Bigger water boats

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Chop is something my wife and I dread. I think all canoeist despise it to some degree, but methinks our boats are more suited to calm waters or rivers. At some point in time I'd like to get a longer (>17') boat for the bigger lakes.

Right now I believe my lightweight Swift is best suited for small ponds, longer carries, and mellow rivers. My Eagle, being fiberglass and heavy, and a bit easier to turn is our preferred stream or river boat. It bounces over rocks without a care in the world although I dread every time I need to pick it up (It's only 65lbs but my sassy pants don't fit anymore).

My thought on a bigger water craft is something that is seaworthy and dry and tracks straight as an arrow. Both my boats are pretty dry, but both require significant mucking about when the wind picks up - for some reason the Swifty seems more sensitive (people always say lighter boats are more sensitive to wind but I can't see how that works when we usually have over 400 lbs over people and gear in them - the variation between the two is less than 5% of the total weight).

Anyway, I often see WeNoNahs for sale used like the Jensen or the Sundowner, often in a lightweight layup. I've read that they are on the poorer side of the spectrum for rougher waters though.

Can we have a civil discussion about the big tandem without getting too personal? I'm trying to value opinions of others and add my own thoughts without upsetting others.

I'm sorry that other thread went south...
 
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Which other thread? Some Wenonahs handle big water quite well. Those with just a little tumblehome. I would stay away from any Jensen.. A race canoe par excellence, it is not a big water boat with that width way down. Boats that have gentler turns of the bilge ( the curve between the side and bottom) and carry some flare higher up and that have flared bows are great on big water.

I do have two Wenonahs.. the Argosy and the superb Odyssey. Big boat par excellence. We've tripped on Lake Superior with it.

Something to consider is that a hard tracking boat that has ends stuck in the waves is just about impossible to change direction with.. You do need a bit of maneuverability . Otherwise you become at the mercy of the waves. Being stuck sideways in rollers is just about the most uncomfortable situation to be in.

Big water in open canoe..think volume.. But think mimimizing windage. We have a Souris River Wilderness 18 that we have also used on big water ( not Superior) but that high stern stem just is something that makes us fight to keep the wind from blowing us sideways.

Seaworthy also is bow flare. The Odyssey has a huge amount of that. Also we can kneel in it. However the bow person gets the knees forced together. We overcame that by elevating the floor a little. How much that raises the center of bow ejection I don't know but I feel better about rollers with a flatter floor where I can spread knees.

I agree that with 400 lbs the weight of the boat is totally insignificant. I forgot .you have the Keewaydin 16? If so the problem if you want to call it that is water time. With more water time you will feel more comfortable and confident. This is not an insult. I've been canoe tripping since 1963. I don't think you were around then! Things do take time.

Another tack is to lower the seats, but that's not new to you.

If you can find an Odyssey I bet you would like it!
 
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Both our boats feel stable to me even in the roughest waters I've been in, that's never been an issue. The Kee slices through waves and is dry as the desert. My biggest complaint again is tracking - I don't find it to have that hard tracking like a zero rocker WeNoNah. But then again, I don't want to be caught sideways between big waves.

I'm going to remove the kneeling thwart as well because it's been thwarting my ability to put weight where I want it. I added it to diddle around solo but that is pointless once I bought a dedicated solo boat (nothing beats a real solo boat) and I find that I can control and keep the boat going just fine from the stern with it loaded should my partner be injured and unable to paddle.

I have a friend with Minn II and swears it's the best boat all around. I have my doubts about it's maneuverability but they mostly are on big lakes with it.
 
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Bigger boats are becoming more available. I have always liked big boats, and really miss the old Sawyer Charger at 18 1/2 feet. I had a Wenonah Odyssey but it has a straight keel line and I mostly paddle rivers. The W Champlain and Itasca are great boats as is the MN II. My brother and I just bought a W Cascade which is a large royalex boat at 17 1/2 feet with rocker and 15 inches of depth intended for river paddling. Having enough boat is important. I weigh over 200 pounds and always bring dogs and a cooler. We don't portage hardly at all. For big loads you need a big boat. I am about to retire my Old Town Guide 18 in red cedar and canvas. It is only 12 inches deep with a flat bottom and it has a keel. I still cringe when I hit gravel in it.
 
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I don't have a MN II but the Odyssey is supposed to be the same as it below waterline. On paper the Odyssey is rockerless. We have found it quite maneuverable!

Some yaw on waves is normal, especially going down wave. One end (stern ) tends to speed down the face of the wave coming from the back, while the bow is slowed by the backside of the wave forward.. Can you borrow the MN II in the conditions you describe? I'm thinking you may have an ideal of hard tracking which in reality does not exist..

I should start a little thread on " is it us or is the boat important". What Jim and I have found in the Duet ( which is a tandem with a lot of rocker) is that if we both keep our strokes well forward and end early we have way less yaw and he's cut down on the J 50 percent.

Its funny.. it took someone else to point that out. By ourselves we did pretty well but some 50 years never taught us that.
 
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We don't carry much gear, and neither does my friend, but he still swears by that big boat on a big lake.

This is all we carry:

10488025_704583452942118_5887306103017126458_n.jpg


I'm 200lbs too, lately, over that...
 
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l'oiseau,
I used to paddle a wood strip (what else??) competition cruiser, maybe similar to your paddlefriends Minn II.
I have several boat buddies that still paddle that hull...very comfy on big water and nearly unlimited capacity, even if you don't necessarily need it.
We built out of spec, with some rocker forward. Really big rollers would sometimes clear the gunnels, but that was a comfort issue, not a safety issue.
Also excellent on big water is a guideboat, even a 14 footer is very capable...
 
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The most Seaworthy big boat was the Sawyer 222, a DY design still available, on SO from Swift. MY fav was the Bell NorthWoods, basicallt a 22 with tumblehome and bow rocker, NLS. NorthStar has a straight sided version that comes close for bigger paddlers who do not need the tumblehome.

An Odyssey story. Harry Roberts and Molly Starck taught a late 80's sit & switch tandem class at LL Brans NACS on Long Pond. [I was there teaching FreeStyle solo and tandem, and getting trashed sharing a presentation stage with Harry. He was the Mayor of canoeing and love big class racers, and when he passed in 91, no suitable replacement could be found.] The West wind was roaring as Harry and Molly paddled the various boats they's borrowed for their tandem course North to the demo beach. They pulled in halfway up at my cabin, Harry declaring whoever designed the Odyssey was welcome to punt the P.O.S. further North. End of Story about that bottom.
 
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Ah, big boats…..I'm a big boat guy, I love having a lot of room to pack a ton of stuff. But I'm thinking my idea of a big boat might be different than yours. My big boat idea is around 20 feet. I started the big boat fetish with a square stern, think it was 20 feet, but it was around 200 pounds. I built J. Winters Quetico at 18.5 thinking that would keep me happy. It came in quite light, around 70 pounds I think. However, I still found it to be too small. So I set up the same forms and stretched it out to 20 feet. Used one sheet of ten ounce glass in and out. Now that was a seaworthy canoe, and still is. In fact, taking five relatives out tomorrow for three days, two are going in that.

Once I started piling three people in the canoe at once with all the gear, I built the Outback 200, my favourite canoe right now, 20 feet long, 43 inches across at the beam, carries it's fullness through out the canoe. I think I'll stop with this one. You would have to be in very large water to feel nervous. Also, it has to be loaded in a big wind, or I end up doing a fair amount of fiddly paddling.

This is the 20 foot Quetico, I let the students use it when we have odd numbers.


And this is the 20 foot Outback…you see big canoes have many uses


However, being serious, I find that wenonah Spirit 11 to be one heck of a tracker, and a pretty good all around tripping canoe. I've had it through big waves, big whitewater, windy creeks, almost anything an average tripper would experience. And it's 44 pounds, the lightest canoe I have ever dealt with. Once I overcame that low seat thing and started using a bent shaft with it, it kind of grew on me. I'm not hard to please when it comes to canoe selection, and will paddle just about anything.
 
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The most Seaworthy big boat was the Sawyer 222, a DY design still available, on SO from Swift. MY fav was the Bell NorthWoods, basicallt a 22 with tumblehome and bow rocker, NLS. NorthStar has a straight sided version that comes close for bigger paddlers who do not need the tumblehome.

An Oddessy story. Harry Roberts and Molly Starck taught a late 80's sit & switch tandem class at LL Brans NACS on Long Pond. [I was there teaching FreeStyle solo and tandem, and getting trashed sharing a presentation stage with Harry. He was the Mayor of canoeing and love big class racers, and when he passed in 91, no suitable replacement could be found.] The West wind was roaring as Harry and Molly paddled the various boats they's borrowed for their tandem course North to the demo beach. They pulled in halfway up at my cabin, Harry declaring whoever designed the Oddessey was welcome to punt the P.O.S. further North. End of Story about that bottom.



Not so fast. Some twelve years ago at La Louisiane FreeStyle Symposium there was a shortage of tandem boats. Tom MacKenzie and I used my Odyssey as it was the only tandem around.. to teach FS incuding forward cross moves. Not a beginning class! The students wanted to improve their heel.. I remember T M in the stern and we hauled a X post to the rail.. He later mentioned that he indeed thought he might be whipped out of the boat into the pond and asked me not to overheel in the future. By that time the alligators had been run out of the pond though.

All I can say is that I take my Odyssey out on Lake Superior and it does fine in following seas (if you want a post on subject)
 
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How does the smaller Sawyer Cruiser compare to the 222 Cruiser?

Dave has/had one for sale in Kevlar. Not as light as a Minn II but accessible. Not that I have an extra $900 to spare...

W866.jpg
 
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And this is the 20 foot Outback…you see big canoes have many uses

I find it humorous that a Canadian would have so much American beer*... in a canoe none-the-less!





*This is in part because for whatever reason the slightest sip of Budweiser gives me a wicked headache (there is something in there that doesn't agree with me - the taste is not that offensive to me) and because when I was in high school we Americans always wanted Canadian beer. Labatt Blue and Molson Canadian were top choices.
 
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Ha ha, it's ironic, I know, just another way you Americans are taking us over. Manifest Destiny finally accomplished through beer. I love Bud Lite because it tastes like carbonated water and I can drink it all night and never have a shade of a hangover the next day. Leaving in about ten minutes for a three day trip where much bud lite drinking will be accomplished.
 
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I've always been a station wagon - truck kinda guy. Sports cars are cute, but big rides are handy. I'm not putting anyone down here. I just love the look and roomy feel of a big ride. I can't tell you the number of times we've been out somewhere, and my missus has said "Oooh, look at that! That old chair and antique bucket will go perfectly in the front room!" No problem.
If any of you out there fit perfectly in a small and streamlined canoe, then I'm really happy for you. Really I am. I just like the roomy feel of our 16'7" tandem. It's by no means as big as others mentioned here, but so far has hauled us in handy happiness. I like the looks of the 17' and 18' models. Maybe we have room to grow.
I never thought of a beer canoe cooler. There ya go. I used to drink enough for a 20 footer, but I've been cutting back. Maybe a 17 footer for tripping and a 14 footer solo canoe cooler?
 
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Brad,

I have 15'9", 16' and 16'5" canoes. I'm looking to expand the spectrum.

I've been into sports cars and racing since I could drive. I love small and nimble - but my small, nimble Miata gets awful tiresome to drive on the freeway. I'd rather have a comfy cruiser there - one that can swallow the miles.

Same goes for my boats. I love my mid length tandems on calm water. They have more capacity than I need. Nothing (in my experience) can compare to the sweet glide of a lengthy solo boat (mine isn't that long but good enough) in smooth water. It has plenty of capacity for tripping but mine is more of an exercise model (maybe someday I'll go on a trip by myself or with some other solo canoes).

But when it comes to swallowing up the big expanses; I'm itching for that cruiser. Tandem paddling is still firmly in my future, so I've decided to embrace it more. I want a big dumb boat that goes straight. That same boat I would have never considered a few years back when I thought I'd own only one canoe.

These days I've conceded that I'm just too fickle to have one canoe that can do it all. And I'd like to expand my travels.

My wife talks about paddling in Canada, but then I explain to her it isn't like pond hopping... she complains on the big waterways when the wind blows us back and the waves lick our gunwales... and I tell her that I expect no less from our neighbor to the North, so we either get used to it, or get a better tool for the job.

I've avoided plenty of big water that is closer to us because of that - but it's not worth hiding from... I had one of my best trips on Cranberry Lake last year (it's a pretty big semi-natural lake in the Adirondacks) but the paddling, at times, was no picnic.
 
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L'oiseau, I hear ya friend, My driving life started in a little little car. My wife drives one to this day. She hates big cars. I love 'em. I like driving a living room complete with sofa front seat. In the world of canoes, I'd prefer >16', though I've never paddled smaller. It's something I've not experienced. Maybe I'd change my tune if I tried a solo. In the meantime I'll fantasize about a 17-18 'er. So far only one canoe is in our "stable", and likely won't be added to. We'll see. We don't do big water, but that's open to interpretation I guess. Our sides are flared, so we rarely get wet. We don't like big water, big waves. We stay ashore on rough days. No hurry, no hassle.
If you and your wife are ever planning to be up this way, call me. We 4 will do Algonquin for a few days. We'll not take your wife out of her comfort zone. It's her holiday too. Your 16'5" should be plenty canoe for a lovely week canoe camping. We don't challenge ourselves as much as we spoil ourselves.
 
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Sounds good my friend. We will definitely keep that in mind for next year.

FWIW I consider the lakes of Algonquin to be 'big water'. We are usually bobbing around ponds less than a mile in length and 1/4 of that wide.

A lot depends on the direction of the wind - many of our bigger waters in the ADKs align with the predominant winds, which makes them all the more miserable.

I recall being blown to a standstill on the main channel of Cranberry lake last year - it aligns perfectly with the predominant winds.
 
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I'm keeping ADK in mind for October this year, though I'll likely be solo. My better half no longer likes late season paddling. She's sensible and I don't blame her, but I miss seeing fall colours from the middle of a lake. We'll see.
 
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Some lakes in Algonquin are big.. Especially in the PM.. Algonquin is also blessed with twisty rivers and creeks.. a moose paradise. Most lakes in Algonquin are not big.. There are plenty where you portage a bunch..put in a pond and two minutes later are out walking again.

Opeongo is probably the only one I would prefer a BIG boat for. We tripped in Algonquin for many years in a 15 foot Grumman. That was before the Internet confused us; it didn't exist.. Back then we happily tripped without knowing of fiberglass or Kevlar. Finally in 1989 we got a BIG canoe. 15'10" from Sawyer in Dwight.

L-O do you know of Jeffs Algonquin Map?
http://www.algonquinmap.com/
 
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We have the official map. A kindly old gentleman my wife used to teach with gave us his slightly used version when he found out we were into canoeing.
 
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