Fast Solo

Sojourn has a “small” following, yes.
Because it never had the capacity for tall, heavy people like me. A pocket solo for the normal sized.

Good point
“sustainable speed” is what is important to me. Crusing with little effort at a decent speed is my definition of fast. My Hemlock Kestrel is my"fastest" boat.I never owned a royelex boat that felt fast,my Wenona Sandpiper was the least slow,Esquif Echo not bad either. My Roylex Wildfire(Yellowstone solo) felt the slowest.

My take,Turtle


– Last Updated: Mar-31-14 11:42 AM EST –

Steve Scarborough's Sojourn was indeed a fast solo canoe, but it has not been molded in over a decade and a half. The mold was probably among those chainsawed by Confluence when they acquired WaterMark, so we've a finite and dwindling number of Sojourns available for use, and probably a finite and dwindling number of RX canoes overall for that matter, including the various tandems mentioned for conversion to solo use.

RX is Gone with the Winds of financial reality, but something else will come along.

I've always been suspicious of the Solo +, as it shares designer and specs with the old Bell Fusion. It was challenging as a tandem; tippy and un-turnable. Solo it was stable as a rock but unable to maneuver due to zero rocker and excessive length. It was a joy to discontinue that boat!

That’s a cogent description of the phenomena at hull speed, and I have little to add. One wrinkle is that the bow wave and stern transverse wave interfere constructively as the process continues, and this is one of the reasons so much power is required.

Thinking about the issue further, I think I see how hull speed can seem like a wall. With an engine, you can always throttle up and power through the resistance. People, however, are seriously power-limited. Once you reach your limit, that’s pretty much it. Even though we may feel like we’re exceeding our limit when really trying hard, we’re not.

Pretty blunt nose
I never paddled one but saw one in a paddle store for sale. Looked like a nice canoe but I remembered that it had a relatively blunt bow at the waterline so I was confused when some claimed it to be fast.

For a solo
it ought not be fast. L/W ratio is 6.2, not much higher than Yellowstone Solo.

There is a lot of skin there and rocker can actually help with speed. You need a very tall and powerful paddler to get to hull speed.

Charlie, my Solo Plus experience
Charlie, my Solo Plus experience was exactly as you indicated. It was too narrow at the tandem paddling positions for to two larger people (I’m about 185 lbs), and that made it tippy.

Not maneuverable as a solo. As my friend Bob commented after watching me on the Ponca to Kyle’s run on the Buffalo River: “You have to pick your line early, hope you’re right, and then hold it.”

It was OK on our flat, non twisty, Iowa Rivers. But soon after I started canoeing Ozark rivers I traded it in for a Mad River Freedom Solo. Couldn’t find a used Guide and didn’t want to wait any longer because I had another Buffalo River trip coming up.

vic, are you seeing a difference between
the MR Guide Solo and the MR Freedom Solo?

While there has been some irrational description drift in the MR catalogs, I was not aware that the mold had changed. And why would it change? The Guide is a very good boat, falling short of greatness mainly because it tries to succeed through compromise. So, it ends up being kinda slow on the lakes, and (unless one works out some edging secrets) kinda not-so-maneuverable in whitewater.

It sounds like you don’t think the Freedom Solo is better, but in your view, is it worse?

Guide and Freedom Solo
I have friends with Guides. My far from expert observation is that the older Guide was made with better quality Royalex. My friend’s Guide was not soft when originally purchased as was my Freedom Solo. His just “felt” more substantial. Also, the fit and finish on the Guides I’ve seen is better than on the Freedom Solo. To me it seems that better craftsmanship went into the Guides than into the Freedom Solos. As for performance, with my limited skills I did not notice any real difference between the two canoes.

I don’t really enjoy paddling lakes. The last time I did the Quetico we rented kevlar boats, and even then the portages did me in. I did take my Freedom Solo on the lower Wisconsin River, but only once. The lower Wisconsin is a big wide river and paddling it is more like paddling a lake than the smaller rivers I usually paddle.

As for maneuverability, I am not a whitewater paddler. I prefer smaller rivers with moving water. They are usually sort of narrow and twisty with riffles, some class I, and the occasional class II. Ozark rivers like the Current, Eleven Point, and Buffalo river are examples of the kinds of rivers I prefer

For my type of paddling and skill level both the Guide and Freedom Solo suit my needs quite well. If I had to replace my Freedom Solo I would prefer a Guide in very good condition, but would not hesitate replacing it with another Freedom Solo.