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Thread: Wenonah Prospector 16

  1. #1
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    Default Wenonah Prospector 16

    Maker's Spec


    Kevlar Ultra-light 40lb.
    Kevlar Flex-core 52lb.
    Tuf-weave Flex-core 61lb.
    Royalex 65lb.
    *Weights published are for canoes with all standard equipment

    Maker's Write Up
    This may be the closest thing to the original Prospector that you will find anywhere. A classic design with gracefully curved ends, and sweeping gunwales, the Prospector is a beautiful craft with a traditional look. Its beautiful lines combine form and function, enabling it to traverse both lakes and whitewater with ease.

    Its rockered hull makes it quick to turn while its shallow arch cross-section and sharp entry lines gives it plenty of glide.
    Ends flare quickly to shed waves in whitewater or rough lake crossings. Minimal tumblehome makes this canoe rock solid and predictable when heeled over in either tandem of solo use.
    Last edited by Chrish; 15th-February-2008 at 08:11 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Default Our Wenonah 16’ Prospector.



    We bought ours back in Summer 05.

    Our requirements were
    1. Easy to handle.
    2. Suitable for day trips and long weekends with 2 Adults & 2 Children
    3. Able to handle moderate moving water (Grade 2/3) both tandem + solo
    4. Solo and family use on all types of water.

    We were initially looking at getting the Mad River Explorer TT 16’ but after demoing that I didn’t like it,( too heavy and barge like) Highland canoes had a Wenonah in stock and available for demo, so out we went. The weight difference was incredible. I’d didn’t think 6-7 kg would be so marked .

    Anyway after paddling the Wenonah it was that or nothing, it felt graceful.

    We did consider the Nova Craft prospector but weren’t able to find on to have a look at. I preferred the look of the Wenonah anyway. Which has been confirmed when I paddled a NC one last year, the arched hull is much less pronounced (its flatter bottomed) on the NC .



    In the past 18 months we have taken it down several rivers (solo and fully laden), paddled on many lochs and the sea. Carried it (well that was Paul) on Km long portages. And generally used it quite a lot.



    So comments.

    It will carry 2 Adults + 2 Kids + kit for up to a week but its tight.
    It tracks fairly well on flat water when loaded.
    It catches the wind a lot when paddling solo esp. on open water.
    It rides waves with confidence.
    It handles WW solo brilliantly (well up to my poor standards)
    It copes with WW tandem, but the bow man may get wet ( we moved the front seat back on ours)
    The bow seat is positioned v. far forward.
    The arched hull means you can dip the gunnels before it goes over. (Great secondary stability)
    It seems to be a good choice for poling, once you get used to the initial wobble.
    The standard Wenonah yoke leaves something to be desired (I just can’t use it)
    It does seem to scratch easily (but I suspect most RX boats do)


    Loaded with a weeks worth of kit

    We bought ours as a go any where do anything canoe. And it does.
    There are better flat water canoes, there are better WW canoes., there are better solo canoes.

    But for one canoe that can do it all this one has coped with everything we have done so far.



    In the same position making the same choice again I would still buy this one.
    Last edited by MagiKelly; 1st-March-2007 at 09:59 AM. Reason: Fix first pic
    'There is no wealth but life itself.'

  3. #3
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    Default

    Regarded by many as the perfect alrounder. I would not particularly disagree with this, but would point out that it has two weaknesses. The first is that it is a very wet tandem boat in WW. For day trips this might not be an issue, esp. if the bow paddler is light. As Silvergirl says, moving the seat back helps.
    The second weakness is paddling solo on flatwater. It is horrible on the flat in the wind. Paddling tandem with a load will improve things.

    What about the strong points? Superb poling boat for the enthusiast, but tender for a first time poler. (I'm talking rocky WW poling: it doesn't track too well so is slow on the easy stuff). You can put the boat on edge for getting between rocks, dipping the gunwales if required.

    As a solo 16' WW boat it is probably peerless. Not that a 16' boat would be first choice for solo WW, but this one feels much shorter due to that big rocker. If you are a big person it could be ideal.

    I suspect it would make a good full on sailing canoe (rudder and lee board kind of sailing) and I'm going to fit it out for this as soon as I can find the time to go out and buy the fittings.

    So, first class alrounder, with emphasis on river work. (The Spirit 2 is the same, but with a flatwater edge).
    If it wasn't for the rain in our lives there would be no rivers. X 2

  4. #4

    Default W-N-N Prospector 16

    Got one of these in royalex, as has been mentioned before, this is probably "the" great all-round design, regardless of manufacturer. However I am very pleased with the build quality of the W-N-N. As Ten boats has stated, it excells at nothing, but does everything well. It is exceptionally good on moving water, having paddled it solo on grd 3-4 stuff it was responsive and a joy to paddle. Tandem, it also paddles well on ww, however I do have it outfitted with adjustable saddles, bringing the paddlers closer together. On the more sedate side of things it is excellent on the flat, rivers/lakes/lochs etc. Wind can be a problem when out in the open (and no amount of tablets/medicine will help). Looking at setting it up with a sail rig too. As I have said, I think this boat will do everything. If money was no object I would love to own another, in the ultra light weight kevlar construction.

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Wenonah Canoes View Post

    This may be the closest thing to the original Prospector that you will find anywhere
    Well that is a lie.

    This is a good canoe though. Just it is a bit more average than other all rounders I have paddled. The seats are too low and not spaced particularly well. The yoke is well centered but there seems to be no ideal location to paddle solo from. I tried between the thwart and yoke and give it a score of about an 80% for ease of control and tried backwards from the bow seat and give it a score of about 60% for control. As mentioned before it is pushed about by the wind quite a bit and mixed with the solo control issues that I have notice I would have to recommend that it is used with a larger more powerful paddle to compensate unless you are traveling tandem. The hull is very light in comparison to what I am used so it is fine to portage but the yoke is garbage and is best replaced. In fact the same could be said for the seats which should be removed from those nasty metal plates and put on wooden brackets or hanging dowels. At least then you can try to find the sweet spot for them.
    Other than outfitting issues the hull seems to perform well and is very stable. Once you find the sweet spot for kneeling solo you can crank the hull over to the waterline and it paddles like a dream (until the first gust of wind). It is just the sweet spot is very small in this hull and is a bit harder to find than on other canoes. Or at least that was my experience in this model. It would handle better with a bow paddler for sure so be sure to bring one. For what it is worth I would say this is a great canoe if you get it second hand for cheap but I wouldn't specifically buy one new. If I did get one second hand I would strip the seats and yoke out first thing and add my own. If you are a sitter rather than a kneeler this may not be an issue for you as this finer control I search for can only be obtained while kneeling. All in all I give it a 6.5 out of 10 on the Lloyd scale and if it was outfitted better I would up that to an 8 our of 10 because it is so light and still does all the things a good canoe should.
    Lloyd

    Sometimes you're the windshield, sometimes you're the bug...


  6. #6

    Default Hello.

    I'm a new member here, I've been reading through various posts and thought I'd add my thoughts on my Wenonah 16' Prospector kevlar.
    I purchased a Wenonah Prospector 16' Kevlar flex-core canoe about a year and a half ago. I opted for all wood trim as opposed to aluminum, I felt it looked better on a Prospector. I was looking for a canoe that I would primarily paddle solo or with one or both of my kids, they wouldn't be paddlers, just passengers, they're both real young. I also wanted it to be a tandem, sometimes my wife will be along as well. Alot of the time she is in a sea kayak, so solo paddling with one or two kids would be the main use.I have a Bell kneeling thwart installed in place of the stern thwart. This places you closer to center than paddling from the bow seat with the canoe reversed. I've paddled on the Green River in Utah for a day paddle as well as a few days paddling on other reservoirs in Utah. Paddling from the kneeling thwart with about 40-50 lbs. of gear in front of me between the carrying thwart and the bow seat, really seems to be the best way to paddle this canoe in up to 10 knot winds. I had absolutely no problems at all keeping pointed in whatever direction I wanted to go. The Prospector 16 is listed in Wenonah's catalog as having 4 inches of rocker. Paddled from the kneeling thwart is the way to go in windy conditions. The kneeling thwart is mounted at a height of 11.5 inches from the floor of the canoe. This seems to be a good height for me. I'm 5'11" tall, 32" inseam. and weigh 200 lbs. My weight is equally distributed between my butt and knees at this height. I'm using a 1/2" foam pad to kneel on. From the kneeling thwart, I'm using a 58" straight paddle. I have experimented with paddling from the bow seat with the canoe backwards. The "front" edge of the seat is 9.5 inches high. I sat for the most part. I tried kneeling from here and could do it, but I would want to raise the seat up a bit if I plan to paddle from here. I had the same gear as previously mentioned, in front of me, on the other side of the carry thwart. The wind was around 10 knots, and it did effect the canoe a bit, and want to blow the bow down wind. I would recommend paddling from a kneeling thwart, although both positions work. From a sitting position I'm using a 54" straight paddle. It seems to me that what length of paddle you use, depends mostly on if your going to sit or kneel. I suppose I could split the difference, and just get a 56". From either position, sweep strokes as well as j-strokes work very well. As I stated, my preference is to paddle from the kneeling thwart. This puts my knees on the floor about 12" behind center. Only minimal effort is required on windy days to keep my canoe tracking straight. I usually paddle on my right side, I slide over on the thwart a couple of inches, to be closer to the gunwhale. this only leans the canoe slightly. Practice your j-strokes, and you can easily make a rockered canoe track straight, and you still have all of the advantages of maneuverability. A canoe with no rocker at all will actually resist your corrective strokes. That's why I mention the fact that it only takes minimal effort to keep everything straight. On the day I paddled on the Green River, there wasn't any wind to speak of, it was relatively flat water, but moving very fast at 12,000 cubic ft. per second. It was a bit of work to paddle against the current, I experimented with paddling at angles to the current to cross from one side of the river to the other. A rockered canoe really shines when it comes to maneuvering around the river. I tried to same thing going down river, and found it just as controllable, and less work of course. When leaning the canoe in the currents, I found the Prospector to really stiffen up. It seems to have a very good secondary stability. I wanted a tandem canoe that would handle well as a solo canoe. As well as be versatile enough to paddle everything from class 2 rivers, wind blown lakes, and still water with no wind. And still be able to serve well as a tandem.I can't give any feedback on paddling tandem, as I haven't done it yet. I can't imagine any real shortcomings there. Although, if I were going to strictly use a tandem canoe only as a tandem, with kids and a bunch of camping gear, then I would look for an 18' Wenonah Champlain, Bell Northwoods or a Souris River Quetico 18.5. The 16' Prospector fits the bill for me,and handles all of the above mentioned conditions very well. I rated it an 8, because paddling a tandem as a solo is a compromise compared to paddling a dedicated solo canoe. I really had my eye on a kevlar Wenonah Rendezvous 15'8" solo, they're only available from "Canoe Colorado". But I needed the extra room for kids, the Prospector was my choice and I've been very happy with it.


    Take care,
    Mitch

  7. #7
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    Default WeNoNah 16

    Hi Mitch, I recently purchased the 16" Prospector with wooden gunwales. Mine is Royalex so a bit heavier than yours.
    As a new paddler spent quite a lot of time in the reeds every time there was a gust of wind. But quite quickly I got used to it and now love its manoeuvrability.
    I mainly go solo but I have also paddled with one of both of my sons. Even with 3 in the boat its very stable. I fitted a middle seat behind the thwart and angled it down a bit so it also act as a kneeling thwart when I am solo.

    WeNoNah recommend loosening off the screws in the gunwales at both ends during cold weather. Apparently the wood and the Royalex expand and contract differently and can split the Royalex. Anyone experienced this?

    UK prices are very high but I am pleased I splashed out on a good canoe, especially with the look of the wooden gunwales.

    Cheers, Les.

  8. #8
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    Default

    I've had the royalex version for 6 months now and agree with all the above. It's been tried out on scottish lochs, calm seas and on WW up to grade 3. This is a very light canoe for the size and fits me, the wife, labrador and camping gear no problems. Even with all this baggage, the handling on grade 2/3 WW is remarkable with superb agility. On flat water paddling is effortless and it's hard to believe it's not levitating. Silver girl has it spot on that getting out of one of these into a madriver explorer is like getting into a barge. That said, on a windy rough scottish loch, a barge can sometimes come into its own. We also considered the charles river, but found this was good for down-wind paddling only. Given the chance to buy again I wouldn't change my mind, but might consider the nova craft version (which we found heavier incidently).

    There are a couple of disadvantages which others have alluded to: the width is narrow at the seats so this is not a canoe for the fat. It tracks less well than some, and would be a bad solo canoe in wind, because of the light weight and high bow/stern. I also find it goes in at weirs if more than 1 degree off straight, but friends tell me this is just user error!

    PS -les- much jealosy of your wooden gunwhales.

  9. #9

    Default

    Grateful thanks to everyone who posted reviews here. I am trying to decide between this prospector and the NC model, so cheers guys. The wenonah seems to require extra saving up of pocket money however.

  10. #10
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    Default Gunwales

    I can recommend saving your pocket money just a little bit longer and going for the wooden gunwales. On the red canoe , and with a little regular TLC, they look fantastic.
    But then again for the extra £250 you pay for the wood you can buy quite a lot of good gear or even a decent second hand spare canoe.
    Still it was my 50th birthday present so what the heck!

    I got mine from Kent Canoes and got a 10% discount off everything by just being a member of the Chelmsford Canoe club. I suspect showing any club membership card would get you the same. Very nice people to do business with.

    Cheers, Les.

  11. #11

    Default

    Thanks for the advice Les. V.glad I signed up with Song of the Paddle to find my fellow canoeists so helpful.

    Richard

  12. #12
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    Default Wenonah

    I was on a trip this summer with a wenonah for the first time. Beautiful canoe - I love the way it cuts through the water!

    Not the most stable canoe ever (I'm used to paddling Old Town Penobscots!) but we didn't tip! Nice and light on the portages, and stood up to the whitewater no problems

    I've already called shotgun on the wenonah next year!
    "Only fools run rapids, say the Indians, but I know this: as long as there are young men with the light of adventure in their eyes and a touch of wildness in their souls, rapids will be run"
    -Sigurd Olson, The Singing Wilderness

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2ndCornets View Post
    Grateful thanks to everyone who posted reviews here. I am trying to decide between this prospector and the NC model, so cheers guys.
    This WNN v NC dilema has arisen several times before - in the following thread for example

    /forum/showthread.php?t=11334&highlight=dilema
    at http://www.songofthepaddle.co.uk

    (pasting link directly doesn't seem to work)


    Last edited by wollefdooG; 7th-October-2008 at 12:53 PM.

  14. #14
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    .....link doesn't work......
    "Only fools run rapids, say the Indians, but I know this: as long as there are young men with the light of adventure in their eyes and a touch of wildness in their souls, rapids will be run"
    -Sigurd Olson, The Singing Wilderness

  15. #15
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    Used one at Plas y Brenin – they have a fleet of them, which is enough of a recommendation for me. Views – and in answer to some of the negative comments – from a complete novice:

    1) Very stable and very maneuverable.
    2) Dry – Both solo and in tandem – looked after me solo in WW grade 2/3 (remember I'm a complete novice)
    3) Solo in windy conditions – Tracks well in strong winds (force 5+) with correct trim from centre thwart... ie. eliminate user error and don't blame the boat (sorry folks... if that sounds a bit cocky, but I just want to reassure other beginners that this will help them to learn about boat trim and build confidence to tackle adverse conditions)
    4) Yoke – What's wrong with it? Some of you must have very tender shoulders and why would Wenonah have not improved them if they thought it necessary?
    5) Seat height – Agree: too low for kneeling with size 9 boots, but can easily be raised; disagree with comments about metal hangers... rock solid and a good platform from which to raise and/or re-position seats, without drilling more holes in the gunwales.
    6) Looks – On this, indulge me... I'm a designer, so I'm an expert (ha!) The nicest looking of the prospectors, regardless of how true to the original it may or may not be... obviously very subjective, but in red with wooden gunwales... gorgeous.

    Overall – seems a lovely boat for anyone, like me, who wants to try a variety of waters – solo and tandem – and build confidence and experience.

    Maybe it's a case of "whatever your first boat is, you're going to like", but I've ordered one.
    I'm at that difficult age... somewhere between birth and death.

  16. #16
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    One problem with raising the seats is that you will raise the centre of gravity when you are using them. this is an issue with the prospector because the rear seat is so far back that the rocker puts you quite a long way in the air already, compared to the centre of the boat. this means in unstable conditions you will be forced to kneel, although this may be the best option in any case.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by rankpaddler View Post
    One problem with raising the seats is that you will raise the centre of gravity when you are using them.

    The whole point of raising the seats would be to give you foot room under when KNEELING... in tandem. For solo paddling you'd be best using a kneeling thwart – weight would then be more centred – and adjusting baggage to fine tune trim for the conditions. Either way, centre of gravity is as low as kneeling can get. (Hark at me sounding like a b****y expert already!)
    Last edited by Duck Feet; 22nd-July-2009 at 05:56 PM.
    I'm at that difficult age... somewhere between birth and death.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Duck Feet View Post
    Maybe it's a case of "whatever your first boat is, you're going to like", but I've ordered one.
    I thought you had a Nova Craft...?

    Cheers
    Red.
    I Slow Down for Water Voles..

  19. #19
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    Default Still love it!

    I went through a bad spell a while back on a few windy days when it was hard work keeping it under control. I wondered if I should change to something with less rocker and better tracking and less reactive to side winds. But I persisted and I guess my reaction time/skill level has improved. With this boat you just have to get the correction in rearly early as the wind takes you sideways. Catch it early and its fine - leave it for a few seconds too long and its a struggle to keep getting it back on track.

    I hired a canoe up in the Lakes last Summer (it was an Old Town - dont know the model) and compared to my Prospector it felt like I was paddling a lump of lead - no reaction, hard to turn and just hard work.
    So im definatley back in love with my Prospector - I look after it and it still looks great, infact the wooded ash gunwales have darkened slightly and it look even better against the red. Cant wait for the Spring.
    Plan to paddle in Derwent Water in May with my son (who has a Dagger Charlston kayak- another excellent boat).

    Cheers, Les.

  20. #20
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    Good for you for keeping at it. The Prospector is not an ideal boat for everyone. It requires some paddling skill to keep it going straight and has other disadvantages for lake travel

    I chuckle when a beginner asks "What canoe should I buy" and everyone chimes in "Prospector".

    Correcting anything early is key..if you are doing sit and switch in a Wenonah straight keeled boat and she starts to wander..fix it and not later.
    "Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
    Signifying nothing." WS-prophecy about internet postings.

  21. #21
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    I agree - it would be a poor recommendation for a begineer unless they understood the pros and cons. It's my first canoe and I was lucky that the Chelmsford Canoe Club gave me good training and advice...but even then I have found it's rearlly just a matter of putting in the time, in different conditions, before I really felt I was in control.
    Perhaps I love it more because it wasn't easy.

    As well as the Derwent we are going on the Rye Wye in May (staying in our caravan near Hereford). The Prospector should feel rearly at home on faster flowing water.

  22. #22

    Default Recently bought one!

    After many years of deliberating, a recent paddle on the Wye convinced my better half that we ought to get a canoe (had been talking about if long enough!). Did plenty of research on this and other sites, and finally went for the green and wood trim, with 3 seats. Fine service from Outdoor Active in Glos.

    Looks great, paddles like a dream, and wife, kid and dogs are all happy.

    L.

  23. #23
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    After reading all the reviews and foroums I also picked my new Red wenonah prospector 16 up from Outdoor Active yesterday excellant service from them all especially Ronnie.

  24. #24
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    Look at those lines and curves, what a boat!!
    Always remember, if it looks good, it probably is!!!!

    "Pedal five hundred miles on a bicycle and you remain basically a bourgeois; paddle a hundred in a canoe and you are already a child of nature" - Pierre Trudeau

  25. #25
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    Hi guys, Im looking at getting one of these, but am finding it very difficult to find one to try in the South West. AS Watersports and Cornwall canoe don't have a demo.

    Are there any owners in the SW that would be willing to let me paddle theres?

    Cheers

  26. #26
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    Is it big enough for 2 adults, 1 16kg dog and gear for one week?

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reiner Wandler View Post
    Is it big enough for 2 adults, 1 16kg dog and gear for one week?
    I'd expect the optimum loading of a P16 to start somewhere between 300lbs and 350lbs. It might end somewhere between 550lbs and 600lbs. The boat will work outside of that range, but it's not going to be great.

  28. #28
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    Should be we did the great glen with ours and could of fitted the dog in as well

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by phj123 View Post
    Should be we did the great glen with ours and could of fitted the dog in as well
    Where does your dog sit?

  30. #30
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    He tends to sit in the middle of the boat when two up on the other side of the thwart behind the wife at the front

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