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Submitted: 07-22-1999 by leonard
I first became aware of the Merrimac line of canoes last year. They seemed to combine the appearance of a wood and canvas canoe with the practicality of composite construction but I wanted to paddle one first! My local canoe shop in central Iowa wasn't really interested in stocking a canoe I wasn't ready to promise I'd buy. Finally I drove to Madision, WI and padddled one at Carl's Paddlin (a great canoe shop). It is a Prospector and it's great! So far I have only paddled it solo and it handles like a dream. It's reasonably fast, turns well and balances pretty good when solo when I sit in the bow seat (facing the stern). Both initial and final stability are good. I did manage to capsize the canoe but I had to work at it. And the canoe is just so pretty!
I get compliments regularly. I just heel it over 15 degrees or so and feel like Bill Mason, who said once that if he could have only one canoe it would be a Chestnut Prospector. The Merrimac Prospector is a real close second. The only flaw is the hull shows the pattern of the ribs in the Kevlar covering. This is because the wood and canvas canoes were sheathed in cedar and then covered with canvas. This canoe has the ribs but due to the strength of fiberglass or Kevlar there is no sheathing between the ribs and the Kevlar. Hence the rib pattern shows through. It's a small thing though. All in all I love the canoe.