Mad River Explorer 17 Foot?????

Just wondering if anyone had any experience with the 17 foot Explorer.

I am looking to get another tandem (sold the ones I had).

I found one of these used and considering buying it. It is a bit too far for me to make a trip to test paddle it any time soon.

I had a Swift Kippewa for a while and really liked it, but found that the kevlar construction was probably not the most practical for my purposes. This apears to be a relatively similar niche boat…about the same length, but in royalex which may be more practical for my purposes.

I would be looking to use this as a tripping boat, mostly for river use. Some use in class II or an occasional III, and want it to be relatively fast on the flats (which most 16 foot royalex boats are not), yet still be relatively maneuverable like the Kippewa was.

Would this boat fit this niche fairly well?



Not sure - but
think about the nova craft prospector or the old town tripper as well.

When I ran the San Juan canyons with
Sunrise Expeditions, one of the tandems brought to Utah by the Maine Guides Larry and Mike was a Mad River Explorer 17. It appeared to be a good cruiser, with more speed advantage over the 16 than one might have expected. But it is not a “fast” cruiser, just goes at a good canter.

I would consider it if it is in good condition and the price seems OK.

Explorer or Revelation?
I didn’t think they made a 17ft Explorer. I know the Revelation was 17ft and I own a 17 ft Duck Hunter which is the same hull as the Revelation. What years did they make a 17ft Explorer?

The one on the San Juan was labeled
as an Explorer on the hull. Now, perhaps it was later re-titled as you describe. The hull I saw did not look like just an Explorer with a foot added to the middle, and I could easily believe in was relabeled for later production. But there’s no doubt that boat was 17 foot and was factory labeled as an Explorer. The Maine Guides on hand specifically referred to it as such.

I have a very
vague memory of a longer Explorer year and years ago but I’m not 100% sure. Certainly it was not a big seller if it ever existed at all.

More input::

Explorer 17 vs Revelation
The 1990 MRC catalog lists both a 16’ and 17’ Explorer in Royalex. Specs for the 17’ are:

length: 17’-2"

gunwale width: 27" (that doesn’t look right, but that’s what it says)

4" waterline width: 34"

weight: 72 lbs

center depth: 15"

bow height: 22"

stern height: 22"

6" freeboard: 1200 lbs

Slight rocker, shallow V, symmetrical hull

That catalog also shows a 17’ Duck Hunter as a special 17’ Explorer. That spec for gunwale width is 37" so the Explorer width is probably wrong, as stated.

The 1992 catalog shows a Revelation at 17’, and Explorer at 16’ only.

Revelation specs are:

length: 17’

gunwale width: 37"

4" waterline width: 34"

center depth: 15"

bow height: 24"

stern height: 23"

6" freeboard: 1200 lbs

moderate rocker, shallow v, symmetrical

Somewhere else, I think I read that 16’ Explorers had 2"rocker, Revelations have 3" rocker.

Interestingly, the 92 catalog still shows the 17" Duck Hunter as an Explorer, with those specs. I’m pretty sure later 17’ Duck Hunters were Revelation hulls.

I had a 16’ Duck Hunter (Explorer) and still have a Revelation. I wouldn’t consider either “fast,” but both are good river trippers. The Revelation will carry lots of gear.

I guess I would not expect any royalex boat to be truly “fast” but I would like something a bit faster than the 16 foot Old Town Appalachian we had. It was a nice river boat, but it was pretty slow on the flats, making it painfully boring to paddle the flat sections of river when river tripping. That may have also been partly due to the fact that it was weighted down with camping gear, which the 16 foot probably does not perform as well with a load as a longer boat.

I really did like the Kippewa we had and am hoping the 17 Explorer might offer similar traits but in a royalex version. I am sure it will not be as fast, due to the royalex hull but I think it may be similar. Hopefully it will also offer sufficient maneuverability for a tripper in rocky rivers.

The specs are pretty close. I think that the Kippewa is 6 inches shorter and an inch wider and believe it has 1.5 and 2.5 inches rocker stern and bow.

For a few years, MR made a 17 ft
Royalex Horizon that was among the faster in that material. The market didn’t respond strongly enough to keep it around.

The MR Explorer 17 on the San Juan was the fastest tandem of the group, but the competition wasn’t strong. Dagger Dimension, for example. Wonderful ww tripper but slow on the flats.