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I would agree the big drawback is that in a strong wind it is almost impossible to paddle alone. Still a great canoe.
The boy scouts borrowed it for a Boundary Waters trip and loved all the gear it would hold... but not so much on the portaging. Yes, it's a bit heavy, but for what its intended for the weight is acceptable. This is a great "freighter" for tripping or for family's.
It handles very well for its size. It feels a little unstable at first, but the low initial stability is what allows it to turn well. The secondary stability is great, so after just a few minutes you get comfortable and have fun. It's large enough that my wife and I can both flyfish from it at the same time.
Stable, Fast, Reliable & Tough. Great family canoe. Draw back as noted in previous reviews is weight, only applies when on land not in water.
Some reviewers have said she's slow...???...compared to WHAT? She is one of the fastest, easiest paddling boats I've seen in almost 50 years. She passes every other canoe I've encountered, and that's with one paddler, taking it easy, and one passenger in the bow. Its fun watching the expression on the kids' faces in the next boat over, digging in as I slide on by.
True, she takes a wide turning radius or a good bow paddler, but what do you want from a 17 foot, straight keeled boat? Every design is a compromise, and the 174 took efficiency over maneuverability. Nevertheless, I can turn her well enough to handle the upper Delaware without trouble, or the Fulton Chain, or the Raquette River, or the Allagash.
Capacity? I've had her out with 4 adults aboard. She just gets better as you load her down. Stability? Versatility? She's been out on New Jersey's Shrewsbury and Navesink rivers, in Sandy Hook Bay, New York's Lake George, and the keys of Everglades National Park, as well as all of the rivers mentioned...and NEVER turned turtle or gave any reason for complaint.
But she belongs IN the water. On land, she's a pig. At 88 pounds, portaging or loading her on my SUV is a pain in the back...literally. Of course, I'm pushing 57, and it used to be a whole lot easier...maybe time will push me into a lighter boat, but it will not be easy to find another I like as well. Meanwhile, if I'm alone and carrying, I'll take my 50 pound sea kayak.
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