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Thread: Nova Craft Prospector 16

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    Default Nova Craft Prospector 16


    PROSPECTOR 16’
    Originally designed by the Chestnut Canoe Co. in 1910, the Prospector has to be the greatest wilderness tripping canoe of all time. We have been faithful to the original design. The Prospector has good sharp entry lines for speed but the ends flare out quickly to float the bow over waves. The canoe is stable, but sensitive to leans for carving turns whether paddling tandem or solo. The moderate rocker in the keel line allows quick pivoting and sideslipping in rapids. There is no better canoe for lakes, rivers, whitewater rapids, and wilderness trips.
    Specs:
    Length: 16”
    Beam: 36”
    Center Depth: 15”
    Bow Depth: 23”
    Bow Rocker: 2’
    Stern Rocker: 2’
    Capacity: 1000lbs
    Weight:
    Fiberglass: 66lbs
    Kevlar Cap: 58lbs
    Kevlar Spectra: 52lbs
    Blue Steel: 48lbs
    Royalex lite: 64lbs
    Royalex: 74lbs
    SP3 Poly: NA
    Last edited by Canoe Guru; 23rd-December-2009 at 10:36 PM.

  2. #2
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    Default

    Picking mine up today. Originally went for ash gunwales, but changed my mind to plastic as I reckon ash gunwales will rot over time at the screw holes and the plastic gunwales on my 16 year old OT Camper are still perfect.....
    PWC
    ___________________________________
    Know less, carry more - you're in a canoe !

  3. #3
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    That's my royalex 16 Nova Craft Prospector bought and kitted out. I have drilled and laced fore and aft, fitted Endless River 32" airbags laced in with cord and bungee, and fitted a kneeling thwart (with boiled linseed dribbled down the drill holes to prevent future rot).

    I have also bought a Brookbank sailing rig, but don't like the look of the floppy "sleeve" mast foot and will try to make my own out of wood at a later date.

    Whipped off the huge "Nova Craft Canoe" decals as I don't really like paddling a piece of advertising

    Paddled for the first time on a windy Derwentwater my first impressions are :
    - very good quality fittings - great laced seats and wooden carry handles
    - so-so quality assembly (foremost deck rivet has "missed" the hull - must fix at some point)
    - very manoeuvrable - spins fast with a solo box stroke
    - good primary stability and excellent secondary stability
    - very very deep and dry in wind and waves
    - a bit of a handful in wind (but that was before I fitted the kneeling thwart)
    - not heavy to carry and with a quite superb portage yoke
    - pretty fast, considering the material and design
    - a bit wibbly wobbly, but this has improved with lacing the airbags in and fitting the kneeling thwart. On the other hand, very little oil-canning

    Overall very happy apart from the slightly iffy put-together (I believe done this side of the Atlantic). Great boat and perfect for a rivers and lakes / tripping all rounder
    PWC
    ___________________________________
    Know less, carry more - you're in a canoe !

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
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    Covington, Georgia, USA
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    Default Nova Craft 16 (vintage 1988)

    This is my first post on the site.

    Got my cream color NC Prospector 16 in 1988. Kevlar/CAP layup with ash trim. Cost was $1200 US plus COD $133 for shipping.

    You might guess that I became keen on the Prospector back in '88 after a couple Bill Mason books and movies. Watching him lean his Chestnut and cut through the water effortlessly convinced me.

    Your comment about the ash trim vs. plastic holds water, although I have enjoyed the ash woodwork over the years. I didn't know at the time that one had to remove the gunwales to specially treat them against rotting, but they did not fail until 2000. Thwarts, yoke and seats are still good, however.

    As much as I would love to have a Royalex or Royalex light version of the NC Prospector, I must say that the new "tupperware Prospector" sacrifices much in terms of the fine entry and sexy lines of my older version.

    I am currently refurbishing my boat and will refit with plastic gunwales. This is not easy, as the only plastic gunwales I can locate are the Old Town style gunwales made for Royalex boats. I will need to employ a full-length spacer as Royalex boats are about 1/4" at the gunwale, and composite boats are closer to 1/16" at that point. another problem is the decks, as the polyethylene decks made for vinyl gunwales are too wide for the fine lines of the Prospector. I may fashion my own decks from ash or oak blanks. Anyone able to offer any ideas, please speak up.

    Looking forward to hearing from you.

    Jon

  5. #5
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    Sep 2008
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    Covington, Georgia, USA
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    Default Nova Craftsmanship

    One more thing...

    I agree with you on the craftsmanship issue with Nova Craft. Our canoes were bought about 20 years apart yet had the same exact defect (gunwale rivets missed the boat hull in some places).

    I am replacing my ash gunwales on my Prospector 16. After removing the old ones, I fully realized how crookedly the hull was cut out. I don't know how they establish how to cut the hull down to its final contour, but it looked like mine had been hacked at quite a bit before they were able to attach the gunwales to it.

    The holes for the rivets were all over the place. Some bisected the edge of the hull while others were about 3/8" from the edge (which looked about right). Pretty unscientific assembly if you ask me. And it appears nothing has changed in 20 years.

    Don't mean to badmouth Nova Craft too much. I do so love the boat. With it's defects, it is beautiful and paddles like a dream.

    One note: If you order a boat from a foreign country, you always run the risk that they will ship the one with the defect(s) to you. For 2 reasons:
    1. It is already paid for and you have less refund leverage. 2. The boat is here and the factory is in London, Ontario... are you willing to pay shipping again to get a replacement?

    Something to think about.

  6. #6
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    Yes, pity about the gunwale workmanship as the rest is really nice. Still my favourite all round canoe.
    PWC
    PWC
    ___________________________________
    Know less, carry more - you're in a canoe !

  7. #7

    Default blue steel

    got a blue steel a few weeks ago still scared of scratching it so have had a decent paddle yet, cannot find many reviews are there many about.

  8. #8
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    Jul 2009
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    Appleton, Warrington.
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    Default Ash trim

    I have had mine for approx 6 years now and the ash gunwales have finally passed their best. One split and one rot through. It has been kept outside and only been stripped down and oiled once, so I cannot complain. I have ordered new ash gunwales at 140. I was initially a little shocked by the price, but it has to be worth it. I should have inquired how much replacement aluminum ones would be as it will be kept outside for a bit longer.

    Novacraft UK (Perception) have been great, I cannot fault their customer service. I pointed out that the yoke and thwart had been badly fitted resulting in splits where they were drilled too close to the end and they have agreed to replace them FOC.

  9. #9
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    Feb 2009
    Location
    Manitoba
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    Default Very common

    I see and paddle many of these boats, in all three constructions. Good boat, reliable workhorse. A few observations.

    The SP3 is a great value in a poly boat, but repairs are difficult, and it weighs more. It is a bit stiffer, which is nice, but a bit more likely to crack. It has a harder finish, so it doesn't scratch quite as easily. If you never portage or money is tight, go for it. Otherwise, Rx is likely a better long term value.

    The Royalex is also very tough, not as heavy, and can be fixed easily with epoxy and glass, if ever you do hole it.

    Both of the above plastic boats are much slower and less responsive than the composite line. If you don't do whitewater much, and are buying a Prospector because you like the lines of a traditional boat, the composites are much nicer. On a trip with a fiberglass and Rx boat of the same 16' Prospector design, the 'glass one was always in front, regardless of who was paddling it.

  10. #10
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    Apr 2010
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    east anglia
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    15

    Smile Nova 16 prospector

    Only had mine 2 yrs - but what a lot of fun. Have fitted a middle seat so removed yolk ,and bought wheels for portage so much easier.Can take 3 adults or 2+2 lods of space for all the kit you might want for camping etc. Mine is r/lex lite which does dent easily when I fall out (again) - nasty over hangingtree on a swollen river was the lastone to attack me, in shallow water so bent it a bit on a rock - but as yet no holes. What a good boat for family day trips or longer trips or w/e'ds .

  11. #11
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    Jun 2012
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    Stinchcombe, Gloucestershire
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    Default

    We bought one with ash gunwales and had only paddled it twice before I dismantled it for treating with oil. I had realised that the hidden side of wood would also need treating but was surprised to see the extent of water marks that had been made during its brief use & it had otherwise been kept indoors.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by bin_man View Post
    I have had mine for approx 6 years now and the ash gunwales have finally passed their best. One split and one rot through. It has been kept outside and only been stripped down and oiled once, so I cannot complain. I have ordered new ash gunwales at 140. I was initially a little shocked by the price, but it has to be worth it. I should have inquired how much replacement aluminum ones would be as it will be kept outside for a bit longer.

    Novacraft UK (Perception) have been great, I cannot fault their customer service. I pointed out that the yoke and thwart had been badly fitted resulting in splits where they were drilled too close to the end and they have agreed to replace them FOC.
    For the record the gunwales never turned up, as Nova Craft forgot to put them in the container ! I then found out it was 140 for on pair and the whole boat would be 280. In the end I bought some ash from Apache and made them myself.

    Paul

  13. #13
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    Jan 2012
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    Newtyle, Scotland
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    Default

    I have had mine for 6 months now and had about a dozen days out on rivers (Tay and Isla) and lochs (Forfar, Clunie, Affric) with the children. I got the Royalex version second hand (good deal with paddles and B/A thrown in) which means I can carry it solo for at least several hundred metres. A trolley is definitely on the wish list though. Paddled through the rapids and weirs at Stanley and the high sides mean the amount of water shipped is minimal. They do catch the wind though especially when paddling solo. Children as ballast help as does adjusting the trim.

    I re-varnished all the thwarts and seats including the drilled holes. There were signs on the yoke that water had got in under the varnish at some point.

    I also fitted a solid buoyancy block in the stern and as soon as funds permit one will be fitted in the bow (hopefully before the Tay Descent this year).

    Excellent boat for river and loch and running white water - I love it!

  14. #14
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    Yes it's a great boat. I prefer mine with plastic gunwales - it's no oil-painting; it's a superb light-ish do-anything workhorse, and the plastic gunwales last forever whereas the ash gunwales are subject to blackening and rot unless you are very careful. I have a wood canvas boat with traditional wooden gunwales and an Alan Bridges special with mahogany gunwales for looking at and this one for bashing down rivers!

    I too am a convert to cheese-blocks rather than bags and have two fitted. They do add a bit to the weight, but they are fit and forget, and have handy pockets as well, whereas the bags are always leaking.

    I have a kneeling thwart on mine and the two standard seats. I find it a perfect set-up.
    PWC
    ___________________________________
    Know less, carry more - you're in a canoe !

  15. #15

    Default

    Hi all , it's my first post here. I would like to know the truth about those rockers ... If i look on nova craft's web site, we can see on the canoe spec chart that the nova craft prospector 16 is 2.5'' rockers. On this forum it's write 2'' rockers. Thanks you

  16. #16
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    Hi, it might be worth emailing Nova Craft and asking the question, I have the 16' model and it would be pretty tricky to measure. I am pretty sure that they used to advertise them as 2". Mine does turn very easily though...

    Paul

  17. #17
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    It is likely that they have tweeked the canoe slightly since the measurements were first posted here by Canoe Guru six years ago. It is equally likely that they were copied incorrectly into the original post here as Canoe Guru is pretty busy.
    Lloyd

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


  18. #18

    Default

    I called nova craft and they say it's between 2 and 2.5 rockers , it depend where you takes the measurement . I've also notice that the new standard royalex for the nova craft is in fact the royalite ... They changed their standard in 2013 so if you want a real royalex and not a r-84 (royalite) you should order the royalex PLUS. You can refer to the spec chart on http://www.novacraft.com/spec_chart.htm

  19. #19

    Default

    We have now had our Prospector from new for 3 years (Royalex maroon hull, cream interior with those lovely seats, carrying yoke and plastic gunwales) from Brookbank Carlisle. I added inflatable buoyancy etc and all is very well. Absolutely no problems with quality, in fact it is very well put together. We have only used it on still (or nearly still) water in Cumbria and W Coast Scotland. As it is our first and only canoe we have little to judge it against, but here is a quick review.

    Very stable and moves easily with minimum effort. We can easily maintain a good rhythm without interruption and cover a lot of water well. Directional stability quite good, spins OK with two of us (160kg) on board. Feel very much in control and secure. Very dry and able to swallow all our kit easily.

    It would make a great expedition or overnight boat.

    As I am not very experienced or expert I am still trying to work out how to paddle it well solo.....

    A strong cross wind nearly beat us...again is that us or the windage from the hull?

    Needs two to get it on the roof of the car...but two makes it dead easy.

    Very comfortable whether we sit or kneel (we prefer kneeling but it kills us, so we mostly sit!)

    Overall a very successful plunge into the world of the paddle helped by some great advice from the now sadly defunct retailer.

  20. #20
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    Default New Prospector 16

    Hi all,
    Well after borrowing and hiring canoes over the years, we decided to get our own.

    After a visit to the guys at Norfolk Marine, we came home with a Nova craft Prospector 16. The layup is TuffStuff Expedition at 27Kg, sporting a lovely Desert White colour.

    NC Prospector 16

    On the water she handles well but being so light can be susceptible to the wind, improving my paddle techniques will sort this out.

    Apart from this, she a lovely craft, light and maneuverable. I'll update this blog as she get more use.

    Ps. I've not dropped it of my house roof, yet!!!!

    Simms
    Last edited by Simms; 23rd-August-2015 at 03:38 PM.
    Simms ..

  21. #21
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    Default

    Is there anybody out there with the new material, TuffStuff Expe? How does it paddle? Is there any difference to Royalex-boats? Form? Performance? Thank you.

  22. #22

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Reiner Wandler View Post
    Is there anybody out there with the new material, TuffStuff Expe? How does it paddle? Is there any difference to Royalex-boats? Form? Performance? Thank you.
    I got one a about a month ago: Standard TuffStuff P16. One 2 day river trip and a couple days on the pond so far. All i can say to this point is that it is a dream to paddle, absolutely love it. Very responsive, Stable, and can hold lots of gear. The lightweight is great as well. Im 140lbs and i can flip this canoe over my head and go on with it no problem (unless its windy).

    One downfall other than price is that the gel coat will likely require minor repairs after a few bumpy rides down river. I had a small chip of gel coat missing after our 50km river trip in which we bumped lots of rocks and had a minor pin. I have no worries about the integrity of the hull, but it remains to be seen how much of a pain these gel coat repairs will become. Given the chance again id still pick this boat.

  23. #23
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    I have just got one of these in tuffstuff exp desert white complete with plug ugly eyebolts which NC say are only for lashing to vehicles and recommend that the painter is attached to the wood handles. Chainsaws mods to his blue steel pal may have to be done to ours. when I have plucked up enough courage.

  24. #24
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    Had her since August last year and been out about 5 or 6 times.
    At 27kg our NC prostector 16 TuffStuff expadition, i find easy to "car top". She handles well on the water ( local river) and being so light is easy to paddle , with or against the flow, just got to master the "J stroke".
    As PeterB says, ive just got to pluck up the courage to remove the Eyebolt and drill the holes for the painters.





    https://youtu.be/R5-1zbtLSso
    Last edited by Simms; 25th-April-2018 at 04:07 PM.
    Simms ..

  25. #25
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    drill drill drill drill!!
    Cheers,

    Alan


  26. #26
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Chainsaw View Post
    drill drill drill drill!!
    Chainsaw, I'm the lion in Wizard of Oz!
    Simms ..

  27. #27
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    Default

    I contacted NC and ended up riveting d rings under the ally gunwales where required, the lovely eyebolts now wear swim tails mainly due to a lack of substantial doo dahs.


    If I was you I`d DRILL...............

  28. #28
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    Peter, I'm only going to install (drill holes for) Skin fittings for ropes at each end. I was thinking about plastic kayak hooks riveted under the gunwales, didn't this work for you?
    Simms ..

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Simms View Post
    Had her since August last year and been out about 5 or 6 times.
    At 27kg our NC prostector 16 TuffStuff expadition, i find easy to "car top". She handles well on the water ( local river) and being so light is easy to paddle , with or against the flow, just got to master the "J stroke".
    As PeterB says, ive just got to pluck up the courage to remove the Eyebolt and drill the holes for the painters.

    [IMG][/IMG]

    [IMG][/IMG]

    https://youtu.be/R5-1zbtLSso

    Apologies for the off topic, but being an ex Bedfordshire boy, I'd like to know where this river is please
    Nin Wanakiwidee Tchiman

  30. #30
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    the d rings I fitted have a rubber mount "cast" to the d ring, the rubber mount has counter sunk hole in which I fit a black rivet, got both the rivets and d rings off flea bay, they work very well, the painters I attached to the wood handles (NC recommended).

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeterB View Post
    the d rings I fitted have a rubber mount "cast" to the d ring, the rubber mount has counter sunk hole in which I fit a black rivet, got both the rivets and d rings off flea bay, they work very well,
    Don't suppose you could fire up a link could you?

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by OLD MAN View Post
    Apologies for the off topic, but being an ex Bedfordshire boy, I'd like to know where this river is please
    Old Man, it's the River Ivel navigation, between Langford Mill and Jordons Mill, a nice little sunday afternoon paddle Jordons Mill a coffee at the restaurant then back again, 2 mile round trip.
    Simms ..

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeterB View Post
    the d rings I fitted have a rubber mount "cast" to the d ring, the rubber mount has counter sunk hole in which I fit a black rivet, got both the rivets and d rings off flea bay, they work very well, the painters I attached to the wood handles (NC recommended).
    Ah, i'll have to look into that. cheers Peter
    Simms ..

  34. #34
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    Default

    When I've needed to rent an extra canoe I've always tried to get a Nova Craft Prospector. The last one I rented was built with their new (last year) "tuff stuff."

    The Prospector may very well always be my favorite design and Nova Craft do a good job.

    Of course, their canoes are not really "Prospectors" but I'd say they come pretty close.

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