Purchased used, about a year…
Purchased used, about a year ago. The objective was to obtain a decent “all-around-canoe”, suitable for either tandem [with spouse or grandkids] or solo, both on lakes and slow moving rivers.
I am not a fan of the shallow V hull so MRC was not on my short list, but it was difficult to find a good boat at a competitive price. It seems the demise of Royalex has caused boats to hold their value more than I bargained for.
Things I like:
• Very nice glide, and tracks quite well. Yet she is nimble enough to respond well enough to leans and turning strokes.
• Cane seats, and very comfortable yoke. Unsure if the yoke is stock or if the previous owner installed it, but it fits me well.
• Good primary stability. Both my wife and Grandkids do fine.
Things I do not like:
• I wish the gunnels were vinyl or, better yet, wood, rather than the black aluminum which seems to dent easily and loses way too much paint.
• The boat oilcans a bit in rough water.
Overall rating: No canoe will ever do all I desire. [Which is a great reason to own multiple boats!] The MRC Pioneer covers most of my bases adequately: 3 ½ stars.
Bought for fishing / flat…
Bought for fishing / flat water paddling with kids. Tried several canoes at various "demo days" on flat water and also mild waves / 5mph wind on Lake Champlain. Top 3 choices were Old Town Penobscot 16, MRC explorer, MRC Pioneer. Found the Penob a bit more "rolly" which was hard for my 4 year old. Seemed like good secondary, but in our case the low primary made it so even lots of secondary was not enough. Untying a lure, unhooking a fish, or other things one does when fishing with a kid mean I'm looking down a lot, not watching the kid or any waves coming from any nearby boats, and at that point I need some primary. Other than that, penob 16 was good. Explorer 15 paddles well, would have bought but couldn't get a blem. Pioneer has enough primary for us, is pretty fast for royalex (not as fast as a penob), and mild tumblehome (really, just tucked edges) makes 1 man paddling, indian style, with a kyak paddle, pretty easy (I have an active 4 year old who is partly trained to stay put), but xtra stability of kneeling. I can load it on my truck myself no problem. I find a 50LB weight in the bow with my 40LB child trims things out reasonably well. Can't climb into the bow to fix hooks stuck in the bow line, as all of the weight forward makes for a rolly canoe, of course. Overall very happy, glad canoe is not heavier. Very stable underway, handles 7mph chop adeauately, a bit of bow spray. I'm in kneeling and water skier wake at 100' beam is about all I want to encounter but not that challenging if I'm not distracted fixing a hook.