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Submitted: 02-12-2012 by TWatkins
I bought a Cronje (Kev/spectra - 56 lb) last spring and used it for a 10 day tandem trip in the BWCA. We weren't traveling particularly light, paddlers and gear weighed in at an estimated 525 lb. Which I think is about the max performance load.
The canoe performs as advertised. Great tripping canoe - it is surprisingly fast for a canoe that will turn when asked to. We tracked speed with a GPS and easily maintained a 4 to 5 mph cruising speed with an easy, all day paddle stroke. I would say that it's overall handling characteristics are superb in all sorts of water conditions. Not unexpectedly, it will take on some water when paddled loaded into big whitecaps with a heavy load.
The hull has more of a rounded arch then many canoes, which contributes to a more "lively" feel. Secondary stability is high, however. Beginning paddlers or those looking for a fishing platform may not find it to their liking as much as other choices. But for those of us who love to feel a canoe move and respond under us, like a good horse, it is a joy to paddle.
Cons: Only a couple to mention:
(1) The bow seat was positioned way far back. There was only 20 inch of space between the front edge of the portage yoke and the bow seat. So 2 packs would not fit in the front cargo bay. It also made the bow paddler's reach more then necessary. My solution was to move the bow seat a half seat width forward, still leaving ample room for kneeling comfort. By the way, I have compared the front seat placement in a Rx one in the show room and it's seat was placed a full seat width farther forward. Go figure?
(2) I was a bit annoyed that the canoe's stern tended to blow out with a sidewind. It wasn't so much as to be unmanageable, but it did cause some frustration. I tried shifting weight to the stern, which helped but didn't totally solve the problem. The packs behind the center thwart stood several inches above the gunwales which may have been the primary cause.
Overall it's a super canoe that is well suited from day paddling up to tripping with moderate loads. For expedition level tripping take a prospector - the SUV of canoes. I also have a Rx Prospector 17 so I'm familiar with both.
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