Submitted: 11-05-2010 by n7zuq
I have owned an OT Penobscot 16 rx, an OT Camper 16 rx, and a Wenonah 18' Jensen, as well as test paddled a number of other canoes. The Penobscot falls somewhere between our Jensen and our Camper. Compared to the Camper, the Penobscot does feel more "tippy," but it doesn't lean far before it stops feeling so unstable. It paddles much more smoothly and easily than the Camper. It's not as relaxing to just float in, but still a very pleasurable ride. It's not as fast nor does it glide as well as the Jensen, but it comes close. At 61#, it's the easiest of the three that we have to get on and off the car and down to the lake.
In order to help us with weight distribution due to a significant size disparity between myself and my wife, I've also modified the seats, moving one and lowering both. I had written to Old Town about our size difference and they suggested paddling one of their symmetrical canoes (which the Penobscot is) backwards. In other words, have the heaviest person (me in this case) sit in the bow seat facing the wrong way, and the lightest person sit in the stern seat facing the wrong way. This brings me and all my weight closer to the center of the boat. It does leave the lighter person with very little leg room. For which they suggested moving that stern seat in towards the middle of the boat to allow enough leg room. This required the purchase of a new seat, which had to be cut down to fit, as well as drilling a set of holes in the gunwales. By moving the seat back one seat length, I was able to use one existing set of gunwale holes and still create adequate leg room for my wife. While I was moving the seat, I also purchased 4" hangers to replace my stock ones. The Penobscot seats were pretty low to begin with, so this only brought them down about another inch. But it was still noticeable. The lower I can get my center of gravity, the steadier the canoe feels. I'd kneel like the pros do it, but at my size, my knees just can't take it for very long. I'm not especially handy, but this turned out to be a really simple operation.
Picking the right boat for your intended use is important. This is the boat we take when looking to go far, or fast, or on choppy water. For a nice multi-purpose recreational canoe, the Penobscot 16 rx has been a great choice for us.
Pros: Fast, Straight tracking, Maneuverable, Easy to modify
Cons: slightly "tippy"