size does matter, eh?
don’t lose sight of the fact that Cliff Jacobsen is something like 5’3" and weighs 150.
size does matter, eh?
And he does celebrity endorsements…
…for Bell and Piragis… These days he plugs the Yellowstone Solo over the WildFire. Take with a grain of salt.
Anyway - The composite Flashfire and Wildfire were designed as FreeStyle canoes – they are agile sport boats with equal amounts of rocker at both ends. With some very notable exceptions most Flashfire paddlers I’ve met have been smaller individuals while most Wildfire paddlers are more average in size/weight. That being said nothing beats getting in a particular canoe and trying it on for size to see how it performs for you. There are no “rules” as to what feels right to you.
If you want a Royalex David Yost designed solo in that size range you’ll have to go with the Bell Yellowstone Solo RX or an older Bell Wildfire RX. Some say the Yellowstone Solo was “tweaked” when it was renamed, I don’t really know about that - so I think of them as essentially the same boat. I characterize the YS (or older WF RX) as a small day touring boat. Compared to the composite WildFire (or Flash) it can not be maneuvered as nimbly due to its differential rocker (the sticky stern aids in tracking - analogous to training wheels) and blunt stems which hamper both quick acceleration and glide. The blunt stems of the YS are not blunter than a typical Royalex canoe, just compared to a composite. Sharp stems have eluded all ABS canoe builders – it’s the nature of the material. Even with the shortcomings (compared to the composites) this is a fun boat to play with in creeks and small rivers where rocks and log-jams prevail. This is a very playful boat to paddle compared to some other Royalex solo canoes in its size range. While I wouldn’t go so far as to call this boat a “semi-truck” it is not stellar FreeStyle canoe. It doesn’t sound like the original poster was concerned about FreeStyle capabilities, but when the Fire boats are mentioned the topic should be brought up…
As many already know the WildFire design has been discontinued by Bell, but will supposedly be available at some point in the future from Placid Boat Works. Since PBW canoes are crafted to very high standards in limited production and are only available in Carbon/Kevlar lay-ups with slick wood trims I think we can expect the next generation of WildFires to be rather pricey – not that the Bells were poorly made or inexpensive…
PS to Andy - missed you in Peninsula this past weekend my friend. Hope we’ll paddle together again soon! Raystown? Randall
Size does and does not matter depending
Dan told be he was 230 lbs when he was paddling his FlashFire and talked to me about it.
I was 210 lbs when I got mine and started paddling it. Now 220 lbs and still love the Flash! :^)
If Bell since what I read have I guess “sold” for lack of a better word the design back to the original designer of the hull would make the canoe for an added charge? Is it officially off the market as far as Bell manufacturing the canoe or just special order now?
I’m not really interested in buying a hull that i’m going have to battle with when all I want to do is goof off in some classs 1&2
I’m even considering going to the darkside and looking at the rotomolded current design kayak’s specifically the Kestrel. I would consider Wenonah’s but all they offer is the vagabond now and I have to say that is one of the most uninspiring designs I have ever seen for a solo canoe. Now before I get flamed from all the vagabond owners I have to say looks are deceptive I did a race in a solo plus tuf-weave about two years ago and got smoked by a guy paddling a royalex vagabond. I dunno none of the wenonah solo designs grab me anymore.
you can still get em
I just today ordered a Wildfire (not the Yellowstone) in Whitegold. I also might add that I ordered it at a good price They no longer advertise the fact that they’ll make the fire boats, nor that they’ll still make whitegold layups. I don’t know how much longer they’ll continue to make the fire boats or how long it will be before they forget how to make a whitegold boat, but get it while the getting is good.
Bell Wildfire still available?
Were you able to order this “unadvertised” Wildfire directly from Bell, or did you have to go through a dealer?
he was paddling a Wildfire in my class. Hes got an arsenal like some of the rest of us.
And that was a Wildfire that Cliff brought to Louisiana and paddled with us on McGee Creek and Bogue Chitto…
The Wild, Yellowstone and Flash are all fun boats but going back to the original question I think the bigger boat would be better for the use originally asked about.
I think that Placid is only building in Carbon fiber but thats conjecture. Its a small shop so switching from layup to layup is time consuming. Best to ask Charlie directly.
Aagh I would have been in Peninsula except I had to work…bummer
Hey Randall, I really wanted to go to Pennisula, and AFS, and the WCHA assembly in Finger Lakes, but building my new house is consuming most of my free time. Looks like I’ll move in for Christmas, and have all next year to catch up on paddling.
My point was that you can still get a Flash from Bell in Whitegold.
Flashfire vs Yellowstone
The Flashfire is a much hotter boat than the Yellowstone (and hotter than just about any other solo canoe!) and you’ll fit it perfectly…there’s no way you’d regret getting the Flash. Nothing accelerates or turns like a Flash, and it will be a pleasure on moving water. The Yellowstone would be roomier.