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  Short vs long
  Posted by: steve_in_idaho on Oct-21-13 1:35 PM (EST)

-- Last Updated: Oct-21-13 1:52 PM EST --

Seeing as how we seem to have dismissed the two boats in the OP....

If the majority of your time will be solo, a 16' tandem may frustrate you....unless you are very careful about *which* tandem. As has been stated above, a tandem paddled solo sits higher in the water than while tandem. If the boat has high sides (and especially high ends) to begin with, that presents so much area to the breeze that it will be a major handful to keep it pointed in the right direction or to hold a position in a stiff breeze. (Look at a 16' Nova Craft Prospector or the Old Town Camper for a fairly extreme example) You *can* reduce the problem considerably with added ballast - but then, of course, it takes a little more effort to get it moving.

Another way to counter that, is to pick a canoe with less shear (lower sides) and lower ends. The classic Mad River Malecite is one example, and it is a great boat for lake fishing. Still a good tandem for not-really-large paddlers.

I also agree with above sentiments that a 14' tandem may prove easier to solo - sort of. For a 14' canoe to be usable as a tandem, it needs to be wider and/or have higher sides for the needed weight capacity. Good example of this is the 14' Wenonah Fisherman. Tandems pretty well with trim-and-fit paddlers (even on some choppy class 1 river) and solos okay, while not presenting as much leverage for the wind to use against you.

The obvious (for the experienced) trade-off is as Charlie stated (edit: alluded to) - much less straight-line tracking tendency. What is not so obvious, unless you've tried one out, is that the 39"-wide canoe is considerably more awkward to pick up and shoulder for carrying than a 35-36" beam canoe of greater length but similar weight. Fortunately, it can be had in Kevlar - which may make up for that.

A good compromise, IMO, is the Wenonah Heron - with the caveat that I have owned and paddled all of the above mentioned canoes except except the Heron.

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