can be really light weight.

And I am in Newfoundland and I have to portage through the worst kind of bog/swamp and thick trees.


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PostPosted: July 20th, 2020, 4:59 pm 
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I would pass on the Esquif Adirondack if you actually want to paddle and get anywhere.

A 12’ long canoe that is nearly 40” wide is going to be very slow.

One of the (many) things I look at in a canoe if the length to waterline ratio. 12 feet is 144 inches, divided by 39.5 inches is 3.64.

That is crazy low/slow.


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PostPosted: July 20th, 2020, 6:44 pm 
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Ok so my prospector is a 17 foot with 36" width. The calculation came out to 5.66, is that still slow or medium speed?

I appreciate that, as my canoe will have to be ordered, I live in a little town and the main city is 3 1/2 hours away. Even there as I live in Newfoundland the boats have to be pre ordered in the fall for the spring. I will forget about the esquiff, it was a cheap dream, I should have known better.


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PostPosted: July 21st, 2020, 10:34 am 
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canoe709 wrote:
Ok so my prospector is a 17 foot with 36" width. The calculation came out to 5.66, is that still slow or medium speed?


That is not a bad L/W ratio, kind of it the middle.

Overall length divided by max width does not give a true L/W number; canoes with ample bow layout will have a shorter waterline length, and lightly loaded boats will not be floating at max width. But it is a good rough calculation starting point.

The L/W numbers usually fall in a small range. For example an Epic V 12 surf ski is a damn fast boat, 21’ long x 19.9” wide. The L/W is almost 15. But that is a crazy high number and a crazy fast boat, made for top notch surf ski paddlers.

The “fastest” hull we currently own is our Monarch, 17’ 3” x 28”, with an L/W of 7.4. Our soloized Penobscot 16, my favorite tripping canoe, is no speed demon; 16’ 2” x 34” = 5.7 L/W, but it gets me there in safety and comfort.

The bow entry makes a difference. The seemingly “slowest” canoe we own is a blunt nosed Mohawk Odyssey, 14’ 2” x 30 ½” gives a L/W of 5.57. Pushing that blunt bow and flat bottom through the water the Odyssey sure doesn’t seem just a hair slower than the Penobscot; a friend who paddled it remarked “It makes its own wake”. But at the same time it is my favorite canoe for mild whitewater, shallow rivers and strainer filled swamp runs. 1 ¾” of rocker, the flattish bottom will float in a few inches of water, and it has enough primary stability to stand up and hop out onto fallen logs.

The fastest hull we have ever owned was a Sawyer Saber, 20’ long x 24” wide, with a L/W of 10. It was fast with a strong (and well balanced) crew, but it was also 20 feet of wetted surface to overcome. Length is good, up to the point where you can’t push that much hull through the water, or feel comfortable paddling balanced on the waterline width.

Hull bottom shape matters to me, I am less comfortable in canoes with an elliptical bottom and more comfortable with a shallow arch or shallow vee bottom, but that is purely personal preference. My personal “acid test” of stability is simple; can I turn my torso 180 degrees while seated to look behind me without bracing or swimming?

The old Bell Canoe company used to list both a length to waterline ratio, waterline length and waterline displacements at different weights, all helpful bits of information in calculating the loaded L/W.

For example one of the “faster” Bell solos was the Merlin II
15’ 7” overall length
but
14’ 9” waterline length
29” max width
25.5” waterline width (at 240 lbs)
Bell rated the L/W at 7.25.

Um, ok, but the only way to get that L/W number is to use the overall length (15’ 7”) divided by a 240lb waterline width (25.5”). I weigh more than 240lbs soaking wet (which I would be with a 25.5” waterline). Recalculating. . . . .

150 – 200 lbs of gear plus your weight (?) is a considerable load; some manufacturers state an “optimum” weight range or overall weight capacity.

Frozentripper’s suggestion of a Swift Keewaydin 15 is a solo canoe that appeals to me, but with an “Optimum Load Range” of 160 to 320lbs and an “Industry Capacity” of 425 lbs my 200lbs of glamper camping gear plus me would be better off in a solo center seat Kee 16 (Optimum Load 300 to 575lbs, Industry Capacity 950lbs).

Some manufacturers, Wenonah Canoe for example, will not list “weight capacity, believing it is misleading and not as much a factor as conditions, and paddler skill and judgment. No doubt true.

The rough length to waterline ratio is still a good starting place, especially if ordering a boat you have not had opportunity to paddle first.

Please keep us posted on what you select, and how it turns out. Too often we never hear the end of the story.


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PostPosted: July 21st, 2020, 7:16 pm 
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What do you think about this boat in blue steel?

http://www.novacraft.com/canoes/fox-14-solo/

It seems similar to the swift solo, but it's 1000$ cheaper canadian and I have a local dealer that will ship it here for me.

It works out to be 5.25 on the scale.


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PostPosted: July 22nd, 2020, 11:54 am 
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canoe709 wrote:
What do you think about this boat in blue steel?

http://www.novacraft.com/canoes/fox-14-solo/

It seems similar to the swift solo, but it's 1000$ cheaper canadian and I have a local dealer that will ship it here for me.

It works out to be 5.25 on the scale.


Given your stated use criteria that seems a likely candidate by the dimension specs. It would be too short for my multi-day big boy/big load preferences, but YMMV.

I’d like to hear from folks paddling the Fox 14. I recall posts somewhere from folks (of unknown skill and experience) reflecting Kevin Callan’s comment:

“The Fox has incredible second stability. Once you get moving across the water, it keeps a good line and moves fast. Take note, newbies may find its initial stability a little tricky and tippy at first.”

With a 32” beam and a shallow arch bottom any primary stability wobbles might be eliminated by dropping the seat an inch. Sometimes a slightly lower (or contour seat) is all it takes.


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PostPosted: July 22nd, 2020, 2:29 pm 
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Yeah I think that this boat is at least a contender for now. I still have until October to decided, as I have to pre-order for spring 2021. So I will be doing more research before then on this. If you have any other suggestions let me know, as I will still be looking.

Also I will let you know how this story ends. I hope to be on here more and participate so I can add to the community. I've been canoeing for almost 30 years, started on aluminium canoes and saved and purchased my first real canoe when I was 18(a Wenonah). I lived in the Midwest United states at the time and did a lot of rivers down there in my younger years. Fast forward 30 years and I now paddle in Newfoundland with my wife in a tandem Novacraft Prospector. And I'am looking for some new adventures and will hopefully get to share my experiences.


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