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Wenonah Argosy vs Wilderness



  • Really?
    It sure looks to me that the proud stems on that boat overhang the LWL by more than a combined 6". I would have guessed that the LWL of the Argosy was somewhat under 14' as Kim said.

    To thoroughly beat a dead horse, if the true LWL of the Argosy is 14' the LWL/BWL ratio would be 6.2. Wenonah lists a BWL of 29.75 for the Wilderness for a LWL/BWL of 5.95, virtually identical to the Yellowstone Solo if the ratio listed on Bell's website is correct.

    I do suspect that the Argosy can be driven a little faster than the YS by a really determined paddler but to me the YS feels subjectively a little quicker to accelerate.
  • Lotsa replies huh!
    I bet windwalker didn't expect such numerous, thorough and experienced number of replies to this thread! Very informative and lot of experience here! For one, I certainly do appreciate the knowledge of most replies here! Thanks
  • It's more than just mold differences
    -- Last Updated: Oct-30-12 1:36 PM EST --

    Yes, it is common for a Royalex version of a hull design to end up with dimensional differences from the composite version, simply because of the differences in material and the molding/manufacturing differences that accompany those different materials.

    But the Yellowstone is clearly a different design from the Wildfire. Compare the composite Yellowstone to the composite Wildfire, a case where we can factor out molding/manufacturing differences occasioned by Royalex. They are different boats, and not just in the rocker line.

    The sin is not in reducing stern rocker. That may be an advantage to many paddlers. And I'm not claiming the Wildfire or the Yellowstone is the better boat. They are both very nice boats. But they are different boats.

    Different boats should have different names. Otherwise, you could have 30 very different hulls called a Prospector. Oh, I forgot, we do.

    Bell's original sin of trying to eat too frequently of the successful Wildfire apple continues to snake its confusing legacy throughout all of canoeing mankind, frequently here on this board, by rendering almost useless many of the "Wildfire" reviews as well as rendering ambiguous many classified Wildfire ads. Many people are simply unaware of what hull they own, or what hull they are buying or selling, unless they are aware of this tortured nomenclatural history.

    When I was negotiating to buy a used composite Wildfire from a seller 500 miles away, the seller had no idea about this issue and no clue as to whether his stern rocker was the same as his bow rocker. Professor Wilson was a great help in identifying the year of manufacture for me, but couldn't recall at the time when the composite Yellowstone mold was made or whether Bell had called its early Yellowstone composites by the Wildfire name, as it had its Royalex version.

    So he went the extra mile and contacted Dave Yost to reconstruct the timeline of this whole issue. As I recall, he and DY concluded via the mold history that no composite Yellowstones had ever been marketed by Bell as Wildfires. This gracious effort gave me confidence that I was getting the hull I wanted.

    However, it really shouldn't require these kinds of divine interventions to figure out what the hull you are buying.

  • So
    So what do I have? The HIN says it's from 2001, it's green RX and has a Bell Wildfire sticker.

    Not that I really care as I like the way THIS boat handles, I'm just curious.

    Great info for sure, albeit a bit confusing.
  • Is it Royalex?
    If it is a Royalex boat with a Wildfire label it is the hull with differential rocker that was later renamed the Yellowstone Solo.

    If it is composite, it is the symmetrical hull that was always known as the Wildfire.
  • Your royalex Wildfire = Yellowstone Solo
    -- Last Updated: Oct-30-12 10:58 AM EST --

    I have one of those, also.

    If you refer to it from now on as a royalex Yellowstoe Solo, most people will know exactly what you're talking about and you'll avoid confusion.

    Another option is to refer to it as a royalex Wildfire/Yellowstone Solo.

  • Options
    pblanc: my W/L length for the composite
    Argosy is a rough estimate at best. I tried to include an appropriate amount of stem depth as per Charlie's instructions. Put a bantam weight paddler in one with no gear and I'm sure it would be less. But load it up and the W/L length would be more like 14'2", maybe even topping out at 14'3". Charlie's the closest well get to a constant on this. So until he puts a tape over one...

    Cheers. Jacob.
  • Alright!
    -- Last Updated: Nov-01-12 12:20 PM EST --

    To ascertain real waterline length we need the boat in question, a level, a tape measure and a rational burden.
    I propose 5 ea40 lb sand or water treatment salt bags. [200 lbs is what the gov tells us is an average guy with a 40 lb pack. It's to much for a 120 lb woman, not enough for a 240 lb guy with gear, but.....]

    Oh yeah, we need knee high neoprene boots too. Plop the hull in foot deep water, the five bags i the hull; fiddle placement until it looks right. The apply the level vertically to each stem in turn, measuring the distance from level to cut-water. Write these numbers down. After unloading and unfloating the boat, measure it's Overall Length with the tape, and subtract the sum of the two offsets. Barring an embarrassing math error, Waterline Length should be computed.

    We don't do this much in the northern tier from November through April because that would require getting a chain saw wet to cut a slot through ice, and, if truth be told, we prefer Mid May through September.

  • Tripping in Wildfire and Yellowstone Sol
    I've put thousands of miles on composite Bell Wildfires and Yellowstone solo's. I just love these boats. Anyone who says they're not up to long river trips with technical rapids (up to high Class II) either doesn't know how to pack or needs to learn how to paddle. These boats track well, turn instantly and run dry in waves up to two feet high. Add a spray cover and polished whitewater technique and they'll surprise you in bigger stuff. Both canoes are very similar; paddle one then the other and you'll forget which boat you're in. The YS does seem to run drier in chop and it carries a bit more weight more gracefully--but the differences are not significant. The Royalex version of the YS is a wonderful canoe also. It's quite fast for an RX solo; it turns instantly and it runs dry. You won't be disappointed to own one. It is, however, heavy--about 45 pounds if I recall; the 29-34 pounds of a composite WF or YS is a better plan where there are portages. Here's a short list of rivers I've paddled with the composite versions: Steel and Kopka(Ontario); Little Missouri (N.Dakota); Green(Utah); Rio Grande(TX); Buffalo (Arkansas); BWCA/Quetico. These were all minimum 7 day trips with full gear. No problems!
  • Thanks for that info, Cliff.
    I'm picking up a black gold Yellowstone Solo with aluminum gunwales in a week or so and am actually hoping I'll like it better than the kevlar Deluxe Wildfire that I have.

    My perception is that my royalex Yellowstone Solo is a bit more efficient than my composite Wildfire, but I have foot braces in the royalex Yellowstone Solo and don't in the kevlar Wildfire. Also, I didn't paddle them back to back in the same situation on the same day.
  • The OP
    has a Yellowstone Solo. Yes I read that it is ticketed WildFire. My friends who have a fleet of them in Ohio have several of them. RX.

    Not only is RX different from composites, when we get back to the composite WildFires, those who have paddled all three a lot attest that the Bell, Placid, and Coldens all are a wee bit different. The Coldens are the stiffest and most fun.
  • Options
    I was hoping...
    you wouldn't say that. :)

    One day...
  • Wildfire vs Yellowstone(aka Rx Wildfire)
    Very different hulls. No comparison really.

    The Yellowstone is a lousy freestyle boat. It is much better as a tripper. A moderately skilled whitewater canoester should have no trouble in either in class II.
  • WildFire, YellowStone Solo, RX YSS Speed
    -- Last Updated: Nov-01-12 1:40 PM EST --

    Comparing the relative speeds of the three Bell, etc hulls is kinda like debating how many angles, or demons, can dance on the head of a pin. That said, here's my two cents.

    With a straight shaft and a perfect forward stroke, composite WildFire should be fastest as little or now yaw will be induced and the stern rocker reduces wetted surface, hence a little less skin friction.

    If paddling with a bent paddle or carrying a straight blade aft of the knee or not stacking one's hands across the rail, YellowStone Solo in composite will be faster than the WildFire. That's why we reduced stern rocker, to counter misdirection from compromised forward strokes.

    Of interest, bents move the +/- 15 dg blade angle window aft along the hull, hwich increases induced yaw oven if hands are nicely stacked across the rail.

    The RX YSS should always be slowest due to greater skin friction, blunter ends and less precise shaping. If it's faster than a composite WildFire, the paddler isn't stacking hands across the rail or is carrying the blade behind the body, and needs a forward stroke clinic with Tom Foster.

    Alternatively, the paddler might be comparing a brand new RX hull with a badly scratched composite hull. Winters discusses accumulated drag, best to read him, but a moderately scratched hull can have half again the skin friction of a new one. [One reason why comparison paddles are anecdotal and of minimal value; we seldom get to compare apples, ie multiple runs by multiple paddlers in new boats over a measured distance with a disinterested observer holding that stopwatch.]

  • no
    It justifies owning all the iterations of YSS and Wild.

  • If you really want to do it
    and you have a sizable flat surface like a patio, deck, or driveway you can set the boat on that. It seems to make most sense measuring the LWL at the same waterline that the BWL is measured. I seem to recall from somewhere that the BWL for the Argosy given by Wenonah is at the 3" waterline, but it could be 4" or something in between.

    If you want to measure the LWL at the 3" waterline, get a little rectangle of scrap wood 3" long on one side that has a true right angle, or make one. Set the canoe on the flat surface and butt the piece of wood up to the stem of the boat with the wood aligned with the keel line and mark the position on the flat surface. That will give you the position immediately below the 3" waterline.

    Then use a plumb line or a level touching the very tip of the deck plate and mark that position on the surface. Measure between the marks and get the "deadwood" measurement for that end of the boat. Then repeat for the other end. Add the two and subtract the total from the LOA.

    Might not work precisely for a very short, very asymmetrically rockered canoe, but it should be close enough for government work for the Argosy.
  • pretty much how bottom scuff
    patches are marked off.

    The trick of course is getting the hull level.
  • Here in Indiana
    finding a level surface is not much of a problem.
  • True
    But with differential rocker we do not want the keel line level, or averaged level....
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