Posted on August 24 2015
(Left: Champlain 16'; Right: Prospector Ranger 15')
We're often asked to compare models by customers looking to get an idea of which canoe will best suit their building and paddling style. Our colleague Ron Frenette of Canadian Canoes recently replied to a question on the differences between the Champlain and Prospector Ranger, and we thought we'd share his response here for other builders who might be deciding between these two canoes.
"Both [Champlain and Prospector Ranger] canoes were originally built in the traditional white cedar rib and plank then canvas covered building technique. Working with Ted and Joan and Steve Killing (naval designer), we decided some years ago to have Steve redraw these (and many other models as well) for woodstrip-epoxy canoe construction.
The Champlain (the one in CanoeCraft is the HiEnder and there was a LoEnder also) is best enjoyed with a reasonably full load (about 450 - 500 pounds of paddlers and gear). With only paddlers or a single paddler, this canoe with its high ends has dumped a few of us into various bodies of water!
A building feature to be noted is that the end 30 inches of the inner and outer gunwales MUST be steam bent on a bending jig (I can provide drawings) several weeks before installation. Without this step, there is a STRONG likelihood that the gunwales will snap under the strain of bending so much curve over a short distance.
Of the two canoes, the Champlain is faster simply because it will have less hull dragging at the water so reduced friction will provide additional performance.
(check the freeboard on the Ranger, which has a good load inside)
The Ranger is one sweet canoe and I acknowledge my prejudice up front!
We own the wood canvas building form which we bought at the assets disposal sale when Chestnut Canoes went bankrupt about 30 years ago.
The wood strip epoxy version is stable under many conditions but, like most canoes, it likes a bit of a load to set it down in the lake.
It can hold a good load and with the rocker, does turn out or can be drawn left and right without much effort.
The ends are lower than the Champlain so less wind torque if one encounters a side wind and, NO NEED to steam bend the gunwales.
Hope this is of some help for making a decision.
Thanks to Ron for his detailed reply - hope this helps anyone curious about these two models!