There are canoes, and then there are canoes
For every guy that tells me his kayak is faster, a race is on. Every time
a kayaker tells me that canoes get blown around in the wind, I ask, "Well
why isn't mine?"
My first canoe (1978) was a Sears piece of junk: tippy and slow. Next came a Coleman: slow and oil-canned like crazy. Fast forward to 1996, and we
buy an Old Town Guide. Better, but not nearly as nice as my sailboat in
New Jersey's bays
Two years ago we went on the quest for a decent fishing canoe. I bought
an Old Town Charles River. Lighter and faster than the previous canoes, but
not as fast as my son's 10' cheapo kayak. I returned it to the Jersey Paddler
(best place in the world to buy canoes/kayaks), and bought a
Bell Canoe Works Northwind
: 16'6", ash gunwales, cane seats, royalex
hull, assymetrical hull design, and a good bit of "tumblehome". Weight is 62lbs,
and it's beautiful. My son was home the following week, and I kicked his kayak's butt so badly, I had to go out and buy him a fiberglass touring kayak!
I really felt bad, and he looked totally bummed.
Here's our beloved canoe:
Canoe advantages: Carry more than one person (helpful if you become too
tired to paddle!!!); carry all the gear you'd ever want; you can stand, but I'd
recommend only standing halfway to stretch), easy in and out; higher seating
position improves visibility; option of sitting on seat, floor, lying down, etc;
good canoes are fast and stable.
I was terrified of the old Grumman canoes, and we were always tipping them
during summer camp. The Bell Canoe Works canoes are more expensive than
most of the sporting goods store junk, but we bought ours as a demo...for
$850. Actually, they weren't sure that it was ever used as a demo, but they
gave me that price anyway! The Old Town Charles River was $950, so I got
money back, and a much better canoe.
I don't want to offend, but most of the kayakers I paddle past haven't tried
the newer or better canoes. I hear the same thing from nearly all of them, and then paddle right past them
! I like kayaks, my son likes kayaks, but
our canoe serves us well. We fish lakes quite a bit with the canoe, and the
idea of getting in and out of a kayak with chestwaders on seems awkward
at best. Getting in and out several times per trip seems like more work than
play. Face it, casting from a sitting position is never your best stance, so
we like to reach a spot, and get out and fish. We may hit seven coves in a
day, and throwing a leg over the side is simple.
BTW: I use a 3lb folding anchor, and usually tie it off at whatever thwart is
closest to me. It has always held, and I go out on very windy days. We sail, and anchor overnight. Anchoring requires knowing the water depth, and then
using the correct amount of anchor line.