Submitted: 07-11-2005 by tradesylver
I just purchased a Guide 147, two Old Town paddles and life jackets at a garage sale for $300. It is sitting on my roof rack and will try it out this Sunday. If it performs as well as most of the reviews here I will be very pleased with my purchase.
A couple of years ago I purchased a Bell Merlin II after I sold my motorcycle and had a few extra dollars left over. A member of the local canoe club recommended this boat for a solo paddler as it was the one he used. This was my first canoe and not one of my better decisions. Don't get me wrong it is a fantastic canoe at 36 pounds but it isn't the boat I need for what I want to do, which is mostly fish. So, if this Guide lives up to the reviews posted here, the Bell Merlin II is going up for sale. I'll add some more comments after I try the boat this weekend.
UPDATE 7/11/05 - Took the canoe out yesterday and it lived up to the all the reviews posted here. The canoe was wonderful to paddle with two people, very stable, and responded nicely to paddle. For solo paddling I did sit in the front seat backwards as suggested and in a cross wind it was a challenge. I had to kneel forward, scoot to one side and dig in to keep it on track and pry the J stroke off the gunwales, which if I had some gear lashed down in the front it might have been easier to control. At 74 pounds it wasn't unmanageable by myself, but it isn't Kevlar either. Minor point, I did find the black gunwale to get hot to handle in the bright sunshine and the rivets as well.
Overall, this boat gets an A+ from me. If you are looking for an all around canoe I don't think you'd be disappointed with the 147 Guide for the price. I should have tried this boat out before I purchased the Bell, I would have saved a bunch of money. Now all I need to do is find a buyer for my Bell Merlin II.