Suggestions for a solo canoe

The 15' Peterborough Minetta is more or less the same as the 15' Chestnut Chum and Doe. The 16' Peterborough Champlain with low ends is more or less the same as the 16' Chestnut Pal, Deer and Moonlight. The variations in measurements and the use of narrow or regular ribs depends on what year the canoe was built. The 15' Minetta,Chum and Doe are great solo canoes, but all have a narrow entry and will not in my opinion safely carry the load you indicate. You need to look for a 15' canoe with a traditional shallow arch hull with its fullnes carried into the bow and stern.

Dick Persson
Buckhorn Canoe Company
Buckhorn, Ontario
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I think that you would be looking for a
-narrow beam canoe maybe 34" so that the reach is not bad and to keep the w
with little rocker, for tracking
a length of not more than 16 feet, closer to 15 feet would help keep the weight down
-a depth of not more than 12"
-a cross-section that is pretty round.
What about the 65lbs Peterborough Minetta: WoodnCanvas had this one.
-edit, I see that the Minetta was posted above. After a few swims, you dog will probably learn to settle.


I did own the Minetta....but later sold to Macky Mongold....great solo canoe....and as pointed out Minetta is same boat as Chum....a Peternut....
If you're carrying a load like a Lab, look at the 15 ft. Prospector the Ranger....some made in stripper....or wood canvas....if you're looking for a new build, Canadian Canoes apparently have both as full custom builds,


RANGER- (from the Prospector family of canoes popularized by the Chestnut Canoe Co.) --15' long with a maximum beam of 35.2" and the gunwale beam at 33.5". The depth at the ends is 22" and at the centre it is 13.5". On average, this canoe weighs 53 pounds. This canoe will do you well for single day outings and up to 10 days with gear on a canoe trip. With two decent paddlers using bent shaft paddles, the Ranger will average 4 miles per hour across a 6 hour day of paddling.

Wood Canvas:

the 15 foot CANADIAN EXPLORER --this canoe is 15' long with a 34" gunwale beam and is 13" deep. The canoe weighs 62 pounds.

This model is built on the original mold aquired from the Chestnut Canoe Company after they closed. It was part of the Prospector group and known as the Ranger. Since we make a Ranger in woodstrip-epoxy, it was decided to give this canoe a new name - the Canadian Explorer.

You mentioned might want to check out Dempster Boats,

Closer to you in Fergus area, one of my personal favourite builders is Bruce Smith,, well known paddle maker but also a very good wood canvas canoe builder....and who is building a 15 ft. model that might meet your needs too....(reason I sold Minetta was because I fell in love with Bruce's 16fter based on a Cruiser/Guide Special)....
Then again you could train your Lab like this:


(Photo originally found on Facebook)....

OK it's two technically not solo LOL LOL....and not a wood canvas canoe....but at least it's wooden:):):):)
Pretty daring.

We had 2 labs about that size, and to keep the wife happy, I "had to" up grade from a 14 ft vee fishing boat to a 16 ft semi vee, due to them moving from side to side, tilting the boat close to the rails.

But to keep this on subject. Nobody has mentioned using a Chestnut/Peterborough Cruiser model, how would a 16 ft version work as a solo tripper?

I think that some of the dimensions that I suggested earlier were a bit on the small side, especially for boats that are not full at the ends; as pointed out by some with more experience than me.

I wonder about a 15 foot boat with fairly high ends (22") and potentially a good amount of rocker, I think that this boat be overly susceptible to wind.
16 ft. Chestnut Cruiser (Kruger) is a nice solo canoe....but maybe not enough room for what is needed in this case....especially with a large Lab....
As Dan Miller's Dragonfly Wood Canoe ID site,, states:

Cruisers Canoes: Designed to go fast, these models are narrower, more rounded across the bottom and have finer lines than other models. The Guides Special models are cruisers than have close-ribbing.

Premier (1st Grade)
Kruger (2nd Grade) 16 x 34 x 12
16 x 33 x 13¼ (1967) Premier retired circa 1954-56

If you were looking at a 16 might be better to consider a Pal (or Deer)....especially wider version:

Pal 16 x 34 x 12
16 x 36 x 12¾ (1967) Replaces Ajax circa 1954-56
1½" Ribs
2 3/8" ribs (1967)
Deer 16 x 36 x 12
16 x 36 x 12¾ (1967) Introduced 1966.
1½" ribs

The 16 ft Cruiser had a suggested capacity of 600 did the narrower Pal (or Deer)....later wider versions of Pal (or Deer) had a suggested capacity of 700 lbs.....FYI, the 15 ft. Chestnut Prospector Ranger had a suggested capacity of 650 lbs.....see
Wow, I love all these ideas. Very educational.

My best bet now is to pick a couple and narrow it down with test paddles.

Great lab picture too!

Thanks for all the input.
Thanks WoodN,

My question was a bit of a hyjack as I was thinking of a solo for me, and I have the Peterborough version, at least that was what it was ID'ed as. I was looking for a Pal but in the search, you get that you get.

I was looking forward to paddling it before, now I really am.

Just update: After considering all the great advice I realize what I needed: a bigger garage in which to store canoes for various conditions! What I decided however is that I need more time to paddle some w/c canoes and assess their weight to carrying capacity and if I can find the canoe in w/c that will fit my specific needs.

I like the thought of having several boats but my wonderful and patient wife wonders if "several" means the same as when I say I have "several" pairs of running shoes or when I say I have "several" tents. (I have 7 pairs of running shoes and 2 tents). With me trapped in a corner forcing direct eye contact I had to go with the latter.

Although I'm sure I will eventually find a second w/c canoe which is what I desire I needed something immediately so after much research and questions to folks more experienced than I, I went with a composite; a Swift Prospector 15 in Carbon/ Kevlar to be precise. It was/is an education learning about the new materials and lay ups.

I haven't gone to the dark side - I'm pretty sure I know where my next w/c canoe is coming from, but I have to get started on the garage first! : )
Swift is making some really good boats. Their Prospector as designed by David Yost seems to have less rocker and maybe less volume than the Chestnut original, it would make a great solo boat. I am sure that you will enjoy it.
I would second the Kruger Cruiser as a great solo canoe. It was designed to be very swift and agile in whitewater. It has a narrow beam of 33 inches with a very fine entry and the later models have a 13 in depth. I'm 65 and don't have any trouble carrying mine but I'm short and strong. I also pull a 70 lb bow and I am always surprised when others can't pull it. I've never weighed the canoe but I don't believe its 70 lbs.