Submitted: 01-02-2001 by DPG
This is a good canoe for a Royalex canoe, it's a canoe that wants to go but I wouldn't put maneuverability as one of its strong points while underway at faster speeds. IMO it needs to be slowed a bit if you expect to turn with any nimbleness. However, if you want to get down river and do it in a hurry it will do that and as long as you read the river well and your bow person can execute a good draw, you can certainly tack or chop your way across current without hesitation. This thing goes where you aim it, be that on a river or on a lake. It's not meant to "play" in (as rock garden boats do); it means business, though if you stop or just drift it can be turned fairly well.
The Penobscot 17 is at home on rougher lakes, it goes well in class II water but you need to read a river well as mentioned already. We have owned ours for only a few outings and it's winter now, so for now I have to rate this as an 8 because I don't know it well enough yet. Just as with our Old Town Camper (not comparing canoes here as these are two completely different acting boats), I will say the rear seat needs lowering to suit me, but I'm tall and weigh 230 lbs, so I generally like to lower the center of gravity. The Penobscot 17 is great in the wind, I've even soloed it on a lake in the wind (sitting on padding about mid ship where I could lean forward or back to effect track), it quarters to the wind or with the wind and water very well and stays on track very well with power on or off. Also, the Penobscot 17 has volume for loading and paddles well loaded, though we haven't fully tested it out in this way as yet, especially on a river. We intend to use this canoe for down river running and packing in to camp, for a few days at a time. Same for lakes crossing and general touring or packing, so we hope it works out well, if not it will be for sale at the end of next season!