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  Windy Lake Solo Advice
  Posted by: kungfufishing on May-04-14 11:26 PM (EST)
   Category: Canoes 

-- Last Updated: May-04-14 11:34 PM EST --

I am lucky enough to live 2 minutes from a small lake. I love to paddle. Also love to fish. Problem is that the lake is routinely windy, lots of 15-20 mph days and whitecaps and waves.

My current solo is a Wenonah sandpiper. I like it because it is fairly light - pitch on truck, plop in lake, go. However, as my paddling ability has improved, I have started looking for something a little faster that tracks better. The sandpiper feels small. Also have two sons, 4 and 2, and want to take one along (headed for tandem, just ot yet). I am also tiring of fighting the wind.

I single blade, C or J, kneel to travel and sit to fish. 5'10, 175 lbs. There are no canoe dealers nearby, other than a wenonah dealer a couple hours away.

I've found an old Bell Rob Roy 15 in fiberlar for 500 bucks. I'm interested because it might solve my windage and speed issues...but I'd be on the bottom of the boat and it weighs 50 pounds. Anything come to mind that might be better? Cover the sandpiper? Canak? Empty my wallet on something else? Help me pick out a boat, please.

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Messages in this Topic


  A less-conventional idea
  Posted by: Guideboatguy on May-05-14 12:01 AM (EST)
-- Last Updated: May-05-14 12:06 AM EST --

You could outfit a canoe for rowing, or "empty your wallet" and get a proper rowboat. I love canoes, but when it comes to windy lakes and solo canoes, solo paddling just doesn't hold a candle to rowing.

Canoes can be a little tough to set up for rowing because at least one of the thwarts is bound to be in the way, and most solo canoes are a bit too narrow for proper use of oars unless you use outriggers (that's more junk to deal with and more weight). Ideally, you'd mount the seat quite low so that the oars could be mounted at gunwale height (right on the gunwales if the boat is as wide as a typical tandem) and that would have the added benefit of making big waves a lot easier to handle.

Otherwise, there are lots of solo canoes that will be a step up from your Sandpiper. I am pretty certain that someone will recommend the old Bell Magic, and my Merlin II is pretty nice in wind as solo canoes go, though personally I don't think it's all that great in steep waves. Overall however, I'm not much of an expert on which models would be good in your situation, since in that situation I'll always opt for a rowboat instead.

Then, there's always the blue-collar option: a standard 12- or 14-foot fishing boat. You can cartop a 12-footer pretty easily if you set up your rack with loading in mind. Of course, if you go that route, it may not be long until you are shopping for electric motors. That's a whole different category of boat.

  canoe for now
  Posted by: kungfufishing on May-05-14 12:18 AM (EST)
Thanks for the reply! For now, I'm stuck on trying to make this work in a canoe. I do see that this could be a little asinine. I've been paddling off and on since I was a kid, and find it relaxing in a way that only fishing and hiking/camping match.
  It's okay to focus on the canoe idea
  Posted by: Guideboatguy on May-05-14 12:56 AM (EST)
The rowing idea is from a guy (me) who would be in a world of hurt if he were forced to give up rowing OR paddling. For being so different in mechanics, they are remarkably compatible as far as the mood that goes with them.

There will be canoe suggestions popping up soon.
  Posted by: rblturtle on May-05-14 6:09 AM (EST)
One of the canoes I currently own is a Hemlock Kestrel. It is the most wind resistant canoe I have ever paddled and firm tracking. My go to lake boat.
  My view on this
  Posted by: rpg51 on May-05-14 6:49 AM (EST)
-- Last Updated: May-05-14 6:53 AM EST --

is that unless you paddle a heavier boat you will not solve the problem. A heavier boat is less affected by wind and waves. A heavier boat is much easier to handle and much more enjoyable to paddle in the conditions you describe. I recommend either wood canvas, cedar stripper in heavy layup, fiberglass in a heavy layup or perhaps simply loading up your canoe to get it down into the water and to minimize the impact of the wind. The speed issue is another matter and has to do with hull shape - certainly the materials I mention above are available in a wide variety of hull shapes some faster than others. But my sense is that you are more focused on ease of paddling and control than speed give the type of use you are describing. Not sure how the speed issue factors into your thinking.

  Another thought
  Posted by: yatipope on May-05-14 8:15 AM (EST)
The conditions you are experiencing would suggest you want something with low freeboard to catch less wind BUT at the same time whitecaps and waves potentially getting water in the boat would demand more freeboard. Then you want something fast but this usually means a narrow hull, not something best for kids and camping. Someone suggested loading your canoe with some extra wieght when you are paddling solo but that counters your desire for speed. My friend you are gonna have to comprimise somewhere but I have a suggestion that some will claim as blasphemy in canoe purist circles. Find a well made canoe that has a keel. For purely lake travel where wind is a concern, it will help keep your canoe steady oncourse. Another option is a canoe like most Mad River models which are made with a shallow V hull. It has some feel of a keel and counteracts the wind effect a little better than a flat or arched bottem.
  according to Archimedes
  Posted by: kayamedic on May-05-14 8:50 AM (EST)
a boat heavier by thirty lbs displaces how much more water? And hence sinks how much lower? A quarter of an inch.
In reality.. the wind resistance is not appreciably less.

Get a cover. It does help.. I use a cover on a 23 lb RapidFire on Lake Superior. If that aint windy with heavy seas, nothing is.
  True -
  Posted by: rpg51 on May-05-14 6:15 PM (EST)
but a light boat moves more in response to wind.
  Posted by: kayamedic on May-05-14 9:15 PM (EST)
Not in the overall scheme of things. You'd be correct if I weighed 23 lbs.

Only in my dreams. My body influence is way bigger than the weight of the boat.

Once upon a time I flipped a UL Wenonah 18.5 footer three miles off shore Long Island Sound . I also blamed it on the light layup.

Then a boat designer got a hold of me and corrected my beliefs. Its skin area. Not weight of boat.
  HA!...either one improves a LOT or you
  Posted by: bigspencer on May-05-14 10:20 AM (EST)
-- Last Updated: May-05-14 10:27 AM EST --

develop your swimming skills a LOT with the Sandpiper. I loved a Magic and the venerable Penobscot_16. Since you've stayed alive try a Prism(Wenonah)= seems like it can certainly hold a good line. I'm dying to try a Peregrine(Hemlock)..Swift's new K15 & Osprey...and other's boats(Colden, Placid)...whatever Ted Bell is working on...

  Sacrilege! (rudder?)
  Posted by: mcimes on May-05-14 11:37 AM (EST)
I am going to put a rudder on my solo for this exact situation. I can competently paddle in a strong wind, but honestly, its not that fun just trying to fight to keep a line. I am going to buy a rudder system for around $150 and call it a day. Ill make it semi-easily removable so I can take it off it for races. I just bought a double blade paddle for some muscle cross training, but found it hard to control the boat on twisty rivers. That is another situation where a rudder will be nice.

Im a big fan of the Wenonah Advantage. Its a decent 'all arounder' boat. Not too long or short, its big enough to carry a load but not huge, it goes pretty fast...a good combo boat. Savage River also has a couple solos that I would like, although they're hard to find on the used market.
  Posted by: thegoose on May-05-14 11:54 AM (EST)
-- Last Updated: May-05-14 12:01 PM EST --

there is a pretty cool whitewater segment at the 46 minute mark

  Posted by: davbart on May-05-14 3:03 PM (EST)
I have Mason's books, but had never seen that movie. I enjoyed it, especially the Lake Superior paddling. Talk about winds and waves!!
  that only seems crazy
  Posted by: slushpaddler on May-12-14 10:15 AM (EST)
-- Last Updated: May-12-14 10:15 AM EST --

until one realizes that Powers of the Wind paddled Superior from Munising to MN and back in a canoe.

OK, it still seems crazy.

  Buy a kayak
  Posted by: seadart on May-05-14 12:40 PM (EST)
  Rob Roy
  Posted by: kungfufishing on May-05-14 12:54 PM (EST)
Thanks for the replies. When I say "faster", I mean "faster than my 13'6" sandpiper. Not hard to come by. I may give this Rob Roy a try. A Yost design, apparently a scaled magic hull, and at $500, not far above the price of a Cooke cover for my current canoe.

  Lakes, Wind and Paddling
  Posted by: TommyC1 on May-05-14 1:07 PM (EST)
-- Last Updated: May-06-14 9:22 AM EST --

If you can tolerate the seating, a longer narrower kayak with a good skirt is hard to beat. I'd include the Bell Rob Roy in that.

If you are like me and require something that you can kneel in, or want to stay in an open boat, then you have to balance the wave shedding vs windage of a higher shear line.

My current Lakes and Wind boat is a Bell Magic. I like it a lot. I've happily paddled a Hemlock Peregrine (the Kestrels bigger brother) in similar conditions. At 200 lbs I think the Kestrel might be too small for me. My Swift Osprey is good out there too. But it does not care too much for following seas.

If you go with a tandem you may well consider adding some ballast on windy days. I'd be looking to add 50 - 100 lbs to most tandems if I planned to solo those in the wind. If I was not hauling a weeks worth of gear I'd use water ballast because it won't sink your boat if you swamp. I've done that successfully in a Mad River Explorer but there are many faster tandems to consider.

  Kneeling, straight stick, good beginning
  Posted by: ezwater on May-05-14 2:45 PM (EST)
If you were in Atlanta, I would have you over to Stone Mountain Lake, get your boat trimmed level, and show you how to paddle "cab forward" with only occasional need for a C or J correction. The boat will track better, and you'll get more out of your effort when paddling in windy conditions.

And it does help to be able to shift some weight, yours or cargo, forward or back in windy conditions. Not permanently, though. Level trim works best most of the time. A tiny bit bow down can help your canoe go into the wind. A little bit stern down can help with following wind. The rest is just an annoying struggle.
  SoloPlus or NorthStar
  Posted by: birren on May-05-14 3:46 PM (EST)
I recommend you get either a Wenonah SoloPlus or a Bell NorthStar. Here's why:

The SoloPlus is 16'6" and is set up with three seats. It goes well as a high-capacity solo, or you could take your kids along in the bow and stern seats. It doesn't go so well as a tandem with two adults, but that isn't your situation. Also, the SoloPlus tracks fairly well (about a 7 out of 10) but turns somewhat stiffly (about a 3 or 4). I had one for several years and traded for a Prism (also 16'6" but a hard-tracking tripping boat).

The MorningStar is also 16'6" and is set up as a tandem. All of its layups except the all-kevlar one are set up with a kneeling thwart, which you can replace with a regular cane seat. It's a good solo tripping boat and handles nicely loaded, too, provided there isn't too much wind. It handles two adults and a week's worth of gear with no problem. Tracks well and maneuvers well, too. I've used mine solo in the Boundary Waters and tandem on small streams.

For rowing - something I've done and recommend - I suggest looking at the rigs available through Spring Creek Outfitters:
  I've been reading "The Last Voyageur",
  Posted by: ezwater on May-05-14 4:39 PM (EST)
Vince Welch's account of Amos Burg's exploration of western rivers. Whenever portages were likely, Burg favored canoes and propelled them by rowing. At one point he settled on a Chestnut Prospector 17' and fitted it for rowing. Rowing allowed him to make better progress on wavy lakes and open rivers. When portages were not an issue, he used early versions of river dories.

I have a bit of trouble empathising with his rowing experience because almost the only rig I've used is the sliding seat competition single scull, not an expedition load carrier. Some who start with Spring Creek may graduate to rowing rigs derived from Adirondack or similar experience.

If the OP is going to be almost always on his local lake, then a rowing rig might allow him to increase his days fishing.
  Good read
  Posted by: davbart on May-05-14 4:51 PM (EST)
I thought the biggest reason for his use of a rowing rig was because all he had available were large tandems, and sitting in the middle while rowing made it easier to handle in all conditions.
  The Chestnut Prospector he loved was
  Posted by: ezwater on May-06-14 9:33 AM (EST)
just normal width and when loaded with gear, it would have allowed him to slide toward either side for a more comfortable stroke.

I think rowing was viewed as more effective for open water and fewer portages. I don't like fixed seat, back humping rowing myself, and I recall reading that Burg got a real bad sore back after a long slogging session against wind and current. Long summer days up there made for much work and little play.

I recall getting extremely sore back muscles in my first season of crew/rowing. Probably bad technique, trying to throw my back back instead of using my legs. For a couple of days it was a struggle to walk. Never happened after that, I get spasms but not overall strain.
  Solo plus is a beast in the wind with a
  Posted by: Yanoer on May-05-14 10:08 PM (EST)
load. I will not make that mistake again.

My Sandpiper is way less effected by wind than my Solo Plus.
  Isn't Morningstar 15' 6"? Wouldn't
  Posted by: ezwater on May-05-14 11:31 PM (EST)
affect your recommendation, but at 15.5 feet it is one of the shortest *quality* pocket tandems around.

Starfire would be more fun but less utilitarian.
  Rudder is best wind weapon
  Posted by: Glenn_MacGrady on May-06-14 12:38 AM (EST)
If this is a Sandpiper, it doesn't look like an ideal wind solo:

Wind weapons:

- Single-sided correction stroking. This is doable, but you need really good correction technique, an understanding of and ability to perform ballast shifting, and even then it will be very tiring.

- Minnesota switch paddling. Get a properly sized bent shaft and practice your switch technique. This should be less tiring and more efficient than single sided correction stroking.

- Use a double blade. This won't solve all wind problems, and may require you to go to confession more often.

- Get a ruddered canoe. A rudder is by far the best wind weapon. Since you have to control a canoe rudder with your feet, this will require you to paddle seated and not kneeling. That may be acceptable to many paddlers. A decked canoe with rudder will be the most wind-resistant canoe, but I don't know if there are tandem versions. A Pacific Ocean outrigger canoe, which I have, is also a ruddered canoe, but it is very limited in capacity to carry gear.
  Most of my paddling is on windy lakes
  Posted by: kayamedic on May-06-14 9:00 AM (EST)
the longer and narrower the better.
The less correction strokes you make the better. Its quite a waste of energy to do J strokes because of friction loss and loss of higher cadence.

The narrower the boat the better chance you have of a vertical sit and switch ( Minnesota) stroke. Any sweep is a waste of energy and for that reason I just shake my head at any advice for a tandem. Unless you are seven feet tall and long armed they simply waste energy. Your size and height and arm length is as important as the specific boat.

Paddling is a boat body connection which is all too often forgotten.

Boats that fit me include the Peregrine, Nomad, Heron, RapidFire, and Monarch. The Monarch is a little big(wide) but with the rudder I can trim so I sit a little over and never have to do a J or a C nor switch.

Work on a good cab forward hit and switch stroke..

My lab is Lake Superior and the Gulf of Mexico among others though the Green is next up in Utah (famous for headwinds)

Don't forget the spray cover. For small paddlers the Sandpiper is fine because its got less skin and less skin friction.

I think working on technique will pay off better than looking to buy a new miracle.
  Been there- My two cents.
  Posted by: WeeHooker on May-08-14 11:03 AM (EST)
Having family property on the North end of a 550acre lake that typicly blows 10-15 out of the SW near daily, I know your issues with canoeing. Trying to fish from a canoe under those same conditions (which is what I do) can make it even worse.

Here is what i've learned. It may. may not be of use to you based on your likes/dislikes.

1)For fishing, and getting to the fishing in the wind , it's hard to beat a decent Recreational style kayak. The wind tends to go over vs into the boat thus causing less efect. Especially important when trying to fish while drifting. My prefference is the WS pungo 140 or Native ultimate 12/14 but there are others. ( The ultimate is a yak/canoe hybred which is more comfortable than most yaks for fishing.) Just look for something in a the 12-14' range ( no smaller!) with a large sit in cockpit and 28-30" beam. i personally preffer sit in type witha mini skirt as they are drier, lighter and faster than their like sized SOT cousins.
2) Useing the same ( 230cm min) double blade yak type paddle on any canoe halps maintain control in the wind. In a canoe, once the wind gets you weathercocking (or just plain spun around) you'll spend allot of energy fighting to get straight with the single paddle. The double paddle can keep you from turning in the first place. Try it on your current canoe ans see.
3) if you insist on a canoe for your application pick one with low stems and a keel. When possable, use a symetrical tandom canoe and paddle it backwards witha 5 gal bucket of water in the "bow" to help keep that keel in the water.Shouldn't be too hard to hunt up a Mad River or Old Town roylex canoe 9 or decent rec yak) for under $500 in your regional classifieds.

  Tandem vs solo
  Posted by: Guideboatguy on May-08-14 11:11 AM (EST)
-- Last Updated: May-08-14 11:19 AM EST --

For paddling in strong wind, I would avoid any and all tandem canoes if there's any chance of using a solo canoe instead. The difference between a solo and a tandem is quite huge right from the start, and only becomes more extreme when the wind blows.

The idea of a rec kayak has some merit, but the Rob Roy canoe already being considered by the OP would be similar except for being of much higher quality, but the OP has already expressed a dislike for sitting that low in a boat.

  Keels have purpose
  Posted by: yatipope on May-08-14 11:12 AM (EST)
I am glad someone else here is not afraid to recommend a keel for this particular purpose. They DO have a useful purpose which is precisely the case with the OP. I do on not own a canoe witha keel and haven't in many years but they can be useful.. The boat that comes to mind is an Old Town 146k made back inthe 90's and pretty common. I owned one and it had a keel and low freeboard but waz beamy.
  personal experience
  Posted by: rblturtle on May-09-14 5:50 AM (EST)
My wife and I were paddling across Round lake in the ADKs diagonal to a following wind. I was in my Swift Osprey, she in my Kestrel. I was ahead and concerned about her as I was struggling to keep straight. I looked back and she was having no problem. I dislike my Kestrel on a twisty channel because it doesn't like to turn, but in the wind ,if the waves aren't too high, It's great.
  if fishing, other than trolling..are you
  Posted by: bigspencer on May-08-14 11:55 AM (EST)
-- Last Updated: May-08-14 12:18 PM EST --

really going to be out near the center of a lake?..anchored? If you're going to fish while're going to want something with a little more volume than your Sandpiper. I've really enjoyed paddling it, but a little more volume and firmer stability, when heeled, makes a canoe much easier to paddle. Paddling AND fishing with whitecaps is usually non-productive anyways..either paddling or fishing, but those days can indeed be fun when you ditch your gear and simply paddle within an easy swim to shore. Fishing wherever successfully requires a little planning to your travel route for the particular lake/pond. I don't know where your lakes are and how large(& deep) they are...but usually it's much easier(as others can verify) if you paddle out of the wind as much as possible to get to intended area, even if its the longer, round-about might make the canoe decision a little easier... Agree the Rob Roy looks good..

  Thanks, everyone
  Posted by: kungfufishing on May-11-14 12:08 PM (EST)
I appreciate the replies and discussion. If I were nearer to a region where canoeing was more common, the woud be easier, as I could just test paddle. The rob roy leaked.

My preference is to single blade from a slightly forward canted seat or kneel. I think some of my post was initially unclear. I paddle just to paddle in addition to fishing. Both are small addictions. I'm looking for a solo only. I work nights and have the two small children, so if I pass up a chance to paddle or fish every windy day that I'm off and diurnal, won't do much of either.

I'm looking for the best compromise for my wants -

-fast enough to be fun and get me to a fishing spot while the kids nap

- as unaffected by the wind as I can get in context of my other wants.

- tracking favored a little, although I can make a canoe go
straight. There are lots of submerged logs I need to avoid. So straight tracking but not on rails boat.

- open to canoe and cover, but that adds 500 bucks.

I don't think the boat is going to fix my golf swing, so to speak - I get it, paddling skill helps. I Work on it every time I'm awake,the lake is doable, and i have a minute free. However, I'm still looking for another solo boat, so I think finding the best one for my circumstance is a great idea, unless I'm unwittingly paddling it now, which I doubt.

Magic + cover (add $450 cooke and $450 KAS)
Rapid + cover (sounds awesome. Shipped 4 grand).
Prism with cover
Something else?
Great find on used canoe?

  Maybe used Bell Merlin II?
  Posted by: Yanoer on May-11-14 1:14 PM (EST)
Straighter tracking and roomier than the Sandpiper, but still has relatively low sheer line to help resist wind, paddles nicely while kneeling and maneuvers nicely when heeled.

My Sandpiper is definitely more maneuverable than my Merlin II.
  Merlin II
  Posted by: kungfufishing on May-11-14 8:02 PM (EST)
This is a boat I keep looking for but can't find for sale. Does sound like it might work. Would you fish from yours?
  Magic is a great boat
  Posted by: davbart on May-11-14 3:34 PM (EST)
However, you might have to do some changes, my seat isn't canted and there is no way I can fit my feet under the seat.
  canak vs cover
  Posted by: kungfufishing on May-11-14 9:09 PM (EST)
Well, I'm not a full time kneeler, although I like he sense of control, connection, and stability. However, I think some of this preference is shaped by paddling the sandpiper in wind and waves. Paddle a ways, stop to cast, get blown somewhere, reel up my line, pitch fishing rod behind me as the canoe starts to list, push off and paddle before I get tipped over by the submerged log I just got blown onto, repeat. On paper, I can't tell why I think that is fun...but I keep going back.

Not fishing makes it a whole lot simpler, then I'm just canoeing in the wind without a distraction or break in the momentum.

Have any of you paddled or owned a Canak? I see the point that it lacks the full on advantages of a canoe or kayak, but I wonder if for my specific niche it might be a good choice. Or, for those of you who have experience with spray covers, do you think a solo like a magic or a prism with a cover would work well enough in the wind that the canak isnt worth the compromises?

I bet I'd love a rapidfire with a cover, and I'm accepting donations towards this noble goal.

  DIY wind cover
  Posted by: paddlingpika on May-12-14 2:26 PM (EST)
A cover for shedding wind rather than water doesn't need to be quite as secure or shaped quite as precisely as one that will be subjected to waves washing over the bow or torrential downpours. I suppose a cover would interfere with access to fishing gear so that could present some design challenges, but how about making a homemade wind cover for your sandpiper while you are waiting to accumulate savings or find the deal of a lifetime to get your dream boat?

I made bow and stern wind covers for my wenonah voyager that use slices of PVC pipe with a slit cut as clamps to hold the cover on. Several other versions of homemade wind covers have been discussed on pnet.
  Posted by: kungfufishing on May-12-14 3:00 PM (EST)
I had started looking into just that. Like the PVC idea.


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