Solo poling canoe ?

Louis Michaud

LOVES Wooden Canoes
Paddlers and polers,

Heating things up for this winter's project...
I would like to be able to put-in a river go up, then come down. No cars, no hassles. More than a few rivers in my area are suitable. Sure, I can pole my round bottom Huron canoes (14' and 15') but only under 3 conditions: very calm waters, no ducks to make the dog jump around and warm water...
A few over-night trips at the most. Me and the dog, that's about 220 lbs total. So no need for a big load canoe. I find the Chestnut Ogilvy is an incredibly sexy canoe... just sliding a hand on the hull near the quarters... ahem...

I would take the lines from a 16' by 36'' Ogilvy and bring them down to 15' by 35'' to have a more manageable canoe under a single paddle while retaining the stability necessary for poling.
Suggestions, comments? Don't bother redrawing the 16' and use it as is?
Other canoes to be considered? Thanks for the input!
I have an 18 foot Ogilvy (for 12 years) and 17 foot Prospector. No question Ogilvy is a superb poling boat, likely the best. Extreme initial stability and can be easily poled and paddled (while standing up.)

I wouldn’t bother cutting it down to 15 feet: you would loose some of that stability for little positive gain. You would loose about three square feet of surface contact. I would even consider going up to 17.

However, expectations are important. Most poling is done under your ideal conditions (calm water.)
Poling in any sort of headwind is a problem. With a tailwind you’re a sail. Heavily loaded for camping trips, the Ogilvy is a bit of a pig. I would guess the Prospector is a much better canoe to pole in heavily loaded conditions, and overall a much better paddling canoe than the Ogilvy. I pole the Prospector under same conditions (solo, lightly loaded, day trips) as I do the Ogilvy. So main issue would be (Ogilvy vs. Prospector) how versatile a canoe you want.
Bonjour Larry,

Thanks for the input.
I'm surprised, I always thought the Prospector was a canoe for deep rivers and not for poling. Considering it's round bottom I thought it would not have enough initial stability for standing up in while being lightly loaded. The rivers I have in mind have lots of shallow riffles and wide gravel bars. The big rapids can be easily lined or have very short portages

"... how versatile a canoe you want..." are you talking versatility as in only one canoe for all kinds of trips (lakes, rivers, etc), or versatility as in different conditions encountered on one river? Only one (!!!) canoe for all kinds of trips is, or will, not be an issue. I seem to be addicted to repairing/building other canoes...


Having poled and paddled both 18 foot Ogilvy and 17 foot prospector, solo and lightly loaded, here’s how I’d rate them. As a pure poling boat, the Ogilvy has superior stability. If I know I’m going to pole all or most of the way, I’ll take the Ogilvy. If I’m going to pole half and paddle half, I’ll take the Prospector, cause its that much better a paddling boat.