Submitted: 09-23-2002 by SPR
STRENGTHS: This boat is an excellent canoe for family, fishing, & heavy tripping on Class I-II rivers. This canoe has tons of initial and final stability and incredible room and weight capacity for camping gear. The little ones and/or a dog will have a hard time turning this canoe over. It's great for fishing - nice and stable when someone gets excited. This boat is at its best when floating class I-II rivers - it is very dry in waves (due to flair) and stable when running ledges (due to 37"+ width). This boat is very manueverable for a 17' tandem due to generous rocker. I like standing in the boat to read the upcoming rapids. Mine is cherry red with ash gunnels and it's beautiful to look at. Mad River makes a fine looking boat. This is our second canoe and we use it for river trips and as a guest canoe when friends come along - this boat is great for beginners on a river.
WEAKNESSES: As is always the case in canoe design there are always tradeoffs. Lots of room, capacity, and stability mean this boat is BIG, HEAVY, and SLOW. We call ours "MOBY". You need a strong back for loading and handling this boat. This boat is not a good flatwater tripping boat unless you're going on short trips or need a ton of room for kids/dogs/gear. The extra width in the front causes paddling to be uncomfortable in the bow for long flatwater tripping (unless the bow paddler is tall) and also slows the boat on flat water. This canoe is definitely not a cruiser - it needs current. Generous rocker means that flatwater tracking suffers. Heavy wind and waves really slow the boat on a lake.
VERDICT: Mad River lists this canoe in the "Moving Water" section of their catalog and state that it is great for families. That is an accurate description and it delivers exactly what is promised. This canoe is PERFECT for heavy figity loads (dogs,kids,excited fishermen) and is TERRIFIC for running all types of class I-II rapids. The stabilty is also handy for non-canoeing friends, kids, dogs, etc. on short flatwater trips. Be sure you can handle the 78 lb weight before purchasing.