Used Penobscot 16

Ok. Still looking for a canoe. Found (stumbled onto) a guy that has several (8) OT Campers and 1 Penobscot 16. I think I like the Penobscot better for what I want. The Penobscot he has is a 1992, molded seats, needs kevlar skid strips (badly) and a paint job wouldn’t hurt either. It was a rental and he wants $300. I was thinking closer to $150-$200. Also there is a 1/4" crease that runs for/aft that’s a little off center, slight angle, do you think it will effect the tracking much?

The Campers are about $300 each, but not what I want. Is the Penobscot worth it? Or should I just go ahead and get the new Penobscot 17 or Spirit II with a slight blem? Either is around $850.00



I’d get it
To help you get informed opinions, I’m taking the liberty of re-posting your original message:


Hello. Just signed up on this list. Would like a recommendation on a good muti-purpose canoe. Family of 4, kids are girl 12, boy 8. So it will be mostly me and my wife (beginners)paddling but carrying the 4 of us. We’ve rented canoes on the Swuannee River that was ok, at lest for just moseying along while the kids played. Want one that is stable but fast, the in-laws have a Blackhawk 16’, so need to be able to best it in performance. They (he)likes to compete at everything. We go camping a lot so it will be going a lot of places, but mostly lakes, rivers and streams in Georgia, Florida. May try class I/II eventuallly. Also need one light enough that I can load up on a Suburban 4X4 by myself, I’m 5’7".


If you can get a Penob 16 cheap, I’d do it. Fill the crease with JB Weld. Add a center seat and you’ve got a very versatile canoe for your first boat. Later add another versatile canoe like the Spirit II and you’ve got many combinations for you and your family outings.

I’ve three kids and 3 of my 4 canoes are very versatile, Mad River Malecite (3 seats), Wenonah Solo Plus (3 seats) and a Novacraft Prospector 16 (2 seats). I love having all the options for family outings or solo use.

Question after re-reading

– Last Updated: Dec-12-05 4:59 PM EST –

Molded seats?

Was the Penob 16 made for in polylink instead of Royalex?

If it's polylink, I would personally let it go.

After re-reading, the molded seats give me some pause. Hopefully someone else will reply, but it sounds like it may not be Royalex.

If you decide to get it, I'd make some web seats for it, the molded ones cut down on the versatility since you can't really sit backwards in them and, for instance, place your youngest and lightest in the stern and paddle from the bow.

I would get the beater p-16 and enjoy it for years!

Offer him what you had in mind.
If he accepts take it.

If he dickers don’t go more than $250 for what you are describing.

I bought a used one a couple of months ago that is in like new condition. he was asking six. I offered him 5. He accepted.

He was happy and I was happy.



Penobscot 16
In Royalex is a great hull & easily worth $300 IMO. The crease bears some further inspection. I’m also surprised to hear about molded seats as wasn’t aware the came that way. Perhaps as others have offered, it was an outfitter option as they’d last much longer than caned seats. IF you can be certain it’s both a Penobscot & Royalex, I don’t see how you can go wrong. (Concur that Polylink’s a different story altogether.)

Seats are easily changed & should you decide to try some fast water the 16’s a better choice than the 17’ Penobscot & still has decent capacity

Thanks for the replies
The Penoboscot 16 that I’m looking at is Royalex. The seats were swapped out some time ago as it was a rental. I will go over tomorrow and offer $150.00 and see if I get to take it home.



Seems bizarre to me …
… that you guys are recommending a 13-14 year old beat-up Penobscot 16 with heavy molded seats to someone (an admitted beginner) who wants it for a family of four and will pilot it with his wife … also a beginner … and so will introduce his whole family to canoeing with a wobbly, medium volume boat needing significant upgrades which will cost time and money? Yikes !!! And this recommendation is for what reason … just because it’s cheap ???

Better than a blem Spirit II for $850 … I DON’T THINK SO ! It’s got a whole lot more volume (which his family needs), will handle easier (which his family needs) and will be just as fast and more stable (which his family needs). You guys must be smoking something crazy tonight … I really don’t understand how you can justify such a strange enterprise … i.e. bring back to life an old, worn out P 16 … which will never be all that well suited for family outings. Sorry for my late night strong opinions … but hey … they’re going to have to live with the thing for YEARS. Come on … get more real with the guy !!!

Normally I’d say it was worth it
any Penobscot that floats should be worth 300 bucks but…and here’s the but. It’s a 1992 livery boat, 13 years old. Some things to look at are. Is the color all faded, any visible cold cracks, how did the person store the boat in winter, any spots where the foam is showing through, how bad is it dented up, and the big one is how many years of life do you think it has left just by standing there looking at it?

300 is alot of money if it needs so much work.

I don’t think anyone is suggesting
… that the Penob 16 is going to be the answer to all his needs. But, I don’t think a single Spirit II is either. A family of four with kids already 8 and 12 is going to need more than one canoe.

A Penob 16 that he hopefully only ends up with $300 into would be a good versatile boat for various combinations of his family, including the 8 and 12 year olds by themselves.

A Spirit II for a $300 investment would be a better first boat in the order of buying them. But, when was the last time you saw one of those, or a Penob 16?

He still has time to find a larger tandem for $600 before spring and still stay within his original budget and have two canoes for his family of four.

That’s my rational anyway.

Good post. Maybe it’s just me but it seems like the canoe crowd is a little more reserved about questioning others suggestions than the kayak crowd. I know when I ask a question, I appreciate a vigorous discussion of the issue, my wallet does too.

fair market value
of the Penob 16 in the condition you’re describing is $100-175. Rental fleet boats sell for less than privately held boats simply because renters have a tendency to treat boats like crap, and the wear shown will be SIGNIFICANTLY greater than that seen on private boats.

(FWIW, I seem to recall that OT offered a livery version of their Royalex boats in the 90s that used the vinyl gunwales and molded seats rather than aluminum and wood/cane seats).

Then there are the practical considerations of the Penobscot 16 as a family boat. I like the design, but it’s unsuitable as a 4-person boat. A Spirit II or a Penob 17 would be much better choices.

4 people in one canoe?

– Last Updated: Dec-13-05 9:14 AM EST –

Any canoe will be crowded with 4 people in it.

If the budget is tight, swallow some pride and consider an old Alumacraft or Grummin as a 2nd canoe. I have an old battle cruiser that is perfect for the kids. At ages 12 and 8 the kids will be paddling.

It is not: sexy, sleek, fast or any good for white water.

It is: stable, durable, cheap and family friendly.

Keep it fun.

Thanks STAP
I like your comments. Real glad I read this before I went over to make offer on the canoe.

Think I may though. Offer $100.00 if he’ll take out the molded seats and throw in the web seats and skid plates (I’ll put them on).



I wouldn’t spend too much on gas
… making that offer in person. But if you do, why don’t you take some digital pictures and post 'em?

Thanks Clarion
As an Airstream person I really like the info on this forum. The vigorous discussion is fun/informative, as long as it’s not hostile. You get addicted to them, just like canoe people to canoes. Must be something in the water. Most places we go have water.

Thanks for reposting info so as to update others. Will remember that in future. Background info helpful.

Thanks again


gillguy, my response to your email
… bounced back. Here it is:

Most people here post their pictures to and then post a link on pnet to your photos on Does that make sense? I know there was a thread recently by JackL on that subject.

Update on the Penob 16
I went over today to make an offer on the Penobscot 16. It was raining, but the canoe looked a whole lot better wet, dry it’s faded some, wet looks good. Any way offered $150, but he wouldn’t take it. Wants $300. Said he’d give me a couple of cane seats to swap out the molded/formed seats, and give me a new yoke. Old one looks ok, but free is good, even though I’d be paying more than I’d hoped to. After about another 15-20 minutes talking in the rain I offered $250. No, still $300.00.

Needless to say I walked away, but I still wonder if $300.00 is great deal on it. After all it’s about 13 years old, was rented out countless times. Needs skid plates, no foam showing though, so to me it appears ok.

What do you all think? Throw in a few paddles and load it up for $300.00?


I wouldn’t.
I bought a two year old one a couple of months ago that is in almost new condition for 450.

If the condition of the boat is as bad as you described, by the time you get through screwing around with skid plates, seats and then still have a bad crease down one side you would be much better off to keep looking for another canoe.

Tell the guy if he doesn’t sell it to give you a call and then keep on looking for something else



couple thoughts

– Last Updated: Dec-16-05 7:05 AM EST –

Certainly there are better "values" out there. For your family, I think the best value would be to get two slightly used tandems for like $650 each. One would be something that you can decently paddle solo, most likely a Penob 16 (there are a good many of 'em out there) and the other would be something like a Spirit II.

If you can find two such canoes in your area over the next year or so and are able to spend something like $1300, that would be your best value.

But, achieving that "best value" can take a long time. Used canoes like that don't always just pop up just because you want them. Gas prices now make your search circle a little smaller. That said, it's also amazing how many deals seem to pop up when you don't need one.

When we bought our first canoe, I wanted a used one and worked hard to find it for about a year.

But, up here in PA we have a short paddle season for beginners like we were. The water is either too high, too cold or it's not there at all for most of the year. Since I didn't want to lose another season (kids growing up fast), we bought a new one. A new canoe turned out to be the best family value we could get at the time, even though it wasn't the best absolute value.

All I can say is your choice comes down to how much time and/or money you've got to spend to achieve the best value for you.

Three hundred isn't a great value. But, if it lasts you even 4-5 years, I doubt you'd regret the purchase. It's not like you can't sell it yourself later and get ?$$$ for it.

As for putting the skid plate money into it, I'd post a couple of pics here and ask some opinions about that. Heck, you can put green duct tape on the stems a couple times a year till you get tired of doing it.

And, I'd forget what it looks like wet. Wet does amazing things, none of which you'll see on the roof of your car or while out paddling.

If you get it, try to have him throw in a seat for the center. A bow or stern seat won't cut it either, too short.

Old Town doesn’t make many canoes I’d want to own, but the Penob 16 is a good one. You say there’s no foam showing? Then you don’t need skid plates. You say there’s only $50 separating you and the seller and he’s generous enough to throw in an extra set of seats and some paddles? I’d say pay the man and be on your way. You should be smiling, that’s a fine deal. Now you need another tandem canoe for the second half of your family.