I'm currently paddling a Bell Merlin 2 and a kevlar version of the Wenonah Rendezvous and have demoed a kevlar Argosy. I've been paddling solos most of my life including a Summersong that I loved and once paddled upstream through Santa Elena Canyon (to the Rockslide). I am 6'6" tall and 235 lbs and yeah I know the Merlin 2 is too small for me but I am in an area with little access to quality solos and I bought it used knowing I could paddle it and resell it for little or no loss if I want. I love how the Merlin tracks when paddling on one side as I kneel with little need for switching sides. But at my size it is a bit twitchy when I need to sit feet forward for a while to stretch and the seat is set high for knealing with big feet. The Rendezvous fits me better but is 49lbs with wood trim and seems not to track quite as well paddling on one side. The Argosy was fun but again, twitchy when sitting since it had no footbrace. Any ideas: kevlar Rockstar?, Shearwater, Perigrine? I'd like to know what Charlie Wilson and others might suggest as a boat that would paddle like an upsized Merlin 2. Thanks
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Not the Peregrine|
Posted by: kayamedic on Oct-02-12 10:08 AM (EST)
Dimensions are close to the Merlin II. At one time I had both and the Peregrine in a subjective opinion seemed edgier.
Posted by: pblanc on Oct-02-12 12:57 PM (EST)
The Merlin II does feel a bit twitchy when sitting if the seat is set high enough to allow heel clearance when kneeling. Mine feels that way to me and I suspect your feet are bigger than mine.
Shearwater, Morningstar, small tandem|
Posted by: Glenn_MacGrady on Oct-02-12 1:16 PM (EST)
I found the Peregrine slightly less twitchy and slightly less turnable than the Merlin 2, but they are both so close in hull design dimensions that I don't think the Peregrine would give you much of a change in feel.
Maybe clarify your paddling style?|
Posted by: guideboatguy on Oct-02-12 2:18 PM (EST)
I can't be much help on picking the right boat in your case, but I was left wondering exactly what kind of paddling you wish to do, and I bet others are unsure too. You said...
Thanks for the responses re Merlin 2|
Posted by: wavetrain on Oct-02-12 9:57 PM (EST)
Thanks to all who were kind enough to respond! Guideboatguy asked me to clarify my paddling style. My style is not sit and switch, but kneeling and paddling on one side with switching only to rest muscles, not for course correction which I do with a J or the occasional underwater recovery. But after an hour or so kneeling, I do need to sit for a while and get my feet out in front to prevent or relieve muscle cramps, etc. (I'm not so young and flexible anymore). Thus to stay in the boat for a long time without coming ashore, I need a boat that has enough stability to allow me to change positions without coming ashore. The Merlin 2 is not tippy at all for me when I am kneeling. Its only tippy when I shift to sitting, especially with seat set high for my large feet. But I really like the Merlin when I'm kneeling. Kayakmedic mentioned the Rockstar which would probably allow me to take the needed stretch break from kneeling but would a kevlar Rockstar still give me that wonderful Merlin 2 experience? Thanks in advance for your kind advice and interest!
Another way to counter twitchy|
Posted by: kayamedic on Oct-03-12 8:20 AM (EST)
is to carry something in the boat balanced fore and aft. I am always amazed at how the same boat feels so different empty and with tripping gear in it.
The Rendezvous wouldn't track as well |
Posted by: ezwater on Oct-03-12 12:07 AM (EST)
because of its increased rocker, but if you kneel close to the center of the boat and use a short stroke, firm catch, it should track well enough without your needing to J stroke except occasionally. I've paddled the boat, the Royalex version which tracks worse than yours, and I didn't notice a need to J. In fact, my complaint about the boat (as a paddler of true whitewater canoes) was that it tracked *too* well.
Posted by: Boo on Oct-03-12 12:32 AM (EST)
Have you looked at the Wilderness. From what you describe it may be a contender. ..if not the all out winner.
Posted by: rblturtle on Oct-03-12 7:04 AM (EST)
I have owned a Merlin II and currently own an Osprey. The Osprey definatly has more capicity and is more stable. It feels secure paddling sitting and it's seat is comfortable both sitting and kneeling. I don't have a dog,but have paddled ot a lot with my active grandaughter in front of me with no problem. It feels only slightly slower than the Merlin and turnes better,I more capible in moving water,but tracks a little less strongly. I have a preference for boats that are only as large as necessary to maximize paddling ease,low weight,and wind resistance.
Posted by: pblanc on Oct-03-12 8:17 AM (EST)
My experience with the Osprey is exactly the same as Turtle's. The Osprey feels significantly more stable than the Merlin II but is perhaps a tad slower when going all out. It is still very pleasant and efficient at typical cruising speed, however, and is a bit more nimble than the Merlin II. It paddles well both sitting and kneeling.
Wow! Thanks for responses re Merlin 2|
Posted by: wavetrain on Oct-03-12 9:18 AM (EST)
Thanks everyone for the responses! This is my first time to chat on paddling.net and I am amazed at the 3Q's of your responses: Quick, Quality, and Quantity! Thanks! I paddled a Royalex Wilderness and it didn't catch my fancy but not to say that a composite Wilderness wouldn't. Problem is I've lived most of my life in the Dallas area where you can test countless classy high price composites, but only if they are bicycles! I can only read about Swift Ospreys and Shearwaters, etc, etc. and drool. Especially helpful are comments from you guys that have owned boats I have owned alongside boats I haven't. My kevflex Rendezvous really does a combination of things quite well, but is just a tad heavy at 49lbs, hence the ongoing search by this life long addict. Question: I know what the term "sit and switch" means aka "hit and switch" and used to own a Beaver marathon tandem years ago. But what is the name of the one sided style? I seem to remember North American Touring Technique or Canadian or Freestyle used somewhat interchangeably and probably inaccurately by guys like me! Again, Thanks!
Posted by: pblanc on Oct-03-12 10:48 AM (EST)
North American touring technique is basically a hit and switch style. I hear the term most often applied to tandem teams in which the stern partner (who has a better line of sight regarding the heading of the boat) usually calls the switches, and both partners switch sides simultaneously, thus avoiding any correction strokes.
Traditional it is!|
Posted by: wavetrain on Oct-03-12 10:59 AM (EST)
Thanks pblanc for the clarification. With your memory jog I now remember Harry Robert's(?) usage of the term "North American Touring Technique" for sit and switch, and I had misused it in my previous post having not even thought about the term for many years. So,I paddle "traditional style" or as my biking friends would call me on my steel road bike, "Retro."
Posted by: rblturtle on Oct-03-12 11:18 AM (EST)
I have paddled a Shearwater,here are my observations;
Shearwater & Osprey|
Posted by: ness on Oct-07-12 10:12 AM (EST)
My husband and I own both boats. My husband paddles the Shearwater sitting, but I paddle it kneeling. Yes, it is large, but we are not small people, and we both like the boat. It's stable, easy to turn, easy to paddle seated, great for Adirondacks camping, pleasant to paddle, can put a dog in it, and it's lightweight to pick up. My boat is the Osprey, which I mainly paddle kneeling. The Osprey is extremely responsive. I don't think of it as a smaller Shearwater, and I usually paddle it kneeling, rather than seated.
As to your position in the boat|
Posted by: stevet on Oct-03-12 2:47 PM (EST)
you may try pulling just one leg out from the kneeling position and placing it forward to rest it. With the other knee still incontact with the hull it is a very stable position. When that leg/foot feels OK, switch. I think Canadians call it a "relief" position.
Posted by: CEWilson on Oct-05-12 1:22 PM (EST)
I'm curious about Wilderness's Rocker|
Posted by: guideboatguy on Oct-05-12 2:57 PM (EST)
Posted by: CEWilson on Oct-07-12 10:42 AM (EST)
A related observation|
Posted by: guideboatguy on Oct-09-12 10:12 PM (EST)
I noticed something similar about the Royalex Vagabond I used to own. It wasn't too maneuverable. Though I can't heel a canoe to the rail in any sort of confident manner, I've found that a "reasonable" amount of heeling will free the stems of a lot of canoes, but that wasn't true of the Vagabond. Wenonah canoes have straight-line taper between the ends and middle, which is very unlike most other brands which have a rounded taper. Thus, the effective zone of greatest width in the Vagabond is concentrated within a very small area, rather than spread out over a substantial portion of the boat's length. The reason the stems won't come free is because with the widest part of the boat concentrated within such a small area, leaning simply causes the widest part of the boat to bury itself deeply in the water. A boat with a more gradual transition from the wide center section to the narrower ends (due to curved taper rather than straight-line taper) does not sink as deeply as a Vagabond when leaned because the same displacement occurs with MUCH less draft. The overall result is that the main thing the Vagabond does well is go straight, and since the Wilderness appears to be an over-sized Vagabond, a heavy person in a Wilderness would likely find the same unresponsiveness to leaning that a small person finds with the Vagabond.
Posted by: nycmhandy on Oct-08-12 10:17 PM (EST)
In August I paddled a Swift Shearwater for four days, and I really liked it with a load of maybe 40 pounds (plus my 225). I paddled one years ago and didn't like it much -- I agreed with rblturtle's opinion that it was sluggish. This year's rental, though, was of an infused hull (I can't remember the name of the layup, but it was shimmery silvery gray). Due to an administrative error earlier in the day we arrived, AO had rented out the two solos we had reserved, so they had to borrow two all-but-new infused demos from the Swift factory next door. Lucky us! I don't know if it was weight or stiffness or small differences in shape, but the hull was fun to paddle. So there's one option for you: buy infused.
A Deal is in the works!|
Posted by: wavetrain on Oct-08-12 11:24 PM (EST)
To all who have given me such a great variety of responses to my question regarding solo canoes similar to "a larger Bell Merlin 2", be of good cheer! A deal is in the works! I hope to have a new solo within a couple of weeks or so and then paddle it and then post the results in a week or two. So be sure to check back here near the end of October when I will reveal my impressions of the chosen boat ... which is a (drum roll) ...
Bell Merlin 2|
Posted by: wavetrain on Oct-17-12 10:30 PM (EST)
I regret to report to all that the deal I had in the works did not work out. But the silver lining is that my continuing enjoyment in searching for that next great boat can continue. What a great sport!