Prospector - 17' vs 16'

I’m pretty sure I want a 16’ Prospector (preferably Nova Craft) for poling and general river-running. Right now, a semi-local dealer has a well-used (rental) Nova Craft 16’ in royalex and a new 17’ in royalex lite. I can get the 16’ pretty cheap and he’ll make me a pretty good deal on the new 17’ lite right now.

I think what I really want is a 16’ in royalex lite, and I can wait ‘til he gets more in stock in April - but I could live with the heavier boat, and now’s probably the time to get a better price.

How much difference in maneuverability is there between the 16’ and 17’ Nova Craft Prospectors?

Both are plenty maneuverable.

not too much
if you want to do full eddy turns and plan to paddle solo as often as tandem, the 16 may be your boat. if it will be paddled mostly tandem, and your idea of maneuverable isn’t doing 180 degree turns in tight spaces, the 17 may get the nod. i paddle solo more often than not so have the 16, on a few occasions i would have preferred 17 but on the whole the compromise works.

I think I would prefer the 17 for poling
based on my experience poling an Old Town Tripper. But I have the height, weight, and reach to manage a longer boat. If you’re average size or close to it, you may prefer a 16 for poling.

Vote for the 16’
I started polling in a Tripper (17’2") before moving to the Chipewan and an MRE. I prefer the sixteen footers, although I do feel the Tripper is a better handling canoe than either of my sixteens. It is just a better hull shape in my opinion. But both your candidates are Prospectors, which I guess means same hull shape in different sizes, so no dif.

Unless you plan to use the 17’ for occasional tandem use, I’d focus on 16’. Especially if you are going to take the boat into small, wood-choked rivers, it is just easier to handle the 16’s. They turn quicker and fit through wood clogs easier.


"Especially if you are going to take the boat into small, wood-choked rivers…"

Thanks for reminding me!