Solo 14, Argosy

Anyone have experience paddling both the Mohawk Solo 14 and the Wenonah Argosy? I’m considering a used Solo or a new Argosy. Price difference, of course, is probably 3x between the used and new boat.

Both get good reviews on here, but that doesn’t necessarily tell me which would work better for me. I know enough about boats (and the two companies) to know that this isn’t an exact apples-to-apples comparison. I doubt I can test either boat - the used Solos are several hours away, and the Argosy is a new boat at a dealer, also several hours away.

I’m primarily a class 3/4 whitewater paddler and am looking for something to use on local flat stuff with my kids who paddle Carolina 12xses (tired of slogging after them in either an Outburst or a Probe). I also might try putting in some kneeling thwarts at some point to create a kid sized tandem. Mohawk specifically says that the Solo 14 works for that. Knowing Wenonah’s penchant for knife-like entry lines, I’m not sure if an Argosy would be wide enough up front to do that.

Hardest water this boat would see would be stuff like the Middle Yough or upper Greenbrier in WV.

You’ll gain some tracking, lose a lot
of handling, and you won’t gain that much speed. I have a Mad River Guide, a Mad River Synergy, and a Millbrook Big Boy, and I don’t even consider using the Guide except on flatwater or trivial class 1. I can move the whitewater boats along at a pretty good clip, and I like the ability to spin for upstream photos.

You might consider trying a double bladed paddle if your kids are getting out ahead of you too easily. It may help you more than a modest increase in boat speed. Oh, and unless they get along really well, a tandem boat? I don’t know…

I can’t imagine the Wenonah Argosy working as a tandem even with the smallest of kids.

If you are looking to buy a new Wenonah and already have an Outrage and a Probe, I’m not sure the Argosy would be my first choice if it is going to see mainly flat water use.

I don’t think the Mohawk Solo 14 is going to be terribly fast on flatwater, but would be a reasonable choice if you feel being able to set it up as a small tandem is important.

Try the royalex Rendezvous
I also have a MR Outrage and Synergy…and have the Synergy set up for solo tripping and use it when I expect to run into alot of CIII. It will move right along on the flats, but its not as fast as the Wenonah Rendezvous. I use the Rendezvous when I want to haul gear and plan to encounter mostly CII with long flats inbetween. I’ve put my grandson who’s five, in front of me on some trips, but I don’t think it would work well with a semi-adult in the front. Last summer I spent 3 days on the lower Greenbrier in the Rendezvous and it worked out just fine…in fact I ended up having to wait for my son and nephew, in a Dagger Legend, to catch up to me. Thats just the way I like it…get the first shot at the good fishing holes.

I have an Outburst (old school WW kayak) and a Probe.

The tandem idea would be only the kids (currently 6 and 9), not me. But they are typical siblings, so that might be an ugly experience :).


– Last Updated: Oct-05-09 2:52 PM EST –

Flatwater and trivial class 1 is all there is around here without making a 3 hour drive, so this would become my 'local water' boat.

The Outburst (old school WW kayak) works ok for going out with the kids and our/their friends, but I must admit I prefer a canoe whenever possible. I like the single blade, the ability to kneel/sit as needed, and the dry ride. But if boats like what I'm considering aren't that much faster than what I already have, then it might not be worth the expense. The only benefits then would be a little better tracking and no worries about mucking up my nice WW outfitting with our ubiquitous local clay mud.

I remember the Outburst. I misread your post.

If you plan a mix of flatwater and river use, and don’t feel the need to maintain the tandem option, the Argosy would be a fine choice. There are certainly a lot faster flatwater solos, but the Argosy would be considerably more efficient than a Probe, and paddles well kneeling.

The Rendezvous would be more “river-oriented” still, but somewhat less efficient on flatwater.

Tried one and immediately found it
too hard-tracking. Would have preferred my Synergy for both my 6 night San Juan run and my two night Dolores run. On the San Juan run I easily kept up with tandems and with “faster” soloes, plus only the two of us in whitewater boats were able to play. But your mileage apparently has varied…

Solo 14
Had one for several years and spent several hundreds of hours in that boat. It’s a mere “Minnow” compared to that Dimension of yours. It’s a decent solo boat for a mediocre paddler such as myself. It’s not “Dazzling” at anything, but will get you down river somewhat efficiently and the hull is stable and predictable. I think your two children would be able to paddle it tandem, but haven’t SEEN anyone do that with this boat. Another to consider would be the Odyssey. It’s a bit deeper with a tad more rocker and IMHO just a little bit better hull.

No experience with the Argosy, but I’m intrigued by that boat too and would like to try it, and WILL likely at the Ozark Rendezvous this week. Only thing is I prefer the rocker to be the same in both ends, I’m not a fan of “Differential” rocker.

As for the Rendezvous, I think that’s bigger than what you need. If you want that much volume, you can just move on up to your Dagger. I think the other three aforementioned hulls would be a better “Fit” for your needs. Give a shout next time you’re in this neck of the woods, Sean! WW

solo 14 vs Argosy
The Argosy is difinitely faster than the Solo 14 and faster by far than any of your mentioned fleet. g2d and i are at opposite ends with regards to favorite boat characteristics. I will always defer to his WW experience and WW boat wisdom. I favor boats that will cover mile after mile of flatwater at speed. Rocker inhibits tracking and limits boat speed and efficiency. I want to move forward and not turn. The Argosy has about as much rocker as i would ever want in a solo. For stream work, and tight creek paddling, it is excellent. With minor corrections it will cruise straight ahead.

The solo 14 i have paddled in the NJ Pine Barrens on streams that you could jump across, and there it is at home. On the Juniata or Susquehanna it is a slow tub, good at floating with the current and turning into the eddies behind the big rocks to fish, but a workout to try and paddle at a cruising clip.

For your ‘boys’ tandem, the solo 14 with its much fuller ends, would work. The rocker would not be such a penalty with a paddler in each end.

The Argosy would be very narrow at the ends, but a 6 and 9 year old might fit. And as long as the paddling stations fit their hips, the reach to the water would be good. In a couple of years they would be too big for it as a tandem. The older Wenonah Solitude would work better, two of my sons paddled one when they were 10 and 12 on several trips and did very well. The current Encounter has more length and volume.


Cut down Rendezvous?
The Rendezvous is a big boat for flat water, but grab 60 aluminum pop-rivets, a 3/16" drill bit, and a saw and you can make the Rendezvous a much nicer flatwater boat. Pick the freeboard of your pleasure, but if it were me, I’d take at least 4" off the bow. Rendezvous would have plenty of room as a tike tandem.

Now THAT Is an Interesting Idea
I liked the royalex Rendezvous, but it feels too deep. I thought “This would be a nice boat if it was a few inches smaller.” I wondered about cutting one down, but would never attempt something like that myself. Would Wenonah would do that? WW

I will for sure
It may not be before next spring or summer, but we’ll be out that way again, for sure.

The Rendezvous I see arriving at the
take out on the Nantahala are carrying quite a bit of water. It isn’t that dry a boat at full cut, so if y’all cut it down, find a way to love it on flatwater.

bag or cover it then
Rendezvous is a fast boat, don’t expect a dry ride like the blunt, full-volume WW hulls.

I bet Wenonah would certainly cut one down. They have been doing it for years with their composite Rendezvous. Check out the back page of their 2009 catalog with the college of employees. There’s a picture of a guy on staff that has paddled some 150 rivers in his cut down Kevlar Rendezvous pictured.

Royalex is really easy to cut. Before taking the gunwales off, just measure down x-inches every 6-8 inches and put a mark, then connect the dots to get your “cut here line.” A Jig Saw would be my tool of choice. I bet I could pull the gunwales, cut a boat down, and reinstall everything in 30 minutes.