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What are your current solo canoes and how do you like them?

As I am most frequently paddling ww these days, my solo since October is a new Esquif Raven

Congrats on your new canoe, Alan. Whitewater surely provided fun for me, a nice social experience, and improved my paddling skills. Your equipment looks great. I am curious about the identity of that paddle with a blue shaft and yellow blade.
 
Congrats on your new canoe, Alan. Whitewater surely provided fun for me, a nice social experience, and improved my paddling skills. Your equipment looks great. I am curious about the identity of that paddle with a blue shaft and yellow blade.
That's a Werner Bandit. The shaft is more black than blue. Must be an artifact of the photo.
 
More than I need but I have space and have worked hard to try many and to find good examples of the boats I love…

Three solos for whitewater, all in the hard chine Frankie Hubbard design/tradition: a blackfly octane 85 that I’m excited to get to know, in PE; a mohawk viper 12 in royalex, which is such a stellar design with very shallow draft at my weight; and a pyranha Spanish Fly in PE, which is the second to last canoe I’d sell because it’s an almost perfect design and just so much fun.

Three solos for flatwater: a Kevlar Blackhawk Starship with lovely spruce trim, a great tripper for a dedicated kneeling paddler; a black/gold/wood bell wildfire, maybe my favorite of the flatwater bunch it just feels like home; a royalex bell Yellowstone solo, probably the last canoe I’d sell, yeah, because it does most things reasonably well and I’ll take it to almost any river at almost any level…and you never know if you might have to drive away with only one…
 

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A couple of years ago I traded a Wenonah Wilderness in Rx and some cash for a Wilderness in the ultralite layup. Nothing to write home about, but it gets the job done and is easy to get on and off the water. Plus, I like the adjustable seat, which a lot of people don't; even if it is noisy I like the ability to change from high for single blade to low for double blade to tilted for kneeling. If a kevlar one came along at a decent price I'd probably snap it up for the extra durability.

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Mad River Independence KH is my preferred flatwater solo for day paddling and tripping. Fast enough on the flats but very maneuverable and fun in tight twisty spots. Love that boat.
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Bell Merlin II in carbon/kevlar. Bought as a winter rehab project to flip, but kept for my daughter and wife to use as it’s too small for me to trip with. Fits me well as a day paddler though. Very predictable with great tracking and secondary stability, but I just have more fun in my Indy.
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Placid Boatworks Spitfire, the second one they ever made. Bought this fall as another winter rehab project, thinking it would fit my daughter better than the Merlin. Again, too small for me but did carry my 230lbs for a test paddle. I think it’s an awesome little DY designed pack boat that shares a lot of the Merlin’s characteristics in a shorter, more nimble hull. I couldn’t get used to the double blade, but it paddles fine with a really short single.
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Millbrook Boats Ashuelot, formerly known as Patriot, formerly AC/DC Solo and currently my favorite boat. An old John Berry design you don’t see often. Mine is #12 and I believe it was the last one made. At 14’9” with about 3” of rocker, it’s pretty similar to my friend’s NC Supernova but narrower with fuller ends, but probably only because I asked Kaz to add as much flare to the ends as possible. A great high capacity solo river tripper. View attachment 138852

Blackfly Condor. My class III-IV playboat. It’s rotomolded PE so it weighs a ton for an 11’ boat, but it’s pretty bulletproof, turns on a dime, fast and super dry. 10x drier than the Encore it replaced. The bulkhead outfitting isn’t as comfortable as my old Mike Yee thigh straps, but it doesn’t leave much room to take on much water. And, there’s a Li-ion bilge pump when it does.
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Love the specs on the Ashuelot, wish Millbrook would make more...
 
Mad River Independence - turns well
Wenonah Prism - tracks well

I'm not a big fan of center seats for tripping for several reasons, one being that I hate to fiddle with removable yokes. My Bobs Special requires kneeling to solo which I can't do and it's too wide to solo-ize.
 
I currently have 5 solo canoes, none of which get regular use anymore but all of which I still hope to use a lot in the future.

My favorite to grab for quick local day paddles is a Winters' designed Barracuda. It's 17'+ long and has very low volume. Despite that stability feels really good and the low shear and narrow gunwales make it a pleasure to paddle either aggressively or leisurely. It has enough rocker to make turns something you don't have to plan well in advance. It weighs just under 30 pounds in cedar strip.


Next is an 18.5' fitness/racing canoe of my own design. I was disappointed with the speed of the Barracuda and I wanted something that was closer to the speed of a J boat but with better stability and more volume (so I could bring the dog along on training paddles). For me this boat strikes a perfect balance. The dog and I both have a lot of comfortable miles in this boat and speeds were pretty close when comparing to the J boats I owned at the time. Just under 30 pounds in cedar strip.


A 14.5' solo that was made to fill the roll of a more nimble boat for larger moving water and for smaller waters where maneuverability was important. This was cedar strip construction as well but I used carbon instead of fiberglass as the inside layer for more impact resistance. I haven't done a lot of paddling since completing this boat, and it hasn't seen serious use, but I've been happy with the day paddles I've done with it. Final weight unknown.


A 16.5' solo canoe designed and built for a 30 day expedition down and back up the Bloodvein river. This is actually version 2.0 of this boat. Version 1.0 was cedar strip and made the Bloodvein trip and version 2.0 is full composite and incorporated some slight design changes (mostly stem shape) that made it a bit friendlier to paddle in moving water, especially when traveling upstream. The end goal was flatwater speed balanced with moving water handling up to CII. I think it fits this role perfectly for me and my paddling style. Version 2.0 did a 43 day trip in larger waters the following year where I realized I needed more volume if I wanted to do an equally long yet more remote trip in the barrens. This hull is great for day paddles as well. Weight is 43 pounds.


A 16' high volume solo with more rocker meant for a long expedition trip to the barrens. Built with very thin strips (5/32") but laminated with kevlar and S-glass for strength. Weight in the low-50's. Limited mileage on this hull so far. Only local flatwater trips. Someday....


Alan
 
I have one solo boat, a Hellman Solitude: From the Hellman website ( https://hellmancanoes.com/product/solitude-duralite-canoe/ )

"The Solitude is a very versatile solo canoe. Secondary stability of this boat is outstanding, it can be leaned on its side with confidence. The Solitude cruises along great on flat water but also preforms well on the river.

Dimensions:
Length: 15′ 6 / 4.72m
Rocker: 2.5″ / 6.35 cm
Gunwale: 32″ / 86.36 cm
Boat Weight
Duralite: 40 lbs / 18 kg
Kevlar: 35 lbs / 16 kg
Depth:
Bow: 21″ / 53.34 cm
Center: 14″ / 35.56 cm
Stern: 21″ / 53.34 cm "

I really like it and find it very versatile. It has great stability and maneuverability and can haul a lot of stuff.
 
My present (and only) solo is a Northstar Trillium, and I'm delighted with it. Blacklite with wood trim. I didn't care for the decals so I took those off early on. Paddled it for three seasons now, and we've bonded well. Most of my paddling is day trips, on flat, or slow moving water, with some overnights and a four day trip sprinkled in, and never been disappointed with it. Paddle with a straight shaft mostly, with a five degree bent otherwise. Tried a double blade and didn't like dripping water in the boat; perhaps one day I'll try a longer double but the single serves me well.

As has been said by many with about favorite, it's not the fastest, or most maneuverable (neither am I), but is fast and nimble enough that I don't feel a lack. I haven't encountered whitecaps enough to comment, but it's done well with a pretty good quartering tailwind, unloaded, and also in a strong sidewind and rollers with a four day pack. Reliable secondary stability.

Previously had a Magic in Starlite/aluminum for a couple years, which was a fine boat but not quite suited for my preferred style. And years ago, a Blackhawk Covenant 115 which I regret having sold. First solo paddling was a Mad River Malecite, Kevlar, which was manageable, but a mismatch for my size as a solo, though still a favorite tandem.

As an aside, though it does not affect the performance of the the Trillium, it's a very comely boat and gets many compliments, and has been a boon for my social life.
 
My present (and only) solo is a Northstar Trillium, and I'm delighted with it. Blacklite with wood trim. I didn't care for the decals so I took those off early on. Paddled it for three seasons now, and we've bonded well. Most of my paddling is day trips, on flat, or slow moving water, with some overnights and a four day trip sprinkled in, and never been disappointed with it. Paddle with a straight shaft mostly, with a five degree bent otherwise. Tried a double blade and didn't like dripping water in the boat; perhaps one day I'll try a longer double but the single serves me well.

As has been said by many with about favorite, it's not the fastest, or most maneuverable (neither am I), but is fast and nimble enough that I don't feel a lack. I haven't encountered whitecaps enough to comment, but it's done well with a pretty good quartering tailwind, unloaded, and also in a strong sidewind and rollers with a four day pack. Reliable secondary stability.

Previously had a Magic in Starlite/aluminum for a couple years, which was a fine boat but not quite suited for my preferred style. And years ago, a Blackhawk Covenant 115 which I regret having sold. First solo paddling was a Mad River Malecite, Kevlar, which was manageable, but a mismatch for my size as a solo, though still a favorite tandem.

As an aside, though it does not affect the performance of the the Trillium, it's a very comely boat and gets many compliments, and has been a boon for my social life.
I paddle a Northstar Trillium pack in Blacklite E6 and it is a very comfortable/stable boat to paddle. I mainly day trip and found that when I went from a 230 cm to a 250 cm paddle it was a substantial gain in speed.
 
I paddle a Northstar Trillium pack in Blacklite E6 and it is a very comfortable/stable boat to paddle. I mainly day trip and found that when I went from a 230 cm to a 250 cm paddle it was a substantial gain in speed.
I think the double I used was a 240, and I sensed pretty quickly that I'd rather have a longer one; thought I'd get less drip, and have a more comfortable stroke.
 
#1: Hemlock Eaglet in lite-tech layup 38#
#2: Northstar Northwind Solo in starlite layup wood trim 29#
#3: Placid Boatworks Shadow in ultralight 23#
#4: Hornbeck New Tricks 14 23#
#5: Swift Dragonfly with metal flake exterior paint, expedition kevlar 38#

I love them all!
 
I'm down to two canoes... a Robin-refurbished Chestnut Pal and a Hemlock Nessmuk II. (I sold my OT Yankee to a cousin, but can still use it if I want to.)

The Pal was/is a roughly 15' tandem, weighs about 50-55 lbs, and I've refitted it as a solo by making a seat for the center position. I can still put the normal seats back in when I need to do that. I love how it floats, paddles, and feels on the water with a single stick. The only problem is I'm older, weaker, and can't carry it that far. So I use it mostly for in/out trips with short portages (e.g. Low's, Little Tupper, Floodwood Loop), and locally on the Chesapeake's estuaries.

The Nessmuk is what I most commonly use. It's 12' (maybe 12-6) and 22 lbs. I like the ash gunwales and thwarts, which allowed me to outfit them as needed. I have mounted two elastic loops to the bow/stern decks to hold the coiled painter at each end. I have drilled through both thwarts to create a system to portage it using my broken-down double paddle. I have laced the stern end with some bank line that holds my bailer/sponge in place without swinging around like a gypsy caravan while portaging. I have installed some other loops of cordage at strategic points to hold my fishing gear (tackle box, pliers, net). And I have added some foam padding to the single bottom pad, building it up about 3" so my back and legs are more comfortable. I added a piece of foam to the bottom to set my tackle box on so it doesn't echo, and some additional pieces for ankle pads. Finally, I added a strip of duct tape with a 2' ruler marked off on it so I could measure fish.

Another thing I've done is weave some 10ga electrical wire into a couple of the holes in the gunwales to hold my fishing rod in place while portaging (no pics.)

Here's where I started experimenting with the right seat height... just one layer of blue foam after another, then glued in place when it felt right.
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A short lived experiment with an unnecessary foot brace. Don't need it.
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Here you can see the final outcome... the white lines on the thwarts are the bungies to hold the paddle halves as a yoke. You can also see how the bow/stern painters are rolled and held. The seat is a Crazy Creek Chair... I'm still thinking about maybe padding the back thwart with a thick piece of pool noodle, the 3" ones... it's worked, but i like the chair to sit in in camp as well.
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Yoke in use (a very rare selfie... I was in a great mood that day!) The white cord with the knot is for attaching my pack to, not part of the portage bungi, which is also white.
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Fish measuring tape, tackle box pad, and ankle pads.
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I think this is my first post here, I do love solo canoes and currently have two: Souris River Q16 that I removed the seats and replaced with a custom hockey stick solo seat closer to the middle of the canoe. I've had it out on a couple of smaller trips, works well for me, it was free from a cousin who runs a camp, it was at the end of it's rental life but still has many miles left in it! It weighs in at 43lbs, by far the lightest craft I've owned, I'm very happy with it. I will be taking this to Wabakimi in Sept for a 2ish week solo trip.
My favourite is a Chestnut Fox I was lucky enough to find locally at a very good price, it paddles like a dream but too heavy for portaging at my age(60).
I'm lucky enough to cottage in the Massassauga PP on Georgian Bay, we have a place on an island at the edge of the park, the paddling is very nice, I've paddled and camped all over the park, great place especially in the spring and fall.
 

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I think this is my first post here

RustyCanuck, welcome to site membership!

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I'd never heard of a hockey stick seat, so I had to look closely. Very clever.
 
RustyCanuck, welcome to site membership!

Feel free to ask any questions and to post messages, photos and videos, and to start threads, in our many forums. Please read Welcome to CanoeTripping and Site Rules! Also, please add your location to the Account Details page in your profile, which will cause it to show under your avatar, as this is a geographic sport. Many other of the site's technical features are explained in Features: Help and How-To Running Thread. We look forward to your participation in our canoe community.

I'd never heard of a hockey stick seat, so I had to look closely. Very clever.
Thanks for the welcome, I have been lurking for quite awhile, thought it was time to add something. I got the idea when my Dad and Uncle retired from hockey and gave me a bunch of carbon fibre sticks, not sure it's any lighter than a wood seat but it's one of a kind!
I have it set on threaded rod I cut down with gas line for spacers. With the wing nut on the bottom I have some adjustment, function over form in this case:)
 

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Happy to hear you like the SR Q16. I have a Q17 and a Tranquility and very pleased. Ty he Rodney Dangerfield's of canoes.
 
I’m down to 3 canoes since wife gave up tripping with me.

Nova Craft Prospector 15 in IXP - this is the big dog hauler and my only tandem. I use it on shallow streams and it shows. I added Lining holes, a foot brace, and skid plates after beating the stems up in rock gardens. It weighs 54 lbs.

Northstar Phoenix in Blacklite - this is my 2nd Phoenix and I have hauled it home in a snowstorm, rinsed it off and hung it from my garage ceiling. That’s it. I got it for paddling therapy (28 lbs) but I’m not sure where I’ll use it yet. Probably backwater near a local reservoir, maybe on the river when it’s high. I’ll probably add a footrest since it helps reduce back strain.

Northstar Magic in Aramid - this is my tripping boat. It handles my main dog and gear. I added lining holes and it weighs 34 lbs. Hope to use it plenty this summer.

I added a removable CushGear Back Saver to my gear to accommodate my busted spine. Minimal weight and solid support. I plan on using it in all my canoes.

I use both a single blade paddle on streams and a double blade paddle on windy lakes. Not sure how my Frankenstein shoulder will affect paddle choice.
 
I love my solos !!
Started building them, 30+years ago, because there weren't any available, that I could afford.

Since then, They have become an obsession !

Lately my Composites, have kept the Strippers in storage.
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