There's a thread on here titled "Venture 17 restoration" that has sort of devolved into all-things-venture-17. Reading it's dozen pages of posts should get you up to speed on the V17.
I guess I'm biased, but I like mine. Positive flotation, not hard to single-hand, seemingly thick hull, and you can sleep on it.
I've only tested out two of those attributes though. (never swamped it, never slept on it) But I've ran it into all sorts of things and single handed it. My only legitimate complaint would be that they all seem to sit high on the trailer, which adds a few extra steps to launching. I made a 12' tongue extension, but I launch from shallow ramps with a station wagon. If I had a jacked up truck or a steep ramp it wouldn't be as much of an issue. Apparently the owners manual says to hook the winch to your car (hitch), put down the wheeled jack, unhook the trailer, and crank out the winch to back the trailer down the ramp.
Don't take my word for it though. I still consider myself a "newbie"