square stern canoe?


New Member
I have 16' whitewater I built from Gilpatricks plans. I hardly use it and know I would get more use if I turned it into a canoe/boat. Is it viable to consider cutting off the stern and making it flat? If so how much would I need to cut off and would it affect the canoe as far as performance?

Would hauling it on a trailer (like a boat) have any harmful effect on it?

I would like to make this the ultimate fishing machine.
Thanks for your input, this is a great site!
I wouldn't bother. Have you ever used a square stern canoe with a small outboard? You have to be a contortionist because the motor is directly behind you. A much better solution is to build an over the side outboard bracket. They work great and are much more comfortable to use. Plus you don't ruin a perfectly good canoe in the process. It places the motor beside you so you don't have to corkscrew yourself while navagating.
Andy's right. Also, when they design a square stern they usually widen the stern a bit for better buoyancy aft and this also gives you a larger seat so that you can turn around easier and reach the motor. If you just cut the tail off you end up with even less buoyancy there than you started with. If a side-mount won't do the trick, you're probably better off selling the boat and buying or building one that will really do the job.
Thanks, any plans for motormount?

That sounds like a simple solution.

What is the max HP you would recommend?

As far as trailering, would it be alright hauled right side up like a boat?

Thanks again for all your input. You saved me a lot of headache:)
fisher123 said:
What is the max HP you would recommend?

As far as trailering, would it be alright hauled right side up like a boat?

The draft copy of the American Boat & Yacht Council standards at http://www.propaddle.com/pdf/H-29(3.3.05)DRAFT.pdf suggests that five horsepower is the maximum for a canoe which is 15 to 18 feet long. Your personal judgement of the conditions is probably better than any formula.

Canoes usually travel better up side down but right side up can also work if the hull is well supported over a broad area. This is also a personal judgement call depending on the situation.

Square Stern Canoe

I have a 1967 18' Old Town square stern, 42" beam. I use a 2 HP Honda short shaft 4 stroke on it. It works great, even loaded up with two golden retrievers, my wife and camping gear. Last month I was running it on Lake Ozette on the Olympic penninsula with my wife and covered 8 - 9 miles without draining the 1 quart built in fuel tank.

You're not going to get it up on plane with a 2 HP, but that's not the idea anyway.

Cutting one end would probably not give you a useful boat but would ruin a canoe. A square stern increases the volume and carrying capacity of a canoe significantly but the bow is usually raised to compensate for increased buoyancy aft. I run 20 hp outboards on my 23 ft canoes and in the arctic I have seen up to 50 hp on similar sized freighters. They transport well on a light trailer, or on top of my suburban(I have not been pulled over yet but it does attract stares).


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While I agree with the other posters, I suspect cutting your canoe is a bad idea, it's mainly because it's only 16 ft, by the time you cut out off enough to mount a motor, it would be very short.

With that said, I do have a 14 ft squareback that came that way from Old Town, (it was special order and not offered in any catalog) it "appears" to be a 18 ft guide that they cut or didn't build the last 4 ft. (It's not restored so I don't know how it performed, but I'm sure it has seen a lot of days on the water, (it was originally bought by somebody living on Lake Vermillion in Northern MN, near the BW.).

I suspect that if you really want something different, either make or buy another canoe and keep or part with your existing canoe.