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Thread: Wenonah Prospector 15

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    Default Wenonah Prospector 15

    Maker's Spec



    *Kevlar Ultra-light 36lb.
    Kevlar Flex-core 48lb.
    Tuf-weave Flex-core55lb
    Royalex 59lb.
    *Weights published are for canoes with all standard equipment

    Maker's Write Up

    This shorter Prospector delivers great performance in a smaller package. Like all Prospectors, high volume sides give confidence in most paddling situations. Whether getting a thrill while paddling whitewater, going out on a short trip or exploring local waters, this Prospector can do it all.

    This particular Prospector may be better for tandem use than solo as it is slightly wider than the original. However a lone paddler can easily sit in the bow seat and face backwards for paddling ease.
    An ideal boat to keep by the cabin, its short length will allow for easy navigation between rocks or trees when fishing or stalking local wildlife. A little extra volume has been added to the width to make it more buoyant to add stability for sporting endeavors
    Last edited by Chrish; 19th-November-2007 at 12:47 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Default

    I have already reviewed this canoe here

    http://www.songofthepaddle.co.uk/for...ead.php?t=1269

    but quote it here for completeness

    Wenonah Prospector 15; A review

    I have had the Wenonah prospector for almost six months now and have used it an a variety of conditions so feel that I am now more than ready to comment of it.

    Specs

    Length 15’0”
    Width 37” max and 35 ¾” at gunwale
    Depth 14” at centre
    Bow Height 24”
    Rocker 4”
    Weight 59lb or just under 28Kg (Royalex)

    History

    This is my third canoe. My first a Coleman Journey was my first and good value but heavy workhorse. My second was an Old Town Pack, a light solo canoe. I eventually outgrew the Coleman and started to look for a replacement that would do me when I was tandem or with my daughters. As it turned out the new canoe replaced the Pack as well.



    Requirements

    My requirements were a canoe that would carry my two daughters, with camping gear and myself but be manageable solo. It had to be stable for open water use and manoeuvrable. Preferably it would be light as a feather but obviously I would settle for as light as possible.

    I have always been drawn to the traditional style of canoes so fairly quickly I was looking at Prospectors. From my own experience I felt that 15 foot would be about the right size. Not too big for solo but still enough room for both girls while they were young. Initially I ended up ordering a Nova Craft Prospector but due to a delay with delivery I switched to the WeNoNah. A decision I have never regretted. My original reason for rejecting the WeNoNah was the amount or rocker. I thought this would make the canoe hard to track (keep in a straight line) but this has proven not to be the case.

    Out the Box

    Straight out the box the WeNoNah Prospector 15 is a lovely looking canoe. The finish was good and there were no faults I could find.



    I was immediately struck by how much lighter than the Coleman it was but still significantly heavier than the Pack. Once on the water I was surprised to find the Prospector was no more effort to paddle than the Pack. I had expected the WeNoNah to be much easier to paddle than the Coleman but I had expected that the Pack’s small weight and short length to make it much easier to paddle but it was not the case. This is probably due to the rocker. I was also pleased to find that the canoe tracked well. At least as well as I wanted.

    My only complaint as such about the Prospector, straight out the box, was the trim for solo use. Even paddling the canoe from the front seat, going backwards a fair bit of weight was needed up front to trim the canoe. This is not unusual and was something I had plans to sort anyway.

    Modifications

    The things I wanted to address with the Prospector were trim for solo use. Lashing things in and sailing.

    The solo use was easy to sort. I purchased seat brackets and a seat from Endless River and fitted a central seat. I positioned this so that the front edge was about 5 inches back from the centre. I also had to remove the centre thwart but the centre seat gives enough strength that an additional thwart is not needed (this may be because I used seat brackets so you may need to assess this requirement depending on your own circumstances).



    The centre seat has been a great success. So much so that I ended up selling the Pack as the WeNoNah handled so well solo. It gives me almost neutral trim so I can adjust the trim by moving relatively small amounts of load about the canoe. I have also discovered that it is the ideal place to sit even when taking the girls out as it keeps me in control and the weigh near the centre of the canoe. I should point out that I am not a kneeler. If you are then you may not need a centre seat and will probably get by with kneeling near the centre or installing a kneeling thwart.

    For lashing things in I originally attached stainless steel clips but found that these tended to catch and get in the way, so I ended up going for a full lacing of the canoe. This gives me a lot of lashing points, that are very secure and do not get in the way or injure you if you are climbing backing the canoe.

    For the sailing option I made up a clamp that could attach to the seats and bought an Arab style sail from Endless River. Again this has been a great success and allows me to sail solo without having to have an extra 3 arms surgically attached. As the clamp can attach to any of the three seats I have plenty of flexibility in how to set the sail depending on load and passengers.



    Living with the Prospector

    It has been a joy to use the Prospector. Its strength is not that it is a specialist boat but that it is a capable all round canoe. This is no real surprise from a design that has stood the test of time. The modifications I have made to the canoe have been designed to enhance and expand this flexibility.

    Used solo the canoe is light enough to car top and portage myself, although the removal of the central thwart means that a trolley is advisable for any long portaging. On the water the canoe is responsive and manoeuvrable but tracks well. Stability is high both initially, allowing you to stand with confidence and the secondary stability is also good with the gunwale being able to be put under water with confidence without flipping the canoe.

    The stability has been a real boon to my canoeing allowing me to pole the canoe, something that was not really practical on the Pack, for me anyway. I have also had the canoe is some big waves in the open water. Whilst I had concerns about not being able to make much progress, I had no concerns about the canoe capsizing. It is also a very dry. When used tandem in these same conditions we could crash through the waves without taking on water.



    Tandem use in normal conditions is also good. Even for a relatively short canoe there is still good legroom for the front paddler. I was surprised when I tried the WeNoNah Prospector 16 to find that its overall width is narrower than the 15 foot version. this means that both canoes have roughly the same carrying capacity but the difference I noticed was in the rear seat width. In the 16 foot canoe I found it a bit of a tight squeeze and I do not consider my rear to be that big (does this canoe make my bum look big ?)

    Conclusion

    As an all round canoe the Prospector styles in general are hard to beat. Specifically the WeNoNah 15 has exceeded all my hopes. The only improvement I could wish for is it to be lighter but that is the same for any canoe. We all want a 1kg canoe that we can portage for miles.

    The suitability of the canoe for so many tasks makes it unlikely that I will be looking for another canoe for quite some time. This canoe will do me if I want to do whitewater, it will go on the sea with me and will carry me and camping equipment on multi day trips.

    As if there was any doubt I highly recommend this canoe

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Cheltenham
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    381

    Default Outfitting

    Hugh
    Sunny Cheltenham

    Wind is the devils creation

  4. #4
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    Nov 2006
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    Cheltenham
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    Default Wood Gunnels

    Hugh
    Sunny Cheltenham

    Wind is the devils creation

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    Yalding, Kent
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    2,640

    Default Some Comparisons

    This thread compares 3 canoes including the Wenonah & Novacraft 15' Prospectors

    http://www.songofthepaddle.co.uk/for...ead.php?t=7403

  6. #6
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    Apr 2006
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    Gloucester
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    Default

    Wenonah Prospector 15

    I bought my Prospector 15 around 18 months ago. I had done a couple of days on the Barle, the first whitewater I’d ever paddled, in a demo Wenonah Argosy. I was attracted to this by its small weight. The advice from the experienced paddlers and coaches on that trip was to not buy an Argosy, but to buy something that would be a more forgiving allrounder, that would enable my whitewater skills to progress quickly. And so I bought a Wenonah Prospector 15.

    I owned the Prospector for just over a year. In that time I poled the boat, sailed it, went canoe camping with it, paddled it in the sea, paddled it tandem, put a complete novice in it solo on flatwater, paddled it in close to gale force wind on large open water, played and surfed with it on whitewater, done rescues from it, paddled grade 3 water in it, and just had great fun in it.


    The Good Bits

    Edging: The boat goes onto edge really smoothly, and feels very stable when you’re there. This makes it a beautiful boat to paddle on flat water, and also a forgiving boat on whitewater. A forgiving boat means you can make mistakes without always going for an unplanned swim so it gives you the confidence to push yourself. Having a boat you’re confident with will help your paddling to progress very quickly.

    Weight: For its size the Prospector is quite a lightweight boat. Don’t underestimate how much of a difference this makes when it comes to handing it off the water.

    Looks: Let’s face it, looks are important and the prospector is a lovely looking boat with its curves.

    Rocker: The Prospector has a fair amount of rocker, which helps it to turn easily, but not so much that it’s not an easy boat to paddle in a straight line.


    The Not So Good Bits

    Width: The Prospector is wide. Very wide. Whilst this is not a problem if you “knee walk” and move your position in the boat to cross deck, it is an issue when it comes to wanting to cross deck without edging the boat. On grade 2 and easy grade 3 water this probably wont be too much of a problem for you. But it does become a problem when you get onto harder water, where your edge control really needs to be independent of where your paddle is. On the Prospector this can be very difficult as you need to move across the boat. Its width also means you don’t really feel like a locked-in part of the boat, as you do in a narrower boat when you can get your knees into both bilges.

    Pointy ends: The Prospector has very little volume in its narrow bow and stern. I found this led to two things. First, if you have an end in the water it acts as a little keel. This stops it spinning quite so nimbly as you might expect from its rocker and flatish bottom. Secondly it is wetter down rapids than some other boats. On grade 2 this isn’t going to matter. If you take grade 3 slowly it will run nice and dry. But if you paddle big grade 3 and more, or over big drops, or on the offensive rather than defensive you will notice that the boat runs wet.

    Yoke: Not a major issue, but Wenonah yokes are rubbish. If you intend to do a lot of portaging using the yoke you might want to factor in getting a new yoke or some yoke pads. However, for on and off the car and short carries (may of a couple of hundred metres) it’s not something to get overly concerned about.


    Conclusions

    The Wenonah Prospector 15 is a brilliant all rounder, a boat that it ideally suited for the kind of paddling the vast majority of paddlers do.

    Flatwater: A beautiful boat to paddle. Some people say it catches the wind more because of its high ends, but as with any canoe trim it right, then it’ll paddle very well in the wind. It looks good, and is very satisfying to get onto an extreme edge and do some “pretty paddling”. It continues to perform when loaded, and is truly versatile.

    Grade 1-2+ water: Excellent boat. It’s forgiving and responsive. You may start to find its width more of an issue as you move towards grade 3, but nothing that can’t be overcome. The boat is confidence-giving, and this will help your paddling to improve no end.

    Grade 3+: A decent boat, but you may start to find it’s width and narrow ends becoming a frustrating issue, and will probably really start feeling you are in the boat rather than being part of the boat. If this is the kind of paddling you do, or will soon be doing, you may want to look at alternative boats.

    Photos
    (These are of various Prospector 15s, not just mine)













    'Of all the paths you choose in life, make sure some of them are wet'

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    Fareham, Hampshire
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    Default

    Having had my boat since the end of May and done a few trips and a wide variety of water, I can now honestly say that I'm very pleased with it...

    Good bits: excellent secondary stability, sits on the gunnels no problem; no problems in the wind; great sailing and holds loadsa stuff... paddles happily solo and tandem; is very light and it looks good... managed x-deck strokes with ease

    Not so good bit: ships a fair bit of water in Grade 3... I was bailing

    With only 1 not so good bit that I've found so far, I'm happy
    Kazbunny
    Don't dream it... DO IT!

  8. #8

    Default Wenonah Prospector 14

    Just spent a week in a prospector for my 3*, having been more of a kayaker than an open boater. I have to agree with the genral coments made, if you want a job specific boat this isn't it.

    What this is is a well thought out compromise. On the choppy water I found in the middle of the lakes built up I felt that the boat was perfectly at home in the choppy stuff, even if I was making a bit of a hash of it, on the flat stuff it runs smooth enough, and on the little bits of moving water the forgiving secondry stability really lets you commit to an edge.

    Its not the fastest boat accross the calm waters, and that extra bit of width makes cross deck strokes a stretch, but as a all round boat it is beautifull boat.

    The biggest thing for me was never having paddled a royalex boat before it was very natural to paddle, it was stable yet manoverable, and very forgiving to put on edge.

    I also had a quick play in a nova craft prospector, from the little time I spent in it I found with the extra depth it was a little less intuative and a little less forgiving. I think with a little time and practice I would have found the nova a slightly more responsive boat.

    If your looking for a first canoe, or a good solid all round boat you will not regret it, and the more I research into my first boat the more I come back to a prospector, weather wenonah or nova craft. I think the wenonah is the slightly easier boat to paddle, though the nova craft is a little more responsive, and will do better as I progress onto bigger water.

  9. Default Wenonah Prospector 15

    Finally took delivery of our 15ft Wenonah Prospector a few weeks back. Have managed to take her out both fully loaded with family and kit, as well as for a really decent 70 mile solo trip down the Thames.

    She's a great boat: really nimble with quick turns, responding well to paddle input. What is surprising is that the boat also feels very quick when compared to our Old Town Camper 16ft.

    I've had no problems keeping her in a straight line, despite the rocker and wind hasn't (yet) been a real issue.

    Width wise, the boat is quite wide, but I've not yet felt that this has been an issue for me. To be fair I've not really taken her in any fast moving/white water where advanced cross-bow strokes might be needed, so could be too early to comment.

    Thanks for all the comments above - I'm certainly delighted with the boat. As many others have commented, she's a really 'pretty' boat.

  10. #10

    Default

    Been paddling mine now for a little while on rivers and estuaries. Very pleased with it. Bought it new from Canoe and Kayak who are local to me. Excellent service and great patience displayed as I deliberated over a few months in making my final decision. Couldn't decide on red or green so went for burgundy ! In my research I was a little concerned about its beam but this has not been a problem so far (I am 5' 11'') and I dont expect it to be. Having recently watched Waterwalker and seen the width of BMs boats in that film I am even less bothered about this! Primarily I use this solo for which it is ideal. Royalex weight means it is a one man job to put it on the roof rack - the difference between going and not going in many instances ! The boat does comfortably take 2 adults and a child for day trips.I have fitted a kneeling thwart but gone against convention putting it between the front seat and the yoke. In this position I can either kneel or easily slip back onto the seat if it all gets a bit like hardwork on the knees/ankles. Works for me and the dimensions work out just fine for comfortable paddling in both positions. A bit heartbraking when the hull gets its first few dings and scratches, sharp shells on beaches have taken their toll. I guess the hull will soon get to look like an old scrotum so I had better get over it.

  11. #11
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    Anyone know the load capacity for the P15, I've emailed Wenonah in the states, no reply as yet...

    Cheers

    Ade

  12. #12
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    Did you surpass it in Scotland?

  13. #13
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    Don't think so, but the freeboard is less than generous and I'm considering putting more stuff in

  14. #14
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    Well, a bit of bored-jobless-googling didn't find the answer, but the Nova Craft P15's capacity appears to be 850lbs. Mine (16' of course) is 980lbs with 6" freeboard. So I would guess that 800+ would be safe with the Wenonah's lower sides, =360kg. So subtract you guys and you'll still have a hell of a lot of weight capacity, even if you've been on the pies since I last saw you! I suspect weight is less of a problem than space, unless you plan on going on a bouncy wave trip with the whole fambly aboard!

  15. #15
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    Apr 2006
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    Somerset lad exiled in Surrey
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    In my experience, kids grow quickly and a 15 ft canoe with camping gear is just not big enough along with two adults.....suggest you start looking for another canoe ASAP

  16. #16
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    Nah, there's loads of room left in the boat currently. Packed light below for a day trip....




    Unless the economy picks up, I think the order for the Itasca will have to wait till next year

  17. #17
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    Interesting reply from Wenonah:

    Many canoe makers publish specific weight capacities for their hulls.
    These are highly misleading for many reasons:

    1. Even if you know how much weight you've put into the canoe, water in the bilge rapidly increases the load by an unknown amount.
    2. If loaded anywhere near its claimed limit, a canoe may not be overloaded officially, but it will handle very poorly.
    3. Waves or strong current call for an increased safety margin, hence less load.
    4. Paddlers' skills play a major role in what weight a canoe can transport safely. We don't print specific figures. Rather we say our hulls have reserve capacity for their intended use.

    There is plenty of common sense there and perhaps a little evasiveness.. not really much use to me.. In any case, good to get rapid feedback though so thanks Wenonah.

    A

  18. #18

    Default

    Excellent solo boat, yoke needs to be replaced with something much better than the factory fit! I fitted a kneeling thwart with ease and it makes a massive difference to the solo capability of this boat. Ok it up to grade 3 when it ships water!

  19. Default

    Cant recommend this boat enough the only thing is the yoke aint great.[IMG][/IMG]

  20. #20
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    Nov 2009
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    Forest of Dean
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    Now completed a few white water (Grade 2/3) paddles in my Royalex Prospector, all solo paddles so far. The boat handles well and is more agile than my Old Town Charles River in white water, it does tend to take on a bit more water though and does not seem as fast in a straight line on flat water (but that could just be me).

    The big advantage is that I can pick up the boat on my own for short portages and loading on/off the car; if you can afford the extra cost of Royalex it make life a lot easier.

  21. #21
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    Apr 2014
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    NE Scotland
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    Great reviews and impressions. I'm putting an order in tomorrow and hope this fun sounding all rounder will do me for many years to come.

  22. #22

    Default

    Thanks for the reviews both here and other places on the board. I've decided that my next boat will be a Wenonah Prospector 15. I'm getting the LAST RED Prospector 15 Wenonah left in the factory! Hopefully, I'll add my review here in about a year? Thanks again!
    Let us so live, that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry! Mark Twain

  23. #23
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    NE Scotland
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    Quote Originally Posted by Waterline73 View Post
    Great reviews and impressions. I'm putting an order in tomorrow and hope this fun sounding all rounder will do me for many years to come.
    And here she is on the west coast of Scotland last year:

    Last edited by Waterline73; 29th-March-2016 at 06:17 PM.

  24. #24
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    X-Decking, no need to shuffle about...



    Cheers
    Tim


    Paddles a Prospector

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
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    NE Scotland
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by tim View Post
    X-Decking, no need to shuffle about...



    Nice!

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