The Appalachian is our all around favorite canoe. It is designed as white water tandem, but is quite easy to paddle on lakes also. Ours is equipped with air bags and thigh straps and we mostly paddle kneeling, or at least one knee down. It is a very dry boat in white water, and turns waves on windy lakes well also. Compared to a Dagger Legend we rented it is much dryer, and it did not oilcan at all.
My wife and I have no problem making it go straight in flat water, although it is certainly not a fast lake boat. It can be a handful in a wind, since the slight rocker and round bottom let it blow around and make leeway in a side wind, but it still stays pretty dry.
If we do serious WW we have two large cargo bags full of plastic peanuts or gear, that strap into the center of the boat, to supplement the bow and stern bags. The rest of the time the middle is occupied by a Labrador Retriever that alternately swims and rides. We have no trouble getting her back in the boat in the middle of a lake.I've had my Appalachian for about 3 years. I paddle it solo on class 1-3 Ga/Tenn/NC rivers. I've run it on the Nantahala, Broad and Hiwassee. It will do everything I ask it to do. It will surf, catch eddies and when leaned, will do a 180 in a second. The more current the faster it will turn. Stability is great. I've had it turned all the way on edge going over a rock sideways and it came back down. Took in about 8" of water and went through the rest of the standing waves just fine.
Truth is, it's a much better boat than I am paddler. I've had it loaded with about 500 lbs and been alright playing in some class 2 rapids loaded. Very happy with it and would recommend it for river running and playing around. Does get blown around in the wind. Leaned over in a Canadian style position, you can really move along without switching sides. Great boat!I've paddled my Appalachian for two years and it's top notch. Primary stability is average, but the secondary is second to none. I mainly use it as a solo and it handles class III waters with "ease". It's made for moving water and that's where it excels. It ferries with ease and turns quite well for a 16'er. Surf it, heal it over, give it your worst and it's got your back. Though you have to do your part to keep it from going to the point of no return. I've taken it through tight spots that most canoers in the 16' class dare not attempt (tight slots with drops and turns). Places some deem only maneuverable for Kayaks. I grin and peel out. Aside from the rough stuff, it's average on still water as far as hull speed is concerned. Paddling into a head wind or being pushed by cross winds is no fun, but I haven't found a canoe that is. As a tandem I find it to be less forgiving than a 17' Old Town Tripper, 16' Dagger legend, 16' Blue Hole OCA, etc, but this is my opinion. When this one is past it's prime I will purchase another without a second thought. I give it a 10 because it's best in it's class bar none! An absolute BEATER!!
As a multi-day tripper it shines. It'll haul a load of gear for those multi-day excursions and still have good freeboard and maneuverability.I recently paddled this boat at an advanced whitewatter paddling clinic. Knowing its reputation as a river runner, I eagerly anticipated paddling with this hull. I wasn't disappointed.
Initial stability is average at best but secondary stabilty is fantastic. You can heel that boat to the gunwale and it simply won't go over.
We paddled class III water for two straight days and simply had a blast. Quick for its size, great for eddying and eddy peel outs. The turning radius of the boat improves dramatically when it is leaned. While not designed as a pure playboat, it handled its own quite nicely surfing. The appalachian performs exactly as intended, a down river boat with the ability and performance to handle Class III whitewater. Great boat. I'd love to see Old Town improve on this boat and make more of a playboat.