Read reviews for the Sundowner by We-no-nah Canoe, Inc. 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!
The 18' Sundowner is a fast, well rounded canoe. I have three now, in both Kevlar and Fiberglass. The hull layups are Cross-Rib in Kevlar, Cross-rib in fiberglass(1980) and Core-stiffened in fiberglass. They all paddle pretty much the same, the small differences in weight and construction have little effect on the performance.
The Sundowner is fast enough to keep pace with any tandem on a trip. It will not beat the Jensen 18 or Minnesota II in a race with even paddlers. It will easily pull away from any royalex hull or plastic canoe. On a trip this means lots less effort when traveling together with plastic hulls or composites from many manufacturers. The glide is the noticeable feature of this hull. Miss a stroke to grab a snack and it keeps going.
It is very seaworthy, takes waves from any direction without losing its composure. No need to turn bow into the wave unless its huge and breaking.
The turning is good, not WW quality, but closer to the Spirit than the Jensen.
Just a well rounded hull.
The canoe's built-in flotation makes it impossible to sink, and even very difficult to swamp (I've tried). It carries everything two people could want for very comfortable, extended camping trips with ease. It is very stable, even when loaded down, and the extremely efficient design makes the miles slide by quickly. It is not as quiet as canoes made of some other materials, when moving gear around, since it is Kevlar with aluminum gunwale, thwarts, seat hardware and rear foot brace, but to me the weight savings is more than worth it.
This canoe once had a 60' tall, 14" diameter pine tree fall on it during a severe storm while it was upside down in the woods, and while there were definitely some significant cracks, the Kevlar sprang right back to the original shape! The cracks in the vinylester resin didn't really even compromise the water-tight integrity or seaworthiness of the hull. Some fiberglass patching, mostly for cosmetics, and to cover up the roughness of the cracks, and the canoe was good to go again! For an 18' tandem canoe, the Sundowner is hard to beat!
For a couple years the boat sat pretty much unused as I have several solo canoes that get used a ton, but then a friend and I were going for a 4 day river trip on the Wisconsin river and decided there was no better tool in my fleet than the Sundowner. We started using it for day paddles and couldn't believe what a joy it was to paddle empty. It's a genuinely fast canoe !
I am used to backpack style camping, bringing minimal gear (what's a sleeping bag?) and generally did the same in a solo canoe or kayak. We decided we had room to do luxury camping in the Sundowner including real folding chairs, a small gas grill and so on. We had a pretty good load going and I was a little nervous about how much less freeboard we had, but the boat paddled great with that 'big car ride' and we made exceptional time.
We even ran into some submerged logs and it handled it with aplomb. We took in a quart of water on a big incident, but the Sunny was very easy to handle in tough times and came away without even a mark. This year we did a similar trip covering 90+ miles in four days at a time when the locals were saying it would be tough going with the low water levels. We packed light to stay high in the water and by staying in the current and off the sand bars we were fairly flying.
I have 9 canoes and kayaks, and while my Wenonah Advantage solo canoe is still the one I paddle the most, the Sundowner is my favorite boat of the fleet when a good bow paddler comes along. I would consider it better suited as a day paddler for average to larger size people than to big gear hauling tripping, but for a bit lighter weight paddlers or if you pack reasonably it makes a fine tripper as well.
It also holds a lot of payload, and compared to the Old Town Tripper which I previously owned, it is certainly a heck of a lot more fun to paddle! Amazingly, I have found that it even handles well as solo canoe as long as you don't try to go too fast. It is certainly not the ideal solo boat, but it is usable. The weight of my particular canoe is about 65 pounds, and I have little trouble lifting it, although I would probably want to shave off 10 pounds or so if I had to portage it for any distance. All in all, I'll rate this canoe a 10 out of 10, not because it is perfect, but because it is very versatile and does so many things so well.