I am a big guy, paddling with dog, packs and often others of not-small denomination. The center seat on mine had a wood flaw that only became apparent when I was hurriedly trying to solo back to a previous portage to collect gear left by a younger crew member - pulled quarter-size bit of hull loose with it....BUT Souris folks were GREAT about fixing the seat and I came away at least as satisfied as I already was.
Souris folks were/are excellent, product has been superior in some wind and waves that were challenging - better than several comparable tripping canoes I've paddled at other times. I think the flexing hull design holds up as promised and has worked better than other approaches on similar canoes built more along a racing model. Hey I just can't find anything I don't like about this boat and I've used it a LOT. I would also pick it over the 17s for larger paddlers or paddlers looking to haul kids or dogs.
All the parts have held up for 20-some years and don't look to be on their last legs at all - this one will surely get passed on to some young friend when I pass on or at least stop paddling. I recommend it and I recommend the royalex versions of the Penobscot for those willing to search a bit among used boats or for the last few on some backroom shelf. Paddles nice heeled over and very amenable to the "Indian Stroke" as Bill and Becky Mason have called it...I favor ottertails and beavertails which work very nicely with this old dude. Just a very solid boat that will last a lot of days and miles with standard maintenance.
There is still the possibility of operator error, but if it's not incredibly obvious, then they ought to put a little something in to show how the "experts" do it... A little more effort on the small stuff and they would have a great little product instead of something almost....