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Old 02-10-2013, 11:00 PM   #31
JR Greenhorn
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With the same question in mind as the thread title, I've been looking around ADV recently. Rather than start a new thread, I thought I'd recycle this disused one (hopefully the OP doesn't mind).


While I am indeed looking for some advice and canoe recommendations, my canoeing history is different than the OP's. As a kid, I canoed in Boy Scouts and on a school trip. When we were a little older, Mom and Dad bought us a brand-new 17' Alumacraft. We spent a lot of time on the waters of a small country lake with it, with other kids from our rural neighborhood and cousins who visited frequently. Completely unsupervised and a mile from home, we paddled through reeds and lily pads a lot, but didn't have the patience for fishing at that age. We rolled and swamped that canoe endlessly on hot summer days, and eventually learned how to get it afloat again without dragging it back to shore under the water. We took our dogs for rides in it, one of which was an 85lb Chesapeake. We learned to jump from it into the water, and climb back in for another go. When I was older, near high school graduation age, I used to take our spaniel-mutt down to the lake in the evenings after school and work. He was always good about sitting nice and still at the very front of the bow, allowing me to paddle solo in the stern seat. I paddled many laps around that little lake with him as ballast up front. Then, after I had started college and without warning to my brother and I, Mom put and ad in the paper and sold the canoe for $400.

All that said, I've never really covered any distance in a canoe, and apart from dogs and other kids and a big broken casting from a combine harvester as ballast, I've never had to load a canoe. I've never been on a river in a canoe, or anywhere but Minnesota lakes and a couple of large but shallow sloughs. I went more than a dozen years without ever being near canoe and water at the same time.

In the meantime, I got married, had a couple of kids, and eventually moved back closer to home. A couple years ago, an old friend and I started doing overnight camping trips to that same lake with our young children. A relative had left a similarly standard (around here) 16' or 17' aluminum canoe there. This one hasn't had registration on it in many years, and has many dents, scrapes, and some patched holes, including a few bolts with body washers and some sort of caulking squeezed out around them. Still, the temptation was too much, and we found branches to improvise as paddles and set out in it. The dents have affected stability in a big way, and a branch broken from a deadfall doesn't make much of a paddle, but it was enough for us to reminisce and wonder why it's been so many years since either of us has done any canoeing. We also want to share those fond memories with our kids by helping them to make their own.

Before moving on, here's a couple of photos:



My friend and our daughters going for a ride. I don't think he was going for a J-stroke in this photo. Note one of the more prominent dents up there in the bow.





My friend and I fishing in the rain. My daughter (4 years old at the time) found my camera, and this is one of many shots she took before my cousin on shore caught her with it.




So that brings us up to date, and my friend, my cousin, and myself all have children of similar age and are all trying to acquire canoes for this year's camping. My friend and my cousin both have leads on canoes from relatives (my cousin picked up our late grandpa's old canoe this winter), but I'm going to have to go about it the craigslist way. My wife is somewhat comfortable with me spending up to $500, less comfortable with me spending up to $1000, and I'll have to do some convincing to get my budget much over that. I'm going to buy something used and I'll wait for the right deal, but I'm not sure what I should be looking out for.

I've got several considerations in mind, but I'm not quite sure what they all point towards.

  • I'm a big person, and so is my friend. I'm 6'5" and 250lbs; my friend is an inch shorter than I, and at least 40lbs lighter. It is likely that if I buy a canoe, the two of us and our kids will have to use mine sometimes, because the one he can use can't "live" at his place and he'll need to make arrangements to get it (most likely for trips further from home).


  • Our sons are both 7, and our daughters are 5 and 4 right now. None have any aversion to the water, nor to being in that beater canoe, nor even less seaworthy craft. The quirky and inconsistent lack of stability in that canoe hasn't bothered them. My friend even managed to dump himself and both our sons into 60-something-degree water one night shortly after sundown, and they're still both raring to go. I don't think beginner-friendly primary stability is a very big concern for us.


  • Comfort is a concern for me. I won't be kneeling in a canoe ever, and in addition to bad knees, I broke my back quite a few years back. I don't think paddling is going to be an issue for me as long as I can sit, but I just don't know if my back will hold up to long days of paddling or not.

  • Our most likely use will be day trips from a base camp, or setting out from a lakeshore or riparian camp. We're not set up to camp very lightly, and most trips would likely include canoes in addition to ATVs and/or dirt bikes, or other outdoor activities, especially cooking and fishing, and eventually shooting and hunting. Lakes are the easiest to access in this area ("15 lakes in 15 minutes," as a local boat dealer advertises), although I don't think there are very many around here that are linked together navigably. However, with more than one canoe available, the Crow Wing, North and South Forks of the Crow, Minnesota, Pomme de Terre, and Yellow Medicine Rivers are all likely water trail destinations for us. All of those are rated at "few Class I or less rapids," or no rapids at all. Portages are few, and mostly only dams in towns.


  • Even for day trips or short lake cruises, we're not likely to be lightly loaded. Instead of bringing a reasonable amount of gear along, my friend and I tend to double up on things. We used to try to coordinate more, but we've developed our own setups so that we're each self-sufficient (that didn't used to be the case when we were poorer and coordinated gear--we could hardly camp without each other). For short cruises, we're likely to pack as many kids as we can fit in my canoe, unless my friend can buy his own or borrow one more frequently.


  • We will certainly do a fair amount of fishing out of a canoe, but it won't be solely a "fishing boat." Similarly, I'd love to take my kids out harvesting wild rice sometime, as it grows where we camp up near the Crow Wing River.

  • I will almost certainly be transporting a canoe on the roof of my car. I drive a rather large older Cadillac, 18.75' from end to end. I don't plan to fit a roof rack, and I'd be shocked if anyone offered a kit to fit my car anyway. With my height and the low height of the car's roof, I'm not concerned about that aspect of loading. I am concerned about manhandling the boat's weight with my bad back, at least until my son is old and tall enough to provide meaningful help. I also have a lot of roof area to support a boat, but I have an aversion to doing the through-the-windows strap thing. Finally, I'm thinking a longer vessel will be easier to tie down than a shorter one, because I can run straps more straight down to the corners of the car's bumper. I also have a 2" receiver hitch, which opens up some options for some of the types of support devices that mount that way (at least when I'm not pulling a trailer on a camping trip).


With all that considered, I'm leaning towards a longer boat, something 18' or more in length. I understand why longer waterline length makes a displacement craft faster, and that makes length appeal to me as well. (I also understand that there are other significant factors in hull speed beyond just length.) Really though, it's load capacity and ease of transporting on my long vehicle that really make me look towards longer canoes. For what it's worth, I don't see myself soloing a canoe, at least not in the near future.

What I'm not sure about is if there is some reason I should shy away from longer canoes, other than scarcity on the used market and possibly price.


Also, my only experience is in aluminum canoes. I don't have anything against them, and I like the idea of their durability. On the other hand, it's obvious there are lighter options out there, and I do wonder about efficiency of hull shape with aluminum versus modern composite designs. I don't know that I find aluminum durability worth giving up much hull efficiency for, but I don't have anything first-hand to go on there. Then again, the cost difference is significant, even on the used market...


So far, I've taken note of Alumacraft's 18.5' model (Alumacrafts are very common around here, and I saw a few 18.5' models go on craigslist last year). I really like some of the longer Wenonah's I've seen (such as the Seneca in particular), but I haven't seen many used ones at all. I've looked at some others comparable to the >18' Wenonahs online, but I tend to get lost in debates on who's epoxy is better than someone else's resin, without seeing any significant (to me) differences mentioned.


Is there anything else I'm missing here? Are there some specific brands/models you can recommend that I should watch for on the used market?
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Old 02-11-2013, 11:26 AM   #32
Speedo66
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I don't know anything about canoes, but this sure is pretty.

CL > hudson valley > all for sale / wanted > sporting goods - by owner
pjwdt-3605031421@sale.craigslist.org [?]
Posted: 2013-02-11, 12:58PM EST
1937 Old Town Yankee - $2100 (Mayfield)


Beautiful vintage Old Town Canoe in mint condition. This is a 16ft. Yankee born in 1937 and completely refinished. Oak and cherry inside with new canvas and paint. Beautiful canoe for hanging or paddling your favorite water. Sells for over $8000 new today. $2100 or BO.
  • Location: Mayfield
  • it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
Posting ID: 3605031421
Posted: 2013-02-11, 12:58PM EST
email to a friend

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Old 02-11-2013, 04:22 PM   #33
P B G
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I also have an old town discovery - its the one with the plastic material of theres that you can drop a tree on.

Dead nuts durable, it will scratch but you can buff it out.

Heavy, but you can drag it up onto a beach and flip it easy enough.

I hate aluminum canoes... boinggggg
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Old 02-11-2013, 04:48 PM   #34
BigEasy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JR Greenhorn View Post
With the same question in mind as the thread title, I've been looking around ADV recently. Rather than start a new thread, I thought I'd recycle this disused one (hopefully the OP doesn't mind).

With all that considered, I'm leaning towards a longer boat, something 18' or more in length. I understand why longer waterline length makes a displacement craft faster, and that makes length appeal to me as well. (I also understand that there are other significant factors in hull speed beyond just length.) Really though, it's load capacity and ease of transporting on my long vehicle that really make me look towards longer canoes. For what it's worth, I don't see myself soloing a canoe, at least not in the near future.

What I'm not sure about is if there is some reason I should shy away from longer canoes, other than scarcity on the used market and possibly price.


Also, my only experience is in aluminum canoes. I don't have anything against them, and I like the idea of their durability. On the other hand, it's obvious there are lighter options out there, and I do wonder about efficiency of hull shape with aluminum versus modern composite designs. I don't know that I find aluminum durability worth giving up much hull efficiency for, but I don't have anything first-hand to go on there. Then again, the cost difference is significant, even on the used market...


So far, I've taken note of Alumacraft's 18.5' model (Alumacrafts are very common around here, and I saw a few 18.5' models go on craigslist last year). I really like some of the longer Wenonah's I've seen (such as the Seneca in particular), but I haven't seen many used ones at all. I've looked at some others comparable to the >18' Wenonahs online, but I tend to get lost in debates on who's epoxy is better than someone else's resin, without seeing any significant (to me) differences mentioned.


Is there anything else I'm missing here? Are there some specific brands/models you can recommend that I should watch for on the used market?
I didn't read the whole thread but I did see early on alot of votes for the Old Town Disco, I dodn't think they make an 18' but the 17 is one to consider and should be easy to find used. Old Town also makes a 174 Penobscot out of the same Tupperware that is faster and handles better than the Disco but may be hard to find on the used market.

Since your in MN another option is to head up to Ely to Piragas Outfitters they deal their livery boats every year and you could likely find a good deal on an 18' Wenonah.

One thing I will tell you is that if you take a 18' boat on moving water that requires some moving about to dodge obstructions you'll have your hands full. Straight line trackability comes at the cost of manuverability.

Gp have fun
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Old 02-12-2013, 12:56 PM   #35
Hesaid
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I'll just toss in my two cents worth, and say that we're quite happy with our Wenonah Spirit II (which is 17'). We paddle on lakes, slow moving rivers, and fast but smooth rivers. With either just the two of us, or loaded down for a weekend camping on a remote island, it handles nicely. It's true that length can hinder you when quick and nimble turns are needed, but we get by (mostly by avoiding places where quick and nimble are needed!). Ours is Tuff-Weave (fiberglass) and weighs approx 60lbs. As for putting it on top of the vehicle? Well, we tried several different approachs, and what finally worked out best for us was putting a piece of pipe insulation on each gunwale, and then strapping in down. Foam blocks shift, rigid mounts cause stress, this way we've got a lot of contact, and little stress. Which is good when the trail gets bumpy...



You can read some of Shesaids canoeing thoughts here:

http://afishwithabicycle.blogspot.co...of-doooom.html

http://afishwithabicycle.blogspot.co...ng-uphill.html

Though I warn you, she tends to slant her stories just a bit...

MV
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Old 02-12-2013, 08:41 PM   #36
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I am no expert, but am experienced. I'm also 6'5" but lighter - we had a fiberglass 17' canoe that weighed 85lbs, it was a pain to load and slow to paddle. We rented a place with a Kevlar Mad River ($2400) canoe and it was terrific. However, I've tried a few aluminum canoes, some pretty beat, and for a few hundred bucks (that you can ALWAYS get back if you want to sell it) they were acceptably light and easy to paddle - that's what I'd go with for a canoe.

I bought a couple of 12' plastic sit-in kayaks, and they can be tough on the back (limited sitting positions - I have to raise myself up by my arms and stretch every 15minutes or it will be painful). I do like being able to throw them in the back of the truck and easily launch them, and they are enjoyable to paddle and fish from. I also find canoes can be uncomfortable on my back because I'm always trying to keep my head at 90 degrees, and the canoe from tipping by slightly leaning and straightening. Maybe it's just bad technique on my part, but that's what I've found.

We once rented a place with an Old Town tandem kayak, and my wife absolutely hated it within 20 feet of the dock. Then she really started to dislike it later on. I guess that's why they are referred to as "divorce boats".

I used to have a 14' Alumicraft cartopper with clamp-on seats that was very comfortable, and drew as little water as a canoe. I upgraded to a 15' panfish type boat with an interior, and it is pretty plush, for me anyway. With a 30hp outboard and decent freeboard, I can fish somewhat larger lakes.

That's a neat looking lake! Your daughter took a great picture, for any age! Have fun this summer!
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Old 02-12-2013, 09:23 PM   #37
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What Not to Buy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hesaid View Post
I'll just toss in my two cents worth, and say that we're quite happy with our Wenonah Spirit II (which is 17'). We paddle on lakes, slow moving rivers, and fast but smooth rivers. With either just the two of us, or loaded down for a weekend camping on a remote island, it handles nicely. It's true that length can hinder you
I've never paddled a Wenonah, but it seems they are pretty popular these days. I'm not an avid paddler, but I've taken a few trips down the CT river from VT to MA with an overnight a long the way and usually spend a few days out on a lake each summer for like the last 20 years.

For years Old Town was pretty much the Gold Standard, for affordable plastic canoes that paddled well (I've only paddled one once and it was a Penobscot with the cane seats, real nice boat). But I've seen the brand at big box stores along side junk like Pelican and Coleman in the last few years, I'll take an Alumacraft over a Pelican or Coleman any day and I hope Old Town hasn't sunk to that level. On one trip I had the unfortunate experience of paddling one of those damn Colemans and I wouldn't wish that on anyone. I lived on a "Lake" in New England as a kid and we always had one of those cheap shitty colemans around, and we used it a lot, but we were just kids putzing around and not really going anywhere and it was always a chore to paddled that tub the whole length of the 1 mile lake and back. The cheap alumacrafts are straight tracking speed demons compared to the cheap plastic canoes and luckily for me I haven't been stuck paddling a Coleman since I was a kid.

So before you get serious and run out and buy a Mad River or some custom fiberglass job, I'd get another used Alumacraft and after a season you feel it holds you back, ditch it for what you paid and upgrade.
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Old 02-13-2013, 06:28 AM   #38
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grew up paddling Alumacrafts, durable solid work horses.
bought one cheap off cl a few years ago, used it, but then sold it, but most likely will get another one.
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Old 02-13-2013, 08:22 AM   #39
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In 1972 I bought a new Sea Nymph aluminum canoe and still have it. It has always been stored outside in the sun, rain, snow, etc., which has had no effect on it. Aluminum canoes are a bit noisy on the water, tend to stick on shallow rocks, but they last forever.
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Old 02-13-2013, 06:13 PM   #40
McB
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Originally Posted by Hodag View Post
grew up paddling Alumacrafts, durable solid work horses.
bought one cheap off cl a few years ago, used it, but then sold it, but most likely will get another one.

Alumacraft, Lowe...... there's a bunch of old aluminum 17 footers out there that aren't the lightest or the latest tech. Any of them would be perfect for the OP's purposes.
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