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Thread: Wenonah Spirit II

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2005

    Default Wenonah Spirit II

    Makers Spec

    Length: 17' (510 cm)
    Gunwale Width: 35" (88.9 cm)
    Maximum Width: 36" (91.44 cm)
    Waterline Width: 35.5" (90.17 cm)
    Bow Depth: 22" (55.88 cm)
    Center Depth: 14" (35.56 cm)
    Stern Depth: 19" (48.26 cm)
    Rocker: 1.5" (3.81 cm)

    Royalex 68lb
    Tuf. Flex 63lb
    Kev. Flex 54lb
    Kev. Ul 42lb

    Makers Write Up

    Balanced is the best word to describe the Spirit. It travels distances easily yet maneuvers well. It's capable on rapids, and on open water, too. It's big enough for trips. It's also very stable.
    So, does this canoe obsolete all others? No, because if you want an elevated level of a certain attribute, say tracking or capacity, then a specialized design may suit you better. But if you need a canoe that delivers a good level of all types of performance, the Spirit is ideal.
    When Canoe & Kayak Magazine tested it, they concluded, "...this canoe is simple and functional. If you could have only one canoe to serve all your paddling needs for the rest of your life, the Spirit would be one of very few candidates."
    This model has the longest history of any in our line. Its full name is "The Spirit of II." Our first canoe in 1968 was named simply "" It was a highly-versatile yet performance-oriented hull. Today's Spirit II is a third-generation refinement of it.

    At 17' long, it strikes a good balance between the efficiency of a longer hull and the maneuvering of a shorter one.
    The Spirit is safe and roomy, too, having the capacity for medium-heavy trips. With two large people it draws just 4," leaving lots of reserve buoyancy for gear. With more load it becomes more stable yet still handles well, even on waves.

    Should you have a Spirit? If no single model seems ideal due to its specialization, you likely need the wide versatility of our Spirit, or its cousins, the Heron, or Aurora. All have similar design aspects but differ in length. The Heron is the most agile and lightest, but the Spirit suits the greatest range of uses.

    Also, you may consider the Champlain in certain cases. Similar in concept, this hull is significantly larger. It can better suit larger people, heavier trips, or families with multiple children. The Spirit, though, is more manageable.
    We make the Spirit in three composite versions that deliver excellent paddling. We also make it from Royalex, which is the sensible choice for canoe-camping if rapids or rocky streams will be a factor.
    Last edited by MagiKelly; 16th-April-2007 at 01:45 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    between Kinross and Alloa, Scotland

    Default some earlier observations

    This is my tenth canoe so I can compare it with plenty of others. For a 17' canoe in RX it is light, but this must be due to the royalex being so thin. (Try comparing hull stiffness with, say a NovaCraft 17')
    The gunwales are great: narrow yet very solid, as are the seat hangers, though I angled the seats just a little to improve kneeling comfort.
    The yoke is just too light weight, I exchanged mine for a deep dish type, more comfort, more strength, more weight, more cost. Usual trade offs.

    I use this canoe for camping expeds with partner and big dog. We have sailed it on salt water, run it down the Tay, and dragged it over 20 odd portages on Lewis. It tracks well on the flat, and gives a dry ride. The tracking hull helps offset the wind effect on the deep bow/stern, so very useful in waves and WW. Very stable for poling, which I do at every opportunity when journeying.

    A first rate alrounder, with a leaning to flatwater/easy rivers. I think folk tend to go too much the otherway in this country for tripping boats...less rocker is often what most(?) folk need, rather than more.
    If it wasn't for the rain in our lives there would be no rivers. X 2

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2009

    Smile Spirit II for family

    I bought my Spirit II to accommodate Mum, Dad and twin girls who, at 5 yrs, were finding my old 16' "Hudson" a bit of a squeeze and wobble. We were thinking of an 18' canoe but decided that 17' was less of a monster, could just about be paddled solo and with its extra width the Spirit would take the girls side-by-side.

    Until this year the girls (now 12yrs) were fine on cheap, polystyrene booster seats Velcroed on to a ply board. Now that they have grown, we have just changed to four-in-a-row seating using 90l "cargo bags" form a camping store with buoyancy bags, rolled camping mat and then slabs of polyethylene foam inside for the girls' seats.

    We have used the Spirit mostly on the Thames, Norfolk Broads and Lake District lakes. It always feels safe to the extent that I sometimes have to remind Mum in the bow that it is a bit too windy for open-water family canoeing. The high gunwales and ends also make for hard work steering in a real blow - but then they do keep us dry!

    Overall quality of construction is excellent ( "Tuff-weave"). The main thing that annoys me is that the stiffening ribs on the hull are in awkward places when kneeling at the stern of paddling solo.

    The only modification I have made to the basic canoe is to raise the seats by about 1" to give more room for feet when kneeling.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    manchester, uk

    Default Spirit 2 question

    Hi,just purchased one of these in Kevlar,& very nice it seems too.
    I,m not sure about the sliding bow seat.
    I can see the theory behind it, but in practice?
    Pain or Pleasure
    You tell me
    "Access all areas, Under the radar"

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    North Shore of Long Island, NY

    Default Tractor seats.

    I am liking the tractor seats in my new Spirit II in Kevlar
    Ultalight. They are comfortable and supportive. I did not like
    them in my Itasca as the bow and stern seats were cramped.
    The extra width in the seating position made a huge difference
    for me as I am close to 300 lbs.
    I traded in my one year old Wenenoh Itasca because it
    did not serve our needs. It was very fast and stable at speed.
    Stopped it felt a bit tippy. That very long, narrow hull with
    skid guards built in, seemed to have less than the stated
    1 1/2" rocker. It didn't have a point to pivot on. I know it
    was designed for and succeeded in straight tracking but turning
    it proved to be a chore. I got my wife's cousin in the bow and
    he showed us how to turn it. It took a lot of dramatic effort.
    Too much to ask my wife to learn so the Itasca had to go. I swapped
    it and a few $$$ for a new Spirit II. It was baptised in Lake One in the
    BWCA. We paddled it in a number of lakes in Minnesota and Canada. Nothing
    but great experiences. I can easily control the canoe from the
    stern or my wife can paddle us anywhere we want to go
    from the bow. Neither of us could do this in the Itasca.
    The Speed and Glide were much better than expected. We are
    thrilled with the Spirit II. The Itasca was a specialty boat best
    handled by more experienced paddlers. The Spirit II is great on
    only one thing: being much better than average in everything.
    Absolutely love the boat.

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