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kbobb
member (19)member
 
07/03/2022 06:25AM  
Hi folks,
We've been paddling a tuff weave Minnesota II for years now and since the kids have grown up and moved on it is probably too much boat for my wife and me for just day trips - we never go on extended trips. Thinking about a lighter, smaller boat that would be just as efficient as a day cruiser. The Northstar Polaris comes to mind. The Wenonah Escapade or Escape also.

Wanted to get your thoughts on these because finding any two of them together for test paddles is difficult currently.

Thanks.
 
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justpaddlin
distinguished member (443)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/03/2022 09:16AM  
I'm biased since I have a Polaris.

Polaris is an efficient boat. I recently got a comment from a 75 year old woman about how easy it is to paddle (and it was windy that day). But I would never bet my pink slip in a race against a Wenonah since their main strength is speed. The Wenonahs have zero rocker and have crummy ratings for maneuverability, whereas the Polaris has excellent maneuverability. You can see the difference in their hull shapes with the Polaris having a more rounded (shallow arch) bottom with gentle shoulders while the Wenonahs have flatter bottoms with sharper, more square-edged corners. The hull shape of the Polaris gives it maneuverability but even more important it gives it exceptional stability and seaworthiness in rougher water. While both are fine lake boats the Polaris is the better choice for rivers. But if you love the Wenonah-ness of your MN II then you can't really go wrong with one of the shorter Wenonahs.

If you're near SW MI you're welcome to try my Polaris. If you're near Lone Rock, WI there's a good chance that Carl at Carl's Paddlin has both boats in stock and he does offer test paddles.

 
Banksiana
distinguished member(2591)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/03/2022 09:50AM  
I've spent lots of time in MNII and the Escape. The Escape offers just about everything the MNII does with less weight and length. Like the MNII it is decent in rough seas (with the exception (like the MNII) of big following seas), quick and easy to paddle. Personally I don't understand the fixation on "maneuverability" as one generally works to keep a canoe straight- I can teach myself to twist just about any boat- what I can't teach is speed (efficiency) and tracking- and since I spend most of my time trying to adhere to a relatively straight line I don't see the advantage of making going straight harder.
 
kbobb
member (19)member
 
07/03/2022 03:38PM  
Thanks folks,
We just do day trips cruising around flat water, lakes, no rivers. We have not had any issues maneuvering the Min2 during these trips. My wife is very comfortable with that boat and reluctant to change but the fact is we don't need a boat that big and more important at our age want something lighter and easier to handle off the water.
I thought the Polaris would be more sports car- like and give her more room in the bow - but she says she is fine in the Min2.
Banksiana - is the escape significantly different from the min2, especially handling off the water?
We also have a fiberglass Malecite (VT made) that weighs a verified 75# and while I love paddling that boat it is not easy to handle off the water. Based on the size that's why I was looking at the Polaris - seems like a modern take on the Malecite.
Seems like this is going to involve a long road trip to somewhere with both boats - could be worse, I could have to go to work instead!

 
cyclones30
distinguished member(3987)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/03/2022 04:09PM  
If you're looking for "just as efficient" then the Escape is your answer. It's a MNII but a foot shorter. Plus if you get one of the lightweight layups you'll have an easy canoe to handle out of the water too.

 
Banksiana
distinguished member(2591)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/04/2022 10:45AM  
I would say the difference between the MNII and the Escape out of the water is noticeable but not significant. I love the Escape for both tripping and paddling empty. Like the MNII the paddling positions in both the bow and stern are fantastic- the water is right at your hip. The Escape I used on a 10 day trip (with the MNII) was near new, graphite with wood inwales (no outer gunwales). A joy to portage and paddle.
 
justpaddlin
distinguished member (443)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/04/2022 11:59AM  
Banksiana: "I've spent lots of time in MNII and the Escape. The Escape offers just about everything the MNII does with less weight and length. Like the MNII it is decent in rough seas (with the exception (like the MNII) of big following seas), quick and easy to paddle. Personally I don't understand the fixation on "maneuverability" as one generally works to keep a canoe straight- I can teach myself to twist just about any boat- what I can't teach is speed (efficiency) and tracking- and since I spend most of my time trying to adhere to a relatively straight line I don't see the advantage of making going straight harder."
Sounds like a lightweight Escape may well be perfect for the OP. I'd love to try one.

Just to share perspectives...

I have five solos 15 feet long or longer. Advantage, Magic, Merlin II, Keewaydin 15, Osprey from most to least hard-tracking. Based on lots of back-to-back testing and GPS data, I can make the Advantage, Magic, Merlin II, and Keewaydin 15 all go 6.0 mph max (for maybe 5 or 10 seconds). At cruising speeds for either moderate exercise or long day paddles, my Merlin II cruises at the same speed as the longer boats with more wetted surface. The longer boats may (or may not) have a very small advantage in general, like 10ths of a mph and it doesn't widen much unless you push them HARD.

The Kee15 takes just a touch more effort to maintain 4 mph than the Merlin II, but it is by far the safest boat in rough weather. There were many days this spring when the combination of wind and current made me leave the Advantage home.

With the low water around here right now, if you hit something like a rock, you always hit just the tip of the boat in an Advantage. Boats with rocker spread out their injuries. When you get hung up on logs (every day this time of year for me) rocker is a good thing.

I have to add that my longest day paddles this year (15-20 miles) have been in the "slowest" boat, my Osprey. It also has the lowest wetted surface area and is the most effortless boat of all at slightly lower cruising speeds so it feels like you can paddle it all day with almost no effort. But I do totally love my Advantage; it's an extremely capable, fast, addictive boat.
 
Jackfish
Moderator
 
07/04/2022 01:51PM  
Unless you're small people, you might consider a different canoe than a MN II or the shorter version, the Escape. Those boats are so narrow in the front, there is very little foot or leg room for the bow paddler to be overly comfortable.

Do you want kevlar? A Souris River Quetico 17 is a dandy canoe, both for bow paddler roominess and paddle-ability. It's a stable canoe, too. Give it some consideration.
 
Banksiana
distinguished member(2591)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/04/2022 02:39PM  
If one is accustomed and enjoys the feel of a MNII a Souris 17 is not a good replacement. It is much less efficient hull shape and the cross rib construction creates a less rigid hull bow to stern further reducing efficiency. A wide bow station does grant greater foot space at the cost of ease and efficiency of paddling (stroke is executed farther from the paddler with greater gunwale interference). On my long trip with a MNII and an Escape all of my paddling partners were greater than 6'2" with feet size 12 all the way to 15. No one complained about the bow seating.
 
cyclones30
distinguished member(3987)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/04/2022 06:20PM  
Agreed, going from a MNII to a Q17 would feel like you're in molasses.

I think going to a kevlar or similar canoe would give you the big weight benefit, no matter the make/model you go with. (for out of the water)
 
jhb8426
distinguished member(1355)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/04/2022 07:21PM  
Jackfish: "Unless you're small people, you might consider a different canoe than a MN II or the shorter version, the Escape. Those boats are so narrow in the front, there is very little foot or leg room for the bow paddler to be overly comfortable.

That's primarily why I prefer a Bell/Northstar over a Wenonah. Much better legroom for the bow paddler. When I sold my Ranger Otter a few years back that was also the selling point. The woman that bought it felt cramped in her Wenonah.
 
kbobb
member (19)member
 
07/05/2022 09:09AM  
Thanks to all,
Many of the ideas here have been going thru my mind - a lighter, shorter kevlar boat for off the water handling ease. Shorter, but efficient design because we do not push a boat to it's theoretical potential speed limit - just want something that cruises efficiently and gets us the most distance with easy cruising cadence, we're not racers but do like the most distance per paddle stroke.

The MN II may be faster in a racer’s hands but that's not us.

Also, my wife says she's fine with the room in the bow of the MN II, but she has never been in any other canoe except our Malecite. I'd like to get her to just try something else like the Polaris just to see what it is like so pushing that idea for now.

Thanks for the ideas.
 
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