View topic - Advice on my next canoe -- Splitrock, Osprey, Mist, Prism?

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PostPosted: October 31st, 2010, 2:04 am 
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Location: Nanaimo
I currently own a PBW Spitfire and a Wenonah Solo Plus. Love the Spitfire for small lakes, estuaries, ponds, marshes, etc. Have paddled the Rapidfire and love it, but not feeling like a trip stateside to pick one up, etc.

I'm on Vancouver Island and have local distributors for Clipper, Wenonah, Bluewater, and Old Town. Also Swift and Souris River will ship me a canoe.

I want a light (under 35 lbs if possible), fast, flatwater solo to replace my Solo Plus (which is 45 lbs). I'm willing to trade off some speed for sea worthiness in big waves, but I find, for example, the Rapidfire to be plenty sea worthy.

I paddle primarily with an Aleut double and straight shaft single. I like to sit most of the time, but enjoy kneeling on occasion. I don't plan to use this boat for any river running, etc. I like foot pegs or a foot bar.

I must store it outside so minimal maintenance is preferred, i.e. as little wood as possible.

I do very little tripping, mostly day trips with the odd three day excursion.

So my list is as follows: Splitrock, Osprey, Mist, Prism, Solitude, Tranquility, Packer. In that order at the moment, but it changes depending on my mood!

I've only paddled the Solitude from this list, but also have paddled a Rendezvous, Voyageur, and a NW Ultimate 12 along with a few kayaks and some tandems.

Questions:

Which one is closest to the Rapidfire?
Which one is most comfortable in big waves?
Which one should I buy?

Thanks, I appreciate any advice,

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PostPosted: October 31st, 2010, 7:37 pm 
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Prism does not handle big waves as well as Osprey. Rocker esp bow rocker really helps. RapidFire and SpitFife have quite a bit of rocker which makes it friendly in any sea coming from any quarter.

Osprey also has lots of bow flare which helps in wave handling. Its a decently quick boat. Shouldered tumblehome puts the width fairly high which makes rolling with the seas more predictable. Its nice to find another paddler propelling a Fire with an Aleut paddle.

However you might consider that when sitting a bent shaft provides more power and less lifting and pushing down of water over a straight.

You can always install a foot bar later.

I have not paddled the others


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PostPosted: November 1st, 2010, 10:57 am 
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Prospector. The only canoe I'll buy. Safety is topmost with me, but my Evergreen Prospector is also easy to paddle and turn. I wouldn't buy Evergreen again though, unless it came with different gunwales than those with sharp inside edge. Soloing a Prospector? Simply turn it end for end and sit facing forward in the bow seat. I spent two unwanted hours in four to five foot waves one time, and I was sure glad I was in a Prospector.

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PostPosted: November 1st, 2010, 11:37 am 
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I wish I could help you out with the Splitrock, Tranquility and Packer. But I've never paddled them. As a qualifier, I don't paddle with either a traditional inuit or a kayak stick. I paddle mainly with a carbon bent, or a cedar freestyle stick. I see alot of difference between the Osprey and the Mist, Prism and Solitude (which I don't think Wenonah builds anymore). The Osprey has alot wider spectrum of use. I see it as a do all kind of canoe. At 15 feet it'll track, you could do a week trip, and it has the flare and rocker for moderate whitewater. I wouldn't paddle the Wenonahs or the Mist in whitewater. The Mist is an old design from back when DY wasn't putting bow rocker in canoes. That makes it pretty hard tracking, and doesn't really add to the speed. The Wenonahs are built as essentially detuned race canoes built for folks who trip in BWCA. They can be pretty fast, but they require a reasonably strong motor to extract the speed. Nothing wrong with that... but they are obviously going to perform better in those conditions than say doing a river trip that involves running moderate whitewater.

You say you like to sit (but occasionally kneel). From my perspective the Osprey is a better paddling canoe when kneeling, but can be paddled sitting (especially if you lower the seat). The Prism, Solitude and Mist are essentially sitting canoes.

While I'll refrain from proclaiming any canoe better than another (that's usually done by someone who has only paddled in one canoe). I think that you really need to drag a couple canoes out with you into the water you regularly paddle. That's really the only way to avoid buying a canoe and realizing it's not gonna do what you want.

PK


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PostPosted: November 1st, 2010, 3:10 pm 
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I have paddled the SR Tranquility Solo a couple of times but both for a grand total of half an hour and that on calmish water so I cant comment on how it handles seas.

Its a straight line boat. It requires a lot of muscle to turn. Heeled it turns a little better but requires a lot of heel which people often do not want to do. Biomechanically heeling is risky when sitting.

What I have found is that mimimally rockered boats seem to be very hard to turn in wind for me especially in stern quartering winds or going from upwind to downwind.


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PostPosted: November 2nd, 2010, 1:09 am 
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LRC,

Thanks for the info about the Osprey, Tranquility, and Prism -- that confirms what I deduced from looking at the photos and specs.

I appreciate your comment that, "Biomechanically heeling is risky when sitting." That also confirms my experience and I had kind of ruled out the Advantage and Freedom on these grounds. I'll keep it in mind for the rest o the boats.

With regard to switching to a bent shaft, I have tried, and am afraid I just like the feel of a straight shaft too much. I tend to cross big water with my Aluet and switch to a single Iroquois style paddle when I want to enjoy a slow cruise along the shoreline.

PK,

Thank you for your insights on the Wenonah designed boats, and kneeling vs sitting. I hear you about trying them out, but unfortunately the local dealers here do not stock any solo canoes, except the Old Town Pack, which is a fine little pack canoe, but not what I'm looking for. Clipper (a 2 hour ferry and 2 hour drive from my house) does let you try out their boats, and I have considered going over to Vancouver to do just that. Trouble is, I'm leaning away from their boats towards some of the others.

Interestingly Clipper is now making the Jensen Solitude and it has been recommended to me by a local dealer who has paddled it. She is more of a kayak paddler, however, as most around here are, so I take the recommendation with a grain of salt. Fortunately my friend Paul has one and I have taken a reasonably good turn in it. His also is the Rendezvous I tried and that was what convinced me of the merits of some rocker. I did find the Rendezvous to be a little tedious on long straight stretches, where as the Wenonah "minimal rocker" boats scoot along without much effort going into steering.

I have not paddled, but watched a fellow paddle, an Autumn Mist and have to say it was a pretty boat, fairly fast, and pretty good in waves. I'm wondering how different the Bluewater Mist is from the genuine article. Any idea?

Whitewaternot,

Ah the prospector. I hear you regarding it's virtues, and I have looked with fondness on Clipper's little 14 foot prospector. I have this feeling, however, that it may compromise some of the speed I'm after.

I look forward to more advice, but at the moment I'm hearing some thumbs up for the Osprey. As you no doubt noticed, the Osprey is second on my list.

Sure which I knew someone who has paddled the Splitrock. It is such a unique design that it is very hard to know what to think of it. I will be speaking with the dealer this week about it, and he may have paddled it himself. He is a very experienced canoeist, so hopefully I will gain some sense from him about it.

Keep the comments coming folks, I want to hear as much about these boats as you are willing to offer.

Thanks!

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PostPosted: November 2nd, 2010, 7:34 am 
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Sabi, Ah, yes.... Clipper. I now recall seeing that. I never think of Clipper as we never see them here in the US midwest. I have a friend that paddles a Solitude. It's not truly my boat, but he paddles small twisty rivers in it. Based on my experience it's a better booat for smaller paddlers or without alot of gear. But it's pretty shallow, and sharp on entry. I don't see it being very dry in waves much taller than it's bow depth.

Bummer you can't get demos in the canoes you want. That seems to be a trait much less common these days at paddlesport retailers. I've fortunately had the luxury of paddling canoes for many decades and have taken the opportunity to paddle different canoes at a multitude of events. It's been really fun too.

I'm really sorry, that I can't better fill in the gaps. Unfortunately, I've not been out to BC in many years, and I've never been to Vancouver Island to see the water you paddle. I wish you the best of luck in your search.

PK


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PostPosted: November 2nd, 2010, 8:39 am 
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Hi,
I know it isn't currently on your list but since you are in BC, why not consider a Hellman? I have a Hellman Solitude and find it quite fast and quite versatile.
Ralph


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PostPosted: November 2nd, 2010, 10:58 am 
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Hi Ralph,

The Hellman Solitude is wider at the gunwales than my Solo Plus (it is 33 and my Solo Plus is 29), higher at the bow and stern, and has a dramatic rocker -- 2.5. And it also is shorter that the Solo Plus with a longer reach to the water.

So while I'm sure the Solitude is a good canoe, excellent for rivers and whitewater, I can't see it giving me what I want, which is a fast flatwater cruiser able to take me across larger lakes where I will potentially run into some larger waves.

Also, I met Mr. Hellman and have to say I didn't warm to him right away. A pity really as I grew up in the same town where the canoes are made and that would have been kind of neat to own a canoe from my hometown.

Lastly, I am a sucker for aesthetics, and I didn't find the Hellman canoes to excel as eye candy.

I think that is perhaps my Achilles heel. the photo of the Splitrock on the Bluewater website is mesmerizing. I almost start to drool looking at it. I just wish there were more photos of it online from different angles, etc.

Anyone out there have any?

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PostPosted: November 2nd, 2010, 11:08 am 
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PK,

I am envious of all my canoe friends back east who have so many choices and opportunities to try different hulls. Bell, for example, has no western dealers anywhere near me and many of the best boats are made by small shops without dealers. If you want a kayak around here, there are gazillions but the canoes are limited and the solos are almost non-existent.

I've attended a number of paddle fests over the years, hoping to find some solo boats, but I am always told that during the 80s they carried some, but that they "can't compete with kayaks" which I guess makes sense on an island surrounded by ocean. I have paddled kayaks, and frankly they are a lot of fun, but the freedom of a canoe, the unconfined nature, the ability to access camera and gear, the different paddling experience, all fit with my personality and needs.

Thank you for your input and information. I appreciate it very much.

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PostPosted: November 3rd, 2010, 4:56 pm 
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sabi wrote:
I think that is perhaps my Achilles heel. the photo of the Splitrock on the Bluewater website is mesmerizing. I almost start to drool looking at it. I just wish there were more photos of it online from different angles, etc.

Anyone out there have any?


It's funny how a pretty canoe ALWAYS paddles better than a fugly one ain't it? :rofl:

The Splitrock tickled my techno geek paddling fancy too but good luck finding any pics, I think they only make two or three hulls a year making them the rarest of any production canoe. I've seen more Swift Herons.

Though with your #1 & #2 choices being a Splitrock and Osprey that leaves a lot of middle ground to fill :rofl:
Can't really help you out much with choosing between the two other than pointing out the Osprey is the slowest of the bunch mentioned, which seemed important to you. But it is purty which gives it atleast another 0.5mph :D
Have you looked at the new Wenonah Canak? Atleast it might blend in better and not get you kicked out of "No Open Canoe" paddles.
Bell Magic, the reigning open water touring king?
Savage River Blackwater, just because?


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PostPosted: November 3rd, 2010, 7:49 pm 
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I regularly paddle an Osprey. I can tell you it tracks with ease, it's quick on the flats, and I lack river experience in it until next year I will be taking it out on some river trips instead of my NC Prospector.
One thing I will mention is the sitting, I kneel all the time in the Osprey because if I sit with my height the boat becomes quite unstable. I don't think I would tip because I will put my feet out in front of me and relax a bit but I do immediately notice the stability change. May I suggest a shearwater it's specs are slightly larger but it's quite stable sitting or kneeling and I know my Osprey fends of the waves crossing lakes, so I imagine the Shearwater will do the same with a little more comfort.
In the end I can't say enough about my Osprey, after my fall trip which has made me make the decision of taking on moving water in my Osprey, it's amazing what a streamlined canoe can really handle.
But I would consider the sitting vs. kneeling factor when you choose this boat!


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PostPosted: November 4th, 2010, 7:03 pm 
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Hi CLofchik,

I believe the Canak is a Prism hull with lower gunwales and a deck. I guess it is kind of a modern version of the Rob Roy, but it seems to me if I wanted a deck, I would go with a kayak. I guess the idea is that the tumblehome just keeps a tumblin, thus providing a very low paddling station and easy reach to the water. Not a bad idea. But that extra deck makes it a tad on the heavy side for me.

Bell Magic. On my dream list -- as in "you're dreaming Richard!" just because there are no dealers within 1,000 miles. Maybe Spokane? Not confirmed. Would dearly love to try one out though...

NewSolo,

Thanks for the insights re the Osprey. I find a lot of the solo's have higher seats than I like. One of the attractions of the "Autumn Mist" is the three height seat, but not sure Bluewater is carrying on that tradition of seat style. Does anyone know?

As for the Shearwater, it is pretty similar to my Solo Plus. Does had the rocker I'm looking for and would be lighter. I have heard tell it really was designed for tripping and hence likes a load. Is that true?

Thanks,

Richard

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PostPosted: November 4th, 2010, 7:21 pm 
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Seat heights. I wouldn't buy a boat simply because of its seat height. You can change the height of a seat very easily and change the position too. I only have one boat out of a bunch that has stock seat placements.

As for adjustable seats I have found that I dont tend to adjust them much once I have found a height I like. One reason for that is that they can be very difficult to change mid lake like the Argosy. So while I might like a change of height I seldom do and forget all about doing it when the boat is on land.


Magic is Rob Roy. Same waterline shape. Of course the top is different.

Compare the waterline widths of the Shearwater and the Solo Plus. It seems you are looking at the gunwale widths which is a measure of ease of paddling solo. However the waterline width is a measure of speed when the L/W ratio is figured out.

Its quite possible to paddle Shearwater empty and its a completely different boat than the Solo Plus. It doesnt "like a load" per se as its performance rating is 230-340 lb. Its a wide range there. When you start to get over that it becomes more barge like as do all canoes over their performance load.


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PostPosted: November 4th, 2010, 9:02 pm 
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Sabi,
That is a very, very nice picture of the Splitrock.
I've never met Mr. Hellman but he was very good to deal with in terms of discussing options and helping me make decisions and then delivering what I wanted.
Ralph


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