Bob Special

I am looking for opinions. How do most of you feel about a Bob Special for solo wilderness tripping? I like more stable boats for fishing. I have paddled a prism and thought it was a rocket, but am not crazy about spending long hours in it. Is the Bob good in wind, waves? Although it is rockered a good bit, does it track well? Is it a slow boat. I am looking at a wood canvas boat with the original Chestnut hull design. It is a bit heavy, but I think it could be a good boat. I look forward to all replies.



did you find a used one?
If so: I’ll tell you that this boat is a really bad one, lure the adress of the seller out of you and I’ll buy it myself…

Joking aside: The Bob is a nice small canoe with lots of freeboard. The original Chestnut W&C is somewhat faster and more responsive than the version you get from Nova Craft (don’t know about any more…). Still not fast compared to a modern solo…I never tried a remake W&C, though. For your purpouse and if you don’t mind the maintenance of a traditionally made canoe it’s a great boat!

I’ve paddled the Bob in Royalex
and in kevlar, so I can’t really comment on the Bob in W&C. My impression of the Royalex and Kevlar versions from Nova Craft was that it is a sprightly little canoe that solo’s well paddled flat or heeled. I did a trip around the lake in a 15 mph wind with gusts to 20 and did not feel the boat was compromised in any wind direction. There isn’t a whole lot of rocker on the royalex or kevlar version, but it does turn easily. It has a very shallow vee bottom that helps it track straight. I only paddled with a single blade, but my impression was the Bob would go pretty good with a double blade against the wind or against current. It’s not the most stable 15’ boat out there, not tippy, just sporty.

was the term I was searching for…

imagine the original being even more sporty than the NC versions…

I don’t know yet…
I’m rehabbing a Bob’s now and will be re-launching in the spring. The Bob’s was Chestnut’s lightweight canoe. It has thinner ribs and planking than other wood and canvas canoes. Lighter canvas too (originally No. 10). My impression is that it is very beamy, but likely will paddle well. Not terribly fast.

I have an album showing the Bob’s project here:

I’ll be updating it soon.

nice project
I can see what you mean about the beaminess…it carries well fore and aft, too, which should give you a dry ride in waves, but like you say, may be slower. The Royalex and Kevlar Bobs from Nova Craft are way less “beamy” and actually have more of a “prospector” look with upcurving stems.

Have you seen the new Nova Craft Chestnut Pal? I haven’t seen it yet, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed I’ll win that one here on Looks like a sweet little boat.

…you wish…
I’m gona win that one…


the Pal was Mason’s true favourite-allmost all his movies show him in a Pal…

Boy Fitz !!as usual great work

I own a Nova Craft
I really enjoy my Nova Craft Bob. It is a royalex so I don’t know how valid my comments are to a W&C Chestnut. Here are some random (not organized) thoughts about mine.

It is not a “modern” canoe. It won’t won’t take you from point A to Point B in a straight line at record speeds. From my perspective that is good. It is more of a relaxing paddle, see more, poke around, wander and saunter.

I like it as a canoe camping boat. It is a good weekender as a tandem especially for smaller people. I also think it is good as a wilderness tripper when used solo. It does need to be paddled differently than a modern solo, however.

Mine is outfitted with three seats. The third seat is for solo use. It is set back pretty far from center I’m sure to facilitate the center yoke. Because of this you need balast in the front. I load my packs in front of me.

I have removed the bow and stern seats so that it is set up as a solo. Of course I can reinstall them should I ever want to use it tandem.

Even with the seat set back from center, it is, in my opinion, too close to the yoke. It makes getting in and out harder and I’m afraid of entrapment should I swamp. So, I made the yoke removeable.

The Bob is wider and stable. A good fishing platform.

The Bob is one of those boats that you ride. The rocker is nice. You have to do some steering strokes but with them you can track straigh enough. I find the glide nice. It is not fast, but neither is it a tug. With bow weighted down, wind is not a problem. If you let it raise up, however, the wind will catch it.

I need to say that I would not take this boat if I went on a trip with guys in modern canoes. I go with some guys that use Bell Magics and Wenonah Prisms. I could never keep up with them in a Bob. But alone, I’d choose the Bob.

As far as waves, well the Bob bobs. :slight_smile: It doesn’t cut through the waves but rides up over them. I think it does well.

I’m glad I have it. As I said I have it set up as a solo. I use it on the smaller river around my area but also on some smaller lakes.

i have one
the 16-foot version. it’s a great boat, although i’ve yet to try it solo. probably will soon. it’s stable enough. i can stand up with my wife up front with no problems on flat water. it’s very full, especially compared to true solo canoes. feels a bit like a cork with a light load. feels almost like my wife and i need another 100 pounds on board to really get it in its groove. i’ll take it out solo soon and give you my thoughts.

I appreciate all your thoughts on this boat. THank you for the information.


not going too be good in wind
The Bob is a tandem canoe and it is wide for a solo. It might handle in the wind OK when you have it loaded down with gear for a month, but if you are just out fishing any little breeze is going to be work to deal with.

If you are buying a boat especially for solo wilderness touring I would recommend a solo canoe. It doesn’t have to be a prism-style canoe. You might be more comfortable in a Swift osprey or hemlock peregrine or something similar.

Isn’t the hemlock narrow like the prisim? I think the hemlock canoes are awesome to look at, but I have never paddled one.