Submitted: 08-13-2001 by wetsidedown
I just got back from the Woodland Caribou Provincial Park. I took my new Quetico 17. It is the first time I paddled it and was more than pleasently surprised!! I think it is more valuable to compare canoes than just to say any canoe was "light, fast, stable and perfect." All those terms are relative and would help others if a comparison is made to other canoes. I purchased the canoe with wooden web seats (added a few pounds but worth it) and all aluminum trim in the ultralight kevlar version. The other canoe in the party was a Wenonah Sundowner and I'll use it to compare the Q17 with. Right off one could tell the obvious design differences. The Q17 has a flat bottom and bulging sides with the Sundowner sporting a sleeker, more shallow arch bottom. It is obvious the design of the Sundowner is to eat up the miles. But there are compromises with that design...a lack of initial stability that is comforting but the secondary stability is great. I was surprised as we took off at the first put-in. We were able to easily keep up with the Sundowner although we may have worked a little harder. I had my GPS on and checked our speed without my partner knowing it. We were easily able to keep an average speed of over 4 MPH into a substantial breeze. It was fully loaded with two the two of us over 200 lbs each and a 10 days worth of food and gear. The sundowner was loaded the same way. The second day dawned with a substantial wind blowing from left to right and had already kicked up some rather large swells and waves. My partner and I wanted to continue but the Sundowner paddlers were skeptical because of the "tippy" initial feel of their canoe. This was a matter of getting used to but they hadn't paddled much in those conditions and didn't trust the tender feel of the Sundowner. Both canoes handled well in the conditions and we found a campsite to ride out the wind. The Q17 portaged a little heavier than the Sundowner but only by a few pounds. I like the epoxy resin layup with the flex hull design much better than the Wenonahs. Both canoe hulls will scratch when paddled over an underwater rock and I suggest both canoes be portaged using the wet foot method. To sum up the review: Q17 has more initial stability, almost as fast, almost weighs the same, much more stable platform to fish out of, better layup and finally the other guys in the sundowner asked me several times if I would sell my Q17 to them......what better recommendation. I bought mine sight unseen from the Red Rock store east of Ely, MN. Ask for Joe, he is great to work with and if there is any problem he will make it right. That attitude is reflected by the designer and mfg. at Souris River canoes in Atikokan, Ontario. Ask for Keith!! The workmanship of the 2001 models is fantastic and they have added an internal kevlar skid plate UNDER the epoxy resin...great touch!!