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Old 08-09-2014, 10:26 AM   #1
1911fan OP
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Canoe Advice Please-

Mrs1911fan and I are looking to buy a canoe. We've never had one, and we want one to take ourselves, an ice chest, and the granddaughter out on local lakes. We are looking for about a 16' one.
Wandering CL, all the ads seem to be Scanoes or Old Town or Mad River(?). Looking for any pros or cons, any experiences good or bad.
Of course, if your in the NCW area and have one to sell, PM me.


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Old 08-09-2014, 12:23 PM   #2
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I use Mobil 1

After our divorce, my ex sold the Grumman 17' standard that we'd had for years. I really miss that boat.

If you're new to canoes, you need to know not to go out when it's windy. Unless you want to go the way the wind blows.
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Old 08-09-2014, 12:45 PM   #3
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This link should help you out:

http://www.wenonah.com/ChoosingCanoe.aspx

Basically, like anything else canoes are a compromise between speed and maneuverability. Long skinny ones go fast in a straight line but don't turn for shit and vice versa. Flat bottom boats feel stable initially but once they get past tipping point they flip easily, whereas round bottom boats seem always tippy but can be tipped a lot further without going over.

Boats flat along their length track well (if designed right) and boats turned up at ends (like a banana) can turn on a dime.

I'd buy something cheap and see if you actually use it and then once you determine what your needs are, look for one that fits those needs. Other than that, a rule of thumb is a heavy boat barely gets any use as it is just too much a PIA to load, carry, etc.

Any questions, PM me. Best of luck and keep the open end up!
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Old 08-09-2014, 12:52 PM   #4
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...
Best of luck and keep the open end up!
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Old 08-09-2014, 01:49 PM   #5
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My favorite was a square stearn coleman plastic. All temps, water conditions, paddling, hunting, salt or fresh water, good to go. Just hose it out and your done! An electric trolling motor was great when solo in a strong wind.
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Old 08-09-2014, 02:28 PM   #6
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Rogue River from Sams Club has worked fine for many years even with Scouts beating it up. Less than $400 and has 3 seats.
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Old 08-09-2014, 02:34 PM   #7
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I put myself through college selling and teaching canoeing and kayaking.

I've paddled over 100 different models of canoes and kayaks.

For what you are looking for, you don't need anything high-end.

You don't say how old your grand-daughter is, but I am assuming she is under 100lbs and will not be paddling.

- You want a 16-18' canoe. The downside of more length is that it is harder to control in the wind, especially if not loaded, and a slight reduction in manuverability. Otherwise, the longer boat is generally going to be more efficient, track better, and carry more weight.

- I would not suggest buying a Coleman, or any other single-player plastic boat (This includes entry level Mad River models) as they 'oil can' badly, and don't paddle very well to begin with. These are canoes only designed to price points, for sale at department stores. Unless this is something you intend to float in more than paddle. Many people who haven't canoed in a while (or haven't ever paddled a well designed boat) forget how much work it is. The efficiency you get from better materials and designs means you can paddle further with less effort.

- If the canoe you are looking at appears to have a keel (unless it is aluminum or wood,) it was likely designed by someone that did not know how to design a canoe or boat, and I would avoid it.

- You pay for a lack of weight. If weight is a concern at all for you, you should be prepared to spend $800+ (used.) Getting a big heavy boat down to the water or on the car can be a real problem, but heavier plastic boats are much cheaper. Royalex is a good compromise of a material if you can find it. The supplier just stopped making the material.

- Avoid cheesy models with tall, rockered, recurved bows and sterns (they look like what you might imagine a native american canoe to look like.) Generally fiberglass, these gimmicky boats were popular in the 70s, but have high wind-age and are generally very impractical designs.

- The most popular brands in quality canoes are Wenonah, Old Town and Mad River. The only one of these brands that is always a safe bet is Wenonah. Old Town is almost always a safe bet for your needs, as even their entry level 'discovery' series would work. Mad River is mostly great, but their rotomolded Adventure models are best avoided.

If you have any specific questions, please let me know. I love talking boats.

I'm actually buying a new-to-me Wenonah tomorrow morning!

WB-PDX screwed with this post 08-09-2014 at 02:46 PM
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Old 08-09-2014, 05:08 PM   #8
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^^^^Good advice.

I bought a Mad River 16' about 4 years back, it had plenty of seats with adjustable backrests & cup holders etc (brochure said it was very stable for beginners/intermediate) ...but the seats were too high up off the hull which made it tippy. It was fine for me & 1 of the kids or the dog, but tried taking mum & kids out...we musta look like a bunch of twitchy tweekers out there, crazy wobbly & dangerous. Eventually it put my nephew & i in the drink out fishing in Cowichan Lake. Sold it & bought a new chainsaw instead!
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Old 08-09-2014, 07:01 PM   #9
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Looking at a Spirit II in Tufweave for $675 including two paddles, car rack, and PDF. (He might mean PFD). It's two hours away though..... Good deal?


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Old 08-09-2014, 07:11 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1911fan View Post
Looking at a Spirit II in Tufweave for $675 including two paddles, car rack, and PDF. (He might mean PFD). It's two hours away though..... Good deal?


1911fan


I think its a good starting price depends on how well kept, ect. Tufweave is a type of fiberglass I had a Minnesota II in tufweave and other than it being heavier than Kevlar/carbon fiber it's tough and durable.
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Old 08-09-2014, 07:33 PM   #11
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I don't have a lot of canoeing experience, but I worked as an outdoor guide for the past 14 years (mostly rafting, kayaking, backpacking, climbing, mtn biking, etc) and I got thrown into a lead guide position for a 5 day canoeing trip. We took 12 high school kids (7 of them couldn't swim) down the colorado river in Wenonah 17' Wenonah canoes (not designed as whitewater boats). We started at Cisco, Utah so we had 4 days of pretty much flat water for everyone to get used to the boats and canoeing in general before hitting the rapids near Moab. Our canoes were loaded with all of our gear. Everybody got the hang of it pretty quick and by the last day, we ran the Moab Daily section (which is not serious whitewater, but it has several rapids to navigate). We ended up only having one canoe flip in White's rapid. The moral of the story is the Wenonah canoes we were using were very user friendly and inspired confidence in everyone's ability (everyone started with no experience). If the canoe is for lakes, I highly recommend these - very stable and plenty of room. I have never tried other brands, so they may be just as good (or better?), but that is my 2 cents.
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Old 08-09-2014, 10:53 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1911fan View Post
Looking at a Spirit II in Tufweave for $675 including two paddles, car rack, and PDF. (He might mean PFD). It's two hours away though..... Good deal?


1911fan
If it is a basic tuffweave boat, and is newer and in great shape, that's a good deal.
If it is older, and in fair shape, I would want to pay $600 or a little less.
If it is older, in good shape, and has wood trim in good shape and/or the performance package (adjustable bow seat, tractor seats, footrest) that's a good deal.

Prices on new boats have gone up SIGNIFICANTLY in the last five years, which has brought up prices of used boats as well.

Also, the Spirit II is a great model. At 17 feet, it is the right balance of size, and there's a reason it is the best selling canoe in Wenonah's lineup.

I think you'll find the weight of Tuffweave on a 17ft boat to be acceptable. My last boat was a Tuffweave Sundowner 18, and it was about all I could manage to carry it a few hundred feet on the yoke. If it had been 5-10lbs lighter, it would have made a world of difference.

By the way, I sold that boat (w/ wood trim and performance package) in great condition, about a year ago, for right around $600 with paddles and rack.

Some examples/opinions (These are all in Bend purely out of coincidence):

Older model with performance package, well worth the $600 asking price - http://bend.craigslist.org/boa/4610783934.html
Not actually Tuffweave at all, but standard Royalex, still okay at $700 asking price - http://bend.craigslist.org/boa/4605450129.html
Avoid at all costs, including similar boats - http://portland.craigslist.org/yam/boa/4609765674.html and even more so: http://bend.craigslist.org/boa/4577030717.html

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Old 08-10-2014, 06:46 AM   #13
1911fan OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WB-PDX View Post
I put myself through college selling and teaching canoeing and kayaking.

I've paddled over 100 different models of canoes and kayaks.

For what you are looking for, you don't need anything high-end.

You don't say how old your grand-daughter is, but I am assuming she is under 100lbs and will not be paddling.
Nope, not quite 3 yet. Definitely more "take her along" than "paddling partner".

Quote:
- You want a 16-18' canoe. The downside of more length is that it is harder to control in the wind, especially if not loaded, and a slight reduction in manuverability. Otherwise, the longer boat is generally going to be more efficient, track better, and carry more weight.
We'd already figured on 16' as a minimum, good to know we're on the right track!


Quote:
I would not suggest buying a Coleman, or any other single-player plastic boat (This includes entry level Mad River models) as they 'oil can' badly, and don't paddle very well to begin with. These are canoes only designed to price points, for sale at department stores. Unless this is something you intend to float in more than paddle. Many people who haven't canoed in a while (or haven't ever paddled a well designed boat) forget how much work it is. The efficiency you get from better materials and designs means you can paddle further with less effort.
Good to know, as there are a few of them around at attractive prices. Now we know why.

Quote:
- If the canoe you are looking at appears to have a keel (unless it is aluminum or wood,) it was likely designed by someone that did not know how to design a canoe or boat, and I would avoid it.
Why is that? I sailed a lot as a kid, and even in small klunky boats (El Toros, Sunfish) a keel was helpful. I was supposing it would be the same in a canoe.


Quote:
- You pay for a lack of weight. If weight is a concern at all for you, you should be prepared to spend $800+ (used.) Getting a big heavy boat down to the water or on the car can be a real problem, but heavier plastic boats are much cheaper. Royalex is a good compromise of a material if you can find it. The supplier just stopped making the material.
Yeah, we figured that. Like a lot of things, lighter=better=more expensive due to materials and sometimes labor.

Quote:
Avoid cheesy models with tall, rockered, recurved bows and sterns (they look like what you might imagine a native american canoe to look like.) Generally fiberglass, these gimmicky boats were popular in the 70s, but have high wind-age and are generally very impractical designs.
Planned to, ugh.

Quote:
- The most popular brands in quality canoes are Wenonah, Old Town and Mad River. The only one of these brands that is always a safe bet is Wenonah. Old Town is almost always a safe bet for your needs, as even their entry level 'discovery' series would work. Mad River is mostly great, but their rotomolded Adventure models are best avoided.
They do look cheesy..... We'd narrowed the search to those three brands already, but it's looking like a Wenonah.

Quote:
If you have any specific questions, please let me know. I love talking boats.

I'm actually buying a new-to-me Wenonah tomorrow morning!
Pics?


And to all of you that answered, thank you very much. We'd sort of figured on buying some cheesy entry level Scanoe or the like, just to see if we liked canoes, and upgrade later. Seems like a bad idea because we'd hate the piece of junk and after that not like canoes. We've upped our budget a bit and are more willing to drive. The Wenonah we're interested in is ~2.5 hours one way and a little more than we'd planned to spend, but might be totally worth it.
We might also wait for one a little closer. We drove two hours one way yesterday and the "great condition" canoe turned out to be a beat-up, patched up, plywood screwed onto it, foam glued into it, cracked piece of shit that "doesn't leak much".



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Old 08-10-2014, 06:46 AM   #14
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I have a square stern Coleman plastic. Very stable. What it needs is a motor. Used it 3 times in 20 years.

Anybody have a cheap motor laying around?

Got accused by my gal for not rowing last time out when I was working my ass off.
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Old 08-10-2014, 06:48 AM   #15
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Just come to Lewiston with a small saw and cut one out of the herd, lots of extra canoes in what they call a canoe wave "art" .

http://www.klewtv.com/news/local/113533149.html


Actually bring a big trailer and take the whole thing, please. Sad that it isn't even close ot the worst "art" we have bought in this town.
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