In May of 2006 I purchased a Nova Craft,17 ft. prospector, kevlar/spectra, canoe from The Wilderness Supply Co. Ltd. in Thunder Bay, Ont. Canada.
In July of 2006 while canoeing on Bedivere Lake in Northwestern Ontario, Canada, we headed diagonally into oncoming waves with a chop of approximately one ft. After about 3 to 4 minutes into these waves, the wave action forced the bottom of the canoe to bulge upward midway between the front and rear seats. At the right and left extremities of the bulge the canoe hull fractured and water started entering the canoe.
This was a dangerous, shocking and frightening experience when your in the middle of a wilderness lake. We managed to get back to our base camp without sinking, where I was able to make some temporary field repairs with duct tape and other materials found in the field that allowed us to return to our point of entry.
I hope by relating my experience with a canoe manufactured by Nova Craft Canoes, future potential canoe buyers will be careful in the selection process!I ordered my Nova Craft Prospector 17 from Canada and had it shipped to Tennessee where I live. I've had it out several times and I am very pleased. At 64 lbs. it is 20 lbs. less than my Old Town Discovery 169 so the portaging is much better.
The seats are laced with hiking boot material and are very comfortable. The yoke is sculpted and has a notch for your neck vertebrae which does make it more comfortable for portaging. The boat paddles well solo in the front seat facing rearward. It does well heeled over also if you prefer that paddling style.
It is not as responsive as a Prospector 16 with more rocker, but as I wanted a boat for river trips of a week in duration, this is the canoe for me. The boat is deep enough to handle whitewater, light enough to carry and the 1,200 lb. payload will let you bring the kitchen sink if so desired.
I bought mine in Royalite and had Kevlar skid plates installed at the factory. The boat will see many more years of use, but all in all, this is the best boat in my fleet of 4 canoes and 5 kayaks. I highly recommend it and the quality and craftsmanship put into the boat by NovaCraft are outstanding.