View topic - Looking for the ultimate solo canoe (for me)

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PostPosted: March 22nd, 2013, 9:12 pm 
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pknoerr wrote:
Martin, For me it's the used market. But you can buy both the Wildfire and the Dragonfly new these days from Colden Canoe http://www.coldencanoe.com/.

PK


Glad to see Wildfires in production. Is anyone producing The Magic - also a DY design, I think (?)

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PostPosted: March 23rd, 2013, 9:19 am 
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Wenonah's Argosy was described as the ultimate solo canoe for both lakes and rivers earlier here and at solotripping IIRC... the rental was from an Algonquin outfitter, maybe they're still available for test paddles. Haven't tried one myself.

Hm, only 30 pounds in ultralite at Wenonah's website.

PS... the Argosy poster was also a fisherman, enjoyed fishing from the Argosy.

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PostPosted: March 23rd, 2013, 5:38 pm 
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My tripping buddy has an argosy in royalex, and I find that thing very manageable for portage weight. I have only paddled it for one day on a trip where we switched boats, it handled nicely in CIII's, although the slicier bow made it catch currents almost to easily if you weren't paying attention. The narrow entry lines on the bow made it cut into waves well on flatwater, but in whitewater it tended to dive a bit. On the flat-water sections into the wind on the river it handled much easier than my swift raven.
All things said it's a great crossover boat and you should give it a look.


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PostPosted: March 23rd, 2013, 6:22 pm 
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I have
Argosy in Royalex. It will handle 220 lbs. It knifes through waves with a very fine bow. Its maneuverable but an incredibly wet ride in Class 2 due to the fine bow. It really needs a longer bow thwart. Its relatively heavy. The Yellowstone Solo with its max width high before breaking for shouldered tumblehome seems to me to be way more stable than the Argosy, which is a bit twitchy if heeled even moderately (its max width is very low). However Yellowstone Solos are hard to find it seems.

I have Hemlock Peregrine. Not normally used in rapids but an agreeable hiking partner in Algonquin at 33 lbs. Like your Kestrel its a bit of work in current.

I have the wooden version of the Colden Wildfire. It does beautifully in rapids but as its fairly lighweight construction with five thwarts (its a freestyle boat) you need to have all the rocks covered.

I have a Colden DragonFly. Its a wonderful river boat. Its OK on lakes if you have the trim adjusted. I don't find the freeboard too deep when running quartering two to three foot waves.

Its the same as the Curtis Dragonfly. Look at http://www.hemlockcanoe.com under Photo Gallery for some really neat photos.

The Magic is again being made by Bell Composites (Ted Bell started a garage workshop.) Not sure if its exactly like the old Magic. I would never consider that boat for moving water.

Also have a Curtis Nomad (now made by Colden). Its a big full 15 foot cruiser 28 inches at the waterline.. I just finished a trip on the Gulf of Mexico with that..but had way more than 220 lbs total.( that darn fresh water that has to be toted) Its got more rocker than Peregrine/Kestrel and less than DragonFly.

Also take a look at RapidFire built for kneeling. It can come in sub 30 lbs.

Yes when I get home I am getting a Colden WildFire..


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PostPosted: March 24th, 2013, 1:37 pm 
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Steve, I too have heard that Ted Bell has started building canoes again. I saw it in the most recent Piragis catalog, and then found some information on Bell Composites on the web. It sounds like they are slightly modified versions of the DY designed Northwind and Magic that Bell Canoe built. I suspect that they are modified to get around Ted not owning the rights to the original hull designs for these boats. The differences seem to be related to the amount of tumblehome. I don't see this being too much of a problem with the tandems, but the on the Magic, the tumblehome was very welcome and made the Magic particularly good at turning on a heel. But until I paddle one, I can't tell you any more than what is on the web.

PK


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PostPosted: March 25th, 2013, 11:06 am 
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I have taken a close look at all the boats listed in this thread. A few of the canoes like the MRC Guide, Millbrook Patriot, Hemlock SRT or even the Dragonfly are not ideal for my needs. Most of the time I'm paddling flatwater or hiking with a canoe on my head.

For the occasional time I need a bit more rocker and a bit more wave shedding it seems like the Yellowstone solo/Wildfire is the way to go. The sacrifice would be a bit of speed and tracking. Very unlikely that one of these will come up on the used market in Eastern Ontario but I will keep my eyes open.

Another canoe that there is very little mention of is the Swift Keeywadin Solo. It is a curious canoe. The specs show it is very similar to the Osprey. Almost too similar so I must be missing something. Very slightly narrower at waterline and slightly more rocker. Marketing positions it as a user friendly comfortable canoe. So this could be good for the fisherman/photographer in me. More rocker, maneuverability, tumblehome and it might be faster than the Osprey. I will have to make a point of trying one of these out this summer.


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PostPosted: March 25th, 2013, 11:26 am 
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i have not paddles dy's new swift solo,but it looks and has been advertised and looks like a a fuller boat. i doubt if it's as fast as my osprey although i'm sure it's a great boat. i have paddled a sevaral yellowstone solos-compsite and roylex-2 differnt boats. they definatly paddle harder than my osprey. i define more on paddling effort than ultimate speed.
turtle


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PostPosted: March 25th, 2013, 5:01 pm 
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I have paddled the Keewaydin Solo, but just once. It did not strike me as a fast boat. But user friendly and stable. It does track more softly than the Kestrel you have.

It is not at all like the Osprey. The bow flare of the Osprey is not present in the Keewaydin. Charlie could clue you in more on the underwater hull shape. It seemed kind of very shallow arch to me.

When I paddled the Keewaydin, I was heeling it to the rail and testing manuevarability on its side as well as straight ahead speed. But alas not with a GPS. Only with that or a stopwatch can you evaluate speed, which often has an emotional component.

Turtle, the YS has a different length to width ratio and block coefficient than the one foot longer Osprey so the ultimate speed is not there. But YS are often found in Freestyle clinics where they make an entry level OK performing boat going forward. Being shorter they have less skin and hence accelerate quicker.


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PostPosted: March 25th, 2013, 9:58 pm 
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There used to be a ~15' plastic Keewaydin that dominated the solo cruising class in the downriver event on the Nantahala. I don't know who made them. The plastic was sort of like one layer Royalex, no foam. I think they disappeared because of attrition. They ceased to be produced, and the existing ones were wrapped and battered into oblivion.


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PostPosted: March 26th, 2013, 7:44 am 
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Location: Lower Saranac Lake, NY
One important piece of data not provided is the OP's height which will allow guesstimates of useful hull/ waterline width. OP's weight is less an issue, as we have a 220#/100 KG max.

One hull not mentioned above is FlashFire; 13'X28.5", also formerly by Bell/ Placid now by Colden.
Symmetrical rocker demands a decent forward stroke. I have a list of composite solo canoe dimensions available to all that may be helpful. Email charliewilson77@gmail.com for an electronic copy.

Swift's Kee 15 is another DY solo tripper, iteration 1g, i.e. the 7th version of the large model. It is a little wider than earlier ones because solo trippers are getting fatter. It is faster than the Bell Merlin II and turns faster as well. Tumblehome is reminiscent of DY's earlier bubble sided Sawyer and Curtis boats except the width is carried higher. I have paddled Kee 15 extensively and in comparison with Osprey. Kee is faster and tracks better, Osprey turns more radically and fits larger paddlers due to increased width at the waterline/chine. While I stay locked into the chines on the K15, I need to move a knee to cross heel Osprey and suspect the OP will need do so as well.

Recently given the OP's size, the 28.5" wide hulls, FlashFire, DragonFly, SRT and Nomad, should be considered and paddled.


Last edited by Charlie Wilson on March 27th, 2013, 8:50 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: March 26th, 2013, 11:23 am 
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5'10, 160 lbs. I currently favor a 51" bent shaft paddle. I switch up paddles frequently and have not settled on a favorite.

I did consider the Flashfire but given my size I didn't feel it offered me any advantages over the Wildfire.

I started the conversation because I have a preconceived notion that my Kestrel is not maneuverable enough for moving water. Another notion is that the freeboard is so low as to prevent it from running the odd rapid on an otherwise mostly flat-water trip. The fact is, I'm sure I can run the odd rapid and I have in the past. For my situation it’s more a question of picking the right line and letting the current do the work. If there is any question about the line then I’ll pick up my boat and walk around.

I like the idea of the Wildfire. The greater and symmetrical rocker opens up some more possibilities in moving water. It also looks like it could be more fun for turning and playing around in. I have a good but not great forward stroke. With Wildfires shorter length, symmetrical rocker and higher shear I'm sure I would pay for this on the lakes.


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PostPosted: March 26th, 2013, 7:33 pm 
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No you would not.
What can happen if you practice on your forward stroke and vertical plant and catch is that you will be able to keep the boat going in straight line travel even with hit and switch. I can get my Aria going quite well and quite straight. Aria is the wood dacron version of the WildFire.

Image

Its a poor picture of the rocker but you can note that neither stem is close to the dock. Its got more than two inches of rocker fore and aft.

Does fine in a spin and with hit and switch I can get it close to hull speed. I admit to practicing paddling daily when the water permits it.

The Kestrel is used by one paddler in the Everglades; which is a land of choppy two foot seas and running tides with strong eddies and whirlpools. The shouldered tumblehome with the high flare has a very practical attribute; waves hitting it from the side are deflected down.

In the Everglades I have used my Peregrine to similar advantage. Some of the tidal races resemble whitewater chutes.

However both the latter, if you run a laser level on them , have very flat bottoms. Don't trust the published specs. Two people hold a string; one at each end of the boat and note bow and stern rocker.

Yes the Wildfire is quite a bit more fun. Spins start by skidding sterns; having a boat with little or no stern rocker just is hard work or impossible to skid. The Kestrel may endure the rapids, but you will lack some maneuverability unless circumstances allow you to heel the hull to the rail. ( often not a good idea with a load). Heeling the boat will loosen the stern.


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PostPosted: March 27th, 2013, 7:44 am 
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Martin, I'm 6'3" and 180# and I paddle a Flashfire alot for tight twisty rivers. I didn't mention the Flashfire, because it's a bit small for tripping for most paddlers, but I prefer the Flashfire over the WEildfire for all types of paddling, except for carrying a tripping load. We own two Flashfires and a Yellowstone solo. I have done a fair amount of swapping between the Flashfire, Wildfire, and Yellowstone, as well as the Loonworks Nakoma, Allegro, and Aria wood/Dacron versions at Freestyle events. I can tell you that I like paddling the Flashfire alot more than a Wildfire even at my size. That's why I bought the Flashfire even when many fellow paddlers thought I'd have a hard time paddling it.

My Flashfire isn't a very pretty boat. It's a working canoe that I'm not afraid to put the canoe into whitewater play conditions that most people will only use Royalex whitewater specific boats. But the hull is a gem. It attains waves that you just plain can't climb in a whitewater boat. I would love to add 2 inches of freeboard below the bubble to a Flashfire to really run whitewater in it. I think the Flashfire is a true classic for day paddling. I can't imagine not owning mine.

PK


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PostPosted: May 10th, 2013, 9:58 pm 
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MartinG wrote:
A few of the canoes like the MRC Guide, Millbrook Patriot, Hemlock SRT or even the Dragonfly are not ideal for my needs. Most of the time I'm paddling flatwater or hiking with a canoe on my head.

For the occasional time I need a bit more rocker and a bit more wave shedding it seems like the Yellowstone solo/Wildfire is the way to go.


Martin, I'd like to clarify some things about the SRT. You seem to think it has too much rocker to be useful in flat water. Not so at all.

I own an SRT and Bell Wildfire and have day played and overnight tripped in both. The SRT is significantly faster and more efficient on the flats than the Wildfire or Yellowstone. It's flat speed is a function of narrow waterline, rounded (more so than shallow arch) bottom, differential rocker and pinched stern. The tradeoff is that the SRT is more initially tippy than the Wildfire or Yellowstone.

The SRT is also more capable in whitewater than either the Wildfire or Yellowstone, especially with a tripping load. It is more capable because of it's greater depth and its fuller and more flared bow. The SRT laughs at class 2 rapids, but it's not a whitewater playboat.

As to turnability, the Wildfire is more turnable than the SRT when paddled with a load less than about 220 pounds. They are about equal at 220, but of course the SRT will have much more freeboard. I wouldn't trip in the Wildfire with 250 pounds of load because of the freeboard. The SRT can probably be loaded up to 400 pounds and still have good freeboard.

Dave Curtis now makes a lightweight version of the SRT, which he says comes in at about 34 pounds. If you could talk him out of gelcoat, you could probably drop another 3 or 4 pounds and probably be the first to convince him to do so.

I think the Osprey is also a boat that would satisfy your OP criteria.


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PostPosted: May 12th, 2013, 8:51 am 
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I'm still re-thinking this solo canoe thing. I'm going to go light weight in the next five years, but I'm still going to need a big canoe. Total weight is often around 320. I'm packing chainsaws and stuff, and gaining weight like a force fed goose.

I like everything about the Raven that I built except for the weight and the sticky stern that PK describes. I've also been pretty happy in an osprey, but i need a bigger canoe than that. Other than the Shearwater, are there any other bigger solo options out there, short of going back to a small tandem?

I think I'd like a symmetrical hull this time too.


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