I have the opportunity to buy either a nearly new Mad River Explorer 16RX or a moderately used Old Town Penobscot 16 for $500. I’m looking for a flat water and slow moving river canoe for my wife and I, or for me and my two four year old daughters. They’re both Royalex, though the OT is about 8 pounds lighter. I already have a Dagger Legend, so the whitewater properties of the boats are of no concern to me. Which one would be tougher, more efficient, and paddle better as a solo? I’m looking for tracking, glide, and efficiency as well.
OT Penopscot Tracks well
It’s light. Nice enough boat.
I own an OT Discovery 169. Big heavy but lugs kids and a meese nicely.
The Penopscot is a nice enough boat but not big enough for 1 wife , 3 active kids, 1 lab, stuff to picnic with and entertain the kids.
The Pen. has little or no rocker so is fairly fast.
The Explorer has much greater
carrying capacity but will be less satisfactory as a solo boat. I think you would find the Penobscot 16 only just big enough for tandem and family use.
This is a difficult problem. Any canoe really large enough for family use is going to be a bit of a handful as a solo boat.
I love my Explorer for poling, river tripping, and sailing. It’s my boat of choice for hauling a load in rough water.
But it’s a slow boat that doesn’t glide or track much. Solo, unloaded, in the wind it is a nightmare.
The Penobscot is faster. My buddy’s wife made him sell thiers because she thought it was tippy.
Penbscot vs. Explorer
I definitely recommend the Penobscot for your suggested use. It can be paddled solo, Canadian style with ease. It will be faster than the Explorer and when heeled a bit as in Canadian solo position will turn better. Sitting level either boat will track well. I concur with the previous comments that the Explorer has greater capacity but that doesn’t seem to be your issue.
Penobscot is a infinitely better solo boat. Explorer has greater volume &, if it was an older, not nearly new hull, might be tougher. Penobscot wins in other criteria also - lighter, faster, better tracking, more efficient.