Submitted: 06-30-2003 by Nick
I have had my Solo Plus now on two major trips covering almost every water type one might encounter in an average canoe's life. Glass smooth, deep lakes; windy, choppy and motorboat-ridden lakes; flat, moving water and class I rapids. I have used it solo lightly and fully loaded and tandem with a weekend's gear and 120 lbs. of dogs.
The pluses: Overall it is extremely stable, especially with some weight in it. It is least stable with just me, most stable with me and 3 days of gear, and suprisingly stable with 2 people, 2 dogs and 3 days of gear. Wenonah does not recommend that much weight but I thought the Solo Plus handled it great! I did max out the waterline with that load. It tracks well but again, me plus some gear improves the tracking ability. (I am only 135 lbs. so I provide very little weight on my own.) It handles well on still water, especially when leaned, and adequately on moving water except in fast, imperative changes in direction. Very stable on choppy, windy water. Hull is very solid and stiff.
The minuses: Handles terribly in fast, emergency moves on moving water. I bashed several fallen trees that I could have avoided in my last canoe. But to be fair I am getting better with emergency manuevers as I practice more. The gel coat is VERY soft (I have Tuf-Weave) and in two major trips it already looks very worn and scratched. I really wish I had ordered the white instead of the green to hide some of these scratches. I will be putting skid plates on.
Nuetral: Weight-wise I do not find it too heavy or especially light. It was beautiful to look at but, as I said, is showing wear very quickly.
Overall: I really like this canoe; I think it is just as advertised. I remove either the center seat or tandem seats depending on the trip I'm taking and they are easy to install/uninstall. A great canoe for lakes and wide rivers but be prepared for some difficulty on narrow, twisty and tree-choked rivers.