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Submitted: 10-17-2012 by CSP
I'm on my second Hellman Prospector. The first was Duralite, my current is ultralight Kevlar layup. This is a superb canoe. I just returned from a trip where I carried 1000+ lbs of Moose and other gear twice in a week in long paddles in rough waves on a large lake. On one trip I made a mistake and got caught mid lake in a squall that I would not have taken a 20' boat out into. I've been paddling for many years and have never had a scarier experience but this canoe just blew me away how it handled the situation. Handled incredibly well and predictably. The hull just seems to get faster with more weight onboard.
This is a modified Prospector - symmetrical, shallow arch hull, fine entry, epoxy kevlar layup. The epoxy layup takes a hell of a blow and bounces back without cracking, remarkable. Mine, in ultralight layup (a custom version they don't advertise but will custom build for you) only weighs about 45lbs. By the way, I think this is built on the same form as Souris River uses. The epoxy Kevlar layup and and design are essentially identical.
Another reviewer complained about seats riveted through hull. I too don't like this, but I have to say they work and there never seem to be any problems with them.
This is a very fast and lively hull. With the narrow beam and shallow arch it will feel initially "tippy" to inexperienced paddlers. After 5 minutes you will feel comfortable and realize how seaworthy the design is. The hull is very very seaworthy, and amazingly fast. It is great for river, ocean or lake use and to my mind is the ultimate tripper.
I think this is the best all around canoe on the market and would buy another in a heartbeat. Also, Bob Hellman is a great guy to deal with and will customize your personal canoe as you want. All in all, when I shop around, I can't find a better deal or a better canoe.
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