-- Last Updated: Jan-17-12 12:58 PM EST --
I think if the Solo Plus will handle your heaviest load (but I don't know that it will), it would be a good choice. Otherwise - consider the Escapade.
I haven't paddled an Escapade - but I've paddled along side one that was paddled solo from the optional center seat, while we were tandem in the Malecite. Seemed to do pretty good with a pretty small paddler (with good technique), although we weren't racing.
I wouldn't worry about a lack of rocker unless I was on greater than class 1 rivers. Wind also makes it hard to control direction on a boat with much rocker, but you can "make" rocker when you need it for turning with a little boat lean - if your boat has good secondary stability. One of the most difficult times I've had in a canoe was soloing on a flat river with a lightly-loaded and moderately-rockered tandem going into a headwind.
For lakes, I'd want very little rocker - even if I might see waves. A little bow flare will help to ride over waves, but those two Wenonahs seem to be lacking in that (my impression from outside the boat - I may be wrong). If you have a Mad River dealer nearby, you might consider a Malecite - although a little slower, I think, than the Escapade (based on my limited side-by-side comparison)...it seems to have more flair, and can also be soloed okay in fair weather and flat water (and can be had with a third "solo" seat). I've had my Malecite tandem on some pretty big lake waves with no real trouble controlling it and no significant water coming in the boat.
If you decide you will be in places where some rocker is warranted, you could get an Aurora and learn to solo it "Canadian style". Bring some ballast if it might get windy. Having paddled neither boat but going on specs, I would probably take the Swift Keewaydin over the Aurora, unless price came strongly into play.
As I said to someone else recently - just about any good canoe can serve well as a fishing platform. Choose your canoe with the place you will use it and the load you will carry in mind. Fishing will be no problem.
edit to add: Balance will come natural to you after a little time in the boat. A canoe with good secondary stability may feel a little "tippy" at first, but will firm up as it is leaned - as long as you keep your head centered in the boat. You will develop "loose hips" after a while, and then hardly even notice the minor wiggling of the upright hull. I fish from a few different canoes that are either shallow-arch or shallow-vee. Standing a lot of the time. None feel unstable to me and I don't think much about it. Stick with shallow-arch and shallow-vee hulls and you won't go wrong. Flat bottoms feel good at first, but don't handle any rough water as well - and they are slower.
Just to give an idea where my perspective comes from....Canoes I've owned (in order of purchase)...Navarro Legacy, OT Camper, Wenonah Fisherman, OT Penobscot, NC Prospector, MR Malecite, Millbrook coho.
Deck Rigging Gear
Kayak & Canoe Outriggers
Canoe / Kayak Anchors
|Table of Contents|