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 Post subject: Solo for Superior
PostPosted: October 31st, 2021, 1:21 pm 
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Joined: March 10th, 2014, 5:10 pm
Posts: 198
Hi Everyone,

I’ve done a bit of Great Lakes paddling but not a lot. Focused on semi protected areas - like the North Channel of Lake Huron. I recently bought an Osprey which I am very happy with but I don’t see myself taking it on larger bodies of water.

I am considering selling my Shearwater but am thinking that I should figure out a boat for Huron/ Superior first. I’m open to a tandem as an option for soloing too.

What do those of you who solo larger bodies regularly have to share on the topic?


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 Post subject: Re: Solo for Superior
PostPosted: October 31st, 2021, 4:22 pm 
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Joined: April 6th, 2007, 8:42 pm
Posts: 451
Hi Christine,
I've solo paddled tandems on Georgian Bay and while it was fine, it's not the approach I prefer for big waters along coastlines. I use folding kayaks, old solo-ized German and English skin-on-frame boats that come with certain advantages and, of course, some disadvantages. I like that they carry big loads, can be single-bladed with the seat inflated higher, and double-bladed when it's hairier and I want to be low and stable. Those boats are not as fast as hard-shell kayaks, but ride rough water smoothly and quietly. I usually paddle them with open cockpits but they do have spray skirts which have seen very little action. Anyway, folding kayaks are what I paddle in big water, nonetheless, they're not the most practical choice for most paddlers.
I've never paddled my Osprey in the Great Lakes but could and would paddle it ahead of soloing in my tandem boats. Headwinds are inevitable, and the Osprey performs well in them, tandems less well. I don't love the Osprey so much in heavy following seas. I've not paddled a Shearwater, but everyone I've met who does seems to really like them, though I believe they're known as being better suited for larger paddlers with big loads. That said, I suspect it would be a good choice for big-load coastal-type trips even with a small paddler.


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 Post subject: Re: Solo for Superior
PostPosted: October 31st, 2021, 6:51 pm 
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Thanks Martin. Yeah, I have paddled my Shearwater on Huron in reasonably rolling seas. I felt good in it. So I’m debating if I should keep it for that.


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 Post subject: Re: Solo for Superior
PostPosted: October 31st, 2021, 6:52 pm 
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Oh and I’m not that small. I weigh 190ish pounds.


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 Post subject: Re: Solo for Superior
PostPosted: October 31st, 2021, 8:25 pm 
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I don't think you will find many canoes better than your Shearwater for what you intend. Maybe a Hemlock SRT? I'd be inclined to use a spray cover as well.

GG

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 Post subject: Re: Solo for Superior
PostPosted: November 1st, 2021, 5:40 am 
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Joined: August 27th, 2002, 7:00 pm
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Location: Geraldton, Ontario Can
Since you seem to like the Winter's designs, the Raven would work for you too. It's very large, has a fair amount of rocker. I found it to be very good in large waves.


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 Post subject: Re: Solo for Superior
PostPosted: November 1st, 2021, 9:25 am 
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The Raven is unfortunately a sea slug. I paddled mine once on the Gulf of Mexico. That body of water is hardly tame all the time. I had been stuck on Mormon Key with the advance of a cold front that brought 40 mph winds and three to four foot breaking seas. I went for the final leg at three am when the waves were down a bit. It took five hours to go ten miles. The seas rebuilt and I didn't ship a drop but boy it was a slog into a quartering wind.

I have also taken the RapidFire ( pack canoe) onto Superior for several days and found it able with a splash cover. However it is more kayak like sitting on the bottom.

I am partial to my Mad River Monarch.. a very seaworthy decked canoe on the large side for sure. Done several big water trips with it on Superior and the Gulf and of course off the coast of Maine at home. Larger is better with the caveat that you don't want too much windage though if you are like me with a canoe we get conservative and paddle early and when the whitecaps come seek shelter( it never gets better that day). Personally I would avoid heavily rockered designs.

The Shearwater you have ought to be fine. If you can get a spray deck.. It helps with windage.


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 Post subject: Re: Solo for Superior
PostPosted: November 1st, 2021, 10:10 am 
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I just read the post "Salish Sea" by boat_mouse, he seems to have a good system for paddling big ocean water and wondered if it might be appropriate for big lakes?

https://www.myccr.com/phpbbforum/viewto ... 06&t=49020


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 Post subject: Re: Solo for Superior
PostPosted: November 1st, 2021, 2:13 pm 
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I would say yes to that Ralph, longer canoes bridge the waves better, and can often run flatter and faster on seas that would have a smaller canoe running up and down the waves. That said, little canoes are like bobbing-corks, they aren't nearly as wind-prone, much easier to paddle, and can be on the water long after the tandems have run for the beach. 14' is a good length, and even little pack-canoes at 10-12' are seaworthy enough. Broaching is almost a non-issue, and they bob-up out of holes that would put water over the bow of long-boats. The Wee Lassie is a little lifeboat. Rushton was a genious.


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 Post subject: Re: Solo for Superior
PostPosted: November 1st, 2021, 3:18 pm 
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Location: Toronto, Ontario Canada
I've done a bit of paddling on Superior.......

I would say that while picking the "right" boat is important much more important is knowing when to get off the water or perhaps more critical, when to not get on the water to begin with.

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 Post subject: Re: Solo for Superior
PostPosted: November 1st, 2021, 5:14 pm 
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Location: Marathon/Superior
Yeah I was going to say the same as recped. You could paddle any canoe if you have a flexible schedule for the trip and can pick and choose your times, and possibly be wind- or wave-bound for a day or more.

The main thing to keep in mind is the fact that if you dump, if you can't get to shore within a few minutes you'd be flirting with death. A dry suit or wet suit is pretty much essential for a soloist (i.e. with no one to rescue you) if you're making crossings or going any distance from shore.

There's also a guideline on Superior that's something along the lines of expect to be windbound 1/5 days in summer, and 3/5 days on the shoulder seasons, however you could get the opposite.

I solo'd a 16' NovaCraft Pal undecked from Silver Islet to Rossport this June (wonderful route). I had a dry suit which I wore whenever my route went offshore which allowed me to paddle in some dicey situations, but I was also prepared for a long trip if need be and adjusted my schedule here and there. Did it in 9 days but brought food for 12, excluding fish which could extend the barrel further.

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 Post subject: Re: Solo for Superior
PostPosted: November 1st, 2021, 6:47 pm 
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recped wrote:
I've done a bit of paddling on Superior.......

I would say that while picking the "right" boat is important much more important is knowing when to get off the water or perhaps more critical, when to not get on the water to begin with.



If its dicey when you are thinking about getting on....pull out that book. It won't get better that day. And a schedule on Superior is a real killer. I have seen too many people fulfill that prophecy due to being on a schedule.


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 Post subject: Re: Solo for Superior
PostPosted: November 2nd, 2021, 8:13 am 
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The best solo canoe for Superior is a kayak. I’ve done lots of solo paddling on Superior, including a trip from Sleeping Giant to Michipicoten. While you can solo a canoe out there, if conditions aren’t ideal you’re going nowhere. A kayak is more capable out on the big water.

If you are going to paddle solo in a canoe on Superior, give yourself more time than you think you need. Some sort of satellite device with a marine or weather forecast option is ideal. I use an inReach, but there are others.

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 Post subject: Re: Solo for Superior
PostPosted: November 2nd, 2021, 8:52 am 
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canoeguitar wrote:
The best solo canoe for Superior is a kayak. I’ve done lots of solo paddling on Superior, including a trip from Sleeping Giant to Michipicoten. While you can solo a canoe out there, if conditions aren’t ideal you’re going nowhere. A kayak is more capable out on the big water.

If you are going to paddle solo in a canoe on Superior, give yourself more time than you think you need. Some sort of satellite device with a marine or weather forecast option is ideal. I use an inReach, but there are others.


I will disagree a bit. A sea canoe works well; much better than an open one.

Many paddlers that do not live on the ocean are unfamiliar with sea canoes. The main problem is finding one. They are rare and when one goes on sale its snapped up.

https://normpaddle.wordpress.com/2013/1 ... ind-canoe/

Done that trip and others on Superior and have been very happy canoeing. However I mind the lake. So far I have only had an average of one day in 7 in camp. I get going early and plan to be done by noon for the day.


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 Post subject: Re: Solo for Superior
PostPosted: November 2nd, 2021, 1:21 pm 
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Location: Freeland, Maryland USA
littleredcanoe wrote:
I am partial to my Mad River Monarch.. a very seaworthy decked canoe on the large side for sure. Done several big water trips with it on Superior and the Gulf and of course off the coast of Maine at home.


For that kind of possible big water conditions I agree; I’d look for a decked canoe.

A used Mad River Monarch, used Sawyer Loon, or a Clipper Sea 1.

I know I have been in wind and wave conditions in the Monarch that would have seen me peeing my pants in an open canoe.

Or, if you are a Trust Fund baby, a used Kruger Sea Wind ;-)

On the less “expedition” sized, a used (discontinued) Clipper Seaclipse, (15’ 9” x 28” beam, 23” waterline). Essentially a mini Sea-1, with a much faster length-to-waterline ratio; 189” long divided by a 23” waterline = 8.2 WL. And less wetted surface to push.

https://www.clippercanoes.com/products/sea-1

Used Sea-1’s and Seaclipses are less unicorn rare on the west coast.

If on a budget, with time and effort to spend, a decked canoe conversion may be a possibility. I wouldn’t do rocky surf landings in a 45 year old woven roving hull, but there are better materials-built vintage out there.

https://myccr.com/phpbbforum/viewtopic.php?f=49&t=48937


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