Submitted: 03-06-2007 by azC-1er
For what it was designed for, this boat was the Cat's meow. This was the original model Wenonah Jensen C-1W (16' vs the later model, which was 16'6"). In my view, this boat did everything well, and had no vices.
I used this boat for downriver whitewater races, for wilderness tripping, day trips, and daily workouts. In my experience, it was just as fast and would track just about as well as the Wenonah Advantage. As far as turning is concerned, I found this boat very comfortable to lean way over and carve really tight turns, due to its soft chine and very good final stability for a boat of this type. I am certainly not the world's greatest whitewater canoeist, but in this boat, I was very, very comfortable in class III and even IV. In my opinion, this was one of the best, if not the best WWOC downriver racer ever made.
I also paddled extensively in the later 16'6" model of the Wenonah Jensen C-1W (I owned two of them). Although this boat was definitely a hair faster than its 16" predecessor, overall I did not like this boat as much as the earlier model. The main reason was that it had a much harder more abrupt chine. I just could not 'lay this one over' and carve turns with nearly the confidence. As a result, running III and IV rapids, I was much more tentative and therefore not as fast as when I was racing the 16' model. Also the extra 6" length seemed to noticeably increase the turning resistance. Okay for running big open whitewater, but a more difficult boat to handle in tight, steep, technical drops.
I never really thought it was too much of a handful in the wind. Maybe I was just used to paddling in the wind, though. Sure, since it was deeper than my Advantage and other flatwater C-1's, it was a little more of a handful in a quartering wind, but not that much more, because after all, the hull was designed to track well.
Back in the early 90's, I talked Wenonah Canoes into making me a new 16' C-1W, even though the boat had been out of production for probably 3-5 years. I got a call from Mike C. at Wenonah a few days after I had placed the order with sad news. Seems the mold had been stored on its side during those years and it had warped, so they were not able to make one for me.
If I could have just one open solo canoe for cruising, touring, tripping, whitewater, and downriver racing, this would be it.