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It has a shallow draft and is relatively fast when using a two-bladed paddle. The factory foot rest was useful in maintaining control and achieving faster speeds when using the kayak paddle. I find it a little more challenging to paddle straight with a single-bladed paddle but perhaps my technique needs some work. No matter which style of paddle used, the Vagabaond is much easier to paddle solo than is my old tandem canoe. Perhaps it's because I'm sitting lower in the Vagabond and donít have as far to reach over the gunwale.
I'm 5'10", weighing 250 lbs, and had no problems with stability, even when using a 30lb trolling motor. Switching to a longer motor cable allowed me to place the battery as far forward as possible which helped with weight distribution. The motor was mounted a couple of feet behind the seat which made for slow turning while under way. However, max hull speed was easily obtained when moving in a straight line. I didn't have the GPS that day but my estimate was at least 4 mph.
My Vagabond weighs 43 lbs per the bathroom scales and thus is easy to load / unload from a SUV. I've used the Vagabond to fish from on local lakes where I had a couple hundred yards portage downhill to launch. Over one shoulder and overhead are both of the carry techniques used. The canoe was easy to tote for that short distance but I would add a temporary yoke if ever planning to do longer portages.
Very maneuverable with the GP. Can spin like a top, yet tracks well. Only challenge is wind resistance over 15 kts. due higher freeboard than yaks. Good day tripper and weekender. Yes Kevlar scratches and fuzzes easy but I'm not into looks, and some hard knocks no problem.
My only gripe is the wood thwart behind the seat rubs against my back. That's easy to correct but you shouldn't have to. I don't see how they missed it during development. Certainly no excuse for not having corrected it by now. Otherwise a really nice canoe.
The thwart directly behind the seat hits me right in the back. If i try to get something out of a pack stored behind me, i have to pull up to shore or risk dumping again. It paddles well, carries well, is strong and well made, but i think it is unstable. TRY IT OUT BEFORE YOU BUY IT!! I had a 17/15/13 Coleman in years gone by. This is much better quality, and paddles much better, but I'll take the Coleman for stability.
I use the canoe for river fishing, and that is all. Maybe if i road the rapids or jumped damns it would like the Vagabond, but it will be on Craigs list soon.
I will use this canoe often for short trips (1 - 2 hours) just because it is so lightweight. When it warms up I plan on taking my 3.5 year old for short trips too and think that there will be ample space for her in front of the footbrace if I can get her to stay mostly still :) There is sufficient room for my duck hunting gear as well.
I took the canoe out for her first trip this morning and had a very nice time. I paddled upstream for 40 minutes and then back downstream to my starting point in 20. I used a kayak paddle with the seat in the low position. The canoe tracked well and was nice and maneuverable with very good stability. I honestly couldn't ask for anything more and look forward to many more outings.
I would recommend this canoe to anyone looking for a very light canoe with good tracking, stability and maneuverability.
The boat handled great on 2-3 foot lake waves and 10mph winds. It is not a rocket but hauls me (and I am pretty big), the dog and lots of gear for a day or sparse weekend. I have the Tuf Weave Flex Core which is nice and light and easy to portage and car top. Great boat and I am glad that I bought it.
It isn't specialized or sexy but its light weight, ease of paddling and convenience when car-topping with other boats keeps my tandem (Bell Yellowstone, which I love poling and paddling solo as well) in the garage most of the time.I think it is an excellent beginner to intermediate canoe and I've learned a lot about paddling from it by the easy learning curve it provides.
I am 5'11" and 190 lbs. and carried approx. 15 lbs of gear with me. Often times we buy things with a well known higher than average priced name/label and that is the majority of what we are paying for. Not We-no-nah, in my opinion. The craftsmanship, engineering, and beauty are very much evident in their products. Couldn't be happier.
The Vagabond is very unstable even with the seat lowered. The low seat does not allow taking a decent stroke. I have had two canoes designed for racing in white water but none were as unstable as this! Try out before you buy.
However, after fishing from the Vagabond, I find myself craving the solo performance more and more, and rarely try to find a fishing partner for the tandem. My friends are highly annoyed. I suggest they buy a solo canoe and share the experience. The boat is a daytripper, and is perfect for that. It is highly maneuverable and quick. I carry a kayak paddle to cover water and the canoe paddle to maneuver the weed beds and shallows. I LOVE THIS BOAT!
P.S. Mine came with Kevlar skidplates. Nice for someone like me who tends to be a little rough on my paddling and fishing equipment.
I always thought of canoes to be relatively tippy and slow and highly effected by the wind. The vagabond is none of these things. It has great stability, both initial and secondary. I paddle it mostly in the Connecticut River which is very open and windy. This boat is great with a bent paddle in these conditions. I just paddle two to three times on one side and then switch. I was out in it last weekend and took over a kayaker and a coule in a tandem canoe. What a glide!!! The adjustable seat is great to. Raise it up or lower it down on the go depending on what you're doing.
Granted, all I have to compare this boat to is my old sea kayak but I would rather paddle this little guy any day of the week. As the summer gets rolling i will post again after the barges throw me some 5-7 foot wakes.
I know when I was reading these reviews trying to figure out which boat to buy a big thing was the size of the paddlers so I am 5'11'' and 225 lbs.
I think my Voyager handles well in wind already, but my wife and daughter-in law sewed up some spray covers that really help. Ripstop nylon, velcro patches, open square cockpit in the middle.
It is not intended for touring on long distance river trips, but is well suited for day/weekend camping trips. I have used my Vagabond both as a fishing boat (fly fishing/trolling for trout) and as a vehicle for paddle in campsites. It is lightweight, easy to car top, and feels nimble and responsive on the water. Not a speed demon, but very stable when loaded properly.
Wenonah got it right when they designed this boat. A good choice for those looking for a small lightweight canoe that is perfect for day trips and weekend camping trips. Those looking for a longer boat with more storage for extended trips should look elsewhere. I love this boat.
My only reservation is that the good tolerance for winds leads me into waves that make me nervous. I have experimented in shallows and find a distinct point of no-return in the righting moment. This is very unlike the rounder-bottomed Tipper S. It can be heeled well over and remain stable. I have wondered about the oil-canning of the bottom others have mentioned and I have noticed. I weigh 185 lbs. My boat is the more flexible Royalex (or is it Royalite?). I have wondered if its 'shallow arch' bottom becomes shallower, flatter, with flex? Could this be reduced with a strut between the seat and an inside keel, a keelson?
I am impressed that at least one reviewer, heavier than I, has used his boat in white water. I too have purchased and will be installing float bags; mostly in hopes of improving self rescuing capability for the coastal waters I like to paddle here around Vancouver Island (British Columbia). I am 'bucking the trend' here by not paddling a sea kayak.
This is my first solo canoe though I have been soloing in a tandem for a few years now. I was quite impressed by the canoe. I took it to a local lake and quickly found myself in 3 to 4 foot cabin cruiser wake. This was the second time I had paddled the canoe and was rather scared. However it bounced like a cork and I stayed dry. I even got hit by a serious wake directly on the side. I am not sure the Echo I have paddled for years would have done any better.
I am also a fisherman and find that it is nice and stable as a fishing platform. I even got the guts to stand up for a few casts. It is a rather short boat so it is not the fastest thing on the water but man it feels fast. One paddle stroke sends you off. I have been practicing hit and switch and it works well in this canoe.
This canoe is not a flat water trip boat or a whitewater canoe. What it is is a canoe that will work for everything I have though of. It does not track as straight as some canoe or turn as fast as some but it is exactly what i wanted... so far. i will post another review after it has been on the river a few times.
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