Submitted: 09-14-2006 by Weehooker
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!