I’m trying to decided which solo canoe I would like best.
I’m 6’5" and 200lbs. I will mostly use it for day floating. So usually wont need much carrying capacity. But I take several 2-3 day trips a year, but usually pack light anyways.
It will be a couple of weeks until I can order a fresh Mohawk, so I’m just trying to find out the differences. They are moving close to me, so I might just wait and paddle them both.
My father has a 13 or 14’ solo sportsman that is nice, but it is much wider in the middle.
If anyone has any other Royalex solo suggestions I’m open to them as well.
I’m trying to decided which solo canoe I would like best.
Depends on the waters
I really liked my Madriver 14tt but it was a little wide and had too moch rocker to go very fast. It was great for river running but too slow for fast lake paddling. It was 14.5 feet and 36 inches wide.
My next boat will be 31 inches or less and maybe a little longer.
A fella with a mohawk odysee 15 would good much faster and still turn on a dime, but often it is the paddler who is better
Odyssey 14 vs 15, Solo 14
I've heard that there is very little similarity between the Odyssey 14 and 15. The 15-footer has less rocker, and should be faster, but I've heard some on these boards say that it doesn't quite measure-up as a long-distance tripping boat. For your needs, however, it would probably work well. Because the Odyssey 14 has more rocker, it is quite manueverable. It doesn't have enough rocker to make straight-line paddling difficult. I've had mine for two years, and mostly use it on small rivers that require lots of turning and negotiating complex fallen-tree obstacles, and I appreciate it more and more as time goes by. For twisty-turny stuff in current, I greatly prefer the handling of its symetrical hull to that of the asymetrical hulls you are stuck with if you get any of the really popular general-purpose solos (this wouldn't be an issue if you don't need a boat that handles well in both directions).
Relative to the Solo 14, the Odyssey 14 will be more maneuverable (again, it has more rocker), and will provide a drier ride in light whitewater or chop. It will also catch the wind more than the Solo 14, so in windy conditions on small waters (meaning small waves), the Solo 14 would likely be better. On the maneuverability topic though, I understand that some people use the Solo 14 for freestyle canoeing, meaning it certainly CAN twist and turn as needed, though you may need to heel it way over to make the most of that.
I'd have to check the website to be sure, but I think the Solo 14 is only available in Royalite, not Royalex, and Royalex takes abuse better. Some here say Royalite scratches easier, but that makes no sense to me, since both materials supposedly have the exact same outer vinyl skin.
With any kind of heavy load, I would expect that either of the Odyssey boats (especially the 15-footer) will be better than the Solo 14.
Not sure how much that helps, but those are my thoughts.
Royalite vs Royalex Lite
There still seems to be some confusion out there between Royalite (R84), which does not have a vinyl outer skin, and “Royalex Lite”, which is a term used by several manufacturers to denote a lightweight layup of conventional Royalex (vinyl skin inside and outside). This is made more confusing by the fact that a couple of manufacturers have switched from Royalite to “Royalex Lite” for their lightweight layups. See the following link for Mohawk’s explanation of Royalite:
Having owned two Royalite (R84) boats, including one Mohawk, I haven’t noticed a big difference between it and Royalex, but I’m not hard on my boats. The R84 does seem to gouge more when you hit a rock - seems slightly softer than the vinyl.
I’ve owned 2
I had an Odyssey 14 in RX and took it on several Canadian whitewater trips. It does run dry up to CII tech even with a load. I eventually sold it and bought a Solo 14 in R84 , mainly for the weight savings.
I am happy with my Solo 14 but it isn’t as dry a ride. In CII I am now liable to carry my packs around before running.
with your size and weight all the narrower solos on the market will give you a hard time!
The lower initial stability of the better ones like Bell Yellowstone or Wenonah Argosy will give you a very tipsy feel while you’ll have a hard time to take advantage of their high final stability. And while you’ll feel more comfartable in them (due to their initial stability), the lower final stability of the Mohawks will flip you more often than you’ll want.
I would opt for a Wenonah or Clipper or Nova Craft Prospector 15 and outfit it for soloing.
More freeboard than the solos, more lee way to play with the final stability, more room for gear and enough initial stability to feel comfortable in it right away…
I’m hoping that Bob chimes in here
I don't know the skill level of the original poster, but Bob (thebob.com) is roughly the same height and weight. I've seen Bob in both the Oddysey 14 and Bell Wildfire/Yellowstone, and never got the impression he had trouble with tippyiness in the Bell or lack of final stability in the Mohawk. He looks very comfortable in both boats, and as far as I can tell, really enjoys them. Since the original poster is looking for something for day trips and light-packing overnighters, I don't think a real high-volume boat like a Prospector is needed, but that's just me. Of course, that's a boat that would also do the job quite well.
Hey Bob! Are you out there?
I’m a little shorter than you (6 feet), and a little heavier (220 lbs). I can’t comment on the Mohawk boats, but I love my Bell Yellowstone. On flatwater, it is plenty fast and I have no trouble keeping up with longer kayaks. In moving water it maneuvers well but will take on water in large waves. I kneel with the seat high. With a lower seat it is very comfortable for sitting. I have never paddled the Solo 14, but many of the comments about stability seem similar to the Yellowstone. Some people like them, some people don’t. Good luck.
Capacity of solo 14
My wife has a solo 14 and I’ve used it locally on the Brule River in class 1 stuff with a single blade paddle. I go 6’2" and 255 lbs, with a long torso, so I sit high in a canoe seat. The boat handles beautifully with me seated in it, plus carrying 20 lbs of gear. Feels like a leaf floating along slowly as you pick your way confidently downstream. I have no problem with stability in this boat, doing ferries, or catching eddies. It is not a fast paddling boat so you won’t keep up with a group of tandem canoes between riffles. It needs forward momentum before it starts to track. I think in class 1 stuff, this boat would be fine up to a 300 lb load.
Just back off the river…
Spent 3 days on the Eleven Point river in south central Missouri, with 2 good friends, who just happen to be occasional posters on pnet.
They were both paddling Mad River Guides. I left my Guide and my Bell Wildfire at home; took my
Mohawk Odyssey 14 instead. River was up some & we averaged about 3.5 to 4 mph; if we paddled just enough to keep our canoe in the current, dodge rocks & strainers, and deal with the occasional 5 to 10 mph wind gusts. I'd say each of us was packing about 60 lbs of gear; we all "travel heavy". The Guide & the Odyssey are both excellent on that type of river, as is the Wildfire. Would have been just as happy in either of the other 2 I didn't take; I just grabbed the Odyssey because it was the easiest to get too.
I am 6'4" tall & the last time I was on the scale I was 204 lb. I've never managed to turn over a Wildfire yet. I don't think I've ever dumped a Guide, but my memory is fading fast & I may have dumped a Guide once. If I did, it was because I was going down a fast chute in a standing position (not polint, and high centered it). I have flipped an Odyssey "3 times". Every time was on class 3/class 3+ rapids. An Odyssey doesn't handle well 50% to 75% full of water!
It didn't take me long to realize that I needed a real whitewater boat; I bought a Mad River Outrage X.
I personally don't see any problems whatsoever with any of the 3 boats I've mentioned as far as stability, for useage on day trips, or multi overnights on class 1 to high class 2+ rivers. All can handle a 200+ lb paddler, and all the gear they could possibly need. All will take a lot of abuse, and all are what I'd call great multipurpose use boats. I think all 2 are "fun" boats. I don't think any require anything more than beginner's skills. Wind appears to affect the Guide the most, but if I were going to try class 3 in any of the three mentioned; it would be the Guide. A Guide will carry a 200 lb paddler & a 75 pounds of gear with ease; so will an Odyssey. A Wildfire will carry that load but you'll not have as much freeboard as with the Guide or Odyssey. I think the Wildfire is the sleekest looking of the 3; it looks good sitting on a gravel bar. I plan on keeping all 3.
If you have a Wildfire, Yellowstone Solo, Guide ,or Odyssey in near new condition & it's too "tippy" for you; contact me & I'll happily assist you in "getting rid of it"!
I've owned a Mohawk Solo 14; I did not like the R-84 layup for my personal use. I didn't think it would stand up to the rivers I typically paddle & my paddling style. My wife liked it; mostly for its light weight & stability.......and the fact that "I" paid for it. She does not go a lot of places I go in a canoe; she was not too happy when I sold it.
She paddled my Mohawk Odyssey until recently; she bought her own Wenonah Vagabond after test paddling mine.
P.S. Some pnetters have stated they do class 3 in a Wildfire. Haven't seen any photo proof yet; still waiting.....ain't holding my breath while I wait.
River trip P.S. We saw quite a few Bald & Golden Eagles. Night time temps were in the mid to high 20s.
Saw only 2 other canoes(at the put in/never again) during the 3 days we were on the river. We did not see one "river dork".
now a few days later
So after a few days of research, I’ve decided on either:
Mohawk Odyssey 14
Nova Craft Supernova
Then maybe a:
MR Guide/Freedom Solo
I’ve been canoing since I was a child. But I’d say I have 3-5 years of experience all together. All the canoes I’ve been in have all been pretty stable because of their flat bottom and width. I think that I’d like to step up to a more intermediate/advanced canoe to work on my skill. I paddled an older Wenonah racing Jenson last year, and felt like I was going to dump every time I took a stroke. So I’d like something with moderate initial stability. But I know I could get used to paddling the Jenson, I just need time and practice.
Since Mohawk is moving into my backyard (Ft. Smith Arkansas) I will probably end up with the Odyssey 14 because of price. I’d still like to paddle all of these canoes though. Does anyone have any experience with the Supernova?
I have a Supernova too
For the type of paddling you mentioned at the beginning, I'd recommend the Oddysey 14 over the Supernova. Here are some comparative comments regarding the two boats. The Supernova is a big boat, but someone your size will have no trouble with its width (it's too wide and too high to be easily paddled by mid-size or smaller paddlers unless heeled over on edge, or unless you keep the seat in it's factory-original "way-back" position and trim the boat with a big load). The Supernova handles light rapids very nicely, but part of the reason for that is its rounded bottom, which allows it to not get tossed around badly or be easily flipped in waves. A common comment regarding the Supernova's rounded bottom is that it has "low" intial stability, but after years of climbing in and out of a guide-boat, I thought it felt pretty darn solid the first time I got in, so it's all in what you are accustomed to. It is more "rolly polly" than most average canoes, but when leaned over, the stability really firms up. The Supernova "might" have a higher top speed than the Oddysey 14, but you will work much harder to accomplish that than you will in the Oddysey. For efficient all-day cruising at a brisk pace, you will do a lot better with the Oddysey 14, but at slower speeds, the two boats are pretty equal. The Supernova can be a real bear to handle in strong wind, and under any conditions it requires more attention to detail than boats with less rocker, one of the things that adds to the fatique level on a long day. Of course, the benefit to a boat that handles that way is that it can really turn and spin. Again, it's a big boat, and the effort needed to execute abrubt maneuvers is rather high, but the degree to which you can make the boat dance is pretty amazing (as always, everything is a trade-off). If you get a Supernova, you may want to move the seat forward more than a foot, since the boat is made to be properly trimmed when you have a big heavy pack on the floor in front of you (when I do carry a lot of gear, I carry it in two packs to allow easier adjustment of boat trim). In my opinion, the Supernova is a far superior boat if you are dealing with lots of Class-II and short Class-IIIs, and the Oddysey 14 is the better choice for flatwater rivers. For straight Class-II, either boat is fine.
Have a Supernova and love it
At your size 6'5" and 200 pounds, you would have no trouble with its size. But, unless you are planning on paddling II and III whitewater, you'd probably be happier with less rocker. But, if you are doing the frothy stuff, it would be my choice, but with the caveat that I have not tried the Odyssey and can't comment on it.
Also, I have to disagree a bit about needing to move the seat forward, especially a whole foot. Mine was fine at it's factory position, all I needed was my daybag attached to the front thwart.
Now that I've added a saddle in the same relative position as the seat was (I know this because I never moved the kneeling pads) I can no longer put my day bag in front. It has to go behind. So, don't let the prospect of moving a seat disuade you. Maybe you'd want to move it, maybe you wouldn't.
How’s it work in “reverse”?
It's true that the seat is placed where it is to allow placement of a really large load in front of the paddler. I doubt a day pack would do it. Besides just trimming the boat, a good reason to move the seat forward is so you can utilize the advantages of a symetrical hull. I know a couple of local whitewater enthusiasts with Supernova's (and these guys are GOOD), and both of them placed their saddle *in front* of the existing seat to get the boat trimmed the way they wanted it(there's actually room to move the seat forward a lot more than a foot if you want without overloading the bow), but then they remove the saddle and paddle from the seat when doing long-distance tripping with a large load of gear. When paddling hard in reverse, like during a really strong backferry, the Supernova has no directional stability at all if it is stern-heavy to the degree that it is when using the seat in its factory position with no other big load, but the directional stability is good when paddling in either direction if the paddler is more centered. However, with the seat placement I used (moved forward about 1.5 feet) I still need to rock my weight forward to get the same control going backward as when going forward. For forward paddling only, the handling of a stern-heavy boat is easy and predictable, though it won't pivot nearly as well as when trimmed level. I agree that a person might want to keep the seat right where it is, which is why I said you "may" want to move it forward, not that you "should".
This has me curious
Let’s measure our Supernovas from deck plates (bow and stern) to center of seat. I’ll bet they are pretty close to the same, even though you moved the seat and I did not. Believe me, my boat is trimmed level.
Here is a picture of me in it with no pack at all:
I’ll check that
Hey, you look pretty “well-centered” in that photo. It also looks like you are pretty near the middle of the boat, haha.
I’ll measure my boat later on and report back.
Okay. First off, I was wrong about how far I moved the seat. I COULD have moved it a foot or more and still had room to spare, but in fact, I moved the center of the seat forward between 6 and 7 inches, to put it at the same relative position as the seat in my Mohawk (since the Mohawk is shorter, its seat is not quite as far off-center in actual distance as the new seat position of the Supernova, but in proportional terms, both boats are now the same).
The approximate center of the Supernova’s seat at its new location is 93 inches from the near edge of the front deck plate, and 70 inches from the near edge of the rear deck plate. Thus it works out that the center of the seat is 11.5 inches to the rear of dead center.
There could be about a one-inch error due to measuring from the deck plates NOT parallel to the plane of the boat, but sloping toward the seat, so the measuring line to the rear has a steeper slope than the line to the front. This is pretty close, though.
Using these numbers, the center of the factory seat was roughly 18 inches to the rear of center.
my factory seat placement
The center of the factory seat position on my Supernova was approximately 12 rear of center. That’s within an inch of where you settled in with yours after moving the seat. The model year on mine is '99.
Could it be that Novacraft started moving the seats back on later years?
I bet you’re right about that
The other times I’ve heard people comment about the need to move the seat forward, it has involved newer models of the boat too. Mine’s only two years old.
I still love my Odyssey14.
We chose it over the Solo14 for several reasons:
Solid for sitting and getting in and out
Tougher skin than Solo14. (I’m hard on boats)
If you’re running Ozark rivers, I’d choose the Odyssey.