Anyone paddle an MR independence solo

Read the reviews and wonder about others experience with this older solo canoe. I gather it isn’t great in waves, but was wondering if a cover would solve that problem. It seems like a good boat. What is it load rating?

We just had a thread on this so make sure you check that. Here is a quick take. I’ve had mine about 1 year. It is a fiberglass layup and is nice and stiff.

I’m 6’3", 215.

I’ve paddled the boat on moving water on the Current River in MO. and the Texas Colorado river, nothing reaching Class II. She is a dream on the flats and no problem to guide through tight twisty stuff and around strainers in tight bends.

Have only tripped in her on the Texas Colorado River and with a load heavier than what one would take to BWCAW.

She does fine in small wind driven waves and neither slaps in them nor gets hung up in the waves, very mannerly and responsive to corrective strokes for holding a line.

Had a chance recently to paddle the Indy back to back with my buddy’s cedar strip Merlin 38 special. The 38 was noticably faster and certainly tracked much harder than the Indy. Both very sweet boats.

Also the Indy has great stability. I fly fish out of mine and it has the most secure feel of any of the solos I have had, namely the Bell Yellowstone solo, Swift Shearwater and Mad River Freedom Solo, all of which I fished out of.

Mad River has archives of old catalogs on their web site if you want to check specs.

Good luck!

I went back and read the indy thread
It sounds like I would like this canoe. I am wondering what a reasonable.price would be for a kevlar in good condition? Thanks for your response.


– Last Updated: Apr-29-13 5:33 PM EST –

Re-read that thread.

Indy is V bottomed with minimal rocker. While width provides stability it prefers to stay on one or the other of the Vee flats at a slight standing heel.

While it tracks well, consider what the V does to block coefficient, it turns best with less stable outside heels. This is in part because the stern offside V presents a flat to the skid when heeled outside but heeled inside a maneuver the stern V presents a vertical wall to the skid. Second reason is that the long, un-rockered bow resists bow draws. The outside heel starts the bow carving into the maneuver.

Similarly, Indy doesn't not want to paddle an Inside Circle, much less a Cross Inside Circle, the proclivities a function of minimal rocker, Vee bottom and wide rails.

Lack of tumblehome on a wide solo compromises most average sized paddlers ability to present a vertical paddleshaft during the +/- 15dg power window of forward strokes. Indy fits guys with wise shoulders and long arms pretty well.

Indy tracks due to the V hull and is stable due to 29" WL width, but does not respond well to advancing technique. It's a solo most paddlers will own for a while before moving on to a more sophisticated shape that does not limit technique. Maybe best buy used for later resale. Indy's not a bad boat, just limited in what it will and will not do.

I think
That if my Indy had that tumblehome I might ditch my Magic.


I don’t know the Indy hull, but as owner
of a small number of MR canoes with varying degrees of V-bottom, I would say, the less V the better.

If the V gets pronounced, it means there are two broad, flattish surfaces on the bottom of the boat, that can get thrown around more easily by waves than the bottom of a canoe with shallow arch design.

But I’ve seen many posts by Indy owners who have been quite happy, and that’s true for owners of most MR designs with V bottoms. Question is, should they be so happy? Maybe they haven’t paddled their Indys in turbulent conditions. Maybe it wasn’t really designed for turbulent conditions.

I was quite happy with mine
But I always forget to skid my stern in flatwater so that probably explains it :slight_smile:

Hee hee
Bit my tongue on this thread. :wink:

V bottoms
In my experience,my v bottomed canoes had very little initial stability when perfectly level level,transitioning to a lot more when they move off center a little. You can get used to this,but i had trouble owning convential hulls also and transitioning from one to another. I sold all my v hulls because of this. yes they also needed a healthy outside heal to turn well.over all I prefer a non v hull.


Just as we need someone to preserve
front engined gran prix cars, we need someone to preserve V-bottomed hulls. The average guy on the street actually prefers front engined, rear drive cars, though they aren’t the best thing on the track.

I’ve built a harpsichord and a clavichord, based closely on historical designs. Pianos are “better”, but some music needs to be played on the same instruments for which it was written.

I don’t know but I like mine a lot.
I just went out & looked at the hull. The v is there, but it’s not very pronounced - not too far off of a shallow arch. I’ve never noticed that it wants to sit on one side or the other. I may need to put a level on one thwart some time. The initial stability is good - maybe too good. It’s definitely better that the Rival or Rendezvous. The final is quite good as well. It’s kept my but dry more than once. I dipped a rail surfing the old Dobson’s Bridge wave on the Pine (Michigan) on March and the boat was kind enough to keep me in it both then & wobbling across the eddy line.

For tripping and day paddling it’s a good boat. It’s not a free style or play boat & it’s not a real hard tracker but it does well enough. It carries a load well as a tripper. It does seem to bog down on the first day of the February AuSable trip when I have a load of fire wood in as well as full winter camping gear.

In my view, it’s a darn good boat & if you find one at a reasonable price & condition, and you “need” another boat then buy it and enjoy.

Though MR doesn’t describe it as a V
my Guide Solo does have a bit of V on the bottom, softened toward a shallow arch.

The near flatness outside of the keel line makes for brilliant dynamic ferrying, better than my MR Synergy can do.

The Guide Solo has nice initial stability, and good secondary stability. It’s quite unlike my old MR Compatriot, which had a very pronounced V bottom, didn’t sit firmly on center, and was much less maneuverable than the Guide. I don’t know whether the Guide’s good behavior has been preserved in the Freedom Solo, but why would it change?

Little as I know about the Independence, I never had an inkling of suspicion that it was less than stable.

Turbulent conditions
The Indy has no more V to the hull than the Millbrook/Mad River ME. If anything it has less. With that said, the turbulent conditions question answers itself.

Thanks for all the info.
This boat caught my eye. Saw it for sale for $1000. I know it’s not either a hemlock peregrine or colden wildfire either of which I am sure I would love to paddle, but still a fine boat in its own right and available. I haven’t made up my mind so it may sell. I am not in a hurry as I have lots to learn about the different solos. Everyone’s help in steepening this learning curve is much appreciated.

I love my v-bottomed

– Last Updated: Apr-30-13 12:57 PM EST –

Blackhawk Starship. It is a great all-purpose boat. I suspect it is very similar to the Independence, but I have never paddled one. The Indy looks like a very handsome canoe.

A Pearl in the Hand…
Noticed in another of your threads what you intend with the canoe and that you solo your kevlar Explorer.

Don’t fear the V hull, it is less pronounced than in the Explorer (I enjoy paddling my kevlar Explorer too!) But loved the Indy in the 30 MPH winds after a cold front blew through on the Colorado River not long ago.

Good luck,

MR Independence - shallow v hulls…

– Last Updated: Apr-30-13 4:16 PM EST –

Wholly unsuitable for river travel. Unwieldy and lacking in initial stability. Must be leaned outside to turn.


I haven't found one for sale yet, but I can't imagine it being anything but a good solo canoe for moving water below class 2. But that's just based on my time in a MR Malecite. I read all the stuff about both boats flopping from one side to the other, requiring special gymnastics to turn, etc - and while there is an element of truth (ever so small), I don't see what the big deal is.

A good-shape Independence in kev for ~1000? It seems a little high for such a used boat (unless in excellent condition), but I should be so lucky to find one nearby for that price. Where is it, again???

There’s a nice yellow one on eBay
in Green Bay for way…

Not even I would pay that much
That’s approaching the coast of a new Millbrook hull delivered to my door.

Looks like it’s in perfect shape!
But $1,800?!? That’ll be the day. And that yellow…there ought to be a discount because of the color.