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Princecraft Nanook DLX WS - 2014

Published By: Jonathan Lee

By Jonathan Lee

After a 60-year track record of boat building, Princecraft has certainly learned a thing or two about building boats that satisfy the needs of Canadian boaters. With the arrival of 2014, the Princeville, Quebec-based business has introduced sweeping design changes to its entire lineup as well as introduced a few brand new models.

Among those new models is an intriguing compact multi-species model added to the company’s DLX series of fishing boats. The portable Nanook DLX WS stretches a modest 16-foot, six-inches in length and has a slim 88-inch beam, making it easier to store in the driveway. And with a dry weight of just over 1,000 lbs., even with the added weight of an outboard and plenty of gear, the Nanook is easy enough to pull with an SUV. That means enjoying a little fishing time on your favourite lake doesn’t require a powerful, gas guzzling full-sized pickup.

In case you’re wondering what a ‘Nanook’ is, Princecraft chose the name from Inuit mythology, which is the name of the polar bear, an animal the company says represents strength and ingenuity.

The Nanook DLX is currently offered in two versions, including our full windshield (WS) test boat and a side console (SC) version. Our WS model’s windshield provided excellent protection for both the driver and passenger, something boaters will appreciate in the cooler months.  

Without the frills for family cruising, the Nanook is clearly built for the serious angler. Instead of carpeting, the boat features a vinyl floor on the raised bow, side and stern casting decks as well as throughout the cockpit, which anglers should find easier for cleaning off fish scales and blood.

Made from tough 5052-H36 marine-grade aluminum alloy, the boat features a reverse chine hull that’s doubled from bow to mid-ship for added durability.

Although compact in size, the boat offers decent storage space with two forward triangular compartments, a passenger side glove box and a starboard-side compartment for various gear. A 45-inch wide by six-inch high port-storage compartment offers a 10-inch deep area where you can store rods or lifejackets and a collapsible paddle. A lift-up lockable in-floor rod storage area – a design borrowed from Princecraft’s 200 Hudson LX Series – is located between the two consoles. It holds up to six rods, including four seven-foot rods and two six-and-a-half foot rods. In this compartment our test boat had a 12V onboard battery charger for the optional Minn Kota 55PD V2 trolling motor mounted on the bow.

Like every other model in its lineup this year, the Nanook features a new tan and black colour scheme. The two standard fold-down seats now feature grey and tan fabrics, replacing the company’s previous monochrome design.

At the roto mold cast helm, the driver is greeted by sporty black metal fleck finish panel with three recessed gauges above the wheel, including a tachometer, fuel gauge and speedometer. On either side of the wheel are circuit breakers as well as flip switches for the boat’s navigation and interior lights as well as the auto electric fill and drain for the Nanook’s aft port aerated livewell. Princecraft says it purposely located the 40-inch, 129L livewell at the boat’s stern because of the potential for injuring the fish in the bow as the boat hits the waves while underway. Our test model was equipped with an optional Lowrance X-4 Pro sonar, which provided lightning fast updates of what laid beneath below the boat.

Just below the dash is a storage shelf suitable for storing electronics and other valuables you want out of the way. It has a newly added raised lip on the edge to prevent items from falling out onto the floor while underway.

Tilt steering is an optional upgrade on this model, which was not on our test boat. Although it presented no issue for someone of my modest height, with the dash being fully visible, others may wish to add this feature for better driving comfort.

In the cockpit, two folding seats with no-pinch hinges come standard for the driver and passenger. An additional seat with 11-inch posts or a bicycle seat with a 27-inch post are optionally available. Two floor bases are located behind the driver and passenger seats, with single bases up on the stern and bow casting platforms.

While the boat features just two cup holders, the company offers owners the ability to add their choice of an additional cup holder, rod holder or a three-rod storage support by way of its optional PrinceTrak accessory sliding plate.

Our test model was also equipped with an optional 160-watt AM/FM/Bluetooth Jensen stereo with auxiliary input that pushes sound to two seven-inch speakers. This can be upgraded to a 200-watt Clarion stereo system if you’re really dead set on scaring the fish away.

Testing the stability of the bow, side and stern casting platforms, I stood on each to see how much I could rock the boat. Overall, the Nanook provides a very stable platform for fishing, thanks in part to the 13-degree deadrise. It’s neither too flat to sacrifice significant boat control or too deep to trade off balance while casting.

Set to the beautiful backdrop of Saint-Ferdinand, Quebec, I pushed the Nanook test model to its limits on Lake William. Powering our boat was the max-rated Mercury 115hp EFI 4-stroke. As expected, the boat offers the agile handling characteristics that come along with a smaller-sized boat. Pushing the boat into turns at higher speeds, I was able to get it to skid slightly, but never lost control. With the trim all the way down, the boat produced a very quick hole-shot and was up on plane in 2.59 seconds. With calm water conditions, one passenger and half a tank of fuel, top speed was about 50 mph according to the speedometer and 48 mph on GPS at 6,100 rpm. Ideal cruising speed was around 25 mph at 3,400 rpm.

While you can power the DLX WS with a base 40hp engine, Princecraft says the boat performs best with a 75hp to 115hp outboard. The 115hp Mercury certainly provided a fun ride that should make the trip to and from your secret fishing spots all the more enjoyable.

Modestly priced while still offering serious anglers all the tools they need for their favourite activity, the Nanook DLX WS is bound to be a serious contender in the highly competitive small aluminum fish boat category. Factoring in its lightweight hull and practical design, it already has both boat dealers and boat buyers excited show season.

Princecraft Nanook DLX WS
Length: 16’ 6”
Beam: 7’ 4”
Dry Weight: 1,044 lbs.
Draft: 28” (approx.)
Fuel Capacity: 76L/20 gal. US
Deadrise: 13º
Passenger Capacity: 4
Power (as tested): Mercury 115 EFI 4-stroke
Max Power: 115hp
Price (base w/Mercury 40 ELPT 4-stroke): $18,833
Price (as tested): $25,216

Review Boat Provided By
Princecraft Boats Inc.
725 Saint-Henri
Princeville, Quebec
G6L 5C2
(800) 395-8858