Comparing hull shapes

Louis Michaud

LOVES Wooden Canoes

I'm taking a chance that hull shape research falls under research and history.

This is empirical and subjective, no exact scientific studies, no mention of metacenters and righting moments. Break-up is far away...

Doug I. started it in another post while talking about the hull shape(shallow arch, quick turn of bilges, shallow V quarters with high volume in the upper parts) of an Otonabee:

"The Otonabee is very fast, and nicely manouverable. The high ends keep the waves out nicely. I've had mine out in pretty good size waves (enough for a a few whitecaps) and it handles that very well, depending upon the skill of the crew. Its width makes it a bit tender for paddlers not too comfortable with narrower canoes."

I'm guessing the lower "V" of the quarters helps tracking and the flare above the chine provides buoyancy so the bow won't dig in.

Canoe #1, first pic. A major rebuilding job while keeping the original shape intact. This is an atypical "Huron". 15' x 32" x 12" probably made in the late 50s. Round bottom, slack bilges, very fine entries, little flare in the quarters almost like the edge of a knife. About 3/4" rocker. The canoe is fast and has an extemely long glide after a paddle stroke. Tracks to the point of being annoying. Very tender, you can lean it until the gunwale touches the water and only then it will warn you. If you're not attentive you better hope for warm water. Second pic: brother-in-law 30 secs after a bow pry... This canoe is also sensitve to trim and has more draft than a 14 footer. When out in waves the bow will first try to slice the waves waiting for the last moment to try to climb it, not always a success... Strong paddle needed to prevent broaching. Still a great fun canoe for flat water and a light load.

Canoe #2, third pic. A 14' Huron, probably Bastien. 14'5" x 34 1/2" x 12" from the 70s. Shallow arch, medium turn of bilges with fullness carried well into the quarters. "U" shaped quarters and ends. Rocker: 1 3/4". Not very fast and could have a better glide if it tracked better. Will lean until about 1-2" from the gunwale before giving a fair warning. Can take a heavy load for it's lenght. It will climb over waves easily and make a big splash when coming down. Broaching is easily controled. I can't explain this but with a proper trim it will track very well paddling against a head wind.

So, how about you're favorite canoe ?


Louis Michaud
Rimouski, Quebec


  • canotMic.jpg
    321.2 KB · Views: 596
  • GaspardAllo!.jpg
    193.9 KB · Views: 578
  • canot14.jpg
    295.7 KB · Views: 575