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Boundary Waters Quetico Forum
   Group Forum: Solo Tripping
      Solo in a tandem     

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ssava
senior member (56)senior membersenior member
 
09/17/2020 10:37AM  
Coming out of EP 37 this week, I saw more solo paddlers than I ever remember in 20 years! I'm inspired to say the least. I bought a Wenonah Escape years ago as I was told this would be the best tandem to take out solo as its a short tandem. And I have yet to take it out solo.

Looking for paddling advice. I would sit in the front and filling a dry bag with water to trim the front sounds like a good idea. I use a 52 bent paddle, but I'm guessing a much longer straight shaft would be more effective? Would try and single portage with conventional smaller pack. Three nights perhaps, avoiding big water.

Any other tips specific to paddling technique?
 
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09/17/2020 12:25PM  
You will get a lot of good, varied advice on this forum with regards to soloing. I've soloed 18', 17' and 16' canoes. The 16' was the easiest :). I used water as ballast in the longest boat but didn't really need it in the 16' because of the gear and the way I distributed it in the boat. However, having a dry bag to fill for ballast when you hit the big water is never a bad idea. For paddle choices, I eventually gravitated to a carbon-shaft kayak paddle which gave me the length I needed for just about any condition. Although I'll note, I carry a second shorter bent-shaft paddle for those tighter river turns.

I'll let others weigh in with better advice!
 
09/17/2020 01:36PM  
The Escape is 17'6" long. That is long for a solo boat IMHO. Isn't there a thwart behind the bow seat that would effectively prevent you from sitting in the sliding bow seat to paddle the boat backwards (i.e. with the stern serving as the solo bow)? You'd also have to install a clamp to prevent the bow seat from sliding forward (i.e. backward when soloing). I'm assuming that you have platform seats. I guess that you could remove the thwart. Still, I'd probably look at installing a center seat, use a kayak paddle, replace the fixed yoke with a removable yoke, and get a longer straight single-blade paddle. Sorry, I just spent a fair amount of your money!

The 16'6" Wenonah Escapade was designed with tumblehome in the center so that it could be paddled from an optional seat in the center.
 
MidwestFirecraft
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09/17/2020 07:10PM  
I prefer to solo out of small tandems. My Morningstar is 15.5 long and 32 inches at the gunwales. I slid the stern seat forward and removed the bow seat. I always have a carbon kayak paddle for big windy lakes, but my 60 inch Northstar Voodoo is my main paddle. Perfect solo for any water for me. 16 foot prospectors are also excellent solo canoes when paddled from the bow facing the stern. It's so nice to have a fixed yoke and room for a full Superior One pack in the front for trim.
 
MidwestFirecraft
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09/17/2020 09:05PM  
Do you have bench seats or buckets?
 
ssava
senior member (56)senior membersenior member
 
09/18/2020 08:16AM  
MidwestFirecraft: "Do you have bench seats or buckets? "

Buckets
 
MidwestFirecraft
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09/18/2020 09:15AM  
That makes it tough. You can swap out the bucket seats for webbed seats, so you could sit in the bow and face the stern. I like the width of the Escape, but 17.5 is a long tandem to solo.
 
ssava
senior member (56)senior membersenior member
 
09/18/2020 09:28AM  
The bow seat can be slid out and turned around which I do regularly with tandem fishing so both face each other. More enjoyable that way. Can also lock the bow seat forward.
 
Banksiana
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09/18/2020 10:51AM  
The Escape is an asymmetrical design. It is designed to be paddled one direction, bow forward. Not to say that it won't "go" backwards but you will be working against the hydrodynamics of the boat. Better to put a temporary seat near the first thwart in front of the stern seat and then trim the hull with your packs.
 
ssava
senior member (56)senior membersenior member
 
09/18/2020 07:45PM  
Guess my choice of canoe wasn't that great after all! ??
Thanks for all the advice
 
ewbeyer
senior member (53)senior membersenior member
 
09/23/2020 12:11PM  
I am afraid you are right - not a good solo boat. Its fast and tracks well tandem. But yeah, several strikes against you. I have a Bell Northstar (same as the newer Polaris), and it is a decent boat for dual purposes. kneeling thwart, but could sub in a seat. I don't bother anymore, as I picked up a Merlin II, but went on a couple trips with it.

But, on the bright side, you have an excuse to increase your canoe armada!
I am not going to argue about bent shafts. They will work. You just have to decide if you are willing to give up efficiency in propulsion, or your correction with a j-stroke. If you hit and switch, might as well go with a bent shaft.
 
09/24/2020 03:40PM  
Add a 3rd web seat in the middle, take the yoke out and use a removable yoke . The Wenonah website shows a 3rd seat on the Escape. You should be good to go
 
09/24/2020 03:41PM  
Thoughts on an Old Town Penobscot 16' for soloing?
 
ssava
senior member (56)senior membersenior member
 
09/24/2020 04:03PM  
Blatz: "Add a 3rd web seat in the middle, take the yoke out and use a removable yoke . The Wenonah website shows a 3rd seat on the Escape. You should be good to go"

Like it! Any other options other than the Spring Creek drop in seat?
 
MidwestFirecraft
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09/24/2020 04:24PM  
Before you buy a seat you might want to try paddling from the center, even if it is kneeling. That is one of the reasons I use a tandem solo, I hate paddling from the center of the canoe.
 
jhb8426
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10/03/2020 12:22AM  
I've had a 16 ft. Ranger Otter tandem and currently have a Bell Northstar (16.5 ft). Both handle well as a solo. I had a Bell Northwind (17.5 ft.) that was a handful solo. It was just too big in any kind of wind. All of these boats were equipped with a kneeling thwart in the position of the stern thwart.
 
gravelroad
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10/07/2020 09:32AM  
Cricket67: "Thoughts on an Old Town Penobscot 16' for soloing? "

Very commonly done, and one of the major reasons people buy that boat. I have the 17, and I put a third seat in it for solo use. Being symmetrical in the hull, the Penobscots don’t care if you’re a “backward” paddler. But the 17 is a handful if not heavily loaded; the 16 is a better choice for solo paddling.
 
WIMike
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10/14/2020 10:04PM  
gravelroad: "Cricket67: "Thoughts on an Old Town Penobscot 16' for soloing? "


Very commonly done, and one of the major reasons people buy that boat. I have the 17, and I put a third seat in it for solo use. Being symmetrical in the hull, the Penobscots don’t care if you’re a “backward” paddler. But the 17 is a handful if not heavily loaded; the 16 is a better choice for solo paddling."


I agree. I solo in the 16 sitting backward in the bow and it works well for both traveling and fishing but it would probably work best with a center seat.
 
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