I have owned a 13' Mansfied for almost 20 years, and it's the best fishing craft I've ever used.
I'm a serious fly fisherman and the Mansfield is light enough to hump into backwoods ponds and lakes, stable enough to stand up while casting, and very easy to paddle reasonable distances. I rigged a drag line off the stern to drag a chain, so it behaves like a river boat on trout rivers (the built-in keel acts like a hard chine against the current) when poled. Then, I rigged a small electric motor to an outrigger mount, and it STEPS OUT for traveling longer distances on lakes. With PVC rod holders under the thwart & seats -- and a cooler of cold beer, you couldn't ask for anything better.
My only complaint is that the gel coat has flaked off in several places on the hull, which I patch every few years with epoxy glue. It looks tacky, but only shows when the canoe is upside down.After seeing my first Mansfield, I was smitten. Here was a canoe that the beauty of a classic wood ribbed canvas canoe with the lightness and miantenance ease of glass. Also, since I mostly like to fly fish small waters out of my canoes, the beam and hull profile met my "needs" to a T. The problem was that I actually had to buy one to try it as the Stowe Canoe and Snowshoe co went belly up in 91'. It was suprisingly easy to find/ buy a Mansfield, (Georgous 15' in off white with Mahagany ribs, cheery and ash trim, signiture snowshoe weave seats). I have to say I was not disapointed with my purchase.
I've owned 9 canoes ( and still own 5 including a 14' cedar stripper) but the Mansfield fits my needs/wants/likes perfectly. Under 60# for car topping, stable as a jon boat, yet paddles smoother and faster than a boat this wide (39") has a right to. Flat water tracking is great due to the keel and low/wind bucking stems, yet manuverability is fine for even tight creeks. As for appearence, I can't take it out without it drawing comments and attention.( Even when it's just on the truck!) My ONLY (minor) grip about this boat is that the hull is thin enough so that the flat bottom does "oil can" inward when loaded. Still , it's not a whitewater boat and it doesn't seem to rob any noticable hull speed. The fact that I now routinely find unpatched 20 yr old + Mansfields around , tells me that hull durability is not a big issue.
FWIW, I've been so impressed with the beauty and function of My 15' Mansfield , that I now have a another 78' vinage (17', 37' beam, green) sitting in the yard waiting for replacement wales and coat of paint this winter. All , I need now is to find one of the 13' models and even my cedar stripper may become lonesome.
I rate it a 9 only becasue I have owned enough boats to know that no single one is perfect for all tasks. This one however is an 11 for my casual stillwater flyfishing trips where stability, room for 2 men with gear and a view of a georgous/classic hull from the stern seat is 'needed". If you have similar needs, hunt up a used mansfield and enjoy! Life is too short for ugly canoes!I still have a Mansfield by Stowe that I bought in Lake Placid, NY in 1976. I bought the 13' version because I could fit it in my Econoline van. Basically I bought it for fishing figuring that the relatively wide beam would make it very stable, which is true. This canoe has been all over the US stored inside and outside. I have used it on some very exciting white waters although it damages very easily on the rocks. It may not cruise like some others, and carry heavy loads, but for the purpose that it was made it works like a charm.
I have had to replace some of the wood over the years because it remained outside for some long periods. Don't know if you can still buy them but I would highly recommend this canoe for the fisherman.