Bell Rob Roy 15 or Placid Rapidfire

How would you compare a Bell black gold Robroy 15 to a Placid Rapidfire? Are they comparible in speed, tracking and handling? Are they similar in durability? I’m looking for something that will be used in medium sized lakes and slow rivers. I will fish from it mostly, but want to be able to cover some miles. I will hit the occasional submerged stump and will probably hit a rock or two when getting in or out of the boat. I will not be doing any white water in the boat.

Guessing here since I have never
paddled a Rob Roy. The Rapidfire should run rings around the Rob Roy. As for durability,the hull of the Rf is very tough and easy to repair.

do you need a deck?
I think thats the pertinent question.

RF has L/W of 7.5 RR 7.1

Both are quick…only you can decide if that difference of 0.4 is a big deal.

RF can be quite some lighter not having a deck. Mine comes in at 23 lbs.

If the speed
and handling are similar, I would be most interested in the stronger / more durable of the two. The deck isn’t a deal breaker either way. I would get a spray skirt for rainy days if I get the rapidfire.

Both are Yost designed hulls, 15 feet long, similar width; from there the handling and speed start to differ.

Rapid is a little narrower and is slightly swede-form. DY considers it a deep water hull. It will outrun RobRoy in deep water.

RobRoy is a delta design boat; radically swede-form. while not as fast in deep water it is faster in shallow as the broad stern resists squatting when the bow wave refracts off the river/lake bottom on shallows.

With both in Carbon/Kevlar laminates, RobRoy outweighs RapidFire by more than ten pounds. This is due to the deck and Rapids’ infusion lamination.

While both come with footpegs, RobRoy has a heavy but comfortable seat. Rapid comes with your choice of four, soon to be five, different seats, all with backbands.

While RobRoy costs a little more in Carbon/Kevlar it can be had in cheaper laminates; both meanings of the word intended.

Performance close, forget decks
I can’t comment on the relative paddling performance.

However, if the performance difference for me was a close call, I would have absolutely no use for the added weight and inconvenience (to access and movement) of decks.

Decks become more important in whitewater and ocean paddling for many paddlers – but, even there, not for me. If you really, really want a decked boat for rollingmania or whitewater play, get a real kayak.


– Last Updated: Sep-17-09 6:44 AM EST –

is infusion lamination and do you think both are fairly equal in hull strength for resisting bumps on stumps and rocks. My weight with gear will be at or just below the 4" water line limit for each boat. My goal is to get a quick composite boat that is tough as possible for the lite weight of either of these boats. Both are very nice looking canoes.

One reason for decks is better
perforemance in wind. The RF simply does not care about wind.

A spray deck does help
and is available from the Bag Lady.

True RF is relatively unaffected by wind as far as steering and handling,

Spray deck handy on Gulf of Mexico chop and the occasional breaking Gulf of Maine roller.

tried both
as test paddles and can’t offer long term review under different conditions. I did not like the fit of the Rob Roy it felt like a big rec kayak to me at 5’ - 6". I did the test in a large lake in very calm conditions. It did not feel as fast or as responsive as the Rapidfire which I paddled in winds gusting to 20 knots in the coastal Gulf of Mexico. The Rapidfire as my Kestrel do very well in wind without a deck. But you can always add a snap deck, which I do when coastal paddling. I would agree with above poster that the deck on the Rob Roy would be added weight that was unnecessary unless you were intending on using it in conditions needing one.

If I could afford and had the space to keep a second boat it would be a Rapidfire. The workmanship was very good, weighs nothing and is well designed.

Like Beachcamper…

– Last Updated: Sep-17-09 11:40 AM EST –

...I thought the same thing. Paddled both (both are boats belonging to different friends) on a flat 3-4 mile section of the St. Francis River in MO. The Rob Roy IMHO felt like a composite Old Town Loon 138. Not a "Bad," boat, just nothing "Special." But, for fishing, the Rob Roy felt more stable.

The Rapidfire, on the other hand, was a boat that just felt fast, responsive, fun, just "Alive" to me. All that without feeling like it was going to spit me out in the water at any moment! Also, the Rapidfire I tried had the carbon seat with the back band; MUCH more comfortable than the cheap foam thing in the Rob Roy. If money were no object, I'd own a Rapidfire today; although, the Bell probably is the better of the two as a fishing vessel. WW

Rob Roy
The Rob Roy is a nice boat and I am looking to sell one

Its in preatty good shape , light and sturdy .

If you are in North Jersey area , and interested ,

let me know.

infusion lamination
I haven’t seen an answer to the infusion question from the experts, so here’s information from a non-boatbuilder: Infusion is the most expensive and lightest layup technology used for canoes. The goal of laminating is to get enough resin into the fabric to hold the shape of the boat, and no more than that (since resin just adds weight and brittleness; it’s the fabric that provides the structural strength). The least expensive technology is hand lamination: put too much resin in the fabric, then use squeegees and rollers to remove the excess. The next one up the ladder is vacuum bagging: put too much resin in the fabric, wrap the mold and boat in an airtight bag, then suck the excess out. Infusion is next: don’t put the excess in to begin with; instead, wrap the mold and boat in the bag while still dry, attach a resin source to one end of the mold and a pump to the other, then suck just enough resin through the fabric. I understand there is a fourth, most expensive way, which I don’t think is used in canoes: prepreg: buy your fabric from the factory with the resin already in it, ship it in a refrigerated truck, keep it in a refrigerator until you’re ready to mold it, then warm it up.

I don’t consider any fabric-and-resin canoe to be a great choice for bumping rocks. Every bump will at least scratch the outer layer; some bumps will remove a little chunk of the outer layer; a good bump will put a zillion spidery cracks in the outer layer. After you’ve done a few gelcoat repairs, you learn to be careful. That said, I should also say that I’ve taken glass boats across a lot of rocks in a lot of places, and I’ve done only half a dozen gelcoat repairs, so the boats certainly can take some abuse. But I repeat that you have to be careful, or else keep the gel kit at hand.


Rob Roy vs, Rapidfire

– Last Updated: Sep-19-09 8:50 AM EST –

I special ordered a Rob Roy in Black Gold when Bell wasn't using that layup with that model. I was generally pleased with the canoe until I paddled the Rapidfire. I sold my Rob Roy to a friend and bought a Rapidfire.

The Rob Roy is faster in shallow streams, the Rapidfire is faster in deeper water. The rapidfire tracks better while still turning acceptably. While the seating in the Rob Roy was comfortable for me I like the seating in the Rapidfire better. I have the low height seat and the mid height seat that slips over the low seat. The mid seat allows more trunk rotation, while the low gives more back support. I choose between them based on how I'm feeling that day. The special order black gold hull was stiff enough, the Rapidfire is stiffer; It doesn't have the soft cheeks the Rob Roy has. I liked the looks of the Rob Roy except for that ugly hump just behind the seat. The Rapidfire looks even better. I have no graphics on mine and have changed some of the wood. I get compliments on the boat's appearance every time I go paddling with a group (no compliments on my appearance).

The decks of the Rob Roy reduce paddle drip but don't eliminate it (I use a double blade paddle). You can reduce the drip in the Rapidfire with fabric decks. While the Rapidfire feels very stable to me, the Rob Roy is a bit more stable. For fishing you would have to weigh the increased stability of the Rob Roy with the ease of reaching gear without decks in the Rapidfire and its greater speed.

Both are good canoes. I was willing to pay more for a Rapidfire for the improvement in speed and tracking. I have no regrets about my decision. My friend is very happy with my former Rob Roy.


Does anyone have any pictures of the Rapidfire they would be willing to email me? I have searched the internet and have come up with good side veiws, but nothing showing the different seats. I see what they show on the PB website, but there seem to be more options available. Also, any close up pictures of the boat exterior. It seems to look like they only sell green and red tinted boats that have the kevlar weave visible. Do you know if they do any in just clear or black?

The hulls offerd are blue,green,and red.
There is no weave showing on the outside;the color is translucent, the hulls very smooth.The seats are angled to your preference.I had a flat one that was not comfortable with the way I paddle,so they sent me one with more slope to the front which is perfect.

The photos of the colors on their site are very representative.

you didnt look far enough

– Last Updated: Sep-18-09 11:23 AM EST –

for seat options...also one of the intro slides (but you have to wait for it perhaps) shows red,green and blue. Mine is blue.The composite seats come in a variety of heights.

Reminder the PBW Fun and Paddle and Overeat Weekend is a week from today.

Why would one include gelcoat in a
vacuum bagged or infusion layup? Something heavy and only marginally functional when one is trying for the best combination of tough flexibility and lightness?

add durability
Skin coat is not enough where I paddle and portage. Been there done that.

I am a pretty firm believer in gel coat for boats that can and will be dropped or have a run in with rocks. "Jesus "rocks are incredibly destructive…the flatwater rock you cannot see.