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tmoneyfsu
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03/01/2013 05:08PM   (Thread Older Than 3 Years)
Alright... I have a choice of two canoes and was curious if any one had an opinion on one vs. the other.

Both Wenonahs.

The Seneca vs. the MInnesota III.

I really want the third seat. The length and weight are almost identical, but the width is very different with the MN III being 5" narrower. Just looking for some insight.

 
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03/01/2013 05:25PM  

It's really for you to decide, but if it were me, it's the Minnesota III all the way!

If you could better define your intended usage "tmoneyfsu", it would be more helpful for making suggestions. At this point, all we can do is rely on our own intended usage, or our personal bias for the particular canoe characteristics we favor.

If you're often taking young children on canoe trips, or tripping with a third adult the majority of the time, and you do a lot of fishing, then the Seneca would be a better fit, because of the additional initial stability. Although, you'll sacrifice some speed with the Seneca over the Minnesota III.

Personally, I like a canoe that's a bit more "lively". I value secondary stability more than initial stability, and I like to paddle. Also, I don't fish much, so having a canoe as a stable platform doesn't figure into my equation, but for you, it might.

When I do paddle a tandem tripping boat, I take my Wenonah Odyssey, and I love it! My Odyssey is actually closer to the Minnesota II in design and performance. (I purchased mine after Jensen re-designed the Odyssey and the "bull nose", (i.e., flared bow), was removed. The "flared bow" was an earlier characteristic of the Odyssey.)

On many BWCAW trips, or river trips when our kids were younger, "Mrs. Solo" and I would drop a sling seat in the Odyssey for one of our kids. There were also times that we'd put Anthony, our youngest and smallest, in the middle, then one of our daughters took the bow, I took the stern, and "Mrs. Solo" paddled one of our solos. I still found the Odyssey to be quite stable and safe for tripping with our kids.

So again, a few more details on your intended usage would be helpful. :-)

(Ultimately, test paddling each boat, with a simulated load that would approximate your most typical paddling situation, is always beneficial.)

Hans Solo

 
wannabeoutthere
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03/01/2013 05:25PM  
Who will be going with you on a typical trip? Do you fish a lot? Do you usually go on big lakes or small ones? In general how do you plan on using the canoe?
 
yellowcanoe
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03/01/2013 05:36PM  
From specs..two totally different canoes. MNIII faster, harder to turn (less rocker).

Seneca slower, little more rocker perhaps easier to turn and pretty wide for the center paddler.

The former often shows up in Adirondack races.
 
03/01/2013 07:04PM  
I have tripped in both canoes. The Minnesota is a good canoe,but it is a little to tippy for me. It also does not have enough leg room in front for a bigger guy compared to others I have been in. If your in the front fishing for 6 or 8 hours,it is pretty uncomfortable. The sliding seat helps,but it is still to narrow for my taste. The Seneca is a good heavy hauling tripping boat. Not the fastest but that is not really important to me. It is much more stable then the Minnesota,and is much more comfortable in my opinion. That being said, I think the Souris River Quetico 18.5 is the best larger tripping canoe out there. Very stable, descent speed, and handles big water with a heavy load better then any canoe I have been in. I just purchased one last year after testing many brands. Plenty of room for 3 fishermen to fish comfortably. This is just my personal opinion. The Minnesota and the Seneca are good boats also.
 
tmoneyfsu
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03/01/2013 07:26PM  
Thanks for the info so far. I would be using for only bwca tripping canoe. Covering lots of water with moderate loads of gear. Probably planing on putting a child in the middle in a few years, and doing a significant amount of fishing from it. I would value being comfortable over capacity. And value efficiency over maneuverability. And I would value final stability over initial . Thanks guys.
 
03/01/2013 07:27PM  
i rented a mn3 when i took my two kids, young teens, on an epic bwca voyage. i am not a big fan of wenonahs but the mn3 blew me away. it felt safe on the large waves of basswood and lac la croix and yet was manageable on the twisty beartrap river. it is long as heck, it helps if the bowman can do basic moving water strokes like a draw or cross draw. no experience with the other canoe, the specks suggest that it would not perform nearly as well as the mn3.
 
ultralight
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03/01/2013 07:43PM  
I love the MN III. It is fast and fun to paddle. I've rented most of them for various group trips and it is my favorite 3 man boat. I've never felt uncomfortable in it, but then again I like the MN II. (It is the tripping boat I own) I have also used it as a tandem and it will really fly if you know how to paddle it.
 
03/01/2013 08:21PM  

quote ultralight: "I love the MN III. It is fast and fun to paddle. I've rented most of them for various group trips and it is my favorite 3 man boat. I've never felt uncomfortable in it, but then again I like the MN II. (It is the tripping boat I own) I have also used it as a tandem and it will really fly if you know how to paddle it."

Right on "ultralight"!

BTW, after seeing no one for three days in Quetico last August, I ran into this couple on Cutty Creek. They were on a thirty-two day trip and were using this Minnesota III with the seat removed. (They had previously had the third seat for the taking her father on "Quetico-Superior" trips, until his passing.) With the third seat removed, they now use it as a their big hauler.

Hans Solo

 
wannabeoutthere
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03/01/2013 08:45PM  
My choice would be Seneca for the stability for kids and fishing.
 
yellowcanoe
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03/01/2013 09:04PM  
quote HansSolo: When I do paddle a tandem tripping boat, I take my Wenonah Odyssey, and I love it! My Odyssey is actually closer to the Minnesota II in design and performance. (I purchased mine after Jensen re-designed the Odyssey and the "bull nose", (i.e., flared bow), was removed. The "flared bow" was an earlier characteristic of the Odyssey.)
when was that change made? Mine is a 1991 and flared is the bow. In my case the Jimmy Durante nose is a good thing. We use it on Lake Superior.

 
03/01/2013 09:30PM  

quote yellowcanoe: "quote HansSolo:

When I do paddle a tandem tripping boat, I take my Wenonah Odyssey, and I love it! My Odyssey is actually closer to the Minnesota II in design and performance. (I purchased mine after Jensen re-designed the Odyssey and the "bull nose", (i.e., flared bow), was removed. The "flared bow" was an earlier characteristic of the Odyssey.)



when was that change made? Mine is a 1991 and flared is the bow. In my case the Jimmy Durante nose is a good thing. We use it on Lake Superior."


This will take some explaining, but I have a 1988, Kevlar Cross-Rib Odyssey. My Odyssey is somewhat of an "oddity", no pun intended.

I ordered my Odyssey in the in 1988, during the time I worked for "Rutabaga". After the canoe was completed, I did a "boat run" to Wenonah to pick-up stock boats for the store, and my new "Odyssey".

Mark Walters, (who was the Wenonah's Production Manager at the time), assisted me with loading up my new "Odyssey" and the other canoes. When I first saw my new boat, I asked Mark what happened to the "bull nose". Mark explained they asked Gene Jensen to take some of the flare out of the bow. But, Mark went on to say that he and Mike Chichanowski felt Gene has slimmed the bow too much.

To be honest, I liked the change, because my wife paddles bow, and she is only 5' 3". For years, I tried to convince her that there's no "Captain" when it comes to canoes, and that I should be in the bow. (Much like the arrangement in USCA "Mixed" Marathon C-2's.) But she still preferred to paddle bow, despite my declaration.

By removing the Odyssey's "bull nose", the gunnels at the bow paddling station were narrowed, thereby making her reach easier. This by the way, was also Wenonah's motivation for narrowing the bow. (The term "bull nose", is what the Rutabaga Staff and I called it at the time. I'm not sure of the origin of that term though.)

If you recall, in the mid to late 80's, Wenonah's cataloged Whitewater/Tripping Canoes featured the "Odyssey", "Whitewater X", "Whitewater XX", which were all 18' 6". That section also included the "Jensen C1W" solo canoe. There was no "Minnesota II" at that time. But, they did introduce the "Itasca" in the late 80's though, before I left the store.

The "Whitewater XX" was really an ACA downriver racer, and I can't remember ever selling, or ordering a "XX" for anyone, although we sold a few "Whitewater X's" during that time. (Actually, the predecessor to the "Odyssey" was the "Whitewater II", also an ACA down river racer.)

A few years after I took delivery of my "Odyssey" in 1988, and my eventual departure from "Rutabaga" in 1990 to change careers, I did not keep up on the canoe and kayak industry, as I once did. But from what I recall at the time, and from what I was told, here's what eventually happened.

Wenonah started making more drastic changes to their "cataloged" canoes and expanding their canoe line, both tandem and solo, starting in the early 90's. It was my understanding that Wenonah put the "bull nose" back into the "Odyssey", shortly after my "Odyssey" was manufactured. Wenonah "pulled" the "Whitewater X" and the "Whitewater XX" from the catalog by 1989, and "introduced" the "Itasca". Sometime later in the early 90's, they introduced the "Minnesota II".

Wenonah later "pulled" the "Jensen C1W" from the Whitewater/Tripping section and the catalog, as they did with the "X" boats in 1989. In the later 90's, Wenonah introduced the "Encounter", as the "Tripping Solo", and then eventually the "Voyager" in the early 2000's.

I know what you're saying "yellowcanoe" about "the nose". It's a feature I like in the "C1W" and the "Encounter", because it tends to lift the bow in "big water" and deflect water and waves better than a sharper bow entry line. Still, my "Odyssey" has served me well and has handled some pretty hairy conditions.

Nevertheless, my "Odyssey" is more of a "Minnesota II", with an "Odyssey" label, although it's really not either, especially above the waterline. Still, I love its speed and seaworthiness, especially with a load. I also like the fact my "Odyssey" is somewhat of a "freak". Below the waterline, it's the same old "Odyssey", but with a sharper bow entry line, per Mark Walters.

You might want to ask some of your canoe design buddies what they know about the "Odyssey's" design changes during the late 80's. I'd be interested to know what they know about it. My guess is, Wenonah went back to producing the "Odyssey" with the original mold, "bull nose" and all.

I never really questioned exactly what happened with the design differences, because I like my "Odyssey" the way it is. I may question Mike Chichanowski at "Canoecopia" next week to get the whole story though, now that the subject has come up.

Some of the pictures at the bottom will show other angles of my "Odyssey" and the sharper bow entry line.

Hans Solo

 
03/01/2013 09:32PM  
quote tmoneyfsu: "Thanks for the info so far. I would be using for only bwca tripping canoe. Covering lots of water with moderate loads of gear. Probably planing on putting a child in the middle in a few years, and doing a significant amount of fishing from it. I would value being comfortable over capacity. And value efficiency over maneuverability. And I would value final stability over initial . Thanks guys. "
Kids and fishing? Seneca
 
03/01/2013 11:56PM  
the wenonah ww2 back in it glory days. this was one seriously fast canoe. is this the same canoe you mentioned as the wenonah xx? i have always considered this canoe the ultimate canoe. it is a racing designed based canoe, so it is fast. it has a huge snout, it can handle waves. for efficient paddling the bowman also required paddling skills.



 
03/02/2013 12:33AM  
quote jwartman59: "
the wenonah ww2 back in it glory days. this was one seriously fast canoe. is this the canoe you mentioned as the wenonah xx?

"





Nice pic!

The "Whitewater II" was the predecessor to the "Odyssey". The "Whitewater X", and the "Whitewater XX" were different boats. Details from the Wenonah 1988 Catalog below.

Hans Solo

 
03/02/2013 10:00AM  
looks like i need to learn to read. oops
 
Banksiana
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03/02/2013 01:27PM  
It is my understanding that the MNII is basically a renamed Whitewater II. Learned this talking with Steve Piragis and someone from wenonah.
 
03/02/2013 03:18PM  

quote Banksiana: "It is my understanding that the MNII is basically a renamed Whitewater II. Learned this talking with Steve Piragis and someone from wenonah."

That's more or less my understanding as well. But, it did get somewhat misconstrued during the time Wenonah was "tweaking" their canoes, especially with the "Odyssey" re-design.

I had also heard rumors that Wenonah "tweaked" the "Whitewater II" mold slightly, before they re-introduced it as the "Minnesota II". What, if any changes were actually made, I can't say for sure.

Hans Solo
 
03/04/2013 10:07AM  
i looked at a mn2 yesterday, i did not have the ww2 alongside for comparison, but it appeared that the mn2 was more blunt in the bow, flaired out quicker and earlier. i am going by memory here but the ww2 has a much narrower entry line. i was paddling the ww2 at lake harriet a couple years ago, some guy, can't remember his name, was thrilled to see an intact ww2. he was from the mca and wanted to get the dimensions off this boat and possibly use the dimensions for a new (old)design.
 
Banksiana
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03/05/2013 08:14AM  
I put in a call to Wenonah yesterday to inquire about the MNII, WWII connection. The rep I talked to was fairly certain they were the same boat, she noted that the serial number of the MNII begins with the same sequence used to begin the WWII model (WW#####). She promised to confirm and get back to me, but I have not heard since.
 
03/05/2013 01:12PM  

quote Banksiana: "I put in a call to Wenonah yesterday to inquire about the MNII, WWII connection. The rep I talked to was fairly certain they were the same boat, she noted that the serial number of the MNII begins with the same sequence used to begin the WWII model (WW#####). She promised to confirm and get back to me, but I have not heard since."

I never thought this thread would turn into a research project, but this is actually getting interesting.

If you don't hear from Wenonah by week's end "Banksiana", I'll "grill" the folks at the Wenonah booth this weekend during "Canoecopia". If Mike Cichanowski, (who is traditionally always in attendance at "Canoecopia"), can't define the differences, then I'm not sure who can.

Hans Solo
 
Banksiana
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03/05/2013 10:29PM  
quote HansSolo: "
quote Banksiana: "I put in a call to Wenonah yesterday to inquire about the MNII, WWII connection. The rep I talked to was fairly certain they were the same boat, she noted that the serial number of the MNII begins with the same sequence used to begin the WWII model (WW#####). She promised to confirm and get back to me, but I have not heard since."

I never thought this thread would turn into a research project, but this is actually getting interesting.

If you don't hear from Wenonah by week's end "Banksiana", I'll "grill" the folks at the Wenonah booth this weekend during "Canoecopia". If Mike Cichanowski, (who is traditionally always in attendance at "Canoecopia"), can't define the differences, then I'm not sure who can.

Hans Solo"

Mike was who she was going to check with.
 
BrianDay
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10/19/2020 11:13AM  
Hi All,

Brian here from Wenonah canoe. The other day Mike C handed me a few newsletters from the early '80s and I went down a canoe-nerd rabbit hole that landed me here. Thought I would refresh this thread to share what I've learned.

Bottom line is both Odyssey and Minnesota II trace their lineage to the original Gene Jensen Whitewater II design from 1977.

There are quite a few branches in the family tree.

First came the Whitewater II. This was a very fast downriver racing design. A USCA bottom with deeper sides.

The Whitewater II had a sharp forefoot that was easily damaged in downriver racing and was a little wet hitting big waves, so Gene Jensen came out with a new version with a flatter bottom, strongly flared bow and blunter entry for strength: the Whitewater X. Serial number prefix WX. This design was introduced in 1980.

[I got a good look at a Whitewater X last winter when I worked at Savannah Canoe and Kayak. They had an ancient WWX that we put new gunwales on. ]

The Whitewater X was eventually redesigned as the Whitewater XX, a more extreme downriver design.

The original Whitewater II turned out to be a good tripping boat. In 1982 it was redesigned with tripping in mind. At the time the boat was being called the New Whitewater II.

Here's where things get a little fuzzy.

It appears that the serial number prefix of the original Whitewater II was JMW.

Checking the serial number log it appears that there was a version of the Odyssey that shares the serial number prefix of a later version of the Whitewater II (JW). My best guess is that this boat is the "New" Whitewater II and the first-generation Odyssey. Records show it was produced up until 1987.

The newer version of the Odyssey has the serial number prefix OD and appears to be a derivative of the Whitewater X design, sharing the flared bow and asymmetric hull of that design but with a sharper entry.

The Minnesota II (WW) is a derivative of the original Whitewater II and the first version of the Odyssey/"New" Whitewater II, taking a branch in the family tree in a different direction. The Minnesota II has been in production since 1987.

I spoke with Mike C about this today and he said that there were a lot of small changes that were being made to designs around that time.

I may learn more details if I can find a few more newsletters, but the general lineage seems to go:

Whitewater II>Whitewater X>New Odyssey
Whitewater II>New Whitewater II (original Odyssey)>Minnesota II

You can find data sheets on the Whitewater X, Whitewater XX and Odyssey on the retired models page of the Wenonah website.

Brian

Here's an excerpt from the 1982 dealer newsletter introducing the new version of the Whitewater II.

 
MReid
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10/19/2020 05:31PM  
Fun stuff--I sold and raced Wenonahs in the early 80s. I have a question for you--do you or anybody have any information on Jensen's WW III?? I'm familiar with the IIs and Xs, but have never heard reference to the III. It's a Clipper, but I couldn't get any info from them. It has a date of the early 90s, Jensen sticker, and WWIII on the serial number. It's fuller than the WW II, doesn't have the blunt bow of the Odyssey, and no tumblehome like the Xs.
 
BrianDay
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10/20/2020 07:57AM  
I don't know anything about the WWIII. Talking to Mike about this yesterday he mentioned that Gene was a prolific designer and that is where a lot of the variations in boats came into play. Not surprised that there was a WWIII after the II, X and XX.

Some of these boats are real mysteries, even the ones that Wenonah produced. One example is the Jensen II. I have a friend with one and we made a handful of them back in the late 90's to early 2000's. Very cool variant on the Jensen 18 with a bit more depth and flare and a slightly rounder bottom (if memory serves).

B
 
Porkeater
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10/20/2020 09:49AM  
HansSolo: "


BTW, after seeing no one for three days in Quetico last August, I ran into this couple on Cutty Creek. They were on a thirty-two day trip and were using this Minnesota III with the seat removed. (They had previously had the third seat for the taking her father on "Quetico-Superior" trips, until his passing.) With the third seat removed, they now use it as a their big hauler.


Hans Solo


"


Wow! That's a lot of stuff.
 
MReid
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10/20/2020 10:51AM  
BrianDay: "I don't know anything about the WWIII. Talking to Mike about this yesterday he mentioned that Gene was a prolific designer and that is where a lot of the variations in boats came into play. Not surprised that there was a WWIII after the II, X and XX.


Some of these boats are real mysteries, even the ones that Wenonah produced. One example is the Jensen II. I have a friend with one and we made a handful of them back in the late 90's to early 2000's. Very cool variant on the Jensen 18 with a bit more depth and flare and a slightly rounder bottom (if memory serves). B"


Thanks Brian. That Jensen II sounds nice. Re: Wenonah's lost boats, I have a 1983 16 WWC1 (with the bull nose) that they stretched to 16'6" and renamed the C1W the next year. That design must have been out for only a couple of years.
 
BrianDay
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10/20/2020 11:03AM  
Very cool. According to the serial number speadsheet, the C-1 WW (16) was produced from 1978-1985. Another Gene Jensen design.

Brian
 
MReid
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10/20/2020 12:32PM  
BrianDay: "Very cool. According to the serial number speadsheet, the C-1 WW (16) was produced from 1978-1985. Another Gene Jensen design.Brian"

They changed the design to the blunt nose in 1982 or so. My daughter has a 1978 version that had the fine entry without the gunnel tuck the next version had.
 
BrianDay
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10/20/2020 12:37PM  
They changed the design to the blunt nose in 1982 or so. My daughter has a 1978 version that had the fine entry without the gunnel tuck the next version had. "

Like Mike said, lots of little tweaks back then...



Looks like that redesign was in 1981. Here's a page from that spring's brochure. "Much like our new Whitewater X, it is dryer and more stable in whitewater. And it has the same type of bow as the Whitewater X."
 
MReid
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10/20/2020 02:34PM  
Great info! Thanks. I like mine a lot better than my daughter's, but hers is nicer looking.
 
RedLakePaddler
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10/21/2020 02:17PM  
This has been a fun thread. I have a 1985 Odyssey I purchased from Betty Ketter in the spring of 1986. While being a little more nervous than our Mn2 it’s definitely faster. We paddled it along with a Jensen 18 all over when our children were growing. It is the last canoe that I will give.
 
BrianDay
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11/13/2020 02:07PM  
Red Lake, I'm curious, does your '85 Odyssey have the blunt nose or the sharper nose?

I suspect there was some overlap between versions of the Odyssey. Potentially both molds in use at the same time in the mid-1980's. Our serial number records don't show a start year for the newer version.

Thanks!

Brian from Wenonah
 
RedLakePaddler
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11/20/2020 06:02PM  
Brian
Yes my Odyssey has the blunt nose. My wife did like the Jensen 18 because of the easier reach. But the Odyssey reach was way better than our Grumman canoes. I used it this summer paddling with one of my daughter’s friends with no complaints.
 
BrianDay
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11/23/2020 07:40AM  
Thanks Red Lake,

The mystery continues.

Your boat is a blunt nose Odyssey from 1985. Based on the serial number you shared with me it has the earlier serial number designation of JW that I had associated with the "new" WWII.

So blunt nose Odysseys were being built in the mid-80s.

Hans Solo's boat mentioned in the thread above is a 1988 Odyssey with the sharper nose. I had guessed this was an older version of the boat (Essentially a New WWII). Given what he said about his discussion with the factory when he picked it up I now wonder if it's the "new" Odyssey. Would love to know if it has the OD designation in the serial number, which would hint at this.

In this thread, Yellow Canoe discusses his 1991 Odyssey which has the blunt nose. Blunt nose in the 90's. Is that an Odyssey from the old mold?

https://bwca.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=forum.thread&threadId=866230&forumID=15&confID=1

And I've talked with someone in house here who built an Odyssey a few years back and recalled it had a sharper nose.

Bottom line is that it looks like we have had several molds for the Odyssey through the years and it's most likely that both blunt and sharp nose styles of the boat were being produced at the same time depending on paddler preference.

Rumor has it there is still an Odyssey mold kicking around here somewhere, likely dusty and deteriorated. If that mold exists it will be the last one and if I ever run across it I'll know whether the final production version of the boat had the sharper or blunter bow.

Thanks everyone for this fun thread.

Brian from Wenonah

 
BrianDay
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01/20/2021 02:04PM  
BrianDay: "Rumor has it there is still an Odyssey mold kicking around here somewhere, likely dusty and deteriorated. If that mold exists it will be the last one and if I ever run across it I'll know whether the final production version of the boat had the sharper or blunter bow."

Rumor confirmed! After some digging around at the factory I've found the last, functional Odyssey mold. It's for the sharp nose version.

We'll keep this mold safe...

Brian





Happy Paddling,

 
MReid
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01/21/2021 08:53AM  
The blunt-nosed Odyssey was my dream tandem boat in the early 90's having spent so much time in my blunt-nosed C1W, and racing big water in the SCR (another blast from the past!). The money I saved up for it ended up getting used in other ways. And then the boat disappeared.
 
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