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Thread: Wenonah Aurora

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2005

    Default Wenonah Aurora

    Maker's Specs

    Kevlar Ultra-light 39lb.
    Kevlar Flex-core 51lb.
    Tuf-weave Flex-core 60lb.
    Royalex 64lb.
    *Weights published are for canoes with all standard equipment

    Maker's Write Up
    The Aurora, at 16' long, puts the wide versatility and superb performance of our best-selling model, the 17' Spirit, into a more-compact package.

    While it is a foot shorter, the Aurora is almost as deep in the center as the Spirit, and is 1" deeper in the ends. It has greater total buoyancy than you might expect, and it carries nearly the load that the Spirit will. Not meant for heavy expeditions, the Aurora does suit typical trips well. It is an easy-paddling hull that retains sufficient freeboard loaded.

    Perhaps its best feature is the Aurora's good blend of initial and final stabilities. While steady enough for hunting or fishing, and to haul kids or a dog who may jump around, it is very seaworthy for a mid-sized canoe. Its carefully-contoured, shallow-arched bottom is the reason.

    While the choice among 16' canoes is vast, others have a less-sensible bottom profile. Compared to typical, flat-bottomed hulls, the Aurora's shallow-arched design has a bit less steadiness on center but has greater ultimate safety, and better handling on bigger waves. It also paddles more easily and glides farther, due to its reduced wetted-surface area.

    Another popular style, the V-bottom, also has more wetted surface than a shallow-arch, and it suffers rapid, abrasive wear on the 'V' area. (This also plagues flat-bottom hulls that have a keel.)

    We have two other 16' hulls with shallow arched profiles -- the Adirondack and Rogue -- but they are designed for more-specialized uses. The Adirondack is a day-tripper with less volume but greater speed. The Rogue is a dry, maneuverable design ideal to run active rivers. One or the other will appeal to certain paddlers, but the Aurora splits the difference and can substitute suitably for either.

    If your situation dictates a 16' model, and if you plan to enjoy varied types of paddling, no other design serves so well for so many uses. The Aurora delivers fine performance and capacity from a safe and agile, medium-sized design.
    Last edited by Chrish; 19th-November-2007 at 12:51 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Winnipeg, MB


    We bought our Aurora 2nd hand as a general purpose tandem that we could use for day trips and canoe camping when we didn't need the massive capacity of our kevlar Spirit.

    It's had loads of use including grade 2 white water and is a great general purpose canoe.

    Much drier than our old Pyranha prospector due in part to the high bow line and will handle big waves fine. The only time I recall being in the least concerned was when we were cut up by a power boater on poole harbour and we received a bucketful over the side.

    Fair amount of initial stability. Maybe too much if you wanted a real whitewater canoe though for solo use you could move across and weight the gunwhale to make it lean.

    It is a big canoe though so be warned if you are a small solo paddler!

    Ends are fairly narrow and we moved the bow seat back six inches. This was pretty straightforward but needed a new wider bow seat.

    "All right" said Eeyore "We're going. Only don't blame me"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Lancaster NW England.

    Default Good all round boat

    I have one of these (3rd share in one) and love it for Lakes, Canals and moving water, mainly paddled 2 up with either overnight gear or our Border collie. If you not going to do much above grade 2 on rivers then certainly worth a look at, as an alternative to a prospector. It's quite quick and stable.
    After 2 years and many 3-4 days trips I can honestly say it's a good all round canoe. As mentioned can be a bit of a "challenge" whilst sole in a breeze, but if you trim it correctly then quite manageable.
    It's been on the Sea on Loch Nevis, Calendonian canal with a 4 to 5' swell on Loch Ness, and down the River Spey.
    Nice build quality and I like it for not being an Old Town or Mad River as itís a bit more individual.
    I'm currently looking at getting a prospector though as I'm getting more into moving water and the Aurora is fine, but for Grade 3 with kit I think the added manoverability of a Prospector might keep me dryer!
    I will keep the Aurora though!!
    The early bird may catch the worm, but it's always the second mouse that gets the cheese!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Ipswich, Sunny Suffolk


    Thought I'd just post a quick entry on the Aurora I owned for 6 months or so back in 2010. Like a fair few people I purchased mine 2nd hand from Outward Bound - they sell off their entire fleet every year - so mine had certainly seen some action.

    We picked it up from the Eskdale centre and took it straight out onto Wastwater. The first thing you notice with these canoes is their stability. That should come as no surprise really as I'm pretty sure thats the main reason Outward Bound use them for their groups. To tip one of these canoes you would REALLY have to want it to tip. They carry a helluva load too. I had three adults and a dog in mine and she still paddled beautifully, with plenty of freeboard.

    If these canoes do have a limitation though, it is that they are most definitely tandem canoes. This is not a criticism - they are designed by Wenonah for tandem paddling after all. I made the mistake of thinking I could also use it as a solo boat but I found it just too big to handle (36" at the gunwhales) in anything other than calm conditions. I sold an Apache 16' to buy an Aurora, as my girlfriend and I were doing a lot of fairly choppy estuary paddles and wanted that stability and ample freeboard. I've since sold the Aurora to buy another Apache, the latter seeming to me to offer the better compromise between tandem and solo usage.

    In summary then, a very good tandem boat, especially for those seeking good primary and secondary stability and not planning to use it solo a great deal. Not super-fast, but super-stable and able to carry a load and keep it dry with ease.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Black Isle: North of Scotland


    I agree with Fredster so not much to add other than to say that it is an excellent all rounder although I would not recommend it as a solo boat for someone of my small/slight build. Very high design and build spec for the price. Good value for money in the long term, our boat is over ten years old and gets a fair amount of use up to Grade 2/3 white water.

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