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Submitted: 11-04-2002 by wrypfeiffer
My September '02 canoe trip into the Canadian Boundary waters transmogrified at the last minute into a solo trip when my flippant bow-paddler elected to have throat surgery. Rather than aggravating the spondylitis in my back with my royalex Sundowner, I made last minute reservations with an Atikoken outfitter (Canoe Canada--very good) to rent a Tranquility, which, I was assured, was the closest thing to a kevlar Wenonah Prism in the rental fleet. (Wenonah is probably the only company I've ever felt any brand loyalty towards, in no small part because I used to live in Winona.)
Thus equipped with a Tranquility, I embarked on my 75-mile week-long solo fishing trip and the beginning of my love-affair (sorry for this and any upcoming superlatives) with the Tranquility.
At 15 1/2 feet, this 33 lb. kevlar canoe is ultra-light. To my knowledge, it is lighter than any Bell, Wenonah, or Swift in its class. My back behaved nicely beneath its weight, so much so that I tackled one portage with both my backpack and the canoe at the same time.
My knees gave out and I launched the canoe onto some sharp rocks. The canoe appeared to be unscratched. (I am told this is because Souris River uses epoxy as opposed to weaker polyester variant- resins used by many manufacturers.)
The Tranquility was fast, and tracked very well. While I preferred to use the kayak paddle I brought, I was able to get 2-3 strokes per side with my elbow paddle. With the kayak paddle, I am quite sure the boat was almost as fast as my tandem with a decent paddler in the bow. I cannot say it is faster than the Prism, but it appears to be slightly more maneuverable.
With and without gear, this canoe was amazingly stable and dry. Once, while trolling in two-foot waves (without ballast), I fought two 3-4 lb. smallmouth simultaneously on separate rods. While I eventually lost both fish, it was not because I had to jettison pole for paddle. It's because I was stupid to fish with two poles.
I enjoyed the canoe so much that when I pulled out, I drove straight to the factory in Atikoken, where I custom ordered a Tranquility (and received a personal tour of the production process). At little exra cost, the company is now building the boat I rented but with a sliding seat and colored kevlar, such that I will not need the added weight (usually 5-6 lbs.) of gelcoat in order to have a green canoe. (To my knowledge, Souris River is the only manufacturer of color-impregnated kevlar canoes.)
In conclusion, I give the Tranquility my highest marks. I'm extremely excited to test it on Lake Michigan outside my new quarters at the Great Lakes Maritime Academy.
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