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Submitted: 10-12-2010 by birren
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I test-paddled the Cronje with a friend who is looking for a 17-foot Prospector-type boat. We loaded it with 125# of stuff - 50# of firewood in a Duluth pack and two water jugs of 40# and 35#. The two of us together weigh about 350#, so we had a good 475# in the boat.

Loaded, it was slow to accelerate, but after a few paddle strokes it moved along at a respectable pace. It was quite responsive to turning strokes, including sideslipping from a standstill and spinning on its center. It tracked OK, but was pretty sensitive to discrepancies between bow and stern inputs. Both initial and secondary stability were good; despite our efforts, it didn't want to get its gunwale closer than about 3 inches from the water.

We also put it through its paces unloaded, and the results were predictable: better acceleration and top speed, more responsiveness, and lower initial stability (but equally good secondary).

Both loaded and unloaded, the Cronje seemed to not notice the 10-15 mph wind we were in. So there was no need to adjust our trim. The bow station is narrow. The seat would have to be moved back a few inches to make kneeling comfortable, or for a sitting paddler to put his or her feet next to each other.

My assessment is that this is an excellent river tripping boat but not well-suited to open lakes. I give it an 8 for that reason. However, anyone looking for a responsive river tripper that will carry a ton and ignore the wind should bump this rating up 1 or 2 notches.

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