Submitted: 02-27-2001 by DW
I bought a new 17' Sundowner kevlar cross-rib Sundowner and used it a lot last year. I found it has much more primary stability and a little more secondary stability than my prior canoe which was a Discovery 164. I have used it in the BWCA and found that it can handle loads very well. It tracks straight, glides well and seems fast. It feels solid as a rock with and without a load. I have had it in big chop and it is stable, but it tends to pound when into the wind when payload is light. The kevlar cross-rib design weighs 53 pounds. The cross-rib has a gel coat, and with other structural differences, weighs 13 pounds more compared to the ultra-light kevlar version. However, it is stiffer, tougher and costs $450 less.
At first, I was reluctant to get the bucket seats (front seat slides) because I prefer the look of a traditional cane seat. After a season of use, I am glad I have the buckets, because they are much more comfortable, and add a little back support. I also appreciate the sliding front seat because my wife is much lighter and I need her far forward for proper trim if I don't have gear to balance the load. I picked the 17 foot size because it seemed to be the best compromise between load capacity and weight. The only negative is the canoe doesn't turn with ease, but that is probably the price one must pay for an efficient, tripping canoe designed to go fast and far!