Submitted: 08-24-2001 by Eric Nyre
The Escape is a new tandem from We-no-nah. At 17'6, it is described in their literature as being a shorter version of the Minnesota II. While in some aspects that may seem correct, the boat is in all fairness in a class of it's own. The bow reminds me of an Odyssey, with it's extreme flare. The stability and comfort remind me of a Cascade, or even a lively version of the Spirit II. Paddling in the stern, the tumblehome and narrow stern cockpit are reminiscent of a Sundowner, with the sheer ease of getting the paddle to the water. But the smile on my face as I paddled it was pure Minnesota II, if in a smaller package.
This boat lacks the extreme speed of the Minnesota II. Our GPS was reading 6.6 mph at a fast cruising pace, but when we slacked off, the boat was still running nice in the 5.5 - 6 mph range. This is a great touring speed, comfortable for all day paddling. The greatest assets to the Escape are not it's speed, but it's seaworthiness. The extreme flare in the bow should allow the boat to run much larger waves than we had it in (only mild chop), and the shorter length and increased maneuverability can also help with control in very rough blowing conditions.
Here in Colorado, I am looking at this as a great general-purpose lake and river canoe. I would not hesitate putting it in some nice class II, yet I know it will also eat up the flats. If you are shopping for a nice general-purpose tandem, this boat belongs on your short list.