We opted for the Kevlar/carbon 50 year anniversary edition. The black carbon interior really shows off the cherry ribs. The cherry and ash trim are flawless and the woodburning of our family name on the deck was a nice added touch.
This Prospector is true to the lines of the original and has a fair amount of rocker. You can paddle it easily from the front seat facing backwards as it is a symmetrical hull.
We have 6 canoes so we don't have to use this canoe for everyday use. The Kevlar / Carbon hull will hold up to a lot, but we will use this canoe on lakes and not on rivers. After all, it is a boat and not a dining room table. It is a true work of art and if we had a house with vaulted ceilings, we would display it indoors.
The seats are laced with hiking boot material and are very comfortable. The yoke is sculpted and has a notch for your neck vertebrae which does make it more comfortable for portaging. The boat paddles well solo in the front seat facing rearward. It does well heeled over also if you prefer that paddling style.
It is not as responsive as a Prospector 16 with more rocker, but as I wanted a boat for river trips of a week in duration, this is the canoe for me. The boat is deep enough to handle whitewater, light enough to carry and the 1,200 lb. payload will let you bring the kitchen sink if so desired.
I bought mine in Royalite and had Kevlar skid plates installed at the factory. The boat will see many more years of use, but all in all, this is the best boat in my fleet of 4 canoes and 5 kayaks. I highly recommend it and the quality and craftsmanship put into the boat by NovaCraft are outstanding.
But when I bought it, I didn't know why I would want more or less rocker, bow height, depth, etc. I was a canoe novice.
It carries a lot of gear (1,100 lbs.) which was good for a week-long trip on the Buffalo River in Arkansas. My oldest son is now 11 and we had to work to paddle this beast for a week. It wasn't as bad as some of the other boats in the trip and the high sides were good for some of the rapids we ran. I didn't get any water in the boat, even heavily loaded.
The boat weighs 85 lbs. which is simply too much. Maybe someday I'll give it to my teenage sons, but for now, I lend it to church groups and I've added more boats to my "fleet" to give me what I want in a canoe.
I recently paddled a Merrimack Kevlar 16' Prospector and ordered a NovaCraft 17' Prospector. The difference between those boats and my Old Town Discovery 169 is night and day.
I also built a 15' cedar strip Bob's Special. This boat is great for fishing and is also much more nimble than my Old Town.
I rate this boata 6 because I bought it in my ignorance and wish now I had purchased a lighter boat with more flexibility. At the same time, what did I expect. So now I own 5 kayaks and 3 canoes. I'm well on my way to owning my own fleet.