View topic - Used Nova Craft 16' Tuffstuff Prospectors

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PostPosted: September 23rd, 2018, 8:20 pm 
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There are some used NC tuffstuff prospectors at one of the outfitters that I occasionally deal with and we were contemplating picking one up, but decided against it because we're not quite there yet in the savings department.

They're all newer with what I think are superficial damages to the gel coat and range in price from $1400 - $1700. The prices seemed to vary with the amount of time you'd be spending fixing the boat up.

While we were looking at other things, my wife ended up looking up reviews for the boats and found this: https://www.mec.ca/en/product/5041-404/Prospector-16-TuffStuff-Aluminum-Canoe#reviews.

I suspect there are a lot of folks on this forum who paddle this boat and I was wondering if anyone could speak to what's being said in those reviews?


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PostPosted: September 24th, 2018, 9:25 am 
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Wow I'd never heard of those kind of issues. I'd contact NC directly about that if I were the owner.


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PostPosted: September 24th, 2018, 2:28 pm 
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Location: St. Catharines, Ontario
I purchased a used 16' Prospector in expedition grade TS this spring.

I repaired a hole in the gel coat like in those photo's when I first got it. I had to do it in layers, but it wasn't especially hard or time consuming. It had a few minor scratches on it, the staff had been using it for a demoing and as a loaner.

I hit some rocks pretty hard this year with about 500lbs in the canoe (paddlers + gear) and all it's ever left is a scratch in the gel coat. That includes twice that we beached/hung it up on a shallow rock while paddling into the early morning sun.

I would say the gel coat does seem to show scratches pretty easy, the first trip I took in it we took in it and I was a little shocked when I saw the bottom after it had been out of the water and dried overnight.

I've never noticed any cracking or anything when picking it up to portage.


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PostPosted: September 25th, 2018, 8:18 pm 
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Location: Geraldton, Ontario Can
I think it's gonna take a few years to get a good read on the stuff. I've got one, it seems to do ok for the weight, but I hear that snap crackle pop sound too when I hoist it. I think people confuse it with royalex and the durability of royalex. It's not like that, probably should be used more like a composite canoe.


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PostPosted: September 25th, 2018, 8:31 pm 
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That is one question I had based on the reviews on the MEC site - what were they doing with it? I think you are right that given it was brought into the lineup to fill the gap left by Royalex, people think it is a 1 to 1 replacement but that is clearly far from the case. Definitely treat it like composite and lucky that it can probably take a harder beating that composite. But it ain't Royalex.


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PostPosted: September 28th, 2018, 8:14 pm 
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Well, I have nothing but good to say about our PAL in toughstuff. We pinned it in Wabakimi in 2015 (there is a video out there for it). Cracked the gel coat pretty badly after releasing it from the pin. But we still paddled 12 days for the rest of our trip with duct tape over the big crack. That winter, we brought our boat back to Novacraft to inspect and see if it was worth repair. The builder who inspected us said it that the craft lost no integrity, just needed some new gel coat over it and they repaired it for less than $200. He did give me the option, do you want it fixed for maintenance or fixed to be pretty (It had a lot of bottom scratches on it). I said fixed for maintenance. Since then, its been on 15 day trip to Quetico and another 14 day trip to Wabakimi this year. Love that boat and have no regrets about buying TS.


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PostPosted: September 29th, 2018, 1:41 am 
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The gel coat is probably the weakest thing now in these kind of FRP composite canoes. Possibly using a strong PU coating instead would suit this kind of lay-up better, but that would make it even (much) more expensive than it already is?!

On the other hand a Royalex/T-Formex canoe will scratch and dent more than a Tuffstuff one, but because they are not that expensive, we don't feel as bad about it?

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PostPosted: September 29th, 2018, 7:21 am 
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kgd wrote:
Well, I have nothing but good to say about our PAL in toughstuff. We pinned it in Wabakimi in 2015 (there is a video out there for it). Cracked the gel coat pretty badly after releasing it from the pin. But we still paddled 12 days for the rest of our trip with duct tape over the big crack. That winter, we brought our boat back to Novacraft to inspect and see if it was worth repair. The builder who inspected us said it that the craft lost no integrity, just needed some new gel coat over it and they repaired it for less than $200. He did give me the option, do you want it fixed for maintenance or fixed to be pretty (It had a lot of bottom scratches on it). I said fixed for maintenance. Since then, its been on 15 day trip to Quetico and another 14 day trip to Wabakimi this year. Love that boat and have no regrets about buying TS.


I am curious to know what your thoughts are on the comments that were left on the MEC site. Are their low ratings justified or have they missed something?


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PostPosted: September 30th, 2018, 2:41 pm 
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I would encourage kgd to post a review on the MEC site to balance out those other reviews.


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