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What was the worst canoe you ever owned or paddled?

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I won't say that it was a terrible boat, but one of the most disappointing boats I have paddled was the Wenonah Rogue. This was marketed as a semi-whitewater tandem hull. It was quite deep and had a fair bit of rocker for a Wenonah. But the bottom had so much bottom flex that it oil canned miserably even paddling on calm water. And it seemed to catch wind to a degree even greater than its depth might have suggested.
 
Joined
Dec 24, 2020
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Park City, UT
Sawyer Sawyerlex with an inverted keel. I was a new canoe shop owner in Connecticut in the early 1980’s and had just taken on the Sawyer line. I bought into their advertising claims about a tough, Royalex canoe with a “patent pending” inverted keel for whitewater use and ordered one. My brother and I took it up to Vermont for the May West River water release (Class II to IV). The first wave over the gunwhale disproved the whitewater capability of the hull. The raised tunnel in the center caused the water to pool on one side of the boat or the other rather than settle in the center, destabilizing it seriously. We quickly had an inverted canoe due to the inverted keel! After a second wave caused capsize, which also resulted in a tear in the “supertough Royalex ”hull, we bailed out and hitched a ride with the shuttle truck down to the takeout. I think the model was discontinued that year, and Sawyer stuck to building their excellent composite canoes. We sold the Sawyerlex at a loss and switched to a MR Explorer, which is still going strong.
 
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Scituate, RI
A 1990 Mohawk Fisherman (14'). It was short and wide. And my first canoe. It wasn't a terrible boat by any means, but I certainly learned a lot more about canoe design afterwards, and made sure that my next boat was superior to it for the type of paddling I wanted to do...a Mad River Explorer 16'.
 
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Mount Solon, VA
Around 1972, I saw a classified ad for a partly completed canoe kit. The seller's son had started building the boat, but abandoned it before getting very far. Among the defects was a broken keel timber. I repaired the keel by sawing out the broken part and attaching two pieces of scrap lumber with carriage bolts. This repair shortened the canoe from 14 or 15 feet to 13 feet.

The boat had longitudinal stringers over frames. The stringers were supposed to be covered with canvas, then fiberglass applied over the canvas. When I got the kit, the canvas was missing. I decided it was superfluous and only skinned the boat in fiberglass, stretching it and stapling it in place over the stringers.

At that time I knew diddly squat about fiberglass, and of course the resin in the kit was polyester. My education was furthered when I began mixing polyester resin and hardener in a styrofoam cup. In seconds, the styrofoam dissolved and the resin splashed to the ground.

After mixing the resin in a proper container, I began applying it to the cloth. The weather was hot, the polyester set up immediately, and the cloth did not get saturated. The final result was a canoe with a fragile, brittle skin.

I went on a canoe outing with my dog, on the Potomac above Great Falls. I paddled upstream for a couple miles and all was well. When I came back downstream, the fragile fiberglass cracked and the canoe began leaking badly. I plugged the leak with my T-shirt and quickly returned to the boat launch.

The canoe didn't get used much after that incident. It ended its days chopped into pieces in a dumpster. Another one of them learning experiences........
 
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A "Rougue River" plastic canoe, kinda the big box store style. It was at the rental cabin and was hogged big time, the center seat opened to reveal a cooler, and was like paddling a barge. we did catch some fish outta that thing tho....
 
Joined
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Dodgeville, Wi
Old Coleman with the steel pipes inside it … might have been called the Ram - x … heavy, slow … worst canoe I have ever paddled. Just awful 😞 .
 
Joined
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Spartanburg, SC
I wonder how many paddlers were introduced to the joys of canoeing by a Coleman canoe and how many others turned away from canoeing because of them.
I remember a love/hate relationship with mine. It got me on the water but it was hard to get to, and across, the water.
 
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The Coleman was a cheap way for me to get on the water back in 1980. I used it for fishing, which I did a lot of at that time, as I was trying to fish my way out of a relationship. Even though it was a crappy boat it reinforced my interest in boating and I gladly spent money on a real boat (OT Pathfinder) after it got stolen. 40 years later I'm more of a canoe nut than ever. I'm glad I didn't get a row boat and motor back then, who knows what I'd be doing now.
 
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I rented a canoe in France to run the Class 2 River Tarn. It was rotomolded in the fashion of a sit-on-top, the topside having butt buckets for the stern and bow paddlers complete with foot cups, there were bulkheads instead of thwarts, forming a center compartment that was set up for two children side-by-side. The underside was completely flat and corrugated. Impossible to kneel in, the front compartment would fill first in any wave, resulting in bow-heavy loss of control. And all the flotation was in the airspace below decks, so the center of gravity was above the water surface once you started taking on water.
 
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