Submitted: 03-02-2009 by Keith Mullen
I've had my eye on the Guide 147 for about 3 years now and after losing my last canoe, I finally had the validation I needed to getting another canoe. Went to the sportsman's store and checked out everything they had in stock & still went to the 147. I'm a bit curious as to if they recently redesigned it a bit, as the one I picked up is not as flat-bottomed as previous ones that I look over every time I am in the store... but I digress.
Today I finally got to take her out on the water & run it through the gauntlet to see what it really performs like (so many good ratings - but so many minor complaints on reviews as well). I have to say I have no regrets whatsoever on my purchase. Very pleased!
Before I get too far into it, I primarily fish & do day trips when canoeing. I like stability, control, and durability. This canoe is definitely different than others that I have had the pleasure of using, but different in a good way.
Is it heavy? Yeah, it's certainly not featherweight but it's not terrible to portage. Is it slow? Personally I have no complaints whatsoever about the speed. It slid on the water like a breeze. The initial stability actual did catch me by surprise at first. I wouldn't say it felt tippy, but it rocked very easily for the first 15min that I was on the water. After that, I guess I had adjusted to it & didn't rock anymore. The secondary stability was great. Started pushing it to the gunnels on purpose & discovered that one would need to be really careless or trying to capsize on purpose to get wet.
Without the keel, and with an apparently more rounded profile, a modified J-stroke/Canadian stroke kept it in line just fine. It handled wonderfully. Loaded up my old man, my son, and myself for another go around the lake & went through about 6" of water to our amazement. Didn't even notice a difference heading into 10mph winds. This one's body is hard as a rock & didn't oilcan at all. Looks like I picked a good one.
If you are looking for a really high performance lightweight canoe for extended trips - this may not be your best choice. If you are looking for a well rounded, enjoyable, all-purpose canoe - you certainly cannot go wrong with the G147 (IMO).
My last canoe was 17'with a full-length keel & tracked straight as an arrow, but overall was just satisfactory. This one may not be as forgiving on poor stroking form, but overall outperformed my previous canoes. I would say that this canoe is probably the best starter one could get, as it not only may last forever, but would be like taking the training wheels off - to require you to feel the canoe, learn the mechanics, and also give you the security in knowing that you'd have to mess up pretty darned bad to end up in the drink.
I don't know what else I can say. For $519 bucks, it moved and handled like a grand. I didn't use the seatbacks as I tend to use larger muscle groups for get-up-and-go & the backs would get in the way. I'll put em back on during lazy fishing days. If anyone knows if the body design really was modified recently, or if I'm just losing my mind, an update would be appreciated.