In italiano bandiera italiana

Why an open canoe

I paddle since when I was a child. I practiced wild water canoeing, and I used nearly any kind of canoe.
I rode downriver racing canoes, tourism kayaks, slalom kayaks and canoes, polo canoes, play boats, boat made of poliethilen, fiberglass, Kevlar, but I didn't take ingreat account open canoes.
They appeared to me similar to common boats: cumbersome, heavy, inappropriate for river touring and wild water.

In the last few years my opinion radically changed, and now I love them.
I realized that it is very pleasant to take my wife and my daughters with me during a canoe trip.
I was impressed to be able to load a lot of things, and take all what I need for a many day trip.
I was favourably impressed by the efficency of these hulls that glides fast and noiseless.
I was happy to find that open canoes are multi purpose boats. They can be ridden by one, two, and even four paddeller. They can overcome class III wild water rapids.
You can easily set your canoe with a wonderfull sail rig.
Finally I have been fascinated by Bill Mason, one of the most famous North American paddeller.
He made some very nice films and books about open canoes.

How to chose your open canoe

Many people think that any canoe is nearly the same, but it's not true.
When you start paddeling you may find very big differences between a canoe and another one.

Keep far from pneumatic canoes!
I know that it's very attractive to have a small package to store in your garage or inside your car when you have to take your canoe with you.
But these canoes have a lot of shortcomings
They usually have a terrible shape, and very poor hydrodynamic performance.
They usually are too short.
Even the best pneumatic canoe bends, and loose its shape on waves and when loaded.

Keep far from short canoes.
When you look at a caonoe out of water, expecially on the roof of a car, it seems to be very big.
In order to suit the size of a canoe to the size of our cars and garage, in Italy are available a lot of canoe less than 4.5 meters long.
I advise not to buy them. Short canoes sink even with a little load. This is why they result harder to drive in comparison to a big one.
Short canoes are always slower than long ones, and their lines are not so elegant.
Except than very rockered (with high ends) ones, they are not suited for white water canoeing.

The canoe I like most is Prospector 16 feet.
It's size is appropriate for both a single or two paddellers, and let's you take a respectable load.
It's round bottom makes it seem unstable for first time padeller, but it makes the hull fast and reactive
The thumblehome (top edge of the canoe narrower than the lower part) shaped sides in the center facilitate paddeling
The flare shaped ends makes a sharp and elegant water entry, while makeing the hull float out of waves.
The little elevation of the water-line at the ends (roker) makes the canoe easy to turn even on wild water.
Unfortunatly this canoe is nearly impossible to find in Italy.
But you can overcome the problem, looking abroad, and by mean of internet.

It's the cheapest you can find.
It's commonly used to build canoes in Italy.
It's heavy, easy to brake, and your canoe will sink when it is filled of water (unless you added soma floatation bags). It's easy to repair.

It'a a 3 layers polyethylene (similar to tank plastic).
The outer layer is compact and scrape resistant.
The middle layer is spongy. It makes the canoe float if filled of water. Its thickness lets the canoe rersist to buckling.
The inner layer makes the smooth sutface where the paddellers stands.
The weight and cost of these canoe is similar to fiberglass ones, but have some better quality. They nearly don't need maintenance.
They can resist to very strong injury.
Whwen the hull hits an obstacle (tipically a rock ar a boulder) it bends, absorbs the shock, glides over, and takes again its original shape.
The hull is noiseless.
The bottom is usually floppy and comes in when the canoe is loaded in the bow an in the stern.
The weight is high, for a 16 feet canoe is about 37 kg.

It'light, tear resistant, but very expensive.

Wood and canvas
It's a traditional building technique, derived from native American birch bark canoes.
They have a very nice look, and have the unique appeal of wood hand made craft.
Sono molto belle, ed hanno il fascino degli oggetti costruiti con materiali naturali.
Their weight is similar to royalex canoes, but they are stiffer (keep their shape).
They glide noiseless.
They need appropriate indoor storage, and regular maintenance.
You can't find these canoe in Italy, but they have a lot of enthusiast fans in North America.
The Wooden Canoe Heritage Association publish a periodical magazine, and makes crowdwd yearly meetings.

During summer 2006 I took part in a course, and I built my wood and canvas Prospector 16.
More details and a video are available in this web site.


WeNoNah canoe: A lot of technologically advanced canoes, with very light boats.
Wavecrest CANOE: Nearest WeNoNah shop from Italy, in Luckau, Germany.
Canoe Old Town: the world biggest canoe factory.
It is Located in Old Town city, in Maine, where probbly were used and developed for scouting, hunting.
They still make wood & canvas canoes.
Madriver Canoe: One of the major open canoes builder.
Tuttocanoa: One of the biggest canoe shop in Italy.
You can order and buy everithing on the web.
Holzstoff: Prpbably the only place in Europe, where you can buy or learn building wood & canvas canoes.

Web sites
Bill Mason: For sure one of the most famous canoe paddeler in the world.
Canoe Museum: to learn everything about canoes.

Wavelength Magazine