Submitted: 03-06-2006 by DanMc
We purchased a Wenonah Spirit II Royalex, Alaskan ivory with performance package
(sliding bow and bucket seats) from Oak Orchard canoe in Waterport, NY on
February 17th, 2006. Though I placed a deposit on a Bell Northwind in Royalex, I
didn't want to go less than 17' and the Royalex version of the
Northwind is 16'6". I thought the overall appearance and design of the Northwind
was solid and it has had good reviews, but the size and the cane seats forced me
to drop it down on the priority list. We also looked at the 17' Old Town
Penobscot. It is probably a fine canoe, but I found the seats too high.
I learned canoeing in Grummans and have spent hours kneeling, so I know that
higher seats provide more flexibility (kneeling for stability, seated for
comfort). But when I considered all the possible uses for this canoe, over 90%
of the hours will be in the seated position. If the seats are mounted low enough
you have stability and comfort.
The hardest decision was between the Royalex Spirit II and the Kevlar (a mere
$400 difference due to year -end sale). We finally decided on Royalex -- I just
don't want to worry about my canoe. We have rocky streams in pennsylvania and
one of the (few) benefits of a Coleman RAM-x canoe is you can head downstream
without a care for rocks. Though Royalex will scratch, it will slide over rocks
and be less prone to catastrophic (i.e. expensive) damage.
We purchased a Mitchell paddle for my son. Ive been very pleased with the
workmanship and design of this paddle (I use a 25 year old Camp Paddle and just
added a FoxWorks Guide model -- 18 onces of pure efficiency!).
I opted for sponges on the front and a hitch rack in back for our Ford F-150.
That was a mistake. The F-150 roof is flat and the sponges slide. We lost two
sponges in the 50 MPH + winds that night (14 degrees, as well). We stopped at
Dick's Sporting Goods the next morning and bought four more straps. With three
straps across the roof it was solid all the way home (south of Pittsburgh). I've
called and ordered the front rack for the truck -- it can't come too soon!
We've had the Spirit II out twice since we brought it home (we've had a long
streak of cold weather) and paddled on a local reservoir. It has been a joy to
paddle. My son and I are each 190+ and we can fly across the lake. Today we
challenged a 15 MPH + headwind and it cut through the water with ease.
Primary stability is acceptable, but secondary is amazing. You will have to WORK
to tip this canoe!
It oilcans a bit in chop, but that's an acceptable price to pay for the
stability, speed, and durability of this Royalex canoe.
We are planning a 220 mile trip down the West Branch of the Susquehanna from
Clearfield to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania this May. I'll report on the Spirit II's
tripping capabilities after that trip, but I am expecting to be just as pleased