Kinda rhetorical I guess, but I on some level actually thought most 17 foot canoes were pretty similar.
I've been around canoes since high school were I did Summer trips with kids.. and have been off and on rivers ever since... typically always in a grumman, coleman.. other inexpensive canoe..
At a yard sale I recently picked up a we no na spirit 2 17 foot royalex canoe. I also bought a 17 foot ram x for my son and off we went for hunting season.
Granted I have a fair amount of paddling experience.. he does not.. but he is 18, bullet proof, and a pretty good athlete, me 54 and slowing down. He has been around water all his life and picked it up really quickly..
What I could not believe was how little effort I had to put out to get across flat water compared to what he did. After 40 miles of river he was a basket case frustrated trying to keep up.. he'd pull really hard on one side, and the canoe would over correct.. I could moderately pull and the canoe would track..
I figured the coleman with the greater beam would shine when it came to packing.. I dunno.. in the spirit 2 I took both hind quarters, and a front.. and half the gear.. he took the other front.. the neck meat, flank, and half the gear.. with my deeper gunnels I think I could pack equal to the coleman..in spite of less beam.
This is a pretty basic thread to any canoeist that is familiar with quality boats.. but I had quite an eye opening this Fall to better boats..
I am selling the Coleman and getting a second We no na or other better boat for the son.
Other than the few deep gouges I have in the we no na from a heavy loads, shallow water and sharp rocks.. I am extremely happy.