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Thread: Long time Lurker - Canoe choice - think I'm looking for the impossible!

  1. #1

    Question Long time Lurker - Canoe choice - think I'm looking for the impossible!

    Hi folks,

    SO back in the day I was qualified, experienced and into white water kayaking, nothing too scary.....grade 4/5 max. I did love it, but I got run over by a car and badly fractured my skull and sadly lost my bottle and couldn't get back into kayaking.

    Now, 20 years on Im 40 with the addition of a wife, 10 year old daughter and dog!

    I've always loved the outdoor life and over the years have collected enough decent kit to get by (tentipi 7, terranove starlite 3, decent doss bags, mats, stoves etc) AND I'm looking to buy a canoe to allow us to use the kit in different ways and more often for family trips.

    I've a fair amount of experience of canoes but only on lakes, easy rivers at grade 2. Most of the experience has been with other semi expereinced paddlers in unladen canoes.

    Now for the impossible!

    What factors should I consider as a priority given that I would be canoeing with family/dog and kit for 2-3 night trips on easy rivers or lakes, but with a view to tackling slightly more 'fun rivers' (<grade 3) in time. Suggestions of canoes also very welcome

    My wife is 70kg (she doesn't come on here so I'm at liberty to divulge this fact and live), I'm 92kg and our daughter is 45kg

    I love the look of wood canoes but if I have been following the correct lines of research they're not as robust, even the fibreglass lined/coated ones as some alternatives.

    I've got access to vans for transportation so thats not an issue.


    MZ
    Thanks in advance

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Hi MZ,

    Welcome to SoTP. I paddle a 15ft Prospector (We-No-Nah) and will do all of the above, but may struggle with the family and dog canoe camping. Not that long ago I did try an Esquif Prospecteur 16ft and thought - tandem canoe camping canoe! This should be a contender it handled nice two up had plenty of volume for kit and passengers.

    I have not paddled one solo, but there are some who swear by them.

    Have fun out there
    Cheers
    Tim


    Paddles a Prospector

  3. #3

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    Hi Tim,

    Thanks for the super quick response - its really appreciated.

    I'll have a look at the canoe you suggest and do some research on where I might get the possibility to demo one.

    The dog might not be an essential item as she isn't a great lover of the water, but she has been on a single canoe day trip.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Welcome here .
    Budget, budget, nobody ever states their budget .??
    Probably a prospector as Tim stated. Not a composite one if you're intending to paddle WW.
    Nova Craft prospectors have good capacity and if you can manage the weight, the SP3 version might suit. There are 15', 16' and 17' versions of this.
    Nin Wanakiwidee Tchiman

  5. #5

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    Nova Craft Prospector tuffstuff 16 - Would this be a comaprable canoe or not If not and anyone is generour enough to spare the time could you explain the differneces - thanks :-)

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by OLD MAN View Post
    Welcome here .
    Budget, budget, nobody ever states their budget .??
    Probably a prospector as Tim stated. Not a composite one if you're intending to paddle WW.
    Nova Craft prospectors have good capacity and if you can manage the weight, the SP3 version might suit. There are 15', 16' and 17' versions of this.
    Thanks to you both for the welcome. Sorry I missed this whilst I was looking online, but you answered my question and it is comparable.

    Budget is upto £2500 as I quit smoking some time ago and this is my reward.

  7. #7
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    As an owner of a Tuffstuff Prospector, there's no way I'd be taking it on G3 WW. I'll probably get shot down for that comment as there's people that might, but whilst I love the canoe, I'm not finding it that robust. For normal paddling it's great except for the normal getting blown about in the wind because it has a highish freeboard.
    Ideally for WW, some sort of plastic would be preferable. Another possible contender could be a Wenonah prospector made from the same T Formex as the Esquif.

    One of the members here has a really nice 17' Swift prospector in which he does Scottish lochs with his wife, two children and their camping gear. I doubt he'd be taking it on WW though.
    Nin Wanakiwidee Tchiman

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
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    Wantage, United Kingdom
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    We paddle as a family of 5 split between a royalex dagger legend 15 and 16. Overnighting both on sea and river - eg the Spey or dart. Certainly the legend 16 can handle me 93kg plus twin girls currently at 45kg - somewhat less when we did the Spey. No dog though and trouble is kids grow.

    Iíve paddled the 16 solo up to moderate grade 3. - itís pretty nimble for its size and like an aircraft carrier through bigger features. My boat of choice at present in bigger water.

    Reality though is for 3 - one growing - plus dog overnight you might be better in a 17 foot boat. That then is getting less fun solo. Certainly im not sure how long at current growth rate we can manage in the 16.

    Get two boats ... one for family and one for fun. Second hand you can get good boats inside your budget. it is at least a modest start on a fleet.

    Best
    Andrew


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Pro

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by OLD MAN View Post
    As an owner of a Tuffstuff Prospector, there's no way I'd be taking it on G3 WW. I'll probably get shot down for that comment as there's people that might, but whilst I love the canoe, I'm not finding it that robust. For normal paddling it's great except for the normal getting blown about in the wind because it has a highish freeboard.
    Ideally for WW, some sort of plastic would be preferable. Another possible contender could be a Wenonah prospector made from the same T Formex as the Esquif.

    One of the members here has a really nice 17' Swift prospector in which he does Scottish lochs with his wife, two children and their camping gear. I doubt he'd be taking it on WW though.

    Perhaps Im asking too much of a single canoe OR am anticipating doing too much in it. Would folk think the canoes suggested would handle grade II WW.

    I'm not talking serious river running, lengthy continuous stretches of white water, more stretches of river with the odd rapids......perhaps I should have been clearer about this from the start - apologies

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Sansum View Post
    We paddle as a family of 5 split between a royalex dagger legend 15 and 16. Overnighting both on sea and river - eg the Spey or dart. Certainly the legend 16 can handle me 93kg plus twin girls currently at 45kg - somewhat less when we did the Spey. No dog though and trouble is kids grow.

    I’ve paddled the 16 solo up to moderate grade 3. - it’s pretty nimble for its size and like an aircraft carrier through bigger features. My boat of choice at present in bigger water.

    Reality though is for 3 - one growing - plus dog overnight you might be better in a 17 foot boat. That then is getting less fun solo. Certainly im not sure how long at current growth rate we can manage in the 16.

    Get two boats ... one for family and one for fun. Second hand you can get good boats inside your budget. it is at least a modest start on a fleet.

    Best
    Andrew


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Pro
    Bang on - I have started to consider that Im asking too much of one boat. I'm always a fan of second hand with things I know, but I'm obviously not confident in buying canoes, but Im also in no rush so definitely a thought.

    Thanks

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    I'd also suggest a Prospector. 16' would just about get you all in at the moment, then expand into a second solo canoe or kayak as you go forward.


    A secondhand Royalex Prospector from Wenonah or Novacraft would be the normal suggestion, but as you've got the budget, maybe look at the new Wenonah Prospectors in T-Formex. The Wenonah has been thought of as one of the best of the Prospectors for the compromise between moderate moving water and lake tripping. The Esquif is slightly more biased to the moving stuff in my opinion.

    If the whitewater is only occasional and up to G2, and you avoid too much rock bashing, Tuffstuff might be an option. Its most likely just to chip, and that's repairable.


    If you get a deal on the price of a Wenonah P16, you might be able to pair it with something like a Hou 13 or 14 as second canoe within the rough budget. The latter two aren't really moving water canoes though.

  12. #12
    Join Date
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    As an ex-WW kayaker you can presumably read the river and have some idea about the charcater of rivers you might do?

    I don't get out in my proper canoe very often (don't even get out in my OC1 that often at the moment) but I would happily paddle it on WW up to grade 3 if the river is relatively high volume where I can expect to be able to steer it around any rocks I find, shallow low volume rivers (or big volume rivers in drought conditions like at present) I would avoid though. What point am I making? well I paddle fibreglass Apache 16, the basic chopped strand polyester construction, so I like to disagree with people saying you can't use this canoe or that canoe on WW because it isn't Royalex or PE. If you paddle like a Neanderthal and run your canoe into or over anything that is in your path, fair enough, you will want a Royalex or PE boat to run rivers, if you paddle it reasonably well you have more options.
    So far I think the only river I have run in it is the Spey, over 3 days loaded with camping kit. There was one point where several of us got bunched up and I ended up running over rock because I ran out of space - almost got the front half out of the water on it, the mark in the gel coat is quite hard to find, it certainly didn't go right through or chip it off. There are lots of white scrapes on the gel from bumping over shallow shingly bits, but you will pick that kind of thing up paddling on lochs just from getting to and from the shore!
    I'm trying to work out if I have done the Tay in it, I think not, but I would happily run it all at normal winter levels - not right now though!

    I probably wouldn't recommend the Apache 16 for 3 of you because it is quite a lively boat - mine also has a low cut freeboard but most have more. The Apache Tribe (or whatever it's called now, Stu has renamed the line up a bit) might be OK for 3 of you though, and can be built in various constructions for different toughness and weight. Stu would probably recommend the chopped strand polyester construction for river running because if you do smash it the random fibre orientation tends to keep the hole small and easy to repair, with woven cloth a split will often run some distance along the weft or weave. If I was buying a new boat though, I would go for a more exotic lightweight layup, after all, all my slalom and WWR boats are lightweight composite construction and I paddle them on whitewater all the time (with occasional repairs needed).

    If you have a £2500 budget, and reasonable whitewater skills, I would recommend looking at a higher end, composite/tuffstuff etc. construction and take the weight saving over a PE boat.

    If you really get into it and start to want to do rockier WW, pick up an ex-centre PE boat later on (when they renew the fleet out of season) to use as a beater.

    How hard can it be?

  13. #13
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    Stu is also making a 16'5 tandem tourer now which looks a very capable boat from the pictures, though I haven't seen it in the flesh yet. Link here: http://apachecanoes.com/trekk-165t-fmp for the fibreglass lay-up, which comes in at 32kg, so not too heavy either. It looks like it would suit your load carrying needs, and would leave you plenty in the budget to get another boat - maybe a pocket tandem like the apache 15, which is a capable river runner and works very well solo too. I have one of these, and paddle it solo myself, sometimes with the dog (combined load 22st - he's a big dog and I'm not small either). My sons have both used it solo too from the age of 11yrs.
    Your budget would cover new fibreglass versions of both these boats, with some change, and the combination would give you a great deal of flexibility in use.

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