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The canoe can be paddled from one side in the stern just fine but it's design with a long water line and sharp entry is on the verge of suggesting a switch style paddling.
This canoe has a decently long waterline at 16' 8" and has great balance between tracking and turning, but I would lean a little more to emphasising its tracking ability.
The hull is listed as a shallow arch but the chines are quite rounded and this gives less initial stability but better secondary stability. The rounded chines and 33 inch water line have a beautiful mix of glide and forgiveness. It "cruises" nicely.
The interior floor has a nice finish but the space in front of the bow seat is a bit narrow and bruises the knees of anyone with longer legs. The seats are set at a medium/low height that is perfect for making many different sitting positions. Tumblehome at the seats is fine but I wish for a little more. The center is either straight or flared out a bit and this helps as weight is loaded in. Around but at 600 pounds the canoe begins to feel very sluggish and doesn't turn well. Performance canoes and weight do not mix.
The canoe handles good in chop, staying straight, but holds its course a little to well in white water. Class II+ is enough.
While paddling solo I inserted a center seat and it was terrible. This canoe is not made to lean on its side with Canadian style paddling. Nor do the rounded chines do not allow your body to wedge yourself in anywhere no matter how the center seat is set up. The long water line does not allow for an easy correction turn at the end of each stroke which you need when paddling on one side. Paddling in the center definitly gives you a feeling for a switch style but of course at 36" wide gunnels in the mid-section this doesn't work.
John Winters has made a canoe that is efficient and forgiving with the least amount of wear put on the paddler at cruising speed. It posseses considerably more play than performance oriented Wenonahs. Sometimes I wish for a hair more versatility with its handling characteristics but do not want to sacrifice glide. This canoe has a sophisticated design that pulls together some diverse elements. It is by far my favorite canoe for going on longer tours when I'm not exactly sure what kind of conditions to expect. Oh, the price is correct for such good design and construction.
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