Submitted: 03-08-2001 by C.Mihell
I have a Royalex Explorer with ash gunwales. It is an extremely versatile canoe and excels in most conditions. It works well on the river because with slight lean it becomes maneuverable. For lake paddling the Explorer is also good; the shallow vee hull tracks very well for a moderately rockered canoe. I am sure that the composite version would be even more efficient. Stability is great all around, in waves and rapids. Windage can be a problem, however, but this can be overcome by carrying a load or skillful paddling. The depth that causes this wind problem gives the canoe super capacity and keeps it dry in all but the biggest waves.
I paddle solo quite frequently, and paddling from the bow seat (facing the stern), it handles very well in the classic "northwoods" heeled over style. Soloing the Explorer with a load of gear is even better. Paddling tandem the Explorer is much faster than one would expect, and it is a perfect set up for tripping, day paddling or messing about in rapids.
Mad River does a great job in trimming their canoes. The ash woodwork on the Explorer is flawless, and MRC's use and knowledge of canoe construction is great. This canoe is tough as nails. The weight of seventy pounds isn't too bad for your average portage.
Overall the Explorer is an excellent choice for both newcomers and experts wanting a versatile, all around wilderness tripping boat. I won't hesitate to recommend it to any paddler!