help 1stSatInMay. he has questions about the wenonah encounter i have for sale here. i bought it to flip it because i thought i got a great deal on a barely scratched 2000 model. i know nothing about this canoe, other than its too big for my 200 lb body. honest replies only.
I'll give you my two cents 1stSatInMay. Although I own a Wenonah Voyager, and it is my current solo tripping canoe, I've spent some time paddling both the Advantage and the Encounter. Hopefully, if "nctry", (Ben) is feeling up to it, he will chime in on this thread, because the Encounter is his tripping solo. (Hope you're feeling better Ben.)
Due to the fact you already have a Wenonah Advantage, you're at least familiar with paddling a "performance" solo canoe. But as you mentioned, it doesn't provide the capacity you require, as you mentioned in the For Sale Forum.
Considering your physical size and tripping criteria, I think you'd be quite happy with the Encounter as a tripping solo. I'd say its performance is similar to the Advantage, but maybe a bit slower due to the Encounter's greater hull fullness, although it's not that significant. The Encounter is far more seaworthy than the Advantage though. Both canoes have minimal rocker and track well.
The Encounter is also a drier ride than the Advantage, due to its hull depth and bow flare. But, because of the Encounter's depth and larger volume hull, it is also more affected by wind than the Advantage.
The Encounter has more initial stability and buoyancy than the Advantage, and as the Wenonah literature indicates, the Encounter is designed to carry a load. The Advantage is billed as a performance cruising/touring solo for light tripping. That said, the Advantage was really never designed to be a tripping canoe, although it can certainly be used as a tripper with a lighter load.
The Wenonah Advantage at 16' 6", has been around for approximately 30-years or so, and is really a de-tuned Advantage XL, which Dave Kruger designed as a USCA marathon C1 canoe in the early 80's. The Encounter on the other hand, was specifically designed for a larger paddler, with a lot of gear, and for use on big water, just as the Wenonah catalog suggests.
Although I've paddled a Wenonah Advantage on several occasions, my first solo tripping canoe was a Sawyer DY Special at 16' 8", which was similar to the Advantage, and also had a USCA marathon C1 racing heritage. The DY was my solo tripper from 1981 until the late 80's, until I switched to the Wenonah Jensen C1W at 16' 6". There was no Encounter, Voyager or Wilderness then, so the Jensen C1W was the best choice for a solo tripping canoe from Wenonah at the time.
Around 2003, I decided it was time to upgrade to a solo canoe that was more specifically design for tripping. The Wenonah Encounter and Voyager were then both available. After test paddling the Encounter and the Voyager, I ultimately decided on the Voyager, which is still my primary solo tripper at present.
I appreciated the Voyager's additional speed, and I also preferred the Voyager's "lively" hull. For my physical size, (6' 4", 217lbs.), it was ideal, even with gear and/or my Golden Retriever. Although the Voyager's hull design is less initially stable than the Encounter, it's less sensitive to loads than my Jensen C1W, and ultimately, more "dog friendly". (The Wenonah Jensen C1W is probably the most load sensitive swede form hull I've ever owned or paddled.)
That's not to say the Encounter is a barge, but it's more initially stable than the Voyager, the Jensen C1W, or the Advantage. But that's a design characteristic many paddlers prefer to the other aforementioned solo canoes.
If possible, you might want to test paddle a Voyager and an Encounter to see which one works best for you. Due to the fact you're familiar with an Advantage, the Voyager might be a worthwhile consideration, and give you the additional capacity you're seeking. But at your size, the Encounter may be a better fit.
Water reflects not only clouds and trees and cliffs, but all the infinite variations of mind and spirit we bring to it. – Sigurd Olson
I've got a few years in my Encounter and with my situation is the only boat for my tripping needs. I've gone without my dog a couple times last year and it still performed well. I think it's an awesome boat and very seaworthy. The only thing that is tough is those twisting streams that wind with tight turns. Also with no load on a windy day I'm blown around a bit... But who ain't. Jan has a nice boat for sale and I don't think he should discount it too much. I'm sure the right buyer will come along eventually. Hang in there Jan. I don't see myself as an expert... Just a happy Encounter paddler. :)