Read reviews for the Nessmuk by Hemlock Canoe Works as submitted by your fellow paddlers. All of the reviews are created and written by paddlers like you, so be sure to submit your own review and be part of the community!
I'll add that, the first summer I had it and took it to the Adirondacks, I didn't have footrests in it; Dave Curtiss asked me to try it without it. I did; I asked him to put footrests in for the next year. That's given me a lot more power (I'm 5'3", 61, F, 138 lbs) and I was glad for every bit of power when we went out into Lake Ontario and then had to paddle upstream against the current at the mouth of the river to the launch in Youngstown. (We wanted to see the old fort built by the French in the 1600s from the lake.)
I don't like the seat. Even with a folding canvas canoe seat (sorry, don't remember manufacturer), my tush gets much wetter than those of people paddling Hornbecks. And, yes, the scratches show on the Nessmuk, which doesn't bother me, but if that bothers you,consider getting a white one (mine is dark green).
Love this boat!
Hemlock Nessmuk v. Hornbeck Lost Pond: Nessmuk is 2-3" narrower than Lost Pond... most noticable while sitting in the boat. Nessmuk has less initial stability than Hornbeck, but is probably somewhat more efficient. Both boats are quick and easy-paddling. Both track surprisingly well for such a short boat. It's easy to reach hull speed limit with both boats.... start getting a lot of gurgling and bow waves without much additional increase in speed. We test paddled the Nessmuk on flat water with little wind, but have found the Lost Pond to be surprisingly seaworthy and easy to handle in rougher water and higher winds; we expect the same from the Nessmuk. Seating in Lost Pond is comfortable 3" sculpted foam with padded backrest on thwart. In comparison, Nessmuk is more spartan... simple 1" foam pad on bottom, perhaps providing more options for seating. General workmanship on Nessmuk appears superior (Lost Pond is good).... wood trim is less "blocky" and has a finer, more tapered appearance. Lost Pond has a skin coat which shows all fabric edges, layers, and overlaps; the Nessmuk uses a pigmented gel coat which conceals these, but the fabric that shows seems more uniform. Dave Curtis has a reputation for well-built canoes of high craftsmanship -- certainly visible here. No painter loops on Nessmuk; Lost Pond has these. Nessmuk is more expensive ($100). Nessmuk has floatation tanks built into bow and stern; Lost Pond relies on large foam seat to provide floatation.
I discussed my test paddle with Dave Curtis afterwards, and think he generally agreed with my impressions.
I like my Lost Pond, but we liked the performance and craftsmanship of the Nessmuk enough to buy one for my wife.