Wenonah Prospector 16 or Spirit II?

I’ve read the P.Net reviews of each twice now, and the only thing I can conclude is that I am now thoroughly educated- but still terribly uncertain of which to buy (but I have decided on Royalex!).

In a previous post I have asked a few general questions, questions that have been repeated ad nausium- “Which canoe for…”. Well one more time (quikly)!

ME: 6’3 250lbs.

LOCATIONS: Slow class I/II rivers, occasional lake.

CREW: 30% solo, 50% + 1 adult, 20% family (wife & kid)

If I may be so bold, can you reply listing your first choice and why? I have narrowed it down to these two canoes- no OT, MR, etc.

Thanks! I sincerely appreciate all the help!


If you will never do serious whitewater,
the Spirit II is faster, nicely stable, and also pretty maneuverable. If you were doing class 2-3 rapids, the Prospector would be way ahead of the Spirit II.

Not a lot of heavy WW here in South-Western Ohio. I want something that can handle up to solid Class II, but that’s mainly to handle the occasional churn during back-country camping trips.

Oh, to add the my above listing- I forgot to mention camping. Nothing drastic, just some two night excursions into some forests (like Daniel Boone National Forest in southern Kentucky). Paddle, camp, wake up, repeat.


I’d go with the Spirit
For what it sounds like you’ll be doing, I would go with the Spirit. It will be a better boat on the flatter lakes, less affected by wind with just you in it, and better initial stability than the Prospector. Also being as the Spirit is a 17 footer,the kids will fit better in it and your front paddler will be more comfortable. Plus more capacity. You may want to get some sort of a center seat for paddling solo, unless you are going to put some ballast up front.

Either way, you’ll end up with a good boat.

Good point, but…

– Last Updated: Aug-03-06 6:03 PM EST –

Isn't 17' a little long for solo paddling? That's what was bugging me- I seem to remember someone saying that 16' was PLENTY of boat to have to paddle solo, let alone 17'.

BTW- I'm in Cincinnati and usually head down to southern Kentucky at least one weekend a month (Lake Cumberland area). That's a three hour drive, so that might help give you some idea of the driving radius in regards to "local" water features (flat Class I/II, *rarely* Class II+)

Lakes... Not looking to paddle a lot of lakes, seem a little boring. Not that I want to start "hair-boating" a canoe by any means, just an occasional whoopty-do along a pretty calm river. Lakes will probably account for much of the family paddling though.

Thanks again all, i appreciate your experience and insight.

Spirit gets my vote
you seem to have a consensus. And if g2d and i agree on a boat, its a good one with few faults.

For your solo efforts on the water you describe, the Spirit will be easier for you to handle. The rocker and deep ends of the Prospector that are so helpful in whitewater, make great sails in the wind and can frustrate solo efforts on open water.

Both are great canoes, just for your usage the Spirit is better.


Here’s one of the local spots (20 mins away)…


Was fun in a kayak, would love to do it in a canoe. This is exactly the kind of weekday/end fun I am thinking of.

Here’s another example really close to home.(45mins away)


Finally, here’s part of the canoe/camp bit I was talking about (whole thing is actaully 17 miles long). (3 hours away)



checked out the aw sites
you’re going to paddle, and spirit should be fine. Dagger didn’t work out, eh? Good choice going with wenonah.

Got caught up at the Mother-In-Laws and got out bid in the final minutes of the auction. (GRR!!)

One thought- the Prospector also comes in a 17’ version. Would that be any better? Maybe put it ahead of the Spirit II?

So if the Spirit II is the winner, now I just have to find a green one for sale somewhere…


After looking at the pictures of the places you like to paddle I would recommend the Prospector. It is a much easier and drier ride in moving water with waves. The Spirit has very little rocker and little flair in the ends. Prospector’s rocker makes it much more agile in moving water and the flare in the ends makes it ride up over waves rather than slice into them. The prospector will be fun in the water you showed us in the websites. As for the flatter stretches-we have been paddling a Prospector on big lakes in Ontario and Minnesota and the salt marshes in Georgia for decades and it handles wind and waves just fine.

only experience
I have with the prospector hull design was demoing a bell in kevlar. seemed like a good moving/ww design but not impressed with it’s flatwater tendencies.

big guy = big boat
I know it wasn’t an option, But I suspect you would really like the Prospector 17. It has more volume, is very dry and stable with a load, and can be used solo. Any of those boats will be tough to solo in strong wind, though.

Nova Craft makes one in poly that is a great deal if you can handle the weight, Royalex, or royalex/lite if you want a lighter one.

Good luck.

Can’t go wrong with a Wenonah. Great company to buy from and deal with.

Best of luck on whichever boat you choose.

Yep … Spirit II
The Prospector will be (almost always … except with a heavy cargo load) consistently more “rolly” than the Spirit II … no problem for paddling enthusiasts, but potentially “offputting” to unseasoned partners who would rather have more reassurance of it staying upright during lapses of attention, etc. The “stiffer” feel of the secondary stability of the Spirit II will give them that … a stiffer platform for fishing, sightseeing, etc. Plus … it has an easier reach to the water for more straight ahead paddling … faster, fewer corrective stokes needed.

The Prospector is better for a prospector kind-of-guy than a family kind-of-guy. Your consideration of a 17 foot Wenonah Prospector (no Royalex availability listed for the 17 footer) for more speed and stability … now that’s a closer match to your priorities … and almost as good as the Spirit II (and easily better on challenging rivers). Being a big guy interested in all-around use, I think you’ll a 17 footer in the long run. Put some gunwale-mounted oar sockets on it (easy drill and bolt job) and row it with spoon blades when solo for great speed and control. Only masochists solo paddle big empty boats wtih lots of rocker (hehe, just kidding a little, but mostly true … you’ll see!).