I recently purchased a Mohawk Nova 17 footer and have been paddling it extensively. I also have the Esquif Mistral 17.5 Twin Tex, Attikamek 16 in kevlar and the Champlain 16 in kevlar so, I sort of use those boats as a reference to judge the performance of the Nova 17.
The dimensions of the Nova 17 are found on the Makers Write-up so I won't repeat. My impressions to the Nova 17 are as follows:
The primary and secondary stability are great. I can switch ends in the boat while out on the water and not feel any discomfort about doing so. The boat will lean to a precarious angle and still feel very solid. I am a flat water paddler so have no data on fast water.
This boat has an extraordinary cargo capacity and is dog friendly. It is an easy boat to paddle solo and there is no problem switching paddle sides with the 35" beam. I have tested the boat without bow ballast and it's great as long as the wind is still. With wind I find that the addition of 50 pounds in the bow really helps control wind drift although, it isn't really necessary. The seat height is perfect for me. I'm 6' with a 32" inseam. No seat adjustment was necessary. There are no air bags but I'm told by the factory that the boat will definitely float if capsized. I'd expect it would float very low in the water though making it impossible to empty and re-enter while on the water.
Weight is 72 pounds and that is the only downside I see with this boat. The build is royalex and that is just the way it is. I'm 67 years old with a less than adequate back. I use canoe wheels with this boat. I pull the boat to the water and simply unhook the wheels from the boat, fold them and tuck them under the seat out of the way. When beaching I slip them over the back of the boat, step out and pull "roll" the boat up onto the shore. It's easy and eliminates damage. A canoe trailer eliminates need to lift the boat onto truck racks. I noticed that when the wind hits the side of the bow that not only does one have to correct for the wind push but, the movement of the heavy boat creates the additional issue of momentum that must be overcome. Again, it's not a big deal.
It's a mental comparison I'm making while comparing this boat to kevlar boats, which I am more familiar with. The biggest feature I gained with the Nova is stability. Kevlar boats lack both primary and secondary stability. I'd not buy a kevlar as a first boat even though I did. Glide on the Nova is adequate and even surprised me. Duration of glide is not as good as a kevlar boat but, it is really good.
The paddling experience in the Nova is wonderful. There are no surprises and the boat moves wonderfully through the water with little effort and I'd rate it as a fast boat. There are no slots in the gunnels for strapping. I do hate that. Also, there is no place to attach a bow line on the front or rear decks. I have done so, however, and in a very neat fashion. The grab ropes front and back are of high quality. Fit and finish are superb for a boat of this price range. The biggest downfall is the heavy weight but, that is royalex. It comes with the turf.
I keep all my boats in the living room of my house on saw horses. Yes, the living room. No wife, no kids and have three dogs for mates. That's the way I like it. It's a bit of a chore getting the Nova up the porch steps, through the front door and bending it around the walls to sit her on the saw horses. The old back feels it.
As an added note I'm told by the factory that they are deleting the Nova and Intrepid models from their line up due to low sales on those models. A shame. Both boats are sensational rides. They are currently out of stock on the Intrepid 17 and have a few Nova's left in stock.
Hope this write-up may help someone. Some more notes about my experience can be found at my blog:We have had our R84 Nova17 for about 14 years now. Bought it for the Boundary Waters, and have probably spent 3 months total up there in it. We have the webbing seats.
The R84 (Royalite) is significantly lighter than Royalex, but the boat itself has proved indestructible in hard usage. Tracks and cruises OK, doesn't cost an arm and a leg, very good in rough water. We also canoe on the Wisconsin river, and bounce over a lot of logs and such (we're always trying to get down little side channels). We love how the Nova just slides off and over every obstruction we throw at it.