MR Indy

So I’m close to snatching Pyker’s Mad River Indy from the classifieds. They seem to have a cult like following and oddly I have never paddled one.

Finding mixed reviews on the web.

My main interest with this boat is faster river tripping. Mixed water, from slow moving to low class II non technical stuff, mostly wave trains. There will be a lot more slow moving water than heavy stuff. I don’t expect to be catching many eddy’s.

I picked up a RX Wildfire for these kind of trips, but am feeling a more efficient hull would make life easier, specially in the long flats. And with the weather going the way it is I’m not expecting high water to help the Wildfire out. And while I think my Nomad would work well, frankly it’s in such nice shape I don’t want to trash it. The Indy carries more depth and width, which should make it better than the Nomad for river use?

5’8", 162#, 40-45# gear, kneeler, straight and bent paddles.

Thanks, Mike

The Nomad can be built again
so why are you keeping it?

The Indy is even shallower. I just varnished rails etc today on my Nomad and don’t want to measure the depth a kind of oddly balanced boat while its drying. But I am sure its 12 inches or more.

I suspect you just want to try the Indy… I have only tried it on flatwater and its shallowness was not to my liking. Reaching across to do cross strokes on the flats was more of a stretch in the Indy.

But buy it anyway… Your Yellowstone Solo is fine for class 2, if the Indy doesnt work. (There is no such thing as a RX WildFire. The mold is different from the composite WildFire. Nother day another discussion)

Have run occasional class 2 as in the entire stretch of the Buffalo in a Nomad son… the Swift Heron.

I am betting Nomad is faster than the Indy. To be sure you need both boats.

No such thing, LOL. Yes we had that lesson/discussion on my other thread. It’s RX and has a Bell Wildfire sticker on it. I know, I know…

my 2 cents
I owned a roylex wildfire-i know it’s not the same as the composite.i tripped a lot with it and it was significantly harder to paddle then an indy-a dog on long flst stretches. indy has the shallow v thing-some people prefer-i don’t.i’m your size and i find an indy too big for me.


Indy width
I am concerned about the width and fit for my size.

I’m not in a position to test paddle, hence my inquiry.


– Last Updated: Apr-11-13 2:13 PM EST –

Indy is 15'8" with 29" waterline, 30 in max and 28.5-29.5 beam at rails, latter variation between MRC and Vt Canoe. with somewhat rounded stems, L?W ratio is 6.2, Symmetrical rocker of 1/2".

Nomad is 15'4" with 26" wl, 28.5 max and 26.5 beam at rails; L/W ratio of 6.8, differential rocker, 1.5/1".

Indy has minimal tumblehome which compromises vertical paddleshaft orientation; hence forward efficiency. Maneuverability is limited by minimal rocker and the V hull, which does not skid well when heeled inside the turn; the Vee turns better when heeled outside skidded maneuvers. Indy is wider, hence more stable once one adjusts to the V's tendency to firm on one flat or the other. The extra width will float larger paddlers.

Nomad has significant tumblehome and is narrower overall, both increasing more vertical strokes and forward efficiency. It's rocker and Yost's elliptical bottom reacts to both outside and more stable inside heels. Nomad is much, much, more maneuverable than Indy.

Nomad has better ergometrics, is more efficient and faster, tracks better and maneuvers more easily. It is also more seakindly; look at the 2" of hull between waterline and max beam.

What was the question again?

Great Boat
I’ve only used my Indy on rivers once that I can recall - CI, and that was 2004 or so, so I can’t really remember much about that trip, but no issues with the boat - winding, narrow channels.

I mainly use it now, for lake paddling, as I have a Rx Rendezvous for river tripping.

For several years, it was my Quetico tripping boat - 10 day trips or so, so about 50 lbs of gear, plus me at 5’9"ish and 150ish now. I have the K-Glass layup, at 45#, which was getting too heavy on the 10th portage of the day, so I bought a 29# Merlin II in kevlight for those kinds of trips.

Never had any problem with the Indy in the big waves, even if blown backwards in the high winds. 2 or 3 years ago, was out on a different lake on the plains, and a front blew thru with maybe 40mph winds - I was the only boat left on the lake (it allows motors up to 10hp for fishing, and there are normally 10 to 20 fishing boats and another 20 canoes and kayaks out on the water), and the Park Rangers came looking for me, worried about the high winds - but I’d already landed by the time they drove to the dock. Wind was so strong, running downwind I couldn’t control the boat with paddle strokes - only thing that worked was sitting as far back on the seat as I could, and leaning way back with the paddle as a rudder, and doing a little steering when the gusts dropped a little. Tried to kneel, but that weight shift forward was too treacherouse for those following waves, so I had to get back on the seat quick. I think those following waves were right up to the gunnels as the waves passed me, though I was surfing/sailing all the way in (it was only about a mile directly downwind) - anyways, me and the boat both stayed dry.

I’ve never has a reach problem - don’t really do cross strokes, not even in my WW boats - I just change sides. “C” stroke, with a very rare hit n’ switch occasionally. only kneel if hte wind is really stong and waves are high.

Regarding manouverability - I take this boat out to a local lake and run the shoreline as close to the bank as I can - staying at least within one boatlength of shore if the little bays are too small to get the boat into - otherwise following the shoreline as close as I can - 3 feet or less from the bank most times - in other words, I do an 11 mile loop that is virtually all turning, except for the very short stretches of straight shoreline - run that as fast as I can, and generally about 3 hrs for the first lap, and maybe 3:10 for lap 2 and a bit more for lap 3 if the wind hasn’t built up too much. Heeling the boat a lot helps turning. Sometimes, I’m heeling the boat just to clear a rock a foot from shore.

only thing I’d say about running it thru wave trains is it has a sharp entry, so you’d likely want to be backpaddling to give the bow time to rise.

seems like I recall hearing or reading that Jim Henry designed the Indy as a downriver racer.

I like the Merlin, but its the Indy I take when I go out to the local lakes.

What was the question?
Had to laugh at that one.

So you’re saying I have the better boat. So much for convinceing the wife I need another boat. I always tell her how much better the new boat will be.


Indy knows whitewater
Ran my indy down the Kenduskeag stream canoe race in Maine for 12 years. Even came in 1st one year. Quickwater to class 3, 16.5 miles.

Does everything you’d ever want in a boat unless you went to extremes of canoeing.

Take all the marketing descriptions and reviews of any boat without a jigger of salt.

Thanks for posting that pic again
Were you skidding your stern?

One o’ FE’s favoorite boats…

– Last Updated: Apr-11-13 6:14 PM EST –

Ah' gots a 1996 fibberglaz MR Independence an' it be one doozy o' a nice boat. Turnin' ain't de greatest but yer kin' heel it over ta de gunnels. Ah' had it out on many'a Adironadack trip (lakes an' kreks) wit a week load o' kit an' it performed wunderful. A'mighty purty injun brown ash railed canoo....

Below be me Independence on a tight krek in de St. Regis.


Love that Picture
But I think you are a better paddler than I taking the Indy through that.


Taken at Shopping Cart?

– Last Updated: Apr-11-13 2:39 PM EST –

You probably won because of flatwater speed. BTW its Kenudskeag time again!!

Most of the race is on barely moving water. The Class 3 at Great Falls is pretty straightforward unless you try river right or left. (rec boats can be the main hazard).

Couple of sluices at Shopping Cart. Over in two seconds, but looks terrifying..its not!

I could have had a similar pic with me in my Heron at Grey Rocks on the Buffalo but wave train 13 got me even with backpaddling!

While the boats we are talking about CAN do whitewater ,going down river and not doing much eddy catching, we aren't really talking about radically different designs.

The pic reminds me when I did catch an eddy below Shopping Cart..another boat put me in it when it crashed into me! I didn't want to be in it..seconds matter!

Love our Indy
It’s my go to solo if I’m not wood bashing. I use the Rendezvous for that. It’s quick enough for what I do and has great secondary stability. It carries a load as well. On our winter trip I will have 40 lbs of firewood as well as winter camping gear. My only issue with the boat is that the hull is a bit soft - flexes in waves. It’s an early 90’s boat (92 or 93) and has been that way pretty much all along.

And there you go
More Chevy’s sold than BMW’s.

Sure, but would you really want
to hang out with a bunch of BMW owners?

I’m a Kawasaki guy. We just sold my wife’s BMW, what an over priced piece of shit. That being said it was 10 times better than the Harley she had before the BMW.

Back to the Indy. Seems interesting enough to try it from the feedback gathered here. But a test paddle isn’t a viable option and not enough convincing info to buy without a test paddle. So I’m going to pass and see what life throws my way next.

What CEW says about the Independence is
true. It’s a quirky, dated design, but it’s such a beautiful boat that so many have loved for so long that it’s impossible to ignore an opportunity to pick up a good one. I know I didn’t and no one’s gonna make me regret it.

Quirky? Seriously
This is getting a bit absurd. There is nothing remotely quirky about the Indy. I’d love to know what seems to make it quirky to you. Too general? Not specialized enough?

I better get rid of my Nova Craft Prospector 16. She’s probably quirky and dated too.