Wenonah (and race-like) hulls vs. Others (such as V. Kruger)?

Joined
Sep 16, 2013
Messages
19
I've mostly paddled Wenonah boats and other race-type hulls. I paddle flatwater rivers.

I'm thinking I might want to get a different feeling boat to paddle.

The race type hulls might be feeling too "technical" and sterilely efficient. With their flat sections amidships and total flat wedge-shapes fore/aft.

I've also often paddled (and still own): a Mad River Malecite, Old Town Explorer/Tripper(?), Seda Glider kayak, Valley Pintail kayak. None of them feel like what I'm hankering for, either, for this "something new" feel.

I'm kinda doubtful that a 'freestyle' hull shape is what I'm after, either -- but who knows. Maybe some sort of Bell boat?

I did paddle a Kruger Sea Wind type of boat a few years ago but with lily-dippers and it wasn't really paddling and I don't even recall how that boat felt.

I suppose I do like a somewhat fast hull that glides good. I do NOT need cargo capacity. I hate weight. When I paddle, or bike-tour, I carry the least that I can. OK, I will carry a bit more comfort in a boat but not much. Really, about 20 lbs for a few days is fine. If I have 30 lbs I feel it in a bad way as being not very responsive anymore. I suppose I could get used to the momentum of a heavily-laden boat but just never have. I tend to paddle slow water with lots of corners and accelerating a heavy boat is UGH for me.

(I wonder a bit about the Malecite. It's a pretty thing. But both the seats and hull flex like the dickens. It has 3 seats in it. The seats hang from the gunnels and sway. The whole thing sways. I suppose it seems too wide for "the new feeling," but I was thinking of trying to stiffen it up by shoving foam sections under each seat. Maybe I could feel it more if it wasn't flexing every which way.)

Well, I know of a Sea Wind that needs a new home and do plan to give it a try.

Wondering about other people's views of the different kinds of hulls, esp as compared to the Wenonah/racer type.
 
Joined
Feb 29, 2012
Messages
1,819
Location
Schenectady, NY
I'm a stripper kind of guy, in case you hadn't noticed. But material is hardly the issue, I suppose you're looking for a specific handling characteristic. My attitudes and tastes seem to be similar to yours...I spent many years in racing hulls and lean boats that go fast and straight. I even used to paddle an Olympic class C1, talk about impractical! But in the last few years, I have been leaning towards something more maneuverable, and of course, light weight.
Have you paddled a Rapidfire? They can be configured for sit and switch or double blading.
 
G

Guest

Guest
(I wonder a bit about the Malecite. It's a pretty thing. But both the seats and hull flex like the dickens. It has 3 seats in it. The seats hang from the gunnels and sway. The whole thing sways. I suppose it seems too wide for "the new feeling," but I was thinking of trying to stiffen it up by shoving foam sections under each seat. Maybe I could feel it more if it wasn't flexing every which way.) ...
Wondering about other people's views of the different kinds of hulls, esp as compared to the Wenonah/racer type.

The Malecite sways? How are you paddling? Get your feet under the seat and hold still.

I wonder if you're accustomed to muscling a boat forward. The Malecite and most, if not all, non-racing boats have a definite limit on speed. Charlie Wilson could explain better than I can, but the basic idea is that most recreational canoes are not designed for speed. Paddle hard enough and the stern will squat down and you'll end up paddling uphill. Some folks call that the "wall." Also, most rec canoe seats are hung from the gunwales. I'd suggest you test paddle a bunch of boats. You're getting into a very different world from racing hulls.
 
Joined
Sep 16, 2013
Messages
19
Replacing the seat dowels with trusses from Eds Canoe parts will stop much of the seat sway, tightening the bolts helps too, but Malecite started life as a short class downriver tandem racer. There are solo canoes.

Looks like you mean this: http://www.edscanoe.com/seathanger.html. Looks good for stabilizing the seats. I wonder if they will also tend to stabilize the sides of the hull.

Then there's the flexiness of the bottom. I was thinking that foam wedges under the seats would do the trick. And maybe keep splash-water from sloshing forward/back as much. But maybe there's a simpler way -- maybe just a vertical post from seat down to center of hull.
 
Joined
Sep 16, 2013
Messages
19
The Malecite sways? How are you paddling? Get your feet under the seat and hold still.

I wonder if you're accustomed to muscling a boat forward. The Malecite and most, if not all, non-racing boats have a definite limit on speed. Charlie Wilson could explain better than I can, but the basic idea is that most recreational canoes are not designed for speed. Paddle hard enough and the stern will squat down and you'll end up paddling uphill. Some folks call that the "wall." Also, most rec canoe seats are hung from the gunwales. I'd suggest you test paddle a bunch of boats. You're getting into a very different world from racing hulls.

Yeah, I'll try some more variety.

I don't put feet under seat. Yikes. That sounds painful. I like foot-braces (and straps) and might try them in the Malecite.

Yeah, all boats seem to have harsh speed limits, eh? Even race boats are like only 1mph faster than cruisers. It's a slow-speed world. If you're going 8mph you're blazing and your eyes are bulging out. At 5mph it can be pretty mellow.

I suppose it's just the feel at 4-5 that I'm wanting to mess with. ...And wondering if anyone has written much about the feel of Wenonah type race-oriented hulls.

I don't know if the Vee-bottom of my Malecite is quite the ticket, either. Well, who knows.

I'm 180, daughter 140 lbs -- and we're nearly oil-canning the hull. Two 180 pounders require a cooler wedged under the center seat. I recall the Malecite (or this model) being sold as a "light people" boat. I don't mind low freeboard and don't carry much stuff but I guess we're at its limit.

I don't even know for sure if I'm looking for a new kind of solo boat or tandem or both...

That Rapidfire does look neat.

Maybe I'm looking for a 3-seat boat that's a bit narrower than Malecite with rounder hull -- and Kevlar. I find that weight matters.

Also, I just like reading hull-shape ruminations as I perk along. So any links to scribblings on hull dynamics in light of the Wenonah concept is appreciated.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Sep 16, 2013
Messages
19
Also, any comparison of Wenonah shape to Verlen Kruger shape... Anyone dabble in both deep ends of the pond? :)
 
G

Guest

Guest
Yeah, I'll try some more variety.

I don't put feet under seat. Yikes. That sounds painful. I like foot-braces (and straps) and might try them in the Malecite.

Feet under the seat means kneeling, and that's the most stable way to paddle. Try it some time and see if the boat flexes.

I don't know if the Vee-bottom of my Malecite is quite the ticket, either. Well, who knows.

I've heard that the V-bottom slows the boat slightly because it increases the amount of wetted surface. Having paddled both V and non-V I can't say I've noticed a difference.

I'm 180, daughter 140 lbs -- and we're nearly oil-canning the hull. Two 180 pounders require a cooler wedged under the center seat. I recall the Malecite (or this model) being sold as a "light people" boat. I don't mind low freeboard and don't carry much stuff but I guess we're at its limit.

This is hard to believe unless you're bouncing up and down. The shallow-V adds rigidity to the hull. I've paddled a bunch of different boats, and the only ones with any appreciable oil-canning were a Mad River Eclipse (lightweight Royalex version of the Malecite with a flattish bottom in the mid-section), a Dagger (now Mad River) Legend 16 (Royalex with a flat bottom), and a few Wenonah boats (Sandpiper, Wilderness in Royalex). I'd like to see you paddle; I suspect it's your technique that's causing the oil-canning and flexing.

Maybe I'm looking for a 3-seat boat that's a bit narrower than Malecite with rounder hull -- and Kevlar. I find that weight matters.

Paddle a Bell NorthStar if you can find one. It's about the same dimensions as the Malecite but without the V-hull. It's a very nice boat that will go tandem or solo. In fact, they were made with kneeling thwarts already installed - except for the ultralight layup, which is not strong enough to support a lot of weight from the amidships gunwales. I set mine up with a center seat, but the hull flexed 1/8" on each side when I sat on it (I'm 170 lbs). You can see there's no reinforcement under the seat (where the kneeling thwart would be).

031Nina-Moose17BoatLoad2LR.jpg
 
Joined
Sep 16, 2013
Messages
19
Hardly ever try kneeling. I'll give it a shot sometime. I have a pretty decent race technique and SUP, too. I haven't used a straight blade in eons. I like canoe poling and canoe standup for our local shallows.
 
Joined
Jan 1, 2014
Messages
182
Location
Lower Saranac Lake, Adirondacks
Surely NStar is a better solo boat. or tandem for that matter, than Malecite. One of the several reasons is the tumblehome that improves reach to the water, a factor exacerbated by a sitting paddlers as reach is compromised.

It is no surprise that the hull flexes when a kneeling thwart is subbed for the third thwart. The public demands lightweight hulls; cool, who wouldn't, but then seems to think it should be perfectly alright to re-engineer or re-trim the boat. In the case of Bell tandems, we always re-enforced the sidewalls under kneeling thwarts. Similarly, Placid adds a hefty carbon belly band when a seat is to be hung from the rails. The manufacturer needs to know when the hull is being laid up. An unsuspecting populace re-trimming hulls often results in compromised performance or hull damage. Take away: Don't Do That. Order the hull the way you want it. This will always be an issue with used boats; it's years late to change the lamination.
 
G

Guest

Guest
Charlie, you and I had a long e-mail conversation about putting a third seat in my NorthStar. Your last comment was that at my weight I had "no problems to speak of." However, though this may be interesting, we're getting off point.

JeffOYB, I'm guessing that you dig deep when paddling. If so, perhaps you bob up and down or move from side to side in the process. That might explain what you've described. You're faced with what could be a difficult transition: unlearning skills and techniques that served you well in one aspect of an activity that don't work in another aspect. Try kneeling and focus on a straight-back forward stroke - no digging, no side-to-side upper body movement (if you tend to do either of these), a short power phase, and probably less "muscle" than you're used to. Again, just guessing.
 
Joined
Sep 16, 2013
Messages
19
Technique and flex aside, I'm interested in ruminations (and/or links to same) about how the various hull shapes feel, with thoughts that incl the race/Wenonah-shape and Verlen Kruger shape.
 
Joined
Sep 2, 2011
Messages
6,386
Location
Raymond, ME
Technique and flex aside, I'm interested in ruminations (and/or links to same) about how the various hull shapes feel, with thoughts that incl the race/Wenonah-shape and Verlen Kruger shape.
You'd love paddling the Colden DragonFly sitting.. It's got a quite round bottom and fairly narrow at the gunwales. Not a race boat for flatwater but for downriver. Its on the short side.

Its meant to be knelt in. The feeling you get when sitting could be unsettling.. I don't favor Wenonah shapes and prefer ones with a narrower waterline and a high shoulder tucked to tumblehome. While not designed for sit and switch some can be paddled that way.

I know little about GRB Newmans which would probably interest Jeff.
 
Joined
Sep 16, 2013
Messages
19
Are there canoe demos in Michigan? There's the two big sea kayaking symposia, but what about canoes? (Does Canoecopia do demo'ing? I've never attended but really want to. The chance to paddle a buncha boats would push me even harder to get over there. But it's on next year's must-do already. Mid-March, tho... Hm... Maybe indoor pool testing? It's such a big event they could create a whole special Demo Lane body of water if they wanted to! 100 feet x 20 feet x 3 feet, say...)
 
G

Guest

Guest
Technique and flex aside, I'm interested in ruminations (and/or links to same) about how the various hull shapes feel, with thoughts that incl the race/Wenonah-shape and Verlen Kruger shape.

I don't want to belabor the point, but I can't separate how a hull shape feels from paddling technique. When I was a novice paddler I preferred stable boats that tracked well. When I learned more about technique I shifted toward more dynamic boats. I've paddled in ways that bring out the flexibility in boats. 'nuf said on my part.
 
Joined
Sep 16, 2013
Messages
19
Hey, I just did a quick search and it looks like I'm the only one to have spoken the "Verlen" word here. ?

***

Are there canoe demos in Michigan? There's the two big sea kayaking symposia, but what about canoes? (Does Canoecopia do demo'ing? I've never attended but really want to. The chance to paddle a buncha boats would push me even harder to get over there. But it's on next year's must-do already. Mid-March, tho... Hm... Maybe indoor pool testing? It's such a big event they could create a whole special Demo Lane body of water if they wanted to! 100 feet x 10 feet x 3 feet, say... Looks like the Rutabaga shop has a "canal." Looks like they have a pool for "demos" but not for testing. Maybe they just mean "demonstration.")
 
Joined
Sep 2, 2011
Messages
6,386
Location
Raymond, ME
Hey, I just did a quick search and it looks like I'm the only one to have spoken the "Verlen" word here. ?

***

Are there canoe demos in Michigan? There's the two big sea kayaking symposia, but what about canoes? (Does Canoecopia do demo'ing? I've never attended but really want to. The chance to paddle a buncha boats would push me even harder to get over there. But it's on next year's must-do already. Mid-March, tho... Hm... Maybe indoor pool testing? It's such a big event they could create a whole special Demo Lane body of water if they wanted to! 100 feet x 10 feet x 3 feet, say... Looks like the Rutabaga shop has a "canal." Looks like they have a pool for "demos" but not for testing. Maybe they just mean "demonstration.")
I have a MR Monarch. One of Verlens early boats. I like it but haven't tried to test the speed. I do know I lose to my husband when he paddles his Wilderness Systems Shenai which is the same length but much narrower
 
G

Guest

Guest
Hey, I just did a quick search and it looks like I'm the only one to have spoken the "Verlen" word here. ?

***

Are there canoe demos in Michigan? There's the two big sea kayaking symposia, but what about canoes? (Does Canoecopia do demo'ing? I've never attended but really want to. The chance to paddle a buncha boats would push me even harder to get over there. But it's on next year's must-do already. Mid-March, tho... Hm... Maybe indoor pool testing? It's such a big event they could create a whole special Demo Lane body of water if they wanted to! 100 feet x 10 feet x 3 feet, say... Looks like the Rutabaga shop has a "canal." Looks like they have a pool for "demos" but not for testing. Maybe they just mean "demonstration.")

Canoecopia is in early March when the water is still too hard to paddle in. But you can test paddle anything Rutabaga has in stock, starting today. You might also consider the Western Pennsylvania Freestyle get-together that's happening in early June. Others here can tell you more about it.
 
Top