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      Anyone paddled Wenonah Sundowner?     
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markaroberts
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02/08/2013 08:11AM
I am looking at buying a Wenonah Sundowner 17 foot in tough weave and gel coat finish. Looks in excellent conditon. Price is $500. Reviews are mixed on paddling.net on this boat. Anyone have an opinion? Would it make a good boat for either boundary waters trips, or camping/fishing trips locally?
 
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ozarkpaddler
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02/08/2013 09:23AM
Well, my wife and I borrowed a kevlar model that belonged to friends when we lived in Wausau, WI years ago. We paddled it for the weekend. I had designs on fishing out of it, but after a couple casts my better half had enough (LOL)! For ME AND MY WIFE, it just never felt like it had any initial stability, and we were darn unsure of the secondary. Felt kind of like paddling a fast log.

Now I'm certain there are folks out there who might disagree with me on the stability and how they could stand up and cast out of one or maybe stand on the gunnels. But it was not my cup of tea, nor my wife's. If you're an intermediate to advanced paddler who doesn't care to fish, it may BE YOUR cup of tea, though.
jwartman59
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02/08/2013 09:50AM
the reviews on paddling.net are useless. look at how the coleman ramx canoe rates, many 10/10s. the sundowner is the typical jensen design, fast, tough to control in a following wind, but all in all a good canoe, if you like that kind of thing. for $500 this would be an excellent value.
Beemer01
Moderator
 
02/08/2013 10:23AM
poor initial stability - especially felt at first by the bow paddler - great final stability. Fast, tracks well.

Once the bow paddler gets used to it, its a fine canoe.



My old Sundowner on Agnes
markaroberts
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02/08/2013 10:59AM
I now have the option between an Old Town Penobscot 16 or the Wenonah Sundowner 17. Both pretty much the same weight and condition. Equal money, which would you go for?
Beemer01
Moderator
 
02/08/2013 11:44AM
A longer canoe gives you a lot more storage rom and a faster craft.
Moonman
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02/08/2013 11:59AM
Well, I have paddled one and in my opinion there are better boats out there for wilderness tripping. To me its the zero rocker thing. If you are canoe camping there is always wind to some degree, sometimes quite bad. A canoe that is difficult to turn where you want, when you want, with ease, just begs the question why. Some people like go straight go fast boats, but I actually think boats like the Bell Northwind and Swift Winisk are faster AND give you volume, handling and sea worthiness. Souris River also has fine tripping boats, although a tad slower the the previous two.

This is just my take, there are guys out there who like them. But for your main wilderness tripper, well, I've said my piece. Whatever you do, paddle it first (both lightly loaded and with all your gear).

Moonman.
Alan Gage
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02/08/2013 12:01PM
I've got a Sundowner 17 in Tuffweave. A bit heavier than I'd like but otherwise a great boat. I have no complaints about stability. I use it on our local lakes and rivers when I need a tandem. The dog always comes along and fishing is usually involved. One time I took my friends 90 pound lab along too who, while a good dog, wasn't used to being in a canoe. That got a little interesting but we stayed dry.

Keep in mind while reading reviews that the Sundowner 18 is nothing like the 17, completely different boats.

Alan
jwartman59
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02/08/2013 12:32PM
i've been paddling wenonahs since the seventies. usually they are excellent boats, super fast, never any problems with stability. however if you plan on being on any larger waters, with a wind these boats can be downright scary. that long flat keel line makes them a nightmare to control in following seas. it is helpful if your bowman can help you control this beast. i've come to the conclusion that i don't care for wenonahs, speed is great but safety is a bigger concern. (i have never flipped or swamped a wenonah, but many times i felt i was really close.)

i've also been paddling royalex old towns the same amount of time. they aren't the fastest by any stretch. sluggish actually. i have the penobscot 17'. for any river trip this is my first choice. or for wabakimi i prefer a canoe that i feel safe in. also i feel much more confident if we are running whitewater. i've owned the 16', it was a serviceable solo boat, also fairly responsive in whitewater though it was too shallow for big stuff.

i it were me selecting a canoe, and it would be my only canoe i would choose the old town. be certain that it hasn't been exposed to sunlight for long periods, if the gelcoat is dry and whitish there may have been some UV damage.
Woodtick
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02/08/2013 04:24PM
I have the 17 ft sundowner in royalex. The initial stability is not good as others have said. I have a hard time feeling comfortable in the boat, especially when it's lightly loaded. However, it has never tipped on me. Final stability seems there. It does fine in moderate rapids when heavily loaded. It's not a boat I'd choose for light day trips.
eagle93
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02/08/2013 06:56PM
Have used the 17ft sundowner in RX for 13 years with HS students. Over 60 trips and only one tip, two very strong paddlers both on the same side. These were novice paddlers by and large and have really never had problems. I have had kids stand on the gunnels and do the pump thing and have had kids stand up and paddle them solo. They will hold a ton, had 5 big HS boys in one , all paddling. they flew. After the first day's paddling, the initial stability isn't even noticed. I paddle an 18 in ul kevlar, rather have it than a MNII as they are higher in the stern than the MNII. Have paddled both 17 and 18 in some pretty heavy weather.
markaroberts
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02/08/2013 07:09PM
decided to go wtih the Sundowner 17.
Brent
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02/08/2013 09:59PM
I have the same boat and I love it. It was my first canoe purchased. Got it for 500 bucks and it came with two BB Special paddles.

It's a good boat... fast and straight.
02/08/2013 11:49PM
quote Beemer01: "A longer canoe gives you a lot more storage rom and a faster craft."
+1
kanoes
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02/09/2013 12:02AM
quote Beemer01: "A longer canoe gives you a lot more storage rom and a faster craft."
a lot more storage room isnt necessarily a good thing...just like having a big portage pack. got room? "i think ill throw in more crap that i dont need, just to fill it up".
jwartman59
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02/09/2013 01:27AM
at $500 you have a very nice canoe. this is a performance canoe, it can and will be up to the most extreme conditions you require of it. a canoe of this caliber will require that you, the bow and sternsman, have the skills to handle it. in a day or so you will be experts. enjoy.
Bonvicken
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02/09/2013 06:51AM
Love my Sundowner 18. Crossed Sunday Bay last summer amidst 3 footers with whitecaps with confidence. Hard to turn, yes, but for covering distance that's a good thing!
MeatHunter
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02/09/2013 08:08AM
I bought and used a Sundowner last year, even wrote a review of it on paddle.net. Mine is in Royalex so not sure if it would be an equal comparison to tuff weave. First impressions were the initial stability was not there at all. Felt very tippy. Son and I both decided to see how far we could lean it over before we got wet. It just rolled right over with no hesitation. Since we knew we were not going to the BW without gear, we simulated the weight we would carry with two heavy Chevy truck tires/rims. Place on either side of the center thwart, that little bit of weight gave it the stability we wanted. What it boils down to is, it just takes a bit of getting used to. Every canoe is different. Would this have been my first choice? No. But I only paid 100 bucks for it. Needed some major bow/stern repair which I did and now looks great. This canoe can handle all the gear you can throw at it and then some. Never had a problem with it in high winds either and we encounter some real windy days. My buddy on the other hand, was tossed around by the wind in his Bell Infinity. We just blew by him, no pun intended.

Taking it out fishing, we used a few large rocks placed in the center to balance it. After a few days, we didn't use them anymore, we just got used to the canoe. Just a matter of being loose and not over reacting when it moves, which I think holds true for most boats. I have an old Alumacraft Voyager that is as stable as you can get. You could hold a freakin square dance inside that thing and wouldn't get wet, but, it only has a capacity of 675.
OpenPikeNite
member (7)member
 
03/13/2018 09:58AM
I see this post is several years old, but was going to ask the same initial question. I have a guy willing to sell me a 1994 wenonah sundowner 17 for 350 bucks, 5 paddles, and 4 life jackets. I plan to use the boat locally in Ohio to fish on occasion, but mainly canoe camp/fish in the BWCA. Im having mixed thoughts after reading reviews here and paddle.com. Pics look really good. This would be my first canoe purchase. Honestly not looking to spend over 500, max 800 if I could find a touring boat in kevlar. I appreciate any responses.

-OPN
old_salt
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03/13/2018 10:56AM
You have lots of opinions in previous replies which are just as valid today. I had one that I sold due to poor initial stability. It never felt safe or stable to me. On a canoe trip, you will encounter wind and waves. If you’re seriously considering that canoe, take it for a test drive of an hour or more on a windy day. Then go home and sleep on it. Did it seem like a natural extension of yourself or did you struggle to control it? The answer to that question is the answer you seek.

There’s a reason it’s being sold cheap. Don’t decide based solely on price.
ozarkpaddler
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03/13/2018 04:56PM
OpenPikeNite: "I see this post is several years old, but was going to ask the same initial question. I have a guy willing to sell me a 1994 wenonah sundowner 17 for 350 bucks, 5 paddles, and 4 life jackets. I plan to use the boat locally in Ohio to fish on occasion, but mainly canoe camp/fish in the BWCA. Im having mixed thoughts after reading reviews here and paddle.com. Pics look really good. This would be my first canoe purchase. Honestly not looking to spend over 500, max 800 if I could find a touring boat in kevlar. I appreciate any responses.
-OPN"


Well........ I would NEVER EVER recommend this as a "First" canoe nor a "Fishing" canoe. Intermediate to advanced paddlers with a good sense of balance will be fine. As Old Salt said, "There’s a reason it’s being sold cheap."

Someone mentioned the royalex version, and IMHO the hull is a little "Flatter" on the royalex Sundowner? Anyway, if you buy it, fasten that life jacket and don't get too far from shore!
OpenPikeNite
member (7)member
 
03/13/2018 05:29PM
Well I think I’ve heard enough with just two more opposing posts to make up my mind. I really appreciate the responses. Gonna hold off on buying this boat. Thanks again!

-OPN
Dooger
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03/13/2018 05:48PM
Good call!

I wouldn't buy one either. Paddled one about 10 years ago...once.
cyclones30
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03/13/2018 08:58PM
My dad picked up a Sundowner 17 kev a few years back from a friend. We like it for trips around home and wouldn't be afraid to take it on a BW trip but there are better options. Is it the most stable? No. We still fish from it.
muddyfeet
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03/13/2018 09:29PM
OMG!
What a great canoe and as long as it floats- what a GREAT deal. Can you link the sale? I would seriously consider driving to Ohio to buy a kev sundowner 17 for $350!

You must have missed all the good reviews above. Don't be a weenie worried about tipping over a canoe. I've taken my cousin's 17 to the BWCA. It's a great tripping boat tandem, and I've also found it to be fairly maneuverable solo if you kneel center and heel it to the side- for solo fishing before everyone else gets up in the morning.
ozarkpaddler
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03/13/2018 11:08PM
muddyfeet: "OMG!
What a great canoe and as long as it floats- what a GREAT deal. Can you link the sale? I would seriously consider driving to Ohio to buy a kev sundowner 17 for $350!


You must have missed all the good reviews above. Don't be a weenie worried about tipping over a canoe. I've taken my cousin's 17 to the BWCA. It's a great tripping boat tandem, and I've also found it to be fairly maneuverable solo if you kneel center and heel it to the side- for solo fishing before everyone else gets up in the morning. "


Well, my recommendation was based on the fact that it was the poster's 1st canoe and for fishing. Even a fan of this hull would admit the hull is not a good choice for a new paddler for fishing out of. And I didn't notice it was kevlar?
I figured most likely tuffweave? I kinda wonder what the poster would be getting for that $350? Sounds awfully cheap for a composite Wenonah?

I don't think they're being a "Weenie?" People whom buy boats like this as a "First" canoe often end up with it being their "Last" canoe and abandon paddling for boats or land-based recreation!
OpenPikeNite
member (7)member
 
03/14/2018 09:55AM
muddyfeet: "OMG!
What a great canoe and as long as it floats- what a GREAT deal. Can you link the sale? I would seriously consider driving to Ohio to buy a kev sundowner 17 for $350!


You must have missed all the good reviews above. Don't be a weenie worried about tipping over a canoe. I've taken my cousin's 17 to the BWCA. It's a great tripping boat tandem, and I've also found it to be fairly maneuverable solo if you kneel center and heel it to the side- for solo fishing before everyone else gets up in the morning. "



Once again I appreciate all the comments. Here is the Craigslist link if interested. https://cincinnati.craigslist.org/boa/d/canoe/6528043217.html

Its not kevlar. If it were, I might have given it a try at that price.

-OPN
Tman
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03/14/2018 10:54AM
That canoe is literally 2 minutes from my house! I'd look at it but it isn't really the kind of canoe I need for paddling around here on rocky rivers. I prefer to rent for the BWCA instead of hauling all the way from home.

If anyone is interested in this canoe I would be happy to go and take more photos and inspect it for someone.
03/15/2018 09:24PM

jwartman59: "the reviews on paddling.net are useless. look at how the coleman ramx canoe rates, many 10/10s. the sundowner is the typical jensen design, fast, tough to control in a following wind, but all in all a good canoe, if you like that kind of thing. for $500 this would be an excellent value."

Actually the Sundowner 18 and the Sundowner 17 are Ev Crozier designs. Although they both have the same Sundowner moniker, they perform very differently. The Sundowner 18 has more initial stability than the Sundowner 17 and is more user friendly than the Sundowner 18 in my opinion. I've personally found the Sundowner 18 to be very predictable in a variety of conditions.

During my time at Rutabaga in the 1980's, we sold a lot of Sundowner 18's. Although it's a very good touring canoe, I personally preferred the Wenonah Odyssey, Sawyer Cruiser, Jensen 18, or the Sawyer 222 Cruiser over the Sundowner 18 for a 'Canoe Country' tripping canoe when the Sundowner 17 and 18 were cataloged.

That's not to say the Sundowner 18 wasn't a decent touring canoe, I just preferred the performance and feel of the Wenonah Odyssey, Sawyer Cruiser, Jensen 18, and the Sawyer 222 Cruiser over the Sundowner 18.

For what it's worth, the Sundowner moniker came from the favorite horse of original owner of Rutabaga.

Hans Solo



ockycamper
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03/16/2018 02:53PM
I had a Sundowner 17 in toughweave/gelcoat. The comments are correct that you
have to know how to paddle. We took it down the Big South Fork in Tenessee/Kentucky. This is a VERY fast canoe.

If you are the type that likes to squirm around in a canoe, turn around on your seat, or fish from all angles, this is not your boat. However, if you want a canoe that gets you from point A to point B fast with less effort. . .this is the one.

I now have a Wenonah Spirit II. Much more stable, carries more gear, better stability. . .AND much slower.

Wish I had kept the Sundowner as well.
ozarkpaddler
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03/16/2018 04:26PM
Tman: "That canoe is literally 2 minutes from my house! I'd look at it but it isn't really the kind of canoe I need for paddling around here on rocky rivers. I prefer to rent for the BWCA instead of hauling all the way from home.


If anyone is interested in this canoe I would be happy to go and take more photos and inspect it for someone."


What a generous, unselfish offer! THAT's why this is my favorite spot on the internet!
SOVOS
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03/20/2018 12:42PM
I owned one once and that was enough!
03/22/2018 07:00AM
Love my Sundowner 18' been a good canoe.
 
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