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Submitted: 06-28-2004 by wildernesswebb
I have owned 3 Adirondacks, two 'glass, and one royalex, with the 'glass being the better layup, in my opinion. I used the Adirondack for both day trips on Ozark streams and wilderness trips in the BWCAW, both solo and tandem and it performed admirably for those applications. The initial stability was very good, in my opinion, but a few novice paddlers I've had in the boats thought it a might "Wiggly" at first. Secondary stability EXCELLENT! Once had my 100+ lb Labrador Retriever unexpectedly vacate the canoe to greet another dog he noticed on a Current River gravel bar. Took the boat to the gunnels and past, spilling a few gallons into the boat, but the Adirondack returned to an upright position readily. Tracking was fair, but this is a 16' boat designed primarily for streams. Turning and responsiveness is very good. Boat can be soloed with the canoe turned arround and sitting in the bow seat faving the stern. Works well, since the stern depth is a few inches less than the bow depth. I have on occasion paddled this boat in extreme conditions. One time on Gunflint Lake (in the BWCAW) it was loaded with a weeks worth of gear and two paddlers and there were 3+ foot rollers following and quartering from the left and except for an occasional splash over the stern, the boat performed like a champ. Bear in mind, I DO NOT encourage one to use this canoe in that scenario, but on this occasion the wind and waves were such that we were able to ride approximately 10-20 offshore, and if swamped would have been pushed towards a gentle shoreline. We were in no danger, but the experience gave us the oppurtunity to see just what this canoe could handle. Needless to say, we were very impressed! As for durability, the 'glass version held up well on boney, rocky Ozark streams, even surviving a nasty broaching on a strainer once. The royalex did oilcan and flex a bit (nowhere near as stiff as Mad Rivers royalex layup) but it also survived a broach on a rock. I would have no qualms, due to the quality and durability of Wenonah's 'glass layup, choosing the 'glass over the royalex. The royalex is noticably slower and less responsive. And, if you would purchase the olive coloration of royalex, be forewarned that it is this color on the outside AND inside of the hull. The reason I mention this is the dark olive royalex has a propensity to absorb sunlight, making the olive royalex very hot and uncomfortable in the summertime. If you could only own one boat, this would be one of the few hulls that would work well in most situations. It is similar in nature to the Souris River Quetico 16, with the Quetico 16 being lighter unless you fork out the extra cash for the kevlar Adirondack. I would give the Souris the "Edge" if primarily paddling lakes, and the Adirondack for rivers. I must note, that my second 'glass Adirondack's yoke was off center, so it balanced poorly. I fixed this by removing it, balanced the canoe on a sawhorse, and riveted in the yoke in a bit different spot. This is the only "Fit and finish" problem I noticed with any of the three. I give this canoe an "8," for performing very good in a variety of situations. If used only on twisty streams, as Wenonah intended, it would probably be a "9."
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