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jsa
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10/17/2013 01:56PM
I just wanted to put this up cause there has been some interest in this boat and whether anyone has used it in the BWCA. A friend and I bought two this last year sight unseen after trying some other solos and doing a lot of comparisons on-line. Our main usage was going to be exercise on local waterways. The 7 day BWCA trip was the initial impetus for the purchase so the boats had to perform with a load and in possible inclement weather and water conditions. Neither one of us had done a BWCA trip except our third member and that had been some time ago and not in a solo. The trip was the Cliff and Muskeg Route described in the BWCA Guide book by Beymer and Dzierzak. We entered at Lizz out of Poplar Lake. We had 27 portages the longest 184 rods.

We ordered the boats with the optional 1" of depth and were 17"-13"-13". I probably carried 60 or 65 pounds in two packs plus two paddles and other crap like an HD movie camera.

The 23 or 24 pound Kevlar/graphite boats worked out great and were a joy to portage, if one can call portaging a joy. We used the Chosen Valley yokes that attached to the sliding seat rails and they also worked great. The worst headwinds we had were probably in the 10-15 mph range so not bad at all with the worst chop being 6-8 inches. Pretty easy going. Tail winds the same. Getting the boats trim with the gear and then having the ability to slide fore and aft to trim for wind conditions made for pretty easy paddling and steerage. The boat doesn't have any rocker and tracks well. Leaning to the inside makes for easy turning on the mid ship bulge as it holds quite a bit of volume at the waterline fore and aft. Stability was fantastic. Though not sure if the narrow gunnel width would be conducive to standing and fishing. I would be sure to put some foot loops on the braces to add to the leaning ability. Gives something to brace into.

The third boat was a rental Prism from Rockwood Lodge. A good boat with the outfitter layup. Extra Kevlar in the high wear areas of the stems. It had a nylon webbed bench seat. Curt was very happy with this boat. But, it takes a good 1.5 strokes to our 1 to maintain the same head of steam and when Gary and I poured the coal to it, he had trouble keeping up and dropped back. That usually only happened when we were jostling for first and best position at the portage trails.

The boats cost about 3350 with 140 for a bag for travel and 375 shipping to the west coast. Not cheap. But, I'm extremely happy and for what we did, the boat worked great. Of course you could do the same in a Coleman. It might take a wee bit more effort but you could do it.
 
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Banksiana
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10/17/2013 11:14PM
Thanks for the post. If I can free up the cash I'd like to to add a Blackwater to the flotilla.
 
kanoes
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10/17/2013 11:21PM
he had trouble keeping up cause he was in a prism and not a magic. ;-)

the fact is, we all love what we own.

id love to see that blackwater in rollers on basswood...i wouldnt want to be in it though.
 
10/17/2013 11:27PM
You mentioned foot loops, not braces. Tell me more.
And having paddled a new prism, but especially the boat you describe, and a magic..well kanoes is right on that one. The Blackwater would be a fun paddle, glad you guys had a good trip and thanks for the info.
 
10/17/2013 11:28PM

Thanks jsa for the review and pictures of those two sweet solo canoes!

I think I "need" one. LOL

Hans Solo
 
jsa
member (35)member
 
10/18/2013 02:33AM
quote bhouse46: "You mentioned foot loops, not braces. Tell me more.
And having paddled a new prism, but especially the boat you describe, and a magic..well kanoes is right on that one. The Blackwater would be a fun paddle, glad you guys had a good trip and thanks for the info."


Foot loops, just some 1" webbing hose clamped to the foot brace bar to allow your toes to slide into. Gives a good solid brace to pull back into with your foot or toes to allow more lean on a paddle brace or stroke. You use 4 clamps to make two loops, one loop for each foot. You can use 1 piece of webbing and have a small loop in the middle for future adjustment. Popular on marathon boats or used to be when I was into it years ago.
 
10/18/2013 06:47AM
quote kanoes: "he had trouble keeping up cause he was in a prism and not a magic. ;-)



id love to see that blackwater in rollers on basswood...i wouldnt want to be in it though."



It would destroy a Magic, they are about as fast as they look.

I think it would do just fine in waves, broadside could get tricky as it's flatter bottom would stick a little more than the round bottom on the Magic, but if I was completely sideways on Basswood rollers in my Magic I wouldn't feel much more comfortable.

The Blackwater would be one of the few boats I'd give up the Magic for, faster, lighter, better for fishing as it's rock solid in the stability department, it's a great hull for sure, I had to stop taking Dans because I knew I'd get hooked on it and want one. But it does dot "play" as well, I do love flying up on portage landings and turning the Magic at will, the SR BW turns but takes a bit more input from the driver and when it does turn its a bit slower going, that little bit of Rocker is nice at time, for general touring along very curvy lake shores I'd still prefer the Magic.
 
10/18/2013 08:00AM
Kanoes; "id love to see that blackwater in rollers on basswood...i wouldnt want to be in it though."

It would look a lot like I did crossing Baily Bay going to PP with you and Dan. My Advantage is close in hull design, and paddles just as described.

Beauty of a canoe jsa!

butthead
 
Banksiana
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10/18/2013 09:12AM
I'm hoping the Blackwater will play nicer in waves than my Advantage. When they get frothy with the Advantage the route must be changed so I'm pointing in to them or with them to some degree (the bigger the waves the more direct the point). My guess is that it's a quicker hull as well.
 
yellowcanoe
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10/18/2013 12:39PM
here is mfrs page for Blackwater

I was wondering how you pack it but it is a BIG boat.

Yep you can carve turns with it. I have only paddled one Savage River and it was a racing boat that was scary...and not on a trip.
 
jsa
member (35)member
 
10/18/2013 01:05PM
quote Banksiana: "I'm hoping the Blackwater will play nicer in waves than my Advantage. When they get frothy with the Advantage the route must be changed so I'm pointing in to them or with them to some degree (the bigger the waves the more direct the point). My guess is that it's a quicker hull as well."

You may be right in comparing the Blackwater with the Advantage. It was the only other boat I considered as a replacement. The 17' won out. I have as yet to be in "rough" conditions with the Blackwater. I think taking it broadside in white caps while unloaded my be dicey. Loaded down with more wetted surface and lower CG may be a bit better. Definitely choosing one's route in those conditions would be more mandatory. But, I would usually be a bit more cautious on large crossings regardless the boat. Using a ferrying tactic has gotten me out of more than one bad decision with sea kayak and canoe..
 
jsa
member (35)member
 
10/18/2013 01:07PM
quote butthead: "Kanoes; "id love to see that blackwater in rollers on basswood...i wouldnt want to be in it though."


It would look a lot like I did crossing Baily Bay going to PP with you and Dan. My Advantage is close in hull design, and paddles just as described.


Beauty of a canoe jsa!


butthead"


Thanks Butthead.
Every boat hull is a compromise. You just have to figure out what the most important issue for you is. With me it was point to point efficiency and weight. If I was going to be kneeling in heavy water or moving water more of the time then I would have gotten something more like the Prism or possibly the Savage River Deep Creek Solo or something else with a bench seat and less tumblehome and more rocker. But, for the average numerous small narrow lakes of the BWCA and the protected waters I will usually paddle near home for exercise, the Blackwater seemed to fit the bill quite nicely as would have the Advantage.
 
10/18/2013 01:07PM
quote Banksiana: "I'm hoping the Blackwater will play nicer in waves than my Advantage. When they get frothy with the Advantage the route must be changed so I'm pointing in to them or with them to some degree (the bigger the waves the more direct the point). My guess is that it's a quicker hull as well."

No solo canoe or otherwise is comfortable in large following waves/wind, With the Advantage you really have to get weight to the stearn. It handles big water as good or better than the Magics I have paddled with.

butthead
 
Banksiana
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10/18/2013 01:11PM
Hans- how does the Voyageur feel in waves that are coming from the side? It's definitely something the Magic deals with much better than the Advantage.

Having just returned from a windy Q trip I have to say it takes a lot less wave to get me uncomfortable when the water temp drops. In August I was fine playing Hawaii 5-0 on Basswood- on Tuesday (42 degrees, wind and rain) I got queasy riding whitecaps on Fourtown.
 
jsa
member (35)member
 
10/18/2013 01:26PM
No solo canoe or otherwise is comfortable in large following waves/wind, With the Advantage you really have to get weight to the stearn. It handles big water as good or better than the Magics I have paddled with.


butthead"

Exactly. Even most sea kayaks need weight adjusted rearward for following seas. Otherwise your going to point or wallow. In the modest following winds we had on Brule it was noticeable. I just had to make sure my pack was in the stern with the help of a good shove with my paddle and my seat was somewhat farther back. The boat does handle well. Very sensitive to seat trim which was great in adjusting to quartering breezes and full on head wind. Made for very few correctional strokes like "J"'s and "C"'s. Just adjust and paddle.

I hope to get some video on Youtube in the next week.
 
jsa
member (35)member
 
10/18/2013 01:43PM
quote yellowcanoe: " here is mfrs page for Blackwater


I was wondering how you pack it but it is a BIG boat.


"


I had two packs. Both similar weight. About 60 pounds max total. I took too much food. The large dry bag went in the rear and held tent, sleeping bag, clothes, extra dry shoes (Merrell low cut Gtex)sleeping pad, etc. The other a day pack up front with a heavy nylon dry bag inside with cooking gear and food. I usually took one or the other with the boat. If a longer rockier portage I took the food bag with better suspension. Next time I think I could thin it out a bit food wise and cooking gear wise and get a lighter newer tent and try for single portages. The only problem with that is trimming the boat. Having two packs balanced things out better. Then again one could still go with two packs. Just make them smaller.
 
ZaraSp00k
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10/18/2013 02:23PM
quote Banksiana: " how does the Voyageur feel in waves that are coming from the side? It's definitely something the Magic deals with much better than the Advantage."

A Voyager is much closer to a Blackwater than the Advantage is, although if you are talking about gunwhale height, and length the Advantage is. Otherwise, the specs of a Voyager & Blackwater are fairly close. The added length of a Voyager and height IMO make it more of a handful to paddle in windy conditions, but efficiency is about the same (with the edge slightly to the Blackwater)

the Blackwater is a newer design, it is not often someone introduces a new boat with the idea "hey, let's make it like X only slower and more of a handful to paddle in the wind"
 
Banksiana
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10/18/2013 03:02PM
I'm fairly adept at handling fairly big seas in the Advantage if I can point into it or run with it. In my experience the Magic handles waves perpendicular to the direction of travel better than the Advantage, the hull feels more settled when subject to a side assault.

I like the low freeboard of the Blackwater- seems to me that I'm much more likely to struggle with the wind blowing against the side of the canoe than to face conditions where water is spilling over the top.

Once nice thing about the Advantage is that it runs well with just one pack in the stern making single portaging simple (at least in terms of gear containment).
 
10/18/2013 05:08PM

quote Banksiana: "Hans- how does the Voyageur feel in waves that are coming from the side? It's definitely something the Magic deals with much better than the Advantage."

To answer your question about the Voyager taking waves at the side; in my opinion, the Voyager handles them quite well and is very forgiving. In fact, compared to my previous tripping canoes, a Wenonah Jensen C1W and a Sawyer DY Special, I'd say the Voyager is the best of the three in that regard. Waves really seem to roll under the hull of the Voyager when taken at the side.

I think it's primarily due to the fact the tumblehome of the Voyager is more gradual and less pronounced than that of the Jensen C1W and the Sawyer DY Special. (Cross section view of the Voyager shown below.) The DY Special compares more closely in overall design to the Wenonah Advantage.

As ZaraSp00k mentioned though, the Voyager is a deep canoe and can be a handful in wind and waves if not trimmed properly. That said, the Voyager is more user friendly, less affected by wind with proper trim adjustments than my Jensen C1W though.

I've been paddling the Voyager for ten seasons now, so I've gotten very accustomed to its idiosyncrasies and how it handles in varying conditions. I've also figured out how to best tweak the Voyager's trim in-order to lessen the affects of wind and waves of its hull.

Hans Solo

 
Banksiana
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10/18/2013 06:45PM
Thanks Hans- good angle for the picture- looks to me like the bottom of the hull is not as flat as the Advantage, that would help dampen seas from the side.

I've spent some time in a C!W, even light crosswinds could be a bear. I had two friends that cut there boats (C1W) down.
 
jsa
member (35)member
 
10/18/2013 08:21PM
Hans,
From that angle the radius of the bilge seems quite a bit larger than the BW. Also the bottom seems more round. That could explain a better secondary stability and the way the boat would allow a broaching wave to pass under and the hull not rock bottom surface to the water surface like something with a shallow arch or flatter.

I thought long about a used Voyager I saw on Craigslist before putting the money down on the BW. I think I need to go out in some heavier water and see how it fairs.

The specs are fairly similar except the depth and length.
 
yellowcanoe
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10/18/2013 08:34PM
Hmm. test paddling at Canoecopia..though not AT Canoecopia but snuck off on a lake would be so nice. Have drysuit.
 
DanCooke
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10/18/2013 08:54PM
Test paddling the Blackwater throughout the summer I was constantly amazed at how stable it felt both in primary and secondary stability. I would not hesitate to select this canoe as a very quick and efficient ride in the BWCAw or anywhere else as far as that goes.
 
yellowcanoe
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10/18/2013 09:15PM
quote DanCooke: "Test paddling the Blackwater throughout the summer I was constantly amazed at how stable it felt both in primary and secondary stability. I would not hesitate to select this canoe as a very quick and efficient ride in the BWCAw or anywhere else as far as that goes."

Yah..that's why I want to test paddle it. You can never have too many test paddles IMO.
 
Dilligaf0220
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10/20/2013 11:29AM
Damn sexy boats!
I thought long & hard about the Blackwater, with much internet forum fretting, hee hee. But in the end I just assumed it would be as twitchy as the other hot solo's that are out there.

Then again, if I knew it was as rock solid as you say, I'd be alot poorer right now and spent a few more nights riding the couch. :D

Would love to see the footage when you get it uploaded.
 
ZaraSp00k
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10/22/2013 11:55AM
quote Banksiana: "I've spent some time in a C!W, even light crosswinds could be a bear. I had two friends that cut there boats (C1W) down."

the reason the C1W feels twitchy in waves is because of the hull contour, not the depth of the sides. Even in fairly still water, waves still do not inspire inspire confidence.

That said, the depth only makes things worse.

And really the Voyager is only a handful in wind if there is light or little load. But having said that, as a Voyager owner if I was buying new, I'd buy the Blackwater.

But with the Voyager you have the option of buying used, and comparing a $1000 to $1300 used Voyager to a new Blackwater (which likely will be at a premium used if you are lucky to find one)I'll take the used Voyager

remember, the Blackwater will be used after your first trip, is it really worth the extra $1500 to $2000?
 
Banksiana
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10/22/2013 02:57PM
I felt the c1w was good in waves, just tended to get blown around due to its excessive freeboard.
 
OBX2Kayak
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10/22/2013 03:31PM
Thanks for the info. The Blackwater is a sleek looking boat.
 
10/22/2013 07:25PM

quote Banksiana: "I felt the c1w was good in waves, just tended to get blown around due to its excessive freeboard."

I agree Banksiana. I personally think the Jensen C1W is incredibly seaworthy. I've paddled my C1W in some incredible "slop and chop", and in whitewater up to Grade III.

Aside from the BWCAW, Quetico, and trips on a variety of rivers, the C1W was my tripping canoe on several Isle Royale solo adventures. While tripping Isle Royale, it was paddled extensively along the coast of Lake Superior. The Jensen C1W handled the wind, waves and the Lake Superior swells beautifully.

The C1W is one of the most trim sensitive canoes I've ever owned, more so than any of my other swede form solo canoes. If properly trimmed, it doesn't handle the wind and waves too badly, but it's not as user friendly as the Voyager.

But as ZaraSp00k mentioned, the hull contour of the C1W is somewhat radical. The Jensen C1W's hull has rather hard chines, which indeed makes the C1W somewhat twitchy. There was an earlier model called the Jensen WWOC-1 that had a more gradual hull cross-section, closer to that of the Voyager.

Just for kicks, and for anyone who's interested, I've posted some old spec sheets of the Jensen C1W below, (two pages on left), and a 1983 article from Canoe Magazine reviewing the Wenonah WWOC-1, (two pages on right). Please excuse the condition of these 30-year old documents.

Hans Solo

 
ZaraSp00k
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10/23/2013 01:08PM
glad to see you agree with me Hans
C1W = seaworthy, but twitchy

there is a reason outfitters stopped stocking these as rentals & Wenonah dropped them from their lineup,
an inexperienced paddler will not feel comfortable in it, and when the wind picks up, if not properly trimmed, it will be a handfull

 
bwcasolo
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10/24/2013 04:41PM
awesome canoes! i am looking at the deep creek.
 
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