Canadian Canoe Routes

Comparison WW canoes
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Author:  Anita [ December 11th, 2018, 11:59 am ]
Post subject:  Comparison WW canoes

We are shopping white water tripping canoes and trying to lighten the weight of our current 16' Nova Craft Prospector Royalex which is 65lb.
The two models we are exploring are the H2O Voyageur in their Brute Force construction. It is 16'11" and the Souris River Skeena 16'8" which comes in their white water layup.
Voyageur is about 51lb and the Skeena is about 52lb.
Would be interested in knowing if anyone has canoed white water (class I, II and III) in either of these canoes and their experience with tracking, maneuverability and speed on the flat sections of the river as well as dealing with winds in conditions like crossing the Ottawa River.
Voyageur has 4" rocker in bow, tumblehome and is wide.
Skeena has 6" rocker in bow and about same width as our Prospector.
We would appreciate any input someone can provide. We are leaning towards the Skeena.

Author:  MartinG [ December 11th, 2018, 5:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Comparison WW canoes

I can't speak for either of the models you are considering. But, if/when I am in the market for a tandem WW tripper I would take a look at a Starlight. This is a Blue hole/Evergreen Starburst made with innegra/basalt.

Deigned by Andy Convery of Echo Paddles.
I believe they are made by Composite creations.
Sold by the Complete Paddler ... light.html

Definitely more of a WW boat than a touring boat. But just about the best WW design made.

Author:  Neil Fitzpatrick [ December 12th, 2018, 4:43 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Comparison WW canoes

I used to own a Skeena. It was one of the prototypes so it was a little different.

Though the hull shape on the boats you're looking at should make the canoe slower than your prospector, composites are faster than Royalex so I'd expect Skeena and Voyageur to have roughly the same speed as your prospector. I felt that my Skeena was faster than my Royalex Prospector but not by much.

I really loved my Skeena. I wasn't a very good paddler when I owned it so I can't speak to Class III but I can say it handled itself better than my 17' NC Prospector in moving water by a large margin. My first time paddling it I noticed that it didn't track as well but I quickly adapted and had no troubles on flats.

It wasn't very good in wind compared to my Prospector but its other benefits made up for that.

The Echo tandem boat that Martin mentioned does look great and calling Andy a craftsman is an understatement. I can't speak to H2O boats but I can pretty much guarantee that you'd be happy with either the Skeena or the Starlite.

One thing to keep in mind is that most composites have built in flotation chambers. To me this is a huge drawback of composites like Nova Craft's Tuff Stuff. My prototype Skeena had none so I was able to put bags in plus it had foam lining the underneath of the gunwales. It made for a very easy boat to rescue!

If you order brand new I'm sure you could get it without chambers.

To me, flotation chambers are fine for lake trippers but not sufficient for a whitewater boat.

BTW, I only sold my Skeena to buy something I could solo (Pocket Canyon). Wish I could've afforded to keep it.

Author:  Dave_k [ December 14th, 2018, 3:24 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Comparison WW canoes

I went through this decision making process two years ago. We never got to test drive the Skeena though it was something I considered. A lot of owners spoke highly of the Souris River construction In talking with a few people we decided that a symmetrical hull made sense. Even with adjusting the load, when my primary paddle partner (my wife) and I trip we tend to ride a bit lower in the stern. The more time we spend WW paddling the more we back ferry and thus appreciate the rocker in the stern.

We did test paddle the Esquif Prospector 16 in T-formex and the Starlight via the Complete Paddler and fell in love with the handling of the Starlight so we bought one. Yes the Starlight hull shape, like the Esquif Canyon and Nova Craft Moise, does as reported, requires an occasional correction stroke but the shape sure makes life in whitewater so much easier.

I sure do like the light weight construction when I'm portaging around a waterfall of something too hairy to paddle... especially when it's near the end of the day.

It is my understanding that Andy is now building his own hulls for the Starlight and Echoee models and continues to do the rest of the work (gunnels, seats, thwarts, yoke and outfitting if requested) too.

I believe that Andy does limit the number of boats he builds a year so if you're interested it is a good time to get an order in.

Author:  Xtrapol8 [ December 16th, 2018, 2:05 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Comparison WW canoes

Hi Dave,

I'm reading this thread and realizing that I'm in a similar situation to the one you were in.
It's finally time to buy (the next year or two), and I like many features of the Swift Prospector, but have been encouraged to check out the Starlight. I do plan to head down to The Complete Paddler and try a Starlight like yours, but I would like to hear about your experience with it, especially if you've taken it on a flat water trip. The bulk of my experience is flat water, but I've enjoyed some whitewater and would like to keep that door as open as possible. For the foreseeable future I'm going to have to be a one canoe man. Yeah, it's the old, "one best boat" conundrum ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Author:  Dave_k [ December 19th, 2018, 1:33 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Comparison WW canoes


I have not done a flat water only trip in my Starlight but of course there is always enough flat water or lake sections in any whitewater trip to know how the boat behaves on flat water. The Starlight tracks fine and carves a turn nicely. The composite construction is stiffer than the Royalex/T-formex hulls I have historically paddled and I find that the stiffness allows the boat to accelerate easier and makes the boat feel more responsive. I read reviews on the Nova Craft Moisie (similar hull shape to the Starlight) that said an occasional correction stroke is required and that is true of the Starlight. Tracking vs pivoting. It is a trade off. The starlight hull pivots quickly making it easy to catch eddies. It also means that if I focus on map reading while paddling stern and don't notice a wind gust, once the boat starts to turn I need to get on it and apply correction.

I only have room to store one canoe and I plan to mostly paddle rivers with whitewater for the next how many years. A boat with a bunch of rocker, high secondary stability and lighter than Royalex/T-Formex was three key criteria for me. I'm very happy with my purchase of the Starlight but realize that its not the boat for everyone. If you mostly paddle flat water then an all around hull shape like a prospector may make more sense though everyone throws a Prospector label on a boat which means they vary quite a bit. The number don't offer a great way to compare because there is no standard way to measure rocker. So yes, if you have the time, take the boats you are considering for a test paddle. I haven't found it any more challenging to paddle a boat with a bunch of rocker in a straight line. The difference is when you stop paying attention to where you're paddling you'll notice a difference..... but when you need to turn quick you're happy to have the rocker.

Author:  Xtrapol8 [ December 19th, 2018, 5:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Comparison WW canoes

"When you stop paying attention..."

That's an insightful way to describe the boundary; I like it. Thank you!

I also liked the point about the acceleration/responsiveness. I'll look for both of these, doing my best to test them one after the other.

(Funny, but sad, observation - I had meant to post my question to Dave_k in this thread ... 0&start=15
Thank goodness the current thread is not too far off. Apologies everyone. :lol: :( )

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