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Thread: All Canoes not created equal? Say it aint sew?

  1. #1

    Default All Canoes not created equal? Say it aint sew?

    Kinda rhetorical I guess, but I on some level actually thought most 17 foot canoes were pretty similar.

    I've been around canoes since high school were I did Summer trips with kids.. and have been off and on rivers ever since... typically always in a grumman, coleman.. other inexpensive canoe..

    At a yard sale I recently picked up a we no na spirit 2 17 foot royalex canoe. I also bought a 17 foot ram x for my son and off we went for hunting season.

    Granted I have a fair amount of paddling experience.. he does not.. but he is 18, bullet proof, and a pretty good athlete, me 54 and slowing down. He has been around water all his life and picked it up really quickly..

    What I could not believe was how little effort I had to put out to get across flat water compared to what he did. After 40 miles of river he was a basket case frustrated trying to keep up.. he'd pull really hard on one side, and the canoe would over correct.. I could moderately pull and the canoe would track..

    I figured the coleman with the greater beam would shine when it came to packing.. I dunno.. in the spirit 2 I took both hind quarters, and a front.. and half the gear.. he took the other front.. the neck meat, flank, and half the gear.. with my deeper gunnels I think I could pack equal to the coleman..in spite of less beam.

    This is a pretty basic thread to any canoeist that is familiar with quality boats.. but I had quite an eye opening this Fall to better boats..

    I am selling the Coleman and getting a second We no na or other better boat for the son.

    Other than the few deep gouges I have in the we no na from a heavy loads, shallow water and sharp rocks.. I am extremely happy.

  2. #2
    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    The Coleman has its place in life but not speedy by any means. If you had spent the day dragging them both over rocks in shallow water you might be bragging on the Coleman.
    Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

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    Moderator Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    In my opinion the hull of the Ramx/Colemans flexes too much. Too flimsy. If it flexes as you paddle you are loosing speed as you don't have a smooth flow of water over the bottom of the hull. So for each paddle stroke you are loosing efficiency. In this case stiffer is better.

    My Oldtown Pack was Roylex and a breeze to paddle.

    I also used to wash the bottom of the canoe couple of times a year and wax it. You could tell the handling difference.

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    Welcome to the world of canoe ing , just like car's they all go but some ride a lot different than others the control is different on all an cost is different also SID

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    Member sayak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daveinthebush View Post
    In my opinion the hull of the Ramx/Colemans flexes too much. Too flimsy. If it flexes as you paddle you are loosing speed as you don't have a smooth flow of water over the bottom of the hull. So for each paddle stroke you are loosing efficiency. In this case stiffer is better.

    My Oldtown Pack was Roylex and a breeze to paddle.

    I also used to wash the bottom of the canoe couple of times a year and wax it. You could tell the handling difference.
    I agree, stiffer is better!
    Anyway, I believe you are correct about a flexing bottom on a canoe such as the Coleman: convexivity in the bottom of a watercraft creates a cavity, and cavitation slows it down. The smoother (and more rigid), the better.

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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    Coleman is a older timer and not really stiff but heavy
    Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

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    Moderator Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    Another thing for a beginning canoeist is learning the proper strokes to use. Mastering the "J' stroke can save a person a lot of effort. With a good J, a person can learn to control the canoe from only one side. That learned, you don't have to switch from side to side to control the craft. It also makes for sneakier canoeing. Once you get it right, you don't even have to withdraw the paddle from the water to bring it forward making a splash. Not for speed, but for stealth. I have snuck up on a lot of bull frogs that way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Daveinthebush View Post
    Another thing for a beginning canoeist is learning the proper strokes to use. Mastering the "J' stroke can save a person a lot of effort. With a good J, a person can learn to control the canoe from only one side. That learned, you don't have to switch from side to side to control the craft. It also makes for sneakier canoeing. Once you get it right, you don't even have to withdraw the paddle from the water to bring it forward making a splash. Not for speed, but for stealth. I have snuck up on a lot of bull frogs that way.
    Exactly !!! And I've seen precious few canoeists using the J-stroke, the only sensible stroke for a lone canoeist.

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    Gosh....how can you canoe without a "J" stroke?

    Another thing I've noticed is that getting off my knees onto the seat seems to cause me to work more with the paddle...maybe it's a leverage thing or maybe it's the fact I'm loosing muscle mass and gaining fat as I age....but it's still fun!!
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  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Daveinthebush View Post
    In my opinion the hull of the Ramx/Colemans flexes too much. Too flimsy. If it flexes as you paddle you are loosing speed as you don't have a smooth flow of water over the bottom of the hull. So for each paddle stroke you are loosing efficiency. In this case stiffer is better.

    My Oldtown Pack was Roylex and a breeze to paddle.




    I also used to wash the bottom of the canoe couple of times a year and wax it. You could tell the handling difference.


    this is a big part of it I think. The coleman I have sat in the Sun a long time and is anything but smooth.. has buckles, and bends.. and loses a lot of efficiency. The three grooves on the bottom also cut efficiency. Amazingly the coleman doesn't even track as well as the we no na with those three grooves on the bottom..

    As for shallow water?.,. we paddled 34 miles of shallow water.. in and out and dragging the whole way.. still not a coleman fan..

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Daveinthebush View Post
    Another thing for a beginning canoeist is learning the proper strokes to use. Mastering the "J' stroke can save a person a lot of effort. With a good J, a person can learn to control the canoe from only one side. That learned, you don't have to switch from side to side to control the craft. It also makes for sneakier canoeing. Once you get it right, you don't even have to withdraw the paddle from the water to bring it forward making a splash. Not for speed, but for stealth. I have snuck up on a lot of bull frogs that way.
    No doubt his lack of technique is a part of it.. but the kid is a wizard with stuff like this and picked it up quickly. He had the "J" stroke down.. and could paddle from one side quite easily. But was paddling twice as hard as I was an still going slower. He skied 47 runs in the vertical challenge at Girdwood setting a new Junior record(previous record 33).. so he knows movement and efficiency, and is plenty strong and in shape. I switched canoes a couple times, and found an excuse to switch back pretty quickly.

  12. #12

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    Technique side, there are certainly design differences that lead to performance differences in these two boats. As mentioned, stiffness is the biggest factor in boats that 'dog'. Bottoms that flex or oilcan are the worst, totally inefficient. Second is the amount of wetted surface, which the coleman certainly has more of, having a flatter (for higher initial stability) bottom and wider beam. Third is entry line, the Spirit II is asymmetrical, or swede form, having a longer entry line than a symmetrical canoe. Fourth would probably be the actual smoothness of the hull, a beat-up, scratched-up boat will have more drag than a hull in pristine shape. Cheers, happy paddling.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by dirtysteev View Post
    Technique side, there are certainly design differences that lead to performance differences in these two boats. As mentioned, stiffness is the biggest factor in boats that 'dog'. Bottoms that flex or oilcan are the worst, totally inefficient. Second is the amount of wetted surface, which the coleman certainly has more of, having a flatter (for higher initial stability) bottom and wider beam. Third is entry line, the Spirit II is asymmetrical, or swede form, having a longer entry line than a symmetrical canoe. Fourth would probably be the actual smoothness of the hull, a beat-up, scratched-up boat will have more drag than a hull in pristine shape. Cheers, happy paddling.

    excellent write up!! These are the things people need to read and understand when looking to buy a canoe.. or simply understand better the craft.


    So why do you think Coleman went with the ridiculous design they went with?.. I guess the craft they designed is somewhat stable(wide).. and with the three ribs on the bottom.. makes the boatt good with a small motor on a lake.. but to paddle??.. ouch..


    My son and I talked about it quite a bit, and felt the Coleman would be the star when it came to packing.. we both felt after the float out with a fairly large moose and camp that the we no na actually performed better..
    I had both hinds, a shoulder, and half the camp(probably more weight than he did), and my canoe was still excellent in light white water.. flat water.. even shallow water(though I need to figure out how to repair several very deep gouges)....

    tanks for the imput..

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    Moderator Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    'So why do you think Coleman went with the ridiculous design they went with?.. I guess the craft they designed is somewhat stable(wide).. and with the three ribs on the bottom.. makes the boat good with a small motor on a lake.. but to paddle??.. ouch.."

    Cheap to make and providing an entry level canoe to the market. I don't think Coleman makes canoes. I sure it is a Canadian firm that is eluding my mind that makes them for them.

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