My wife and I just returned from a week of canoeing various lakes and rivers in Ontario's wonderful Frontenac county in our new Langford 17'10" Northwind Kevlar white-ashed "gunwaled" canoe. This canoe was bought primarily to supercede our beloved no-name-brand fiberglass 16' boat, which was less than $400 (Cnd) 10 years ago (and probably would not be more than that today) which started to delaminate terribly. Northwind set us back about 5 times that, but so far it all seems worth it. This canoe really sails: both, fully loaded with about 6" freeboard (one just has to have some comfort while camping, right?) and almost empty with just a day trip load... It rammed through 2' whitecaps with almost no tracking correction, even with a set of our old touring paddles. With my new wide "power-paddle" at stern in tandem or center for solo, it just feels great – dare I paraphrase the culture of today? – almost EXTREME. Relatively easy to turn as well, since it has a bit of a rocker (2"/1").
The choice of this boat was primarily due to its length (read: capacity), very good price (being long, it is not in much demand here in Ottawa), availability and, yes, its relatively low weight (weighs about a 1/3 less then our old 16', Langford say about 58lb, give or take a few). Portaging this thing was actually fun, if you can believe it, though that euphemistic enthusiasm will probably fade in time and over some 3.2 km (2 miles to US folks) chunk of a road.
Just have to get used to the bow seat – slider is not too great if you are used to kneeling while paddling, especially if you now have a dog's ass in your face since he cannot fit his paws on the deck scuppers any more. The wooden slides hurt my wife's thighs and the seat will provide kneeling-thwart-like leverage only when far back, unless craftily affixed in one place – which kind of defeats the reason for a slider. Great stuff. Fully recommend.