Spirit II is a tandem 17'…
Spirit II is a tandem 17' Wenonah Canoe that is made in Minnesota. The Spirit II is a wonderful all-round canoe that easily paddles rivers and streams with it’s 1.5” Rocker yet tracks nicely on an open lake with a breeze. Spirit II’s are made with a choice of materials, we chose the T-Formex which weighs in at 73 lbs and is the canoe we always pick from our boathouse of seven canoes for our river trips. I like our Spirit II so well that we bought a second one for our son.
Amazing boat. I can easily…
Amazing boat. I can easily see why the Spirit II is Wenonah number one selling boat. After going to the BWCA a handful of time and being in my late teens I bought what I could afford, a 100 lb grummand canoe. After being employed I decided to buy a "real BWCA canoe" and shopped around a bit before going to Midwest Mountaineering. With some research and guidance from the sales team I landed on the Wenonah Spirit II. I spent 100s of hours in the boat taking very close care of it, always stored inside, and waxed it every other year. The boat tracks extremely well for a wider touring boat, very stable for a fishing boat, and carries an incredible load. It was a sad day when I sold it a few years ago, but I needed to make room for my Champlain with the growing family.
this boat has been to the…
this boat has been to the BWCA 10 trips. It will handle well in wind and waves, probably better than my nerves. Light and easy to carry, comfortable, enough capacity for plenty of gear. Not a white-water boat, but can do streams, rivers very well. I am very well pleased with this boat.
Got a great deal on a used…
Got a great deal on a used Tuf-weave Spirit II. I've canoed quite a bit with my father as a kid and now decided to make a purchase on a quality canoe so I can share it with my wife and kids. I'm impressed with the stability of the canoe so far. I'm actually able to fit my 3 kids in the middle between the thwarts. The canoe is just barely light enough for me to load it on the top of my full-sized truck by myself. I have the older model Tuf-weave and the weight is about 63lbs. The handling with my 3 small kids and my inexperienced wife is better than expected. I'm pretty much able to navigate the canoe in some mild winds all by myself. As I put some more miles on it I'll see if there is anything I don't like about it, but for now I'm really happy with this canoe.
I bought a 1997 Spirit II…
I bought a 1997 Spirit II last week. very good condition for its age. the canoe is a tuf-weave x rib design. I have three other tandem canoes also, all various brands. I took the seats out of this boat and moved the center thwart, I then installed a center seat to make it a solo.
I am 75 yrs. old and weight 260#. I paddled the canoe about 8 or 9 miles in the last week using a double paddle. I found the boat to be a true pleasure to paddle, has a nice glide, easy to turn, and very stable even with my weight, The boat is not too heavy. I found the wind moves it around a bit but that is a small thing. I found the gel-coat will scratch easy, I pulled it through some gravel. It's just cosmetic.
I am very pleased with the boat.
I've had my Spirit II for 25…
I've had my Spirit II for 25 years and, as much as I love it for tandem canoeing, I love it even more as the platform for my Piantadosi Row Wing sliding seat rower. With 9ft oars it rocks in a straight line and, unlike dedicated skulls' can turn on a dime! Best aerobic workout ever.
We now bought our 2nd…
We now bought our 2nd We-no-nah canoe. After moving to Alaska three years ago. I decided that I would not need my canoe in Juneau, Alaska. It was a Spirit II which was just under 50 # and a delight to canoe and transport on my little wagon. At just 17' it fit perfectly in the garage and was perfect to handle and carry.. Moving back to the lower 48 and larger lakes and rivers, I missed being back on the water. When my husband said he wanted a canoe, I did my research again. I knew I we needed a lightweight canoe, stable for two larger adults and guess what was my first choice? The Spirit II . The cost had gone up from 10 years ago and transporting it from Northern Minnesota to Southern Kentucky seemed impossible. Luckily, I remember Ely, Minnesota, Paragis had a good supply and would transport them at a reasonable fee. Needless to say, at just under $3,000. We have been able to continue our canoeing at ages 60 and 80, respectively with the right canoe. Kevlar is the best!
The 17' We-no-nah Spirit II…
The 17' We-no-nah Spirit II (woven fiberglass) provided my family and friends with a lot of fun. The rail seat allowed the canoe to be trimmed easily. The canoe holds a tremendous amount of gear and is stable. It paddles well and tracks well too. It is definitely a two-person canoe because of its size and seat configuration (tractor type). I would highly recommend this canoe for family tripping, day outings, and general fun.
I have paddled my tuff weave…
I have paddled my tuff weave Spirit II for 2 years, I am returned to canoes after 40 years of kayaking. I find the craftmanship of the Spirit II outstanding. It is a very stable boat without giving up alot of speed or tracking. I use it mostly in lakes and 2-3 day river treks. I have the kevlar bow and stern layups. This is a very well rounded canoe.
After decades in ocean…
After decades in ocean kayaks, I added a canoe to the fleet. After growing up in MN. where I cut my teeth on canoes. 60 years old, I wanted a boat that I could get the wife and dogs out onto the water without giving up to much to performance. After much research, I bought a Wenonah spirit 2 in tuff weave, kevlar ends and bucket seat. After a summer's use (2015). I am totally happy with the boat. It's is tough, light (under 60lbs.), stable yet glides well.
I have owned a fiberglass…
I have owned a fiberglass layup Spirit II since 2001. I use it primarily for lake trips, such as the Boundary Waters and Quetico. At 54 lbs, it's not the lightest canoe for long portages, but for a guy in his 30's it's definitely doable.
I love the way it tracks through the water with or without gear. I feel comfortable spending the whole day paddling this canoe- good seat placement. I know that fiberglass is tough, but I get nervous using it on rivers as I don't want to damage it on rocks that I might encounter.
I will continue to use this canoe as long as I feel comfortable portaging it up to 1 mile. When I get older (& have more money), I will probably replace it with a lighter Kevlar canoe. For now I love it!
I wrote a review praising my…
I wrote a review praising my Spirit II ten years ago and guess what, I am still paddling it. Since it still makes me happy every time my wife and I use it I haven't found a reason to replace it. Ten years of dragging over cypress logs, across coral and down boat ramps topped of by lying in the killer sun in my back yard hasn't touched it. Neither has countless encounters with Alligators and manatees.
I mentioned in my first review that it blew off a roof rack while traveling at speed and it was not pretty anymore but the scrapes and dings did not affect it paddling ease and stablility. Still paddles great and is as tough as the day we bought it. If you want and easy paddling, tough boat that will carry you your spouse and a day of gear great get a kevlar Spirit II.
I've taken the Spirit II on a…
I've taken the Spirit II on a number of river trips. Mine is a royalex model and has proved to be very durable while not overly heavy. On one camping river trip, I had roughly 700 pounds in it between the 2 paddlers and gear. The canoe handled it great. The Spirit 2 is a good paddler and fairly stable. I am very happy with it.
We recently bought a Wenonah…
We recently bought a Wenonah Spirit II Ultralight. This after 40 years of Old Town Oltonars, 16 and 18 foot, and a Pack 12 which was horribly tippy and tracked bad. Thank you Wenonah for your Ultralight Spirit II. It is a dream come true for those who canoe lakes and moderate rivers and who need light weight, 42#. The Spirit II Ultra is unbelievably light weight, beautifully made, comfortable, big, stable, fast, efficient, tracks great and turns ok. The Spirit II makes us regret the decades and hundreds of miles we spent oil canning rivers and lakes in our Oltonar canoes. So if you are looking for an incredible canoe, with attributes listed above, get a Spirit II, or another Ultralight of suitable size. Whatever you do, don't be tempted by the Old Town Pack 12. The Pack is very light weight, but dangerously tippy, tracks like an intertube, and has no where near it's advertised 600# capacity. Happy canoeing.
My second Wenonah canoe. My…
My second Wenonah canoe. My wife and I love it. Third season now. Light and maneuverable. Love the light weight of this Kevlar ultra lite. This boat is a good compromise. Not as fast as my Itasca was but much more stable and forgiving.
This is an excellent all-round boat.
17' Royalex Wenonah Spirit II…
17' Royalex Wenonah Spirit II canoe: A great stable canoe with plenty of room for the family. This canoe was not very hard to paddle, and handles the wind very nice. Great for the beginners and more experienced paddlers alike.
Have owned this canoe for two…
Have owned this canoe for two years and love it. I paddle the Kevlar version with tractor buckets. We do lots of portage and lake tripping, the canoe is great fit for all our needs. Very light yet strong, holds a ton of gear and a breeze to paddle. Paddles a little better with some weight in it.
Overall great all around canoe
Owned a kevlar ultra light…
Owned a kevlar ultra light with wooden gunnels for five years. I love it for camping trips on moving water. Quite stable and maneuverable when loaded. No worries in class 2 plus with 2 adults with gear. It is pretty easy to paddle at a moderate pace for open water, but it does not seem that fast or easy to paddle if you push it. Love the light weight at portages. It gouges easily on rocks, but has never been holed. Broke a wood gunnel at the yoke. Easy to fix as it is three separate layers. I would buy another if I lost this one.
I have owned a Spirit II for…
I have owned a Spirit II for about 9 years now. It is great for the Susquehanna river - very stable, even when turning around for gear and fishing. It does tend to catch and be turned by crosswinds, but all keel-less canoes do that. Steering and paddling in the Spirit II are both pretty responsive.
My fishing buddy had a different model We-no-nah canoe, and he likes the Spirit II better. The Royalex makes the canoe pretty easy to handle - I can put it on the roof of my Vibe by myself, but at times I wish it was a bit stiffer.
I have canoe for many years -…
I have canoe for many years - from 6 week long trips to Class 4 whitewater. I wanted a high quality all around canoe that did not weigh more than 55#. It also had to look good to the eye. The Spirit II is all of these and more. Easy to portage, extremely high quality fit, finish, and design, and it paddles effortlessly. I can solo it, take the dog fishing, or pack it for camping. The best canoe I have ever had. You get what you pay for!!
I am 6' 215lbs and have been…
I am 6' 215lbs and have been kayaking for the last 9 years. Lately I have gotten an Epic surf ski (v10s) as well and love it very much. for a long time I searched for a light weight big kayak I could paddle with the whole family in.
we are 4, my 2 kids are 6 and 9 and weigh 65-75 lbs each my wife is a slender sub 100lbs. No need to say I could not find what I was looking for.
I did find a Spirit 2 which is an amazing family boat for us. On our last camping trip to lake Sonoma CA, led the 4 of us paddled it (with an old Town detachable plastic mid-seat) to the boat only campgrounds 3 miles from the launch in an Hour, fending of some serious mid-afternoon winds.
needless to say we had all our camping equipment in the boat with us which was another 100lbs or so. the boat felt really comfortable and easy going and whenever correction were needed my 6 year old boy in the front seat helped with a draw and a pry here and there.
We have also went down the Russian River in it and plan many more such trips. I would really like to own the fast Minnesota 2 but I think that when the kids grow up a bit I might just move to the Champlain or Itasca.
In summary I am very pleased with my Spirit 2 - tough weave in a bright red Ferrari color!
My best friend had messed up…
My best friend had messed up her foot so we couldn't take our summer backpacking trips. We problem solved and she decided to buy a canoe. We had NO idea of where to even start. After spending hours of looking on craigslist, I found a Spirit II for sale. As I read all of the reviews, we figured that for $300 it was a good decision as an entry level decision.
The first time we put the paddles in the water, I turned around, and she had as big of grin as I did! Since we both grew up with "camp canoes" we didn't know a canoe could behave so amazingly well in the water.
We took a 7 day flat water trip in Northern Idaho. With probably 70 pounds of gear and neither of us are teeny people, the canoe handled superbly. We were even caught out in a summer blow up, and waited out the worst of the wind and took off to cross the lake in front of the rain.
Even in whitewater chop, the boat was so stable. I was in front, and there were times as I was driving hard, the bow came out of the water, and my friend was still able to steer and handle the boat in the wind and chop.
She would buy this boat brand new, and so would I. It's perfect for the kind of adventures we take.
Picked up a used Wenonah…
Picked up a used Wenonah Spirit II a few weeks ago in gelcoated kevlar with wood trim. This one weighs in at about 57 pounds, so not an ultralight, but not a heavyweight either. I am 6'6" tall and weigh 250 and so is my son, and the reason I am posting this review is to add some information for larger paddlers considering this boat.
First off, it is everything the Wenonah website says it is -- a very versatile, all around usable design. But with larger paddlers any canoe loses some of its initial stability -- we are both heavier and sit higher, so generate a higher center of gravity than an average pair of paddlers. If you are larger, keep that in mind when choosing a canoe based on reading online comments as initial stability is probably going to be somewhat less for you than an average person's.
Compared to my Jensen 18 this boat has more initial stability, a bit more readable secondary stability and quite frankly glides and paddles very nearly as efficiently -- that latter point was a huge surprise to me. I also like to be able to paddle solo, so I removed the thwart behind the front seat and added a rear-facing solo seat. The Spirit II has a lot of volume, so is a marginal solo boat even with one as large as me paddling it. I add a 20 pound anchor up front (behind the rear seat) to trim and add some ballast and that improves things a bit, and using a long kayak paddle keeps you moving along briskly. The bottom line is it works and is easily maneuverable, but is nothing stellar to solo other than recreationally. The J-18 paddles better solo, but as a solo the J-18 is almost impossible to turn unless you heel it way over. That said, I've sold the J-18 and I really need to demo a Solo-Plus...
Back to Spirit II and stability. The Spirit II's initial stability with two large paddlers in it and no other gear is reliable, then you can feel secondary kick in and firm up a bit, but you can go past secondary very quickly and roll the boat. In other words, you feel it firm up about 3" or 4" from the inboard gunwale, but lean just a little more to 2" and secondary disappears instantly then you're in the water. Adding gear to the bottom lowers center of gravity and of course the boat gets more secure on secondary.
So my two cent summary: if you're larger paddler(s) and want the best canoe to fish for a few hours from or one you can easily stand up in, get one with a flatter bottom (like the Kingfisher). Unfortunately flat bottom designs aren't as much fun to paddle, especially if you want to get from point A to B and enjoy the experience. So if you want a boat that is efficient, can hold a lot of gear, is fun to paddle and maneuver with or without a load, but still has reasonable stability for fishing when empty as long as you don't need to stand up, the Spirit II is definitely worth considering.
We took our new Royalex…
We took our new Royalex Spirit II on it's maiden voyage on the Hillsborough River last weekend. Mom, Dad, boys (6 & 12)and minimal gear.
What a sweet canoe! Plenty stable for the family, but not sluggish. Much nicer than any other general purpose canoe we have paddled. The little bit of oil-canning of the hull made for easier sliding over logs (river was LOW!). That's the beauty of Royalex.
Would like to try it solo, but the thwart behind the front seat won't let you paddle it backwards from that seat. Center seat would be great, but would be hard to take two kids. I'll experiment with it.
Wenonah is worth the $ for us.
I bought my Royalex hull…
I bought my Royalex hull Spirit II two years ago. It was equipped with a third seat which I thought to be a little funny at first. Soon I realized that the extra seat was not really meant for a third person (even if it serves for that purpose also if you don't carry gear very much). The seat in the middle is great for solo paddling! There's so much room for gear that, when going solo, I don't even need to remove the front and back seats, I just slide my most buoyant sacks underneath for added safety.
I've just finished a 130 kilometer paddling trip three days ago, spent a week on flat water, around one of the biggest islands in Finland. The Spirit II was beyond my expectations, once again. I had to pull through a couple of open waters with heavy wind one day, accompanied with waves and some rain. The canoe steered well, and with moderate waves I didn't need spray decks - I'm going to purchase (or make) them anyway in the future, just for convenience.
I don't like portages, and pack accordingly, not needing to worry about the amount of weight versus stability. The weight is a factor though when I bump into obstacles or just hit a submerged rock - the Royalex outer surface gets scratched easily but that does not have effect to the performance on water, what it does is a boost in street credibility...
I rotate paddling techniques during a trip, to keep myself from straining muscles. The Spirit II is great for the Canadian style as well. This is one well made, well designed canoe!
We got the Spirit II in…
We got the Spirit II in Tuf-weave Flexcore. Have had the canoe down a couple of local rivers. The canoe handles well and is easy to turn, has decent glide. Handled powerboat wake with no problem at all. For us it was between the Adirondack in Royalex or this boat. Because the local shop had a 15% sale, we upgraded to the Tuf-weave and longer boat.
It is light enough for me to carry by myself and for my wife and I to get on top of our SUV. The gel coat is easy to scratch on the bottom, but you just have to accept that with any gel coated boat. The tractor-seats are comfortable once you get used to them, but we will probably line them with foam for a little padding.
This is the promised…
This is the promised follow-up review of the Royalex Spirit II after a 220 mile, 7 1/2 day journey down the West Branch and Main Stem of the Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania. We put in near Shawville, PA, after loading up with about 175 pounds of gear. My son and I each weigh about 200 lbs. We set off onto the river in a slight rain. We had at least 12 inches of freeboard and were drawing about 5 inches (not bad considering how much weight we had on board!)
We clicked off 20 miles on the first afternoon, then set up camp. The next day we ran Moshannon falls (a Class 2+ rapid with a few haystacks with hidden rocks) with no serious problems, then many unamed riffles. Buttermilk Falls presented a bit more challenge (many barely submerged rocks) but the Royalex slid off any gotchas. We paddled down to the meeting of the West and Noth Branches of the Susquehanna after tough portages around dams at Lock Haven and Williamsport. The Spirit II glided efficiently through the Main Branch Susquehanna's flatwater, and took the few ledges with aplomb.
We were very pleased with the canoe's performance. the only time we wished we had a Kevlar canoe was the tough portage around the Williamsport dam. Even there Royalex was an advantage as we roped the canoe up and slid it down the other side.
The capacity was more then adequate, seaworthiness was amazing (even in rough chop produced by Memorial Day speedboat traffic on the 12 mile lake before Williamsport), and the tractor seats were remarkably comfortable. We can unequivocally recommend the Spirit II as a long distance canoe!
I finally got my Spirit II in…
I finally got my Spirit II in royalex out on the Buffalo river in NW Arkansas this weekend for a 10-mile float after some heavy rains. I've typically paddled a Dagger Delta kayak, an older fiberglass Mohawk, and plenty of aluminum livery boats. I was extremely impressed with the Spirit II's maneuverability and tracking (for a royalex boat), even agains strong headwinds at times. The boat is very responsive and both inital and final stability felt secure. I was also impressed with the ease with which the Spirit II rolled over rocks on which I typically would have at least paused. If there's a drawback, it appeared that the higher bow caught the wind sometimes and blew us sideways, but recovery was relatively simple with a hard sweep or pry. I feel as if I made the right decision when canoe shopping, as I wanted a boat for class I and II rivers here in Southern Missouri and Northern Arkansas. Great canoe!
We purchased a Wenonah Spirit…
We purchased a Wenonah Spirit II Royalex, Alaskan ivory with performance package
(sliding bow and bucket seats) from Oak Orchard canoe in Waterport, NY on
February 17th, 2006. Though I placed a deposit on a Bell Northwind in Royalex, I
didn't want to go less than 17' and the Royalex version of the
Northwind is 16'6". I thought the overall appearance and design of the Northwind
was solid and it has had good reviews, but the size and the cane seats forced me
to drop it down on the priority list. We also looked at the 17' Old Town
Penobscot. It is probably a fine canoe, but I found the seats too high.
I learned canoeing in Grummans and have spent hours kneeling, so I know that
higher seats provide more flexibility (kneeling for stability, seated for
comfort). But when I considered all the possible uses for this canoe, over 90%
of the hours will be in the seated position. If the seats are mounted low enough
you have stability and comfort.
The hardest decision was between the Royalex Spirit II and the Kevlar (a mere
$400 difference due to year -end sale). We finally decided on Royalex -- I just
don't want to worry about my canoe. We have rocky streams in pennsylvania and
one of the (few) benefits of a Coleman RAM-x canoe is you can head downstream
without a care for rocks. Though Royalex will scratch, it will slide over rocks
and be less prone to catastrophic (i.e. expensive) damage.
We purchased a Mitchell paddle for my son. Ive been very pleased with the
workmanship and design of this paddle (I use a 25 year old Camp Paddle and just
added a FoxWorks Guide model -- 18 onces of pure efficiency!).
I opted for sponges on the front and a hitch rack in back for our Ford F-150.
That was a mistake. The F-150 roof is flat and the sponges slide. We lost two
sponges in the 50 MPH + winds that night (14 degrees, as well). We stopped at
Dick's Sporting Goods the next morning and bought four more straps. With three
straps across the roof it was solid all the way home (south of Pittsburgh). I've
called and ordered the front rack for the truck -- it can't come too soon!
We've had the Spirit II out twice since we brought it home (we've had a long
streak of cold weather) and paddled on a local reservoir. It has been a joy to
paddle. My son and I are each 190+ and we can fly across the lake. Today we
challenged a 15 MPH + headwind and it cut through the water with ease.
Primary stability is acceptable, but secondary is amazing. You will have to WORK
to tip this canoe!
It oilcans a bit in chop, but that's an acceptable price to pay for the
stability, speed, and durability of this Royalex canoe.
We are planning a 220 mile trip down the West Branch of the Susquehanna from
Clearfield to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania this May. I'll report on the Spirit II's
tripping capabilities after that trip, but I am expecting to be just as pleased
I bought a used kevlar Spirit…
I bought a used kevlar Spirit II about two years ago. After 30 years of paddling I decided I was too old to continue lifting heavy boats on to a roof rack. I use the boat for a mixture of day trips on flat water and estuary paddling in Southwest Florida (mangroves and twisting tidal creeks). Prior to paddling the Spirit I had a Sawyer X17 which my wife and I paddled for many years. Before the Sawyer an aluminum canoe provided transport. I find the Spirit II to be ideal for my purposes. It accelerates to speed with just a few strokes and will maintain a cruising speed with moderate effort. It also is maneuverable in tight tidal creeks, a must for us. Recently my boat flew off the top of my truck as I was traveling on an interstate at around 70 mph. Although the boat was quite scraped up it survived with a few ugly scrapes in the gel coat and a snapped rail which was easily repaired. The kevlar layup is light and tough. I am a harsh critic generally but I urge anyone thinking about a canoe to check out a kevlar Spirit II.
My wife and I purchased a…
My wife and I purchased a Spirit II in kevlar flexcor the spring of 04. My only experience being in alum. canoes we wanted something light, tuff, and staple being a family of 4 with 2 dogs and all. Anyway we took it on countless day trips last year and stable are an understatement even with the dogs both in the 60lbs. class two adults and kids a 2 and 4 year old I was only worried about tipping a few time but never did.
Last month it went on its first BWCA trip and I would give it an A. In five days it seemed to have the full spectrum tossed at it from big swirling waves on Snowbank Lake with no oilcanning that I noticed. To lazy walleye fishing on Disappointment and actually being a joy to carry on 200 plus rod portages. Paddled well loaded and unloaded while fishing. The gelcoat took a beating witch I know it would and I managed a small hole in the gelcoat on the keel not the kevlar behind it. From the almighty hidden rock but it was nothing a little good old duct tape couldn't fix till home.
Rain or shine kids or packs or just empty the Spirit II is every thing I read and asked about in making my decision to purchase it and more which was nice to see in today’s day and age.
No, I did not test paddle everything in the Spirit IIs class from other MFGs. but I would be hard pressed to believe there is better.
After 2 years with my Spirit…
After 2 years with my Spirit 2 (RX) I would have to say I agree with choire_dog. The oil canning is quite bothersome. When it's loaded with gear or kids, it's fine, but when unloaded it has no rocker at all. The RX is holding up very well though. For a big all around boat it still is one of the best. Thought I would check out a Bell Yellowstone Tandem. We put a center float bag I got very cheap at the death of Galyans sale and when over inflated this helps the oil canning some. Still a nice boat and very well made except for the oil canning.
This is my tenth canoe so I…
This is my tenth canoe so I can compare it with plenty of others. Most of the compliments mentioned by other reviewers are valid, but there are some downsides too. I have never had a canoe that was so flexible (mine is RX) and it oil cans so severely that when in the water its hull shape is nothing like the factory spec!! It is better loaded in this respect for the weight of the load holds the bottom of the hull in place to a certain extent. But it still oil cans!
For a 17' canoe in RX it is light, but this must be due to the royalex being so thin. (Try comparing hull stiffness with, say a NovaCraft 17') The RX also seems very soft, as is wearing at an alarming rate compared to my other boats.
The gunwales are great: narrow yet very solid, as are the seat hangers, though I angled the seats just a little to improve kneeling comfort.
The yoke is just too light weight, I exchanged mine for a deep dish type, more comfort, more strength, more weight, more cost. Usual trade offs.
Basically I'm happy enough with it for what I use it for, but wouldn't buy one again. I'd trade weight for a stiffer hull.
Let me start with a little…
Let me start with a little background. I’m in my late 40’s and have been in canoes since before I could walk, as have our kids. My wife and I have been married over 18 years, and I introduced her to serious paddling when we were still dating (if you want to see if a relationship will last, go paddling ;-). We sport a family of 6. We own 8 canoes (1 under construction), 4 kayaks (one under construction), and have paddled, build, repaired, altered, or modified almost every conceivable make or type of canoe on the market (barring dugouts). Several times a year we try to introduce people to the sport. I’m also a research fanatic.
Last summer we had to dry dock our 1964 Moore Venom Racer for repairs and a very special face lift. My wife and I use the Venom Racer like most serious canoeists use a touring canoe. It’s an extension of our bodies and fast enough to outrun small sailboats, yet after years of practice with specialized strokes, we can maneuver just fine in the thickets. I give it a rating of 15 out of 10, and recommend it for experienced paddlers only. After trying a substandard stand-in for a canoe trip, I knew I couldn’t last the season without a real canoe separating me from the water.
My wife and I had talked about getting or building an all-around touring canoe. One that would go and do the few things the Venom Racer wasn’t capable of. We found it in the California Canoe and Kayak shop in Sacramento while returning from a canoe trip near Lake Tahoe. A Wenonah Spirit II Roylex with a center portage thwart. Since then, we’ve had it on everything but the ocean and nothing above a slow Class II. This includes an incredible 60 mile+ trip and portage in the back country waters of British Columbia. Here’s how I rate the Spirit II.
It does everything Wenonah says it does. It’s solid as a rock. Normally we like to “stable” our canoes when the other person climbs in or out. On the Spirit II, I just shove off and jump in. When loaded light, it skips across the water, but loses some tracking. Once cresting a wave side-to in a heavy wake, a 20 to 30 mph cross wind gust lifted the entire canoe out of the water (we’ve never flown a canoe before). It was just a few inches off the water, and we landed just fine. So you could say it also has good aerodynamic stability too. When loaded heavy, it digs in but doesn’t compromise its maneuverability. We carried the majority of gear for four people on our 5 day British Columbia trip. Even in heavy chop with swirling winds and waves rolling down the gunwales, we never lost control of the canoe. I found the portage thwart to be well balanced, but uncomfortable outside of the short haul. I installed Bourquin Boat Yoke Pads on Wenonah’s portage thwart and fell in love all over again. Problem solved. After experiencing various hull shapes, I’ll probably never be happy with anything but an arced bottom. This is one of Wenonah’s Spirit II’s trademarks. These hulls are quicker and more maneuverable than most non-specialized hulls. Their initial stability is almost as good as a flat bottom, but they retain a good secondary stability. And they don’t concentrate bottom damage along the keel line like “V” hulls and those with keels. The Roylex holds up well. It has taken a few significant hits and though we have dents to show for them, the canoe was never compromised. However, I will probably install some Kevlar stem guards since speed isn’t an issue. And last but not least, it’s very quiet on the water. If you like to hunt, fish, photograph wildlife, or just sneak around, this is the vessel.
Now for the down side. First understand I’m used to our Racer, so these issues may not be issues for most canoeists. Speed is not its strong point. It paddles well and moves easily, but not fast and effortlessly. Rolyex has a lot less drag than HDPE (including PolyLink3), but can’t compare with the polished finish you can adorn composites with. You must earn your speed with a discounted cadence. As for tracking, it lacks real tracking by my wife’s standards. Too much effort is spent correcting its course (in racing canoes, you want every stroke of the paddle to move you forward, not back onto course). She is, perhaps, spoiled in that respect. In an unbiased statement, it tracks and maneuvers better than many canoes I’ve been in, and this includes some high rated big name canoes. Unloaded there is a tendency to oilcan just a bit (between my wife and I we make about 400 pounds of cargo, thus increasing the likelihood of oilcanning). It slices through waves (which is a good thing normally), but without a cover, deep waves can roll right in over the gunwales. A price you pay for a sleek touring canoe and no flair on the freeboard. I wish it were faster, but do not hold it against the Spirit II. Still, I have to say, it can back up all of its claims. Without a doubt, it is one of the very few quintessential touring canoes on the market.
My Spirit II continues to…
My Spirit II continues to fullfill any requirement made of it. A new paddler fearful of tippy boats? Perfect for instilling confidence. 3 big adults? - room for center seat and it moves right along. - Longer trip? plenty of room for extra gear. Big difference in paddlers sizes? Bow chair is adjustable for balance. Portage? composit very light. Good paddling in any weather and water condition up to class II whitewater.. I t is a great canoe. Need any addional help? We-No- Na company very nice to deal with.
I guess you could consider…
I guess you could consider this a long term review of the Spirit II from Wenonah. I've owned this boat for two years now and have equipped it with a full tilt sailing rig and pontoons. I have a Kevlar hull with red gel coat and wood trim. Last year, this boat circumnavigated Catalina Island off the SoCal coast in nothing short of grand style. In every condition experienced, the Spirit II did an exceptional job. No wind and paddling, beating into a 3 foot swell, running in 12 foot ground swell in 20 knots of wind, this boat never made me feel like I was in trouble. All this with an expedition load for shore camping along the way.
I have had my Royalex Spirit…
I have had my Royalex Spirit II for 1 year now and it is a wonderful do everything boat. From running class II+ rapids to cursing choppy waters on a big lake it dos great. It isn’t the fastest canoe on the flat water but it’s stable. I’ve even done some “wake jumping” when the powerboats got too thick. I am pretty tough on my boats and this one has come through just fine.
I bought a kevcore Spirit II…
I bought a kevcore Spirit II with wood trim and cane seats in '89. I've tripped it through Algonquin and Quetico and the Adirondacks, probably 40 trips. Plus countless outings around home. Durable is an understatement. It is a freighter with a heart of a cruiser. Not as fast as some longer boats nor as maneuverable as shorter ones, but if you're looking for a wilderness tripping boat that also is a good fishing boat the Spirit II will do the job. And it portages well, too. Added comfort: Wenonah has as good a reputation as anyone. Just look at what most of the outfitters in Ely use.
We've owned our Royalex…
We've owned our Royalex Spirit II for about one year now. This is our first canoe and we just love it. I find it very easy to paddle(I do all of the paddling, my wife just comes along for the ride)and maneuver. The boat tracks well and is very stable. This boat does everything we need it to and does it very well.
Admittedly, I have a special…
Admittedly, I have a special interest in choice of canoes due to my desire to sail my boat more than paddle. I have found the Spirit II in Kevlar to be a fantastic sailing craft as well as the best all-around canoe I have ever owned. There are lots of specialized canoes available that will do different tasks better than the Spirit II (straight line speed, load carrying, turnability) but none will do them all as well as this boat. If you only have space or the budget for one canoe, then this is your boat.
If you cannot conceive of…
If you cannot conceive of paddling solo the Spirit II is the standard, all-around cowboy craft for you. This is the one that my kids and I used to crab in Winchester Bay and fish on the Chetco River and lower Columbia. I ended up giving it to a Umatilla guy and, last I heard, he's using it to run his nets. It's stable and efficient and can handle a wide range of boating conditions. If I get another one, it will be Rx.
Great boat, I use mine…
Great boat, I use mine primarily in the S.F. Bay area. On calm lakes and ponds it's a great fishing platform. It paddles and handles very well. I bought the Tuffweave version. I have had the boat out in a local bay, Tomales, and on one occasion it got very rough, 25 knots of sustained wind and a brutal 2-3 foot wind chop. Other than having a difficult time making forward progress the boat performed way better than I could have ever imagined. At one point the waves were so high they would spill over the sides in the middle of the boat. The bow never plunged under even with a 200+ pound kid sitting in the front.
My wife and I only recently…
My wife and I only recently purchased the Spirit II, Tuf-weave with all-wood trim and web seats. The boat is beautiful. Beyond its elegance, the canoe just handles like a dream.
We have many, many years of tandem canoe experience and were using a 25 year old fiberglass Mohawk that had provided years of loyal and honorable service. Needlesstosay, the contrast between the two boats is severe. We were just amazed at the Spirit's speed, tracking, light weight and responsiveness. Its soft chine causes the Spirit to feel a bit more "tippy" than its predecessor (we feel it more when the dog switches sides), but ultimately it is extremely stable. I feel almost "at one" in the stern of this canoe as in my kayak.
So new to us, we haven't put the vessel to any "real" test yet. In light of what I've read and experienced, though, I am sure it will succeed. We look forward to many years of pleasure with this canoe. If you are considering a canoe purchase, give this boat close attention. You will be glad you did. Finally, if you do buy one, add Wenonah's bent-shaft Brio paddle to the order. It's my first elbow paddle. I wonder why I waited so long. Both are highly recommended.
I think that the Spirit II is…
I think that the Spirit II is the best tandem canoe made. I've been paddling this canoe for about five years. I bought it when I was sixteen after getting a lot of advise on canoes from people all over Canada and Minnesota. This canoe does everything and that's exactly what I need. And I've done everything with this canoe. In whitewater and rapids it just does exactly what you expect and what you want. On lakes it has enough speed to cruise nicely. The tracking is just the right balance, there when you need it and gone when you don't. It's also stable as a rock unloaded. The other thing that we've found is that compared to my parents Minnesota II the capacity on the Spirit is far greater. The Minnesota II you don't want to load much beyond 600 pounds. It just isn't the same canoe beyond the 6 inch waterline. The Spirit, though, is the same canoe no matter how it's loaded. I've gone as far as 850 pounds and the canoe was a little slower, but behaved the same. As for running waves. My girlfriend and my sister took on a very stiff northwest wind on Bailey Bay of Basswood lake comming off the Burke Lake portage heading for Prairie Portage. They were nervous before they got in the Spirit as a pair for the first time. But, after they got in they went out and fully loaded tried to find something that would challenge them and didn't get a drop. The Spirit is also a great solo as long as your not in a hurry.
We bought our Spirit II…
We bought our Spirit II (royalex) last year at Canoecopia, so this has been our first season. We love it! Very stable and roomy with 2 adults , 1 10 year old and an active golden retriever. We usually paddle on our local lake, but this summer we went to Missouri and paddled some of the Gasconade River. This boat is pretty effortless to paddle. Easy to turn and tracks great. Its a definite 10 out of 10.
I love my Spirit II -…
I love my Spirit II - Tufweave 17' 67 Lbs, its paddle well, handles well on flat water and the class 1 rivers near by. Real Stable, wont capsize until the the gunnel is level with the water. Does well with kids. I dont have a problem loading the spirit II by myself onto the truck. Recommend.
Like many, I opted for the…
Like many, I opted for the Spirit II as a boat for a variety of conditions, and I love it. Great loaded for trips on moving water, and tracks well enough on flatwater lakes and bayous that are prevelent around coastal Texas. Good fishing platform as well.
I purchased the Spirit II in…
I purchased the Spirit II in Royalex four years ago. We have a lot of rocky streams in our area which influenced my choice. Since then, I have also taken the Spirit II on two extended trips to the Boundary Waters, carrying myself, my wife and my daughter and all of our gear. While it is not light at around 75 pounds (we installed a third seat and some other customizations), it is lighter than my old aluminum battleship and I was able to portage it without difficulty. This is a good all around canoe with good secondary stability, maneuverability, load carrying capability and pretty good speed. If I lived in Minnesota, I would have a touring kevlar boat, but for multiple uses, this canoe is hard to beat.
I have agonized over buying a…
I have agonized over buying a good fishing canoe for a couple of years now, to replace my Grumman 19' square stern. Well, I decided to keep the Grumman but after paddling several canoes, I decided on the Spirit II in Royalex. It's great!!! Effortless to paddle, stable, relatively light-weight for a Royalex canoe and tracks well. I recommend it without reservation.
Great canoe for two people.…
Great canoe for two people. Solo paddling is tough if there is significant wind. Not exactly light (67 lbs), but easy enough for one person to handle. Very solid with lots of room. Great for day trips and good for extended trips. Very comfortable to sit in all day and paddle.
Our spirit II in royalex…
Our spirit II in royalex performed great on an extended river trip. performed great fully loaded.This boat is fast,tracks well and maneuvers well enough to catch eddies even fully loaded.the best tandem river canoe ever.This is the boat of choice.
We-no-nah Spirit II in…
We-no-nah Spirit II in Royalex. I have one of the first dozen Royalex Spirit IIs, so I've had plenty of time to gather my thoughts on the boat. First, it doesn't feel like a Royalex boat. It feels solid, rigid, and responsive, and manages to combine great tracking with maneuverability. I've matched it with a classic composite Old Town Canadien, and the Spirit II was faster and less twitchy, but turned just as well. I've also switched on-and-off with a Penobscot, and find the Spirit II just seems to do what I want it to more effortlessly. An excellent boat that will do many things very well.
I have one of the first dozen…
I have one of the first dozen Royalex Spirit IIs, and it's proven to be a wonderful boat. It's a reasonable weight for a 17' RX, and it's proven vastly superior to my friend's classic composite OT Canadien. I've paddled it tandem and with both my wife AND two young kids aboard. Tracks well and turns even better. And my Royalex boat did come with nice looking wooden thwarts and a portage yoke.
GREAT CANOE!!! I have the…
GREAT CANOE!!! I have the Tufweave X-Rib model. It has good glide and great stability. The Spirit II has an indescribable good feel that only Wenonah seems to be able to build into thier designs.I find it very easy to paddle solo . It tracks well but also turns easily. This is a plus when paddling with a novice or child in the bow seat and all steering must be done from the stern.My Spirit has the tractor style seats which I find comfortable.My only complaint with the canoe is the fact that it does not come standard with a portage yoke.To install a yoke you must drill out the pop rivets holding in the thwart and then pop rivet brackets into the gunwales.This isn't to hard but time consuming and nerve racking since you are having to drill holes into your new canoe. It would be so easy for the factory to do this and probably wouldn't add $20 to the cost of the canoe.
We-No-Nah Spirit II in…
We-No-Nah Spirit II in flexcore layup (fiberglass reinforced hand laid). A very competent lake and river boat up to Class II. Handles well solo from bow seat. Front seat slider option which I would insist upon. comes without a carry yoke which I didn't like and bought a clip on yoke. Didn't balance well on the thwart; not centered. Other than that, a very able and satisfactory boat for family touring. Family verdict is that the seats are not very comfortable though, plan on buying some Cripple Creek seat backs.