Hi Bob, My canoe is a Swift Prospector 16' made of 'guide fusion'. I danced from one foot to the other trying to decide what I wanted it made from; there are several choices. I finally went with the strongest. Took the seats out and just replaced them with thwarts. Made a proto-type kneeling thwart, figured it would need to be modified once I used it. Turned out that it works fine, but I still intend to carve a nice one, something that will match the Teal yoke that came with the canoe.
That's one of the problems I have; making a rough thing, figuring to replace it with nice wood and all, and then it works so well that I can't bring myself to scrap it.
I really don't know anything about canoes, not like Yellow Canoe, so my experience is limited to my older Old Town 'Camper' which I like but it is awful heavy in Royalex. The sizes of the two canoes are just about the same.
After reading all the reports about various canoes, it seems to me that the prospector design is time proven and if not the best for this or that usage, pretty close to the best all-rounder. Kind of like the 30-06.
This mid-winter mind racing is probably responsible for more than a little impulse purchase of gear. I have a new Whelen tent in canvas that just needs a little clear weather to allow me to fiddle with it and get a system down that I like for pitching it.
Don't know Bob, if that answers any of your questions, hope it does.
I have Bell Northstar, Bell Yellowstone Solo, and Bell Rockstar. But almost without exception, I use Bell Prospector or Stewart River Prospector both at 16'. I really like it, but you need some ballast (I use a dog) and it isn't fast. It's great on rivers, particularly when lightly loaded. I'm keeping my eye out for a shorter Chestnut Prospector. I think they made a 14' and 15' version.
Been tripping in a Langford Prospector 16.6 for years. Been a great boat for me, but in all fairness I haven't tripped with many others.
I know Mike MacIntosh has been using the same boat solo for a long time too and he has about as many miles a year canoeing as just about anyone.
I paddle from the kneeling thwart in the middle of the canoe. Been contemplating taking the seats out to give me more loading options. Taking the dog with me on a trip solo is not entirly comfy so he does not end up going with me most of the time.
I went to the Wilderness Paddlers Gathering a few years back and one of the presenters, Dave Chapin from N.H., shared a story of chaperoning/guiding a trip on a river in western Quebec into James Bay with a bunch of young boys in wood canvas canoes.
Afterwards, he invited us out back to see his personal canoe and his wanagin and explain the tump line and how to use it. His wanigan was well stocked and heavy by modern standards, but his trips where the real deal, so I observed and learned. He had a small hand drill in the box and he showed us his paddle. It was a beavertail, it had crackeed many trips ago and he had drilled small holes up the crack while out on the trail and weaved a wire through the holes, like a boot lace to hold it together. It was still the paddle he used on every trip.
His personal canoe was a 15' Prospector, built by Temagami Canoe Company in Ontario. It was a special order for his solo trips, a shortened version of a 16'Chestnut Prospector which the company had taken lines off of. It was a really nice looking canoe, deep with high ends with the unmistakable Prospector look. Probably slow by todays standards, and it no doubt caught the wind with those nice high ends, but he seemed like the guy who could live with that.
I bet he is still exploring the rivers and lakes of Ontario and Quebec solo with that fine canoe.
Yes. Been solo tripping in prospectors since I was 14. I am over 50 now and still using them. I do 30-40 day solo trips on big arctic lakes and rivers with my royalex boat, as well as small waters in the Boreal Shield in my composite boat. Both were purchased from Trailhead. The Royalex prospector (made by Mad River for Trailhead - a very rare boat), is a small 16 which I measured at 15' 8", and 34 inch beam, and rather shallow at 14 inches deep in the middle, and tapering less towards the chines, with rounded bottom, and an unknown rocker, but more pronounced at the ends than in the middle. The composite boat is also a small 16 (15' 8") in an S glass/kevlar, of unknown manufacturer, and basically the same dimensions with that nice 34 inch beam and standard tumblehome (I don't like those radical tumblehomes). I don't have trouble with the wind. I like the big volume, and I can stand up, pole, do photography, and ride big chop and swells in big water. I am having more problem with the portage weight these days as I get older though. Both are wood trim. I would only use wood trim.
If you want to see the royalex version on in action with a solo 35 day load for a big water trip, here is a link to a slide show video I put together on my Upper Lockhart River trip a few years ago. The spray deck is made by Cooke Custom Sewing. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qpwsCPb8E0c