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Curious Prospector Cautions

Discussion in 'Wood and Canvas' started by JimBinTN, Aug 13, 2013.

  1. JimBinTN

    JimBinTN JimBinTN

    When researching info on my newly acquired Cedarwood Prospector, I noted on The Great Spirit Canoe website (Successor to Cedarwood) that there is a curious notation on the Prospector model: "Not recommended for beginning paddlers." There is no comment on why this is so.

    Does anyone have an idea why this caution is applied only to the Prospector model? I have read the Prospector is happier with some loading weight, and it is fairly round bottomed, with lots of rocker and high freeboard, and no keel.

    I had planned to use a sailing rig from Todd Bradshaw's book, probably a batwing or balanced lug. Is this appropriate for this boat?

    JimBinTN
     
  2. MackyM

    MackyM LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Without a load it pretty much sits on top of thee water. It has a rounded bottom and some rocker too. If you get a good wind the 14" tall sides let it get pushed around
    quite a bit. I took one out in a stiff wind and it was more like survival than paddling.

    MackyM
     
  3. OP
    OP
    JimBinTN

    JimBinTN JimBinTN

    MackyM,

    Thanks for the response. I've been thinking of various ways to add some weight in the bottom; milk jugs full of water, a large water bag filled with lake water by a bilge pump, etc.

    Wood and canvas canoes are rare in these parts, and when I saw this one in this condition, I couldn't resist it. Most canoes around here are either plastic or aluminum, for fishing or white water work. Is there a specific canoe you would recommend for lake paddling in good conditions ( we are 74 and soon-to-80), which would also be suitable for light weather sailing?

    JimBinTN
     
  4. Fitz

    Fitz Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    I have a 17 foot Prospector and it is hands down my favorite tripping and surprisingly my favorite solo canoe. I don't think it would make a good sailing canoe.
     
  5. Larry Meyer

    Larry Meyer Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    If I were selling canoes and someone with absolutely no paddling experience came to me and asked what canoe they should buy, knowing the Prospector’s qualities as I do, I would not sell them a Prospector. That’s based on the assumption that such a person would not have much interest in becoming an accomplished paddler: they just want to fart around on the water for a while. Such a person would not want to bother with learning to solo, or kneel, or bother with trimming the canoe properly.
     
  6. OP
    OP
    JimBinTN

    JimBinTN JimBinTN

    Hi Larry.

    Thanks for the input. At our ages (74 and 79), I'm afraid our kneeling days are over. We probably would be happy just farting around on the water, with a little light weather sailing mixed in. Perhaps I should consider selling the Prospector, much as I love that beautiful boat, and getting a different model. What would you recommend for a couple of geezers like us? Wood and canvas canoes are very rare in these parts.

    JimBinTN
     
  7. MackyM

    MackyM LOVES Wooden Canoes

    I would not sell that canoe without giving it a chance. I have a 16 footer that I would never sell. Many folks say if they could only have one model it would be a prospector. Most of us are not going out on big lakes in high wind anyway. Try it out. You may love it. MackyM
     
  8. Larry Meyer

    Larry Meyer Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    Well I am sorry to have spoiled your enjoyment of the canoe. I guess I would now qualify my statement by saying that, like me, you are not beginning paddlers, you are “ending” paddlers. That is to say, you are likely wise enough not to do any of the damn foolish things young beginning paddlers are likely to do that would be more risky than otherwise in a Prospector. Mind you, I don’t think it makes the optimal platform for sailing, but I have no experience at canoe sailing.
     
  9. Larry Meyer

    Larry Meyer Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

  10. OP
    OP
    JimBinTN

    JimBinTN JimBinTN

    Larry,

    Thank you so much for that article. It seems that where Prospectors are concerned, it's either love or hate. I love the boat, and think it is beautiful. And to find one in such great condition is remarkable, especially here where wood/canvas canoes are rare. I will try paddling it in the local lakes (two nice lakes within 20 miles). If there is too much windage, I might try a clamp-on leeboard thwart. I will put my sailing aspirations on the back burner for now.

    JimBinTN
     
  11. Larry Meyer

    Larry Meyer Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    If you love the canoe, then you're never too old, or unskilled, for a honeymoon with a Prospector. Boundary Waters Journal published a longer version of that AMC piece . . . but AMC was smart enough to use my title for the article.
     
  12. WoodNCanvas

    WoodNCanvas LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Like her Dad, Bill, Becky Mason likes Prospectors....this is from her website, http://www.redcanoes.ca/becky/canoe/canoes.html:

    "I like to use a versatile all-purpose canoe like a 16-foot Prospector. I say versatile because these canoes can be used for tandem or solo, for an afternoon or a long trip, with only a little trimming (shifting ballast to level the ends of the canoe) involved. I like canoes to be deep enough to hold a lot of gear when I travel and to have some rocker for maneuverability so that when heeled over while soloing the ends rise out of the water. If I'm given a choice of a cedar-canvas canoe over a synthetic one the traditional cedar-canvas wins hands down for its beauty and feeling. It's like paddling a piece of our history.

    So who makes a nice Prospector in my opinion? If you start looking around on various canoe sites you will see there are a great many Prospectors on the market. Some are wood-canvas but most are made with synthetic fibers. I favour the 16' Prospector model that the world famous Chestnut Canoe Co. of Fredericton New Brunswick produced but Chestnut, alas, has been out of business since the late 70's! However many small companies are making wood-canvas canoes based on the Chestnut designs. One of the original 16' Prospector forms from Chestnut is being used by Hugh Stewart, a neighbour of mine, to build fine working canoes. He is a great guy and very helpful and a fine canoeist too. His company is called Headwaters Canoes in Masham, Quebec, www.headwaterscanoes.ca He also makes other Chestnut models from the original molds. They are reasonably priced and built for wilderness travel. Headwaters do have lovely classic lines and use good traditional beautiful wood. They are exquisite and steeped in historical Canadian canoe lineage. He usually puts on a weighty canvas and thicker gunnels so the canoes can run whitewater and are more durable. Another manufacturer, Cedarwood Canoes in New Brunswick, also makes wood-canvas canoes off original Chestnut molds. And Fletcher Canoes in Atikokan, Ontario www.fletchercanoes.com makes an nice wood-canvas canoe that is similar to the 17’ Prospector."
     
  13. OP
    OP
    JimBinTN

    JimBinTN JimBinTN

    Dear WoodNCanvas,

    Thank you so much for forwarding that article from Becky Mason's website. I love my Prospector 16, made by Cedarwood of Fredericton, New Brunswick, a successor at that location to Chestnut. It is absolutely beautiful, with very few signs of wear, and having always been properly stored inside. For many of the reasons Becky cites of Prospector's advantages, it is probably not the correct canoe for our intended uses at our point in life (79 and 74), so I may decide to offer it for sale soon on the WCHA Classifieds.

    Regards, JimBinTN
     
  14. kayamedic

    kayamedic Kim Gass

    You don't have to kneel nor look to what Becky thinks. If you can keep it going straight with a rudder, stern pry or J stroke it may reward you. At Assembly we do have instructional programs and I am not the only instructor around. It takes about thirty minutes of instruction and practice to get it down. Your local WCHA chapter can probably help you.

    It does not take a whole lifetime of study..and I have coached people over 80! I wouldn't give up yet!
     
  15. WoodNCanvas

    WoodNCanvas LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Couldn't agree with kayakmedic more....hang onto your Prospector....and enjoy!!!!
     
  16. OP
    OP
    JimBinTN

    JimBinTN JimBinTN

    Dear KayaMedic,

    Thanks for your words of encouragement on the Prospector. I have contacted our "local" chapter leader, who is about 3 hours away in Roswell, GA. My main intended use for the Prospector was sailing, without the use of outriggers, etc. I am still unsure about using the Prospector in that venue. However, it sure is a beautiful thing to behold. If we had space, I'd hang it in my living room (though there may be who differ on that idea).
     
  17. Andy Hutyera

    Andy Hutyera The Red Canoe Guy - Life Member

    In regard to sailing the Prospector, we own a 17 foot original Chestnut built Prospector. Several years ago I built a sail rig for it. I use a long paddle for a rudder. We find it a perfectly serviceable sailor. Soo- don't give up on your canoe. It does many things extremely well and is a joy to paddle. The only time I've ever had an issue with wind is when I solo it with no load in it. Even then, shifting your paddling position so the light end points downwind works just fine. I think you've got a keeper!
     
  18. OP
    OP
    JimBinTN

    JimBinTN JimBinTN

    Hi Andy,

    I have received many words of encouragement about the Prospector in the past few days. Thank you for your additional encouragement, especially regarding the sailing rig. I am contemplating building a rig over the winter, based on info from Todd Bradshaw's excellent book. The Batwing is certainly intriguing, but the Balanced Lug would be much simpler. Thanks again.

    JimBinTN
     
  19. Steve Ambrose

    Steve Ambrose Nut in a Canoe

    Sailing is generally best with a long waterline so look for a 18' Otca or Guide (shameless plug - I have some of each and I'm not far from you :) ). Often sailing canoes were fitted with sponsons to help with secondary stability. Beware though, an 18' with sponsons is a heavy beast and not something you want to car-top so you might want to consider a lightweight trailer in your plans.
     
  20. OP
    OP
    JimBinTN

    JimBinTN JimBinTN

    Steve,

    Thank you. Enjoyed perusing your website. Am now making some decisions regarding the fleet. The herd must be thinned.

    JimBinTN
     

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