Read reviews for the Discovery 119 by Old Town Canoe and Kayak as submitted by your fellow paddlers. All of the reviews are created and written by paddlers like you, so be sure to submit your own review and be part of the community!
I would like to say a few things about this canoe. OT Discovery 119.
First of all, I would like to say a few things about my needs when it comes to canoeing, I was looking for something that I could handle on my own. Lift on and off a car by myself, and also a boat that could handle a decent amount of weight. I thought a lot about what my needs would be, Do I need something with rocker, or not. And how stable i needed it to be. I am an avid fisher, But at the same time didn't want a canoe that was too stable as I realized that this would have a big impact on speed. I narrowed it down to either a small canoe 12-14 feet, or buy something made out of kevlar. Reading reviews here made again uncertain about the OT D119. Because people said it was too tippy. And that is nothing but lies.
I ended up buying one eventually. And surprised on how stable it was. There are so many bad reviews on this site, that shoul't be considered. And those reviews create some uncertainty. I love research before i buy, so maybe its only people like me that take what people say as a consideration. People here write they have 30 years of experience with canoes, and had issues with the OT D119. Like they couldn't paddle it at all. I have zero experience with canoeing. And it took me 2 mins to paddle it straight with a 5 min youtube lesson on the J-stroke (or what it was called). No tendency to tip at all, NONE WHATEVER. If you tip, its because you ask for it, or you are a bit ignorant to a few things when it comes to canoeing. Like keeping your head, and upper body within the centre of the canoe, and not beyond the edge of the "canoe wall". If you don't know this, you learn that within minutes. Because the OT D119 lets you know if you are getting close to tipping.
So take my advice this canoe is great. Depends on your needs, but this is good if you need something small, and that can pack amounts of gear, I've checked out every brand, compared the data. And unless you can come across an used OT Pack canoe, this one is the best. Paddling.com really needs to filter rage-reviews from unhappy buyers that clearly did not chose the right canoe. It is a very mistake to do. And let the frustration go out in the review of the product. But this in the end helps none of us, thus eliminating the whole purpose of making reviews.
I took my new Old Town Discovery 119 on its maiden voyage today, in early April, and I was pleased. I am a 64 year old man in pretty good physical shape for my age. I also have experience in canoes from decades ago.
I carry the 119 in the 6' bed of my mid-size pickup. I have 8' of support for the canoe with the tailgate down. I secure it with two light duty ratchet straps. Loading, unloading, and traveling is a breeze.
I had not been in a canoe in many years, so I took my first ride with the canoe empty, except for myself and a paddle. I use a paddle because I used to be pretty good with "J" stroking - and apparently still am. Some have written about using a kayak paddle with the 119; there is certainly nothing wrong with that, but I did not want to manage the bulk. The first hour long trip around a small lake was pleasant and uneventful. I quickly regained my canoeing confidence.
I returned to the boat launch and attached a webbed backrest to the seat, which really enhances comfort. I loaded the 119 with one 8 lb. mushroom anchor and one ultra-light spinning rod and reel. I carried a small assortment of tackle in a plastic box in one of the pockets of my fishing life vest. All went well for a couple hours of early season fishing - too early for the fish it seemed. I secured the anchor to the front thwart and stowed it in front of the thwart, which was quite handy. I stored my rod and reel behind the seat, pointed astern, while paddling, which worked fine until I carelessly allowed it to slide and project out the starboard side. I jeopardized a treasured old ultra-light rod with my carelessness, but that was no fault of the 119.
In summary, I think the Old Town Discovery 119 is a great little canoe. It is light enough for an old guy to manage, performs acceptably on quiet water, and meets my expectations.
I am 6 feet two inch high and 215 lbs. The weight is no problem for this boat but seating was only 6 inches high. I cut the metal plates in two parts and riveted together. Now the seat is about 2 and a half inch higher - much more comfortable and no problem for stability.
The weight is 49 lbs, the Old Town specification is more or less true. This is ok (and very good for poly boat), I can put it on my car without problems.
Good boat, I'm happy with it!
I will point out a discrepancy I have noted - stats given on this site for this canoe say it weighs 43 pounds but on the manufacturers site the weight is currently listed as 49 lbs. Not a huge difference but still good to be aware of, I think.
The 119 as it comes is not perfect for my application, it is a bit of a tight squeeze for my pup and he wound up always being on my feet and constantly in the path of my double bladed paddles travel. I assumed this would be the case as I had read a review by a guy who wanted his boat for exactly the same thing as me(on the Dicks's website) but I wanted to try it as it came before I started putting extra holes in the gunwales. So, I am currently in the process of moving the front thwart up about a foot, which is a conservative beginning and I will take it from there to get it just right for us, moving the seat back only if we still need more room, or different balance.
The seat it comes with is now the woven bench seat and it sits pretty far down in the boat. So I am pretty sure you can disregard all the seat comments from many other reviews. It is nowhere near my yak in comfort but considering that we spend hours and hours out on the water it isn't really too bad. It paddles pretty easily. I don't have any trouble keeping it going pretty straight and it turns on a dime. I have already dragged it over messes of rocks in it's second adventure and the bottom is just scratched up.
I bought a stadium seat to strap on but I much prefer the plain seat without it when I am paddling. I got a great deal on the canoe through Sportsman's warehouse, it was on sale this fall. I basically got it about $200 under the list which is much better for me, for sure. I have already been messing around with it, I installed painters through the bow and stern and I installed lacing although I am not likely to ever do anything near fast water but gaze at it. It is much easier to get in and out of than the kayak for those of us who are not terribly coordinated. And as a new canoeist I could nearly drag my kids capsized 12 ft rec. kayak onto it in some kind of aggressive after falls waves/current, so I would call it very stable.
I think this will be a forever boat for me and I am looking forward to a great many adventures with it!
So pushing my rating from a 7 to an 8 and would even consider a 9 because of it's superb handling but doing all the mods holds me back from that. Could have been a 9 if original seating arrangement had been more practical for canoeing as opposed to kayaking.
Stable enough if you know what you're doing but don't forget where you're at for a second. Tracks well enough for such a small canoe and handles great in tight spots.
Note: I also put a yoga type pad on the bottom to protect my "old" knees. All in all I think we'll get along fine. But being Canadian I envy all these folks who paid as little as 300.00. Price in Canada is, well let's just say way more.
One complaint I have is the placement of the seat. It's way low and I felt I was sliding out of it. It looks like an easy enough fix though. Overall it's a great boat for the money. I'm very pleased with it.
I love this canoe because I can easily car top it, and its even easier and quicker to throw in the 5 1/2 bed of my truck and secure with 3 tie downs. Its fairly light for a poly canoe and can easily be carried down steep, rough put-ins, I'm 5'6" and 120 pounds, also I can easily drag it fully loaded over gravel bars or grass to get around log jams, the Polly 3 hull is tough and does not scratch much, also it did not crack or split at all even when ice was forming on the hull and gunnels while duck hunting in December.
It's not the fastest boat and does not track well at all, I use 95% single blade paddle with a good J or C stroke and it does fine, I use a kayak paddle for fighting up stream in winter when I cannot afford the drag loss for a C stroke. It does not have the initial stability that my other two flat bottomed canoes have and can feel tipsy at first, but it can be leaned way over with proper balance and not dump you. I have no problems casting, shooting (it does rock a lot shooting broadside) or leaning over to get things from the water and have not been dumped yet.
Overall its its a tough, cheep boat that gets the job done and I don't feel bad when putting a few scratches in it.
I suspect this boat will soon be phased out in favor of the Old Town NEXT, so try one and get one ASAP. (It's about half the price!) Dick's has a great deal online at the time of this writing.
The boat does not track well in flat water and requires a j-stroke every stroke. It does turn quite well and should be good once I get into moving water. If the seat were raised much more it would put the center of gravity pretty high and might be tippy. I really wanted a solo canoe to paddle like a canoe, not this. It would help if Old Town offered a real canoe seat. Perhaps the Pack would be a better option, but it costs $400 more.
I fish many small lakes where this boat shines. I use a single blade paddle and have no tracking issues unless I try to use too much power. Paddling nice and easy this boat sins right along. I cut down a Web seat to suit on the floor and use a sit backer on top of it. I've caught many fish from this boat and even had a monster bass pull me around a lake in it, what a blast. For reference I'm 6ft 2 340 lbs.
Give this boat a chance you will love it. I did move the seat forward using the original front holes for the back of the seat which helped trim a great deal. I only sit on the floor because I like to stretch out and sit cross legged. Once this one it's to beat up to float I will buy another. It's not a freighter so it will feel tippy until you get used to it. Can I stand up and fish? No but I'm not very coordinated. My buddy I fish with can, but he stands up in a kayak. That's not a problem with the boat, it's a proverb with me!
I've had this boat on the Ohio river with power boats all around and never felt like I was going to tip. You can't go wrong with this boat and for the price you have extra money to fish and or explore with it!
After using the canoe a while I did change the seat to a tractor type saddle, hung on wooden dowels. I kept the seat from the 119 and last year put it in another canoe of ours (a square stern Old Town Predator). I like it in that canoe. I continue to use a double bladed paddle with the 119 and its still lots of fun to paddle.
If you wear synthetics, this seat is too slick for comfort. I have lowered the back of the seat (angle) with a few washers and added a Harmony Techlift Seat Pad, and took the seatback off and reattached it out side the bracket with zip ties, between seat and thwart. The original seat design is a little suspect, in my opinion. I have used both a regular paddle and a kayak double paddle and I prefer the kayak paddle by far, it makes the canoe way more maneuverable in swift water.
I am really fond of this canoe, knowing what I know about it at this time, I think it would be worth the full suggested price of $649.
To each his own I guess, but for all you folks not digging your canoe paddles just send'em to me, I'll put'em to good use.
The seat sucks. It's the plastic Old Town canoe seat that you always feel you're sliding out of...but it is very low in the canoe and really adds stability. I took out the seat, and installed a couple of 2x4s cut to length of the mounts as lowering brackets and some Home Depot oak planks as a seat. This allows you to mount whatever cushioned back rest seat you want. It works very, very well.
A lot of early reviews say this boat was "tippy" I think that maybe the early boats had seats that were to high in the boat. I've noticed that there are YouTubes of aftermarket seats that are high in the boat. This canoe works best if you are sitting down in it.
Your Paddle....Don't mess with a regular canoe paddle. Use a kayak paddle. A canoe paddle is nice and traditional, but it's extra work with this boat. The only problem with a yak paddle is you get water in the boat. Your stroke is going to sweep the paddle past the drip ring inside the boat. Maybe a longer paddle will fix this (my next purchase.) With a Kayak paddle, this boat is very easy to turn, but tracks as good as any 12 foot yak I've seen.
It's very very durable. I believe it is the exact same hull material as the other length discovery canoes. Discovery's are commonly used as rental boats.
This boat tracks pretty straight overall. Due to the length, this thing turns pretty well too. It won't win any races, but it works well for river paddling. Out of all the boats that I have owned or paddled, this one is one of the best. For the price, this thing is great. It can haul a lot of gear. I am about 280lbs and this thing holds me and any gear that I have with ease.
I highly recommend this boat. Dicks sells an identical version of this boat called the Kaynoe. It says its a field and stream, but it is exactly the same as the Discovery 119. I got the Kaynoe there as a blem for $300. One of the best deals for one of the best boats out there. DO IT! You will NOT be disappointed that you did.
Like most people here I had issues with the seat; not horrible, but not comfortable and too high. But my biggest complaint was that the butt cheek molded sockets did not allow left or right trim adjustments for wind or waves. So I ordered a 4-inch drop dowel set from northwest canoe supply, and a wood web seat, and installed it where the other one was. Then after trying it, I moved it back 4 inches father aft, to help with front-rear trim and tracking, now it is perfect for me. But I love to tinker and make things my own, even if something is mostly ok already like a lousy molded plastic seat on a weird metal space age frame.
I give it a 9/10 because it floats this 200 lb paddler, plus gear, in less than 3 inches of water. It is durable, reasonably light (40 lbs after seat mod), and very affordable. It maneuvers well, tracks ok, and handles wind and waves safely. It is stable initially and when leaned. It is easy to modify if you want, and the polylink hull is really tough. Good inexpensive solo boat for a brief fishing trip and a week out on the river. Get this boat and a $150 paddle, and you are still into it for less than half or a quarter of what most solo canoes sell for, and you will have a reliable, durable, fun, and useful boat that you will use a lot and enjoy for a long time. Mainly, I love that it gets me out anytime!
This is a heavy canoe for its size, perhaps because it's built from premium materials. Almost every thing is fixed.The only thing I might change is the seat
Overall: The trusted brand, the trusted Discovery series, the trusted canoe.
Takes some adjustment, figuring out how to best manage your own weight and paddling strategy but overall I have not had problems with stability. I often alternate between sitting on the seat and kneeling depending on where I'm paddling. Agreed that double sided kayak paddle greatly improves ease of maneuverability however a good J stroke will be sufficient.
Awesome little boat
I've used this for fishing in ponds, lakes and slow rivers. It is perfect for these type waters and can handle 1 and 2 class rapids with ease. This is a tough and durable canoe and at a price of around $400, you can't go wrong.
I rated this canoe at an 8. The reason is because of the seat. The seat is not comfortable and feels like it is tilted forward. I've tried all kinds of cushions and the most comfortable I've found is a throwable floatation cushion. If I had it to do all over, I would buy it again!!
I had lowered the rear of the seat 3/4 of an inch before launching, and it made the seat much better than expected after reading all the gripes about the seat. I only paddled for an hour, and this is my first solo canoe, but it is far more stable and paddles so much better than expected, that I can't see why anyone would want a more expensive canoe. I've paddled and Old Town Pack extensively, and with the exception of the 119 being heavier, it is better everywhere else for $600 less than the PACK. And FAR more stable.
I mainly use a long kayak paddle to get around on flat water. It handles great with that paddle. I did have to buy a longer one to keep the drip off my legs. When floating rivers I use a regular canoe paddle. The boat is really stable, I have no idea where the other reviewers get the idea it is tippy. I am really impressed with the stability and have had no close calls.
I use the boat to fish and tour. I really prefer a canoe for fishing due to the higher walls, they seem to keep the gear in better. no really fast water use, but it is not built for that. I will be using it to crab out of on Maryland this month. I expect it to work great for that too.
I really think if you are looking for a solo canoe this is a great boat: light weight, durable, and the price is right
For me, the 43 lbs (actually 46.2 lbs) was a chore to get on and off the Yakima racks on my pop-up truck camper. I just turned 65, and it's not a boat I want to carry very far to the water. I think this would be a good boat for a younger guy/gal, or for someone who didn't have a high lift to the racks. An open pickup bed would work good, too.
Returned the OT Guide 119 to Dick's, and got an Old Town Pack Angler at Kittery Trading Post (Maine) the other day. (Just got back from the Pack's maiden voyage on Harpswell Sound. Look for that review).
I recently purchased the Guide 119 (Camo) and have to say that with all my experiences on the water (lakes, rivers, bays, etc.) over the years I felt like a novice in this canoe! I felt like I was on a carnival ride the moment I sat down in it. I'm not a big person (5'6"; 170 lbs.) but just could not feel comfortable reaching for anything (tackle box, rod, fishing net, etc.) during my time on the water. Within an hour and a half on my maiden voyage, I was in the water with all my gear floating inside the canoe! It happened so fast that I had no time to recover from the top heaviness feeling I had just before entering the water! I swam to shore, emptied the water out, filled all my gear, and headed for the boat ramp. Loaded the canoe on the car and headed back to the store where I purchased this and asked for a refund.
This OT Guide 119 canoe is made of quality materials, is very light to handle on/off the car for one person but have to say that I was not impressed with the handling of this unit on the water. Not many folks have spoken of this in their reviews but I actually purchased this unit based on the entire positive (10 of 10, etc.) feedback that people gave. Stable is mentioned in the product description! I beg to differ!
Buyer's: do yourself a favor and go out and purchase a little bigger canoe than the Guide 119. You will not regret it!
Stability- id rate stability a 7 until you get used to how lose the boat is in the water. Like all round bottom slightly rocked canoes its gonna have some tip to it but i took it down brashears today and snagged up sideways on a branch in current and held it upright and straightened it back out.
Tracking- id rate tracking about a 5 because your gonna be doing a little work to keep it nosing forward and paddling to keep going because it doesn't carry a lot of momentum to keep going but in twist and bends of our Kentucky creeks the boat controls like a kayak in fact i was able to run shallower water then my buddy's whitewater kayak.
Some notes to think of is although the seat seems comfy it is in fact not comfy at all and a kayak paddle is almost a must for this boat. So i would have to say overall this boat was perfect for what i wanted it for and for the price as well. In fact were headed to elkhorn this weekend to try it on some class 3 rapids.
It is light and easy to load up alone and be put in water quickly. When I hit some areas that could not be navigated, I led her from the bank like a calf on rope. Problem solved. I would not want to try this on really rough runs alone.
It tracks well enough for me and I can handle it on small creeks and calm river with a dual paddle.
I did lower the seat four inches with long stainless steel bolts and plastic spacers. It helped to stabilize the load.
This canoe fits my needs and I am glad I bought it
The boat is stable. You can move it with a single paddle and a J-stroke but not against wind and/or tide. A double paddle is the way to go. Out in the bay it handled boat wakes just fine.I bought it to fish mostly fresh water, ponds, small lakes and creeks. I wanted a boat that I could easily handle myself. I would love a $2000 24 lb kevlar canoe but for the money this is the perfect boat for that. Sweet!
Is this the most stable canoe? No. It is not! There was a learning curve for me. A double bladed paddle is a must for any length of slow moving water, as the keel is way small and really pointless, a flat bottom would be more appropriate. I'm 6'4" 235lbs, so I'm not the normal sized paddler for a short canoe. However I carry about 40lbs of gear with me and with my dry bag under my seat and my cooler tethered to the front thwart, I can lean back in my seat and kick my feet over the sides in calm water with no stability issues. For anything over a class I rapid I prefer to kneel for extra stability. I've also added a 48 inch float bag in the front and 30 inch in the back (will likely go to a 48 inch in the rear next spring), just to keep the extra water that will crash over my bow out of the boat and keep it easier to handle when I take on water. I routinely float a river section with multiple class II and III rapids. Can't wait to add some camping gear for our overnight trips.
CONS: Seat, keel, stability.
PROS: Weight, maneuverability, price
Tried 14' canoe, and it was just too burdensome to try to turn in fast water, close quarters, etc..so decided this time to try the Discovery 119. First thing is of course that if you're going to use a canoe paddle, you'd better have a solid/comfortable J stroke, and be in no hurry. The side-to-side drift is terrible if you don't, and you certainly won't get anywhere in any significant head-on current. As stated by many here, a proper length, style kayak paddle is almost essential with this boat, or you'll work yourself to death, in wind, and current especially. To it's credit, this canoe did track surprisingly well on a glide on flat water with no wind. Primary stability was also better than I'd hoped considering what I'd heard about these canoes. The secondary stability however is as stated by most, and leaves a lot to be desired. It can be fished out of, but takes some getting used to.
The seat, although reasonably comfortable for the first 1hr., became increasingly uncomfortable after that.
I bought this canoe used, but like new for about half of the new price. I never would have paid the new price knowing what I know now about the canoe, although since I got a great deal on it, I have a place for it specifically for what I bought it for, only to run gravel bar creeks. It seems to have plenty of room for camping out of for a night, or two, and I'm confident that I'll be pleased with it.
I find this canoe better than most, and for the price, it's a real bargain if you can find it at a significantly less used price. I do not recommend this boat for flatwater, unless you're in an almost no wind/sheltered location. Otherwise, it's a nice little boat. I strongly recommend making sure your kayak paddle is of sufficient length, and has drip rings to keep water out of the boat.
As others have stated, this canoe works best with a double bladed paddle. My only complaint, like so many others, is the seat. I remedied this problem with the purchase of a lightly padded plastic seat and a little ingenuity. It is now the most comfortable canoe I have ever ridden in and fishing/floating all day is not a problem. I have found this canoe to be very stable. More often than not, I fish from a standing position.
I was so impressed with this boat that shortly after buying it, I sold my SOT to buy another 119. I would recommend this boat to anyone. For $399 plus a seat upgrade, I don't think you can beat this boat for solo fishing/ camping/ floating.
Finally took it out yesterday for a trial run and was very impressed. I used a seat flotation cushion against the thwart for a back rest, sat either cross legged or straight legged and was comfortable. No tippy feeling at all, and it would really move using the long kayak paddle.
Last week OT sent me an email to complete an on-line customer satisfaction review. Other than the seat, I like the boat, but after completing the survey I had to ask myself WHY, after buying a brand new canoe from a supposedly experienced canoe maker, was I having to spend my time trying to make a seat that would work? I called OT. Their response was that they had never heard of a seat issue on those canoes and that I must be the only one having such a problem. The only options they offered were to buy a woven seat and bolt kit from them for around $100, or take the boat back to where I bought it for a refund (over 500 miles one way). One would think that an outfit that has been making canoes a long time would know what makes a good seat. Well, I wasn't such a big deal until they asked for my opinion. After talking to them and finding out that they don't really give a rat's @$$ I got kind of worked up.
I'll fix the seat myself, but I'll go out of my way to never spend another dime on an Old Town product or anything from their parent company. By the way, I have been paddling canoes for over 30 years, but this is my first, and probably last, experience with OT.
I find it tracks really well on flat water with a reasonable J-stroke (even better with a 5 yr.old sitting in front of me). I tried a kayak paddle on the river today and was really impressed with how quickly it will scoot up river for a canoe.
I've attached some bungee rigging for storage and paddle keepers. I also am using a 1.5 lb folding anchor on a 24ft retractable dog leash. It holds well in the current and the leash keeps the floor clean and the rope free from tangles. A rope cleat secures things as to not put too much stress on the leash holder.
Best fishing boat for solo or Dad and 5 yr. old yet. In a few weeks I plan to add some DIY outriggers with Scotty rod holders so I'll be able to stand up and sight fish on the river with a fly rod. I can't wait to take this one out for multi-day trip.
I gave it a 10 as I am on a lake which can get rough at times. I'm used to a 16 foot kayak and this canoe is quite stable compared to my kayak. I was prepared to have to change the seat given the reviews but the seat location is perfect as far as I'm concerned, but then I use a kayak paddle, not a canoe paddle. The first kayak paddle I used was a bit short (230 centimetres). Am now using a paddle now that is 250 centimetres and it is a better fit.
It was a lucky find in that I had considered buying a solo canoe years ago but then my back started giving me problems. This solo canoe, allowing for the use of the kayak paddle means that my back is okay. On a big lake with a kayak paddle this canoe is a joy! It bobs in the big waves like a cork and is extremely stable. It's not fast, but having a good paddle helps to make it as fast as it can be. Synchronicity?.... I wasn't looking for this canoe but it appeared before me.
Overall it's a good small and extremely cheap boat. Is it even remotely close to a $2600 Bell? No, BUT...can I throw it in the back of the pickup, scratch it and feel good that I am just using this $300 boat to it's limits? One big YES.
I use a double paddle to go up river (not too swift) and a single back down. It's really tough to J stroke this canoe, and a C stroke doesn't work either. You can move this canoe best with a longer double paddle. Correction strokes just stop this canoe dead in its tracks, it's just too short.
The seat is terrible as well. It was too high to start and the backrest was taken off within minutes of purchase. I modified the seat numerous times and ended up just tearing it out. I sit/kneel on a large yoga block which works out well.
I also fashioned my own thwart for it that attaches to the gunwales, which makes it a ton easier to portage. Make one if you want or just drag this beast around. Did I mention it's cheap? Ha.
I use a single paddle and have had no issues, even in heavy wind. A "J" stroke is a must. I found that once you got going the tracking greatly improved. As a 42 yo paddler tired of lugging around my disco 169 this is a breath of fresh air. I will say that trying to carry this canoe around on your shoulder gets old real quick. I made a carry yolk that slips on and off when needed and it was a great improvement.
For the money you will not find a better solo canoe out there period...
Today I took it to a fish pond and tried it empty, I could stand up in it, I also leaned it to the gunnels and never went over. I then loaded it with enough gear for a week long trip, It was great, and handled great. I am looking forward to my first river trip next week.
I give this canoe a 10 because it is really stable I stood up in it loaded and empty with no problem and I actually tried to dump it to see how far it would go. It handles easily, especially with a double paddle. The single with a "c" stroke takes a little more work but it is manageable. I will use the double paddle on the slow rivers and use the single in tight places.
Like most folks are saying, the seat is awful. I removed it and installed a Mad River web conversion seat smack in the middle and lowered it around 3 inches. That took care of both the stability and paddling problems. I wouldn't even consider using a single paddle with this boat except for maneuvering around when I'm fishing (great little fishing canoe). I've a 9 foot Shaw & Tenny double canoe paddle that cost damned near as much as the canoe and is worth every penny. By placing the seat midships, my paddle reaches to the bow and allows me a long, easy stroke. I can flat move that canoe. Had a couple of kids in kayaks decide to race me last Sunday, and they lost. I was a bit bigger and stronger though, but not by much.
The canoe does feel a bit unstable for the first few minutes until I bond with it, then it's no problems. I don't understand people climbing into something that narrow and then complaining about instability. Buy a rowboat. It's a canoe for heaven's sakes. Ended up giving the old Sawyer away, and while I love the Wenonah, that 40 lbs(different seat) and really good performance with that great paddle made it my goto boat this past summer. Between this one and the Wenonah, I'm having a hard time justifying another....but I will:).
I'm 6'5" 280 lbs and the boat is very stable. Best little boat out there. It tracks very well, easy to fish from, and I use double ended paddle. To be honest I don't see me using my larger canoe at all. I do have a kayak but this is a lot better. Buy this little boat and have some fun... change the seat though.
On the water, the 119 felt very stable and seaworthy. I paddled it in heavy winds the first day without difficulty. In a calm cove, the boat was a joy to fish from, with plenty of space for tackle.
The main problem with the canoe is the seat, which I would give a rank of 0, or minus 0 if possible. It is the worst designed seat I have ever encountered in 30 years of boating--a complete disaster. Here's what is wrong with the seat:
1. Positioned too high making for instability.
2. Bottom of seat is completely horizontal with no rake.
3. Seat bottom is about 4 inches too short, providing no leg support.
4. The back of the seat is rounded, giving support only where the back touches the backrest--with no low or high support.
5. The backrest does not begin until the first few inches from the bottom.
6. The backrest will not fold neatly down on the lower seat.
7. The backrest will not recline more than about 90 degrees.
8. Seat is too heavy.
With seat modifications, however, and using a double paddle, I was very pleased. It is the boat I have been looking for.
Although the seat is a monster, it can be improved 90% and made useable by lowering it as described and increasing the rake. I will probably remove it at some point and build my own seat.
Having spent thousands of hours fly fishing from the boat, I have never noticed that it is unstable and I have never taken water accidentally – as someone that is 6’3”, 230 lbs. and not very coordinated I could do it if anyone could. I did manage to boat a 50+ lb grass carp in it and I would not suggest anyone try that trick again.
Having said that the boat is sufficiently stable for my purposes I would have to agree that it does not track well and paddling in a variable wind takes a lot of attention and a well varied J-stroke. I am not sure that any canoe under 12’ long will track much better. Old Town has apparently discontinued this boat but I would still recommend it should a used one float by. It is a great little short distance knock around and fishing platform for one person. - David
Then I made a rowing outrigger for it (I've done so on all my canoes) and discovered I had a very versatile boat. For years, I've been rowing it on lakes and rivers, even some class II. Not satisfied with just rowing, I decided to try sailing it. Thus began a modification project that turned out better than I expected. YES, I SAIL A Discovery 119!
Like anything, it has its limitations. There isn't any one boat or car, or anything that can do everything, so you just have to learn to live with its limitations. I continually go with others in their kayaks down rivers. It may be a bit slower than a kayak, but the comfort is greater, you can get in and out easier and carry much more equipment. The 'freeboard' is a bit high thus creating a bit of wind resistance. I've been thinking about drilling out the rivets that hold the gunwales on and cutting down the sides a few inches and then reinstalling the gunwales. Will lessen the effect the wind has in it, but also lessen the carrying capacity. I did make a spray skirt for the 'front', which is held on with strips of stick on velcro just under the gunwale. Makes for drier runs in WW.
All in all, I 'discovered' that the Discovery 119 is a good all round boat that I've probably had more fun in than all the others I've had, combined.
All in all, my OT 119 works great for me. It's manueverability is a joy on narrow creeks, and it works just fine in my hands on open water. Your milage may vary. I would definitely buy another one, but I expect the one I have will last me a long time.
PROS: This is a very pretty little boat - especially for the price. It is very nimble and a lot of fun to maneuver in tight places. It acts a lot like a kayak in many respects but it is considerably less stable than our Perception Dancer. It cartops almost effortlessly. Outside of a float tube this is about as easy as it gets. It is quite rugged, especially for a 43 lb. boat.
CONS: The lack of secondary stability requires you to be constantly vigilant. It is more "tippy" than you first expect. This is NOT a good boat for any kind of fishing. If you are really focused on fishing you will end up in the water with the fish! The boat is extremely manueverable and paddles very nicely with a double bladed paddle but it blows all over in more than a breeze (a double bladed paddle is almost essential in wind). The boat is fun to paddle with a regular paddle but it is very slow. It will track straight but not without effort and skill. The seat is too high to be stable and too low to fit feet under in a kneeling position. I outfitted mine with a backrest and accept the extra instability in return for comfort. When the water gets rough I slide forward and kneel completely. It's not ideal.
I am sure you COULD paddle this boat in whitewater but you would be doing it mostly for the challenge,the boat is not suited for moving water. Just for fun I tried paddling the 119k with two big adults (about 400 lbs.- 75 lbs shy of its 475 lb rating). It was miserable. We swapped ends (seat and thwarts are better spaced with two when the stern is forward) and each kneeled but the boat simply would not quit jumping around. It ended up working best with a double bladed paddle in the stern and the bow person just sitting very still. Not fun. I had really hoped to be able to press this canoe into service for fishing in ponds but the sad truth is that it requires too much attention to allow one to enjoy the fishing. Flyfishing would be almost impossible and I can't even imagine trying to hunt from it.
CONCLUSION: Don't even consider this boat for hunting/fishing! It is the right size but far too tippy for kids. It might be OK for solo tripping but I think there are better choices. If you are an accomplished paddler and want a very nimble open boat it might be the ticket but paddle this boat BEFORE you buy it! We will keep the boat because it really is fun to paddle but I would hardly call it practical. I find myself looking at stabilizers and sponsons with the hope of improving stability but contraptions are not the answer. Instead I end up just taking one of our other boats for fishing.
CONS: The length is 11'9" long which is shorter that the more serious solo boats on the market, and it doesn't sit real deep in the water. It isn't very good at tracking, and is prone to catch the wind. The build of the boat and the seat height make it a little tippy with out much secondary stability.
PROS: The boat is low cost, aprox. $549 retail, which makes it much more affordable than some of the true soloing boats on the market. It is very light and has good car topping ability. I glides smoothly across the water and is very quite. A little work and practice, this boat becomes predictable. I found it to be a joy to fish out of rather than my kayak which is just not designed for fishing at all. Most importantly, this boat is FUN.
If you are looking into a fun little soloing canoe to mess around in and maybe even fish out of, it is great. If you looking for the performance of a top dollar full lenth canoe or kayak, you won't find it here. Take it for what it is designed for, cheap fun.
Also, remember that new Polylink 3, Royalex, and other synthetic canoes are very different from the old Grummond aluminum canoes that rental places provide. When making that step, keep an open mind and spend time learning the virtues of your new synthetic boats. Once you take that time, you will certainly apreciate the fine finesse, performance and speed these boats have.
This canoe also has some bad points. I have not tried a double paddle, but with a single blade it just goes in circles unless I switch every stroke. I made a paddle with a smaller blade (roundish and about 85 square inches). This does help some of the problems. The larger the paddle the more it turns with each stroke. I can, however, turn it completely around with out moving in the water. The keel is worthless, too. The wind blows it sideways with ease. I also installed a keelson and the bottom oilcans less, but does not behave better.
The initial stability is good, but it has virtually no secondary stabability. Lean it close to the gunwale and LOOK OUT! I raised the seat about an inch and a half. This made kneeling much more enjoyable, but it still does not stear well. I am sorely dissapointed that I spent my money on a canoe that will not go straight and cannot recommend that anyone buy a 119K.