I have had two of these Prospector 17's, one a lightweight ABS, the other a heavyweight ABS. I usually paddle solo, sometimes almost empty, sometimes on extended river trips fully loaded, and sometimes in Class 3-4 whitewater. I have also owned several Mad River canoes and a couple of Mohawk canoes.
I read some reviews from less than pleased Mad River Rendezvous owners who were happy when they moved into these Prospectors, so I went that way, too. Good move, for me.
Being an engineer, I always have a better idea. I mounted my own carbon fiber seats on aluminum tube thwarts, so I can reverse the front seat and paddle solo with a long, large-bladed custom made double paddle designed for a large canoe. It's energy-efficient and powerful (but most others who tried this paddle don't particularly like it).
My first Nova Craft Prospector replaced a Mad River 17' Rendezvous/Adventurer, and the difference was immediately apparent to me. That boat didn't paddle well fully loaded. It wouldn't "move out", It took more energy to cruise, to maintain speed, and it would ship water too easily. Strong quartering headwinds caused that boat to skid sideways excessively, so no matter how hard one paddled, it just would not move forward well in a quartering headwind - or at all in those conditions. Several times I had to "tack" to make headway. Not so with the Nova Craft.
I am not an expert on canoe design, but the Nova Craft Prospector hull design works better than any others I have owned or borrowed. I have paddled these Nova Crafts thousands of miles and used them in Class 3+ whitewater. They're keepers!
It takes less work to paddle these Prospectors fully loaded than other canoes I have owned and borrowed. I know several other Nova Craft Propector owners, and their response to their canoes is similar to mine. When I used other canoes, I kept an eye open for a better canoe.
My first Prospector had a manufacturing defect. I thought I would have a big hassle with the manufacturer, but no. He looked over my documentation then volunteered to replace the canoe forthright.
These canoes don't come cheap, but I feel I got significantly greater value with the Nova Craft Prospector than with any of the other canoes I have owned over the last 25 years or so.
This may be only a testimonial, but my experience with Nova Craft and their Prospector Canoes couldn't have been better. Maybe there are other canoes out there that perform a bit better, but I am unaware. Others are happy with their boats, too.