Solo Canoe Advice

I’ve been looking for a new solo and have narrowed it down to a like new black gold wildfire, or a clipper prospector 14. Could anyone compare these two for me? mainly speed and manuverability? thanks

Compare specs
especially waterline length to waterline width ratio

(Colden is making WildFire now)

Prospector is deeper by an inch…yet the WildFire will carry a decent load for the average sized paddler packing carefully for an extended trip. It depends on your knee spread and arm length…the Wild is a little narrower.

Wild ought to be faster. It is certainly maneuverable being a FreeStyle favorite among guys. Prospector is a little deeper. However Wilds shouldered tumblehome has excellent wave shedding ability.

The Clipper has higher stems…some people like them and others find them to be sails especially when there is no load in the boat. However that height would make a drier ride in the rapids.

I have a Wild. I do not have a mini Prospector…(Have a 16 foot Bell Prospector but that’s not the same as the Clipper)

So it kinda boils down to the classic …do you want to daytrip where Wild shines or haul a ton for a month on the water?

Speed is a function of horsepower. Many people dont have the power to drive a big solo fast especially a big deep solo… Sometimes less skin friction is a plus.

I’m 6’3 195. I’m guessing that might be around the upper limit of a wildfire for tripping (60-80lbs gear).

As I see it:

The wildfire is faster and probably more maneuverable, the prospector will carry more and may perform better with a load. I just wish I knew how much faster/more maneuverable/seaworthy.

how much weight can a wildfire handle before it really bogs down?

I run 265 in mine
and it handles very nicely. Not slow, still maneuverable. Wouldn’t do above classII with that weight though…and it may be a damp ride through large waves.

Usually somewhere between three and
four inch waterline…so 240-340. Usually 300 is the max for a boat that length. Any more weight and you need to go to a longer boat.

My boat seems to be happy whether carrying 200 or the Golden too… I have longer trippers and have not dumped more than 300 in her.

How have you narrowed it down …
… to these two boats if you haven’t paddled them?

The one thing you can tell from the specs is that the Clipper can carry a bigger load because it is deeper.

I suppose it’s possible someone your exact weight will have paddled both of these canoes, but even if so, people’s opinions differ. Best for you to paddle them.

I’ve never paddled or even seen a Clipper Prospector.

I own a Wildfire and have paddled it at load weights from about 190 to 240. I can say it performs much better at 160 – that is, the maneuverability is very good but already compromised at 190. It bogs down at 240. If I need to carry 240, I take a more voluminous solo.

In other words, for someone 195, I consider the Wildfire nicely maneuverable boat for empty day paddling and competent for weekend tripping. It is especially good for twisty streams. For heavier loads, longer trips, and especially if most of the paddling is straight forward stuff on lakes, I’d rather have a more voluminous canoe with very good forward efficiency. I don’t know if the Clipper is such a canoe, except that the specs look as if it would be a contender.

If you can, test paddle the boats yourself both empty and with the weight you intend to carry.

wildfire for big guys
I owned a WildFire for 11 years, did lots of daytripping, weekends, and one-week trips in it. I doubt I would take one on a true expedition.

During the 11 years, my body weight climbed from 190 to 220. I probably never had more than 270 pounds, total weight, in it – usually more like 250. I was never bothered by performance issues. I found it nimble and reasonably fast. I loved the boat.

Two cautions: I pack light. And I tend to prefer a boat that is smaller than the conventional wisdom suggests.

No knowledge of the Clipper.