Bell Yellowstone Solo owners

I’d like to hear from those of you that own Bell Yellowstone solo canoes. How do you like your boat? Specifically, how often do you paddle it on windy open lakes? Does it cut the wind and track nice out there?

Maybe. Maybe not.
I’ve had my boat since Christmas. I’ve paddled it four times. Three of those times were calm. The last was quite windy. There were a few times that I was blown sideways, but for the most part, I was able to go where I wanted to go (using all the muscle I could muster.) I’m not experienced enough, and I’ve not paddled other boats recently enough to compare. I’m anxious as to what others have to say.

I love THAT canoe, though.

I have owned mine for 4 yrs. Over 500 miles on it . It is great on small winding rivers. In big water and wind it is a handful. I own 8 boats so I dont have to paddle it on lakes. You should try adding wieght to the bow in windy conditions. It helps keep the bow down and tracking straighter. But yes I too love the boat.

Not too bad…
It’s pretty easy to go into the wind if you hit-n-switch, especially if you are using a bent paddle. Downwind is more difficult and the boat will want to turn broadside to the wind. Best method I’ve found for keeping straight downwind is to use a straight paddle and add a corrective pry at the end of the stroke. Depending on how you are quartering the wind you may have to switch hands and pry on the other side.

My Magic is much better in the wind and faster, but not as much fun as the YS in most other conditions.

I have a royalex wildfire
aka yellowstone. I have used mine a lot. But now, I have other boats for the lakes. When this was my only solo it was okay, because I had nothing else to compare it to. Going downwind, it does get whipped around. Probably some weight and trim adjustments would have helped me in big water,(I usually paddled it empty). Tracking? I am a better paddler these days, but I am still not excited by its tracking ability.

It was a great boat for my first solo, and I still paddle it a fair amount, but I have more boats these days for more specific applications

Really depends
on your body weight and skill level. A little ballast don’t hurt, either.

That said, I’ve had mine out in 25 mph winds, and had no issue with beam winds or going upwind - you just go slower. Downwind isn’t bad. But as I said, your body weight is a big factor in a solo, as is the weight of gear you take with you, and where you put it.

I like my YS solo a lot.

How does it track on a lake or still water with a single blade? It doesn’t look like it has a very sharp entry on the bow from what I can tell in the photo on Bell’s site (could be the roundish decks hiding what the hull lines really are). Anybody have any better picturesof the Yellowstone solo?

People taking FreeStyle put the
time in to perfect their forward stroke. Ergo the Yellowstone tracks very well for them.

So does the WildFire (which I have a relative of)

The YS bow has some fullness which is an aid in riding over waves.

Sometimes its not about the boat and it is about the paddler…(again)

I was the first to respond, and said, “There were a few times that I was blown sideways…” I want to add that I weigh only about 140 lbs. so not much of the boat was in the water. I’m below the minimum recommended weight for the boat (160 lbs.) Even so, I think the boat tracks very well— as long as you have a good forward stroke. (I don’t hit and switch.)

I’ve got a rx Wildifre
This is my first solo canoe. Not being able to kneel, I lowered the seat about an inch and a half and paddled it exclusively from a seated position.

Not my first choice for lake travel. In short chop the boat makes me nervous. While I haven’t fell out outside of moving water, I have spent a few miles on wind blown lakes wishing I was in different boat. I have a Cookes spray deck to help shed wind and water and dont really have a hard time controlling the boat but feel less than comfortable when challenged with waves that come in at particular intervals. Like 20+mph wind blown waves. At 14 feet, I would like something longer.

The boat tracks fine. I find myself taking five or six strokes at a time on each side but the boat is easy enough to control from one side. It is easy to keep going straight.

The boat is slow. The blunt bow is differently limiting in this regard. At 2.5+mph it feels like it is plowing a lot of water. If speed is important there are much better choices.

Having said all that, I love the boat on moving water. Quickwater to class 2 is where the boat is the most fun. I dont get crazy in ww but enjoy travel on small rivers and have taken the boat on river/lake trips. This where the boat shines for me. It is easy to carry, good on moving water, and tolerable on lakes. I don’t worry about damaging the boat. It is cheap compared to any composite. A great boat for weekend battles with the forest. A good all round small canoe.

Not sure I will buy another one when this one gives up the ghost. Royalex is not such a great material. I will be looking for something faster, better behaved in wind, and lighter. It will be a sad day when this one goes. Lots of memorable miles.

If I were paddling just on lakes, I would want something longer in a composite and more capable of rough water.