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Submitted: 07-31-2007 by FrankB2

I've owned canoes off and on for the past 25 years. After a 10 year hiatus, I went to a major canoe/kayak dealer in New Jersey, and bought a Mad River Explorer 16 TT. The bottom oil-canned so bad, that it seemed about to burst! The dealer told me they knew the poly version of the Explorer was defective, and I then bought a used Bell Northwind in Royalex. A very nice boat, but I wanted something new.....

A week later, I returned the Bell and bought an Old Town Charles River. The canoe was new, and looked great. The Royalex hull felt much stiffer than the Penobscot, so on the roof rack it went. I should have demo'ed the Charles River, however: its bottom flexes up and down with each paddle stroke or body movement. It wasn't the same sort of oil-canning that the Mad River exhibited. That boat's bottom came up and stayed up. The Charles River's bottom pumps, as if it wants to retain its shape. The bottom doesn't travel very far up and down, but it's constant and the entire hull bottom moves....Bummer!

It does paddle well tandem and solo, and has great initial and secondary stability. My wife and I left the factory stickers on the Charles River, and the dealer told us that we are welcome to exchange it for another model. We've been debating what to do for the past week, and still don't know what to do! We've had it out twice (don't want to put any scratches on it, in case it gets returned) and have enjoyed everything but the flexy hull...

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