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I like the Freedom because it does a lot of things well. I used it often when the kids were small, turned backwards the seat spacing was ideal to trim it out. The boat has enough rocker that it is easy to turn without a decent tandem partner. Stability is awesome, even with a kid jumping around, I have only tipped it a few times.
Speed is just okay, the hull width slows it down I think. The width also makes it hard to use a nice forward stroke. It helps that I am wide in the shoulders, a smaller person would not be as happy on a long trip.
The boat is attractive, to me anyway. Wear is as expected, Royalex is Royalex, right? There is some extra wear on the peak formed by the uniquely shaped MR signature hull. I can not see where that hull shape really increases tracking, speed or stability, I think that marketing gimmick could have been passed over.
So...I now have a Mad River-Old Town 16' canoe that I really enjoy paddling. Oh...I also use a double blade kayak paddle when paddling lakes or any other open water. Obviously I'm no purist..just like to get out and have fun. It handles well in class II water paddling solo. Anything above that I wouldn't attempt alone, it's a little too long to turn in faster water.
For a more advanced boat I'd rather have a Novacraft Prospector or an Esquif Prospecteur. I'd probably look at royalite or similar as can't relate to a 70lb boat anymore.
The Dagger Legend; now that was one pig of a boat with oil canning to boot. Freedom with wood gunnels is much better in quality and easier on the eye. Can't get a legend anymore new.
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