Canoe Advice Please-

Discussion in 'Pacific Northwet - Where it's green. And wet.' started by 1911fan, Aug 9, 2014.

  1. 1911fan

    1911fan Master of the Obvious

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    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.


    1911fan
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  2. Motomantra

    Motomantra Registered Lurker

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    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.
    #2
  3. Mista Vern

    Mista Vern Knows all - tells some.

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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! :D
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  4. MortimerSickle

    MortimerSickle Semi-Adventurer

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  5. bensgone

    bensgone Been here awhile

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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.
    #5
  6. bricker18

    bricker18 Adventurer

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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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  7. WB-PDX

    WB-PDX Long timer

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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!
    #7
  8. Squishy

    Squishy Positively charged...really!

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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) :eek1...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! :lol3
    #8
  9. 1911fan

    1911fan Master of the Obvious

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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?


    1911fan
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  10. XtreemLEE

    XtreemLEE Member #476

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    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.
    #10
  11. alpin

    alpin 37.9420795,-107.8357

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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.
    #11
  12. WB-PDX

    WB-PDX Long timer

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    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
    #12
  13. 1911fan

    1911fan Master of the Obvious

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    Nope, not quite 3 yet. Definitely more "take her along" than "paddling partner".

    We'd already figured on 16' as a minimum, good to know we're on the right track!


    Good to know, as there are a few of them around at attractive prices. Now we know why.

    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.


    Yeah, we figured that. Like a lot of things, lighter=better=more expensive due to materials and sometimes labor.

    Planned to, ugh.

    They do look cheesy..... We'd narrowed the search to those three brands already, but it's looking like a Wenonah.

    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". :huh



    1911fan
    #13
  14. DiggerD

    DiggerD Been here awhile

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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. :huh

    Anybody have a cheap motor laying around?:wink:

    Got accused by my gal for not rowing last time out when I was working my ass off.:lol3
    #14
  15. Idarider

    Idarider R1200GS

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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.
    #15
  16. 1911fan

    1911fan Master of the Obvious

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    Oh.... my God..... $99,000 for that? Too bad it won't burn.

    I feel your pain, a few years ago Wenatchee spent $88,000 each for two stupid matching pieces of 'art', one at each end of the city. Residents were completely unaware that our city slogan was being changed from "The Apple Capitol of the World" to "Meeting Rivers, Meeting Friends, Meeting Needs" which made us all go :huh
    Also, I just went looking for a pic, and there are a few, and apparently the project went way over budget and was months late in completion as well.
    BTW, we grow several billion apples a year. Enough to circle the globe, at the equator, 12 wide.

    1911fan

    /thread hijack.... on my own thread, lol
    #16
  17. Squishy

    Squishy Positively charged...really!

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    Dang, the word 'fun' outta canoes woulda been better! Need a lotta canoes for "Lewiston", although i woulda built that for $100K :1drink. Must practice my 'art' work :D.

    I think i need to go buy this:
    http://bend.craigslist.org/boa/4605450129.html
    #17
  18. WB-PDX

    WB-PDX Long timer

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    Well, for the same reason Kayaks don't have keels (although admittedly some have skegs and rudders.) :D

    In a sailboat, a keel of some kind is required to keep the boat from being pushed sideways by the wind, and to provide a righting moment/center of gravity that keeps the open side up. This is why in sailing canoes, you almost always see leeboards fitted.

    In a canoe, the only reason you would need a keel is if you designed a canoe with a truly flat bottom, which is of course the easiest to both design and manufacture. However, since your arms probably can't bring that sucker to planing speed, flat bottomed canoes are inefficient and less seaworthy.

    The shallow arch, shallow vee, or hybrid arch/vee of the hull will allow the boat to track. This is the design you will find on a quality canoe.

    I've seen some older small-time fiberglass boat manufacturers argue other reasons for canoes having keels, but they mostly just boil down to either marketing, or the fact that the mold was easier to make with the keel. Keels add weight, and also can prove to be a hazard when sliding over logs. Not to mention, if you paddle solo/freestyle, you may find the keel interferes.

    The main reason I mentioned the keel issue, is that it is an easy "red-flag" to know that you should question the design of the boat.

    Edit: Here is a royalex boat at an okay price! Again, misidentified as Fiberglass: http://portland.craigslist.org/mlt/boa/4611987122.html
    #18
  19. Mustangshelly

    Mustangshelly Adventurer...hardly

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    We have an old Grumman aluminum canoe that belongs to Jeff's family, as it was his grandfather's. It seems pretty stable. We've even taken two dogs in it and managed to not get dumped in the middle of the lake :D It's nice and light so two people(one of them being ME :wink:) can load it on a ladder rack on top of a pick-up really easily. It's my only experience with canoes, but thought I'd pass the info.
    #19
  20. oldmonkeybut

    oldmonkeybut Digital Emigrant

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    We looked for a couple of years before we found a decent one. We ended up with a 17' Fiberglass Lincoln. It does everything we ask of it. Both of us also have 14' Tupperware Kayaks which are a bigger P.I.T.A. to haul but seem to get used more.

    The problem with finding a used Canoe around here is the local Lesbian Community. I found out that Canoeing is big on their favorite list of things to do. They watch for used boats and snatch them up instantly. I showed up numerous times to look at boats for sale, only to see them being loaded onto an LAV destined for their new home. The one I bought was only on Craigslist a few minutes and I was the first of many to call on it. I called, drove straight over and loaded it onto my work truck.
    #20