View topic - which solo boat/small tandem to buy?

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PostPosted: September 20th, 2018, 11:00 am 
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Location: Newmarket, Ontario Canada
So, after spending $1600 in rental fees on a sole boat in the last 12 month, I have decided that we need to buy. We LOVE :thumbup: our Swift Chicot ("Shee-coe"), it performs well in every aspect, except paddling solo unloaded or lightly loaded, and the thwart needs to be removed from behind the bow seat every time.

We have had a few - Mattawa, Kipawa, Keewaydin 15, Shearwater, Bob Special,, with the last 2 being our favourites. We have been watching re-sale for a year, and have not seen many of the last 2 come on sale. So while we figure out where we would put a 3rd boat, we are on the look out for other options.

My husband is now thinking that there area advantages to a smaller tandem such a Bob. "*See why below." I am thinking a 14' 0r 15" lightest weight Prospector anyone want to weigh in?
Having 2 seats means light and easy day tripping for us old folks, can use with the nephews ( small and light). Regular seat so I don't have to kneel all the time. Some in the family like to use a kayak paddle. Both track well but have some rocker so you are not flooded it you hit a swift or class one, and oxbow rivers are easier. Anything wrong with this logic?


*One of the issue we have had with the Shearwater is the standard solo problem of the removable yoke. When you rent, no matter how many times you tell them you have 10 days of portaging, totaling more distance than you are paddling, you end up with a yoke that doesn't (did YOU know that the Shearwater doesn't have a fitted, removable yoke, and that you have to use the Keewaydin yoke? that was what we were told when we complained at the end of our last trip!!!) fit and drives you crazy!

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PostPosted: September 20th, 2018, 11:50 am 
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Logic works for me, I'm looking for something like a Bob Special for the same reasons - good tandem for kids, good to solo, good day-tripper, and a 2nd canoe for trips as the kids grow and we don't squeeze into the big boat.

There's an old Royalex (Royalex Lite?) NC Bob Special rotting away on some canoe racks at a local yacht club - it's driving me nuts, but I can't find out who owns it. I've stuck a note on it, but they don't use it, so they won't see my note!

Thanks for mentioning other boats that are on your list in this class/size of canoe.

Pat.

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Last edited by yarnellboat on September 20th, 2018, 4:47 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: September 20th, 2018, 12:17 pm 
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Im working through the exact same problem. I looked pretty intently at a Swift Prospector 15 but didnt pull the trigger. I test paddled the 14, 15, and 16. The conditions were perfect flat water which had me leaning to the 16, with the 14 feeling too small.

If it had of been windy I think my tune might have changed to the 15.


When speaking with Swift they told me that next years solo's may have a removable yoke with a permanent click in feature similar to their new seats that can go on an upper or lower seat pod.


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PostPosted: September 20th, 2018, 12:46 pm 
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Hi Cheryl. I've paddled a Mattawa, Kipawa, and Kee15 and I own a Shearwater. I have not paddled a Bob.

Overall I'd ask you what you are really after. In my experience no tandem paddles like a solo...and of course tandems make the best tandems...although I know the Shearwater can take an extra person pretty easily as cargo...I've had a 60 pound dog plus a 70 pound 10 year old in mine.

I had my Shearwater out yesterday, driving upstream against some current with the dog. The Shearwater is almost as efficient as my hotter solo canoes and it's comfy with lots of room for the dog plus it can easily handle any waves or boats wakes that we encounter and as you say it maneuvers really well so it works great as a river boat. I would not be taking a 15 foot tandem out solo if I'm driving against a 2 knot current or if it was windy. For playing on ponds or floating downstream then a Bob and Shearwater are more comparable. I tend to conclude that if you want to experience solo canoeing then you need to get a solo canoe.

On the other hand small tandems are cool and fun for sure. My favorite small tandems for playing around solo are the Bell/Colden Starfire or the discontinued Swift Otter...and there are other choices out there. I also have a Northstar Polaris with three seats and it is quite a decent solo and actually cruises faster than the 15 foot small tandems...plus mine is super light, so I would not conclude that you need a small tandem to make sure it's light. Swift makes their Kee16 with three seats and you may like that boat although I prefer the Polaris. Regarding a 15 foot Prospector the only one I've tried is the Swift which is an odd one in that it only has an inch of rocker and I strongly disliked that boat both solo and tandem because it felt sluggish and also didn't turn that well. In general I'd expect a Prospector to cruise less efficiently than a Bob and dramatically less efficiently than a Shearwater.


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PostPosted: September 20th, 2018, 4:07 pm 
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Thanks, this is all good info. We found the same when we paddled the swift prospector. They were all sluggish. On the other hand we paddled the Bob for 10 days solo in both flat water, high winds (worst headwinds and waves I've been out in in 40 yrs), and down a river that had swifts, oxbows and shallows. My problem with the Bob is that I'm trying to lighten up, and I have yet to find one under 45 lb.

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PostPosted: September 21st, 2018, 8:45 am 
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Swift's Keewaydin 16 weighs in at 33 pounds... Charlie Wilson likes it, paddles one solo.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lqoiQPgGKVE

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PostPosted: September 21st, 2018, 2:13 pm 
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This is my first post (hello all!), but was perusing kijiji and found this Bob 15' :

https://www.kijiji.ca/v-canoe-kayak-pad ... nFlag=true


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PostPosted: September 21st, 2018, 3:43 pm 
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Corbeau wrote:
This is my first post (hello all!), but was perusing kijiji and found this Bob 15' :


Welcome aboard. Nice canoe at a nice price but about 25lbs heavier than the OP is looking for I think.


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PostPosted: September 21st, 2018, 7:51 pm 
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frozentripper wrote:
Swift's Keewaydin 16 weighs in at 33 pounds... Charlie Wilson likes it, paddles one solo.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lqoiQPgGKVE

Only for the ad.. He way prefers paddling and trussing up a solo pork roast or his beloved Nakoma. In his stable of solos the Kee 16 is not present at the boatbarn on Lower Saranac.

The Kee can be paddled solo if you are OK with kneeling.. .I just got one of CEW s ex boats a tandem and there are knee pads everywhere. Including the solo kneeling thwart.


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PostPosted: September 22nd, 2018, 8:45 am 
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The Kee 16 Combi is the model with three seats that they say is available for comfortable solo/tandem use for part-time kneelers. I'll bet that the third seat could be made removable without too much trouble and a decent yoke added in as well, also easily removable.

http://www.swiftcanoe.com/keewaydin-16-combi

I don't think the true connoisseur would be satisfied with this general-purpose choice and only a real solo will do for those who really want to solo. Like guitar solos everybody has their favorite.

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PostPosted: September 22nd, 2018, 11:45 am 
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littleredcanoe wrote:
The Kee can be paddled solo if you are OK with kneeling.. .I just got one of CEW s ex boats a tandem and there are knee pads everywhere. Including the solo kneeling thwart.


Why “If you are OK with kneeling”?

The dimensions of the Kee 16 hit right around my sweet spot for a big boy, big load solo tripper, but unless I wander into rapids above my seated comfort level, a kneeler I am not.

FWIW my favorite big boy gear hauler is still the soloized Penobscot 16; the Kee16 is only 2” shorter, 2” narrower at the gunwales (or less, I drew the Penobscot in a bit after all the seats and thwarts were out), sameish waterline, sameish depth. But my RX Penobsot weighs 60+ lbs (outfitting, utility sail thwart, truss drops, damned kevlar felt skid plates). Even an aluminum trimmed kev or kev fusion Kee16 would drop 10 to 20 lbs.

A friend whose solo tripping hull dimensions are similar to mine is seriously considering a Kee16, possibly the combi but more likely a custom (factory?) outfitted solo, with a single center seat at his preferred placement.

If he pulls the trigger on that boat, and I suspect he will, I’ll be psyched to try his before I more seriously contemplate buying.

Hell, the CCS partial spray covers on the Penobscot should fit.


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PostPosted: September 22nd, 2018, 6:47 pm 
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Charlie is kneeling.. The boat is fitted with a kneeling thwart which he insists on in all tandems. Its way too wide to sit in a seat even when slid over and get a vertical paddle stroke. Charlie is five eight and shrinking all 150 lbs so he is not a big boy.

Solos must fit the paddler. Unless Cheryl is six feet tal with ape arms the Kee or the Shearwater is a poor solo fit.

The object is a vertical stroke. The penalty for a non vertical stroke is you do sweeps for power and have to correct with more J's , It is possible with a properly fit solo that allows cab forward strokes to almost never do a J nor resort to double blades.

Combis are often a very sad compromise. They do nothing well.. You need to be big to solo it. You need to be small to fit in one of the paddling stations when tandem.

Bonne chance.


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PostPosted: September 23rd, 2018, 8:52 am 
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Here is a smaller guy paddling a larger canoe that may be the one described as "sluggish"... I'd be happy in it since it allows one to lie down in the bottom and watch the clouds overhead. And do photography which this particular paddler did a lot of. And carry piles and piles of gear which I know Mike does. You don't need to see the whole thing, the first few minutes will do... a simpler time, I think.

https://www.nfb.ca/film/path_of_the_paddle_solo_basic/

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PostPosted: September 23rd, 2018, 2:19 pm 
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LRC, I think you nailed it on the head. We are both in the 5'2-5'7 range. Just got to fight my husband on it. We just took out royalex boat in to see if the bottom can e repaired- we have worn it through (but not to the foam core) over the last years. It may end up being our second tandem boat, but at 100 lb, not for tripping, just for day trips. That would mean getting a solo AND a new MW boat ($$$ :cry: ), as well as having to build a shelter for them, as all these boats plus MW kayak are NOT going to fit int the garage!

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PostPosted: September 24th, 2018, 10:12 am 
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I've got to get a storage rack built before the snow flies too... and now I've got a new-to-me boat to put on it!

Fitting with this discussion, on the weekend I filled this gap in our fleet found us a <14' tandem that will suit my needs for a kids tandem, 2nd tandem, and solo tripper. It's an appealing little mini canoe. It's fiberglass and is not light, but it's so compact and cute it feels light. Its lines favour it being a mini tandem over a dedicated solo, no question, but it should still solo much better than my other options (a ww boat or an 18' boat).

I'll post some info & photos in a separate thread to see what anyone might be able to tell me about the hull, it has no markings, I just trusted my eye on it.

P.

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It's easy to learn the basics, but will you be understood in a strong wind?


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