Tell me about Wenonah argosy

I am considering this as a solo canoe for here in SC. I am 5’10" and 185# and sea kayak on the coast, paddle piedmont and coastal plain rivers, and large lakes. I have a Kevlar MR explore I paddle by myself and with my friends and family, but am looking for an all around solo. I also like to camp for up to a week. I sure would enjoy hearing your thoughts.

Its been discussed so much
that I am not going to engage in repeating myself.

P net has a really good search function. I suggest you browse and then ask any unanswered specific questions.


– Last Updated: Apr-25-13 11:07 AM EST –

I have not owned one but have paddled one a number of times and have quite a few friends who own, or have owned and paddled them. Many folks really like them.

The Argosy will be much more fun to paddle solo than your MRC Explorer. It is a fairly efficient hull to paddle. It has enough rocker to allow for sufficient maneuverability for easy rivers.

There are a few things that I don't particularly like about the Argosy. The Argosy has differential rocker with less in the stern as quite a few solo boats do.
This makes the stern a bit "sticky" so that it is reluctant to release and skid through on eddy turns. The Argosy like many Wenonah boats has bubble sided tumblehome rather than the shouldered tumblehome of many David Yost designed hulls. Heavier paddlers or a large load can put the top of that bubble near the water surface. Once the boat is heeled past the top of the bubble it looses stability rather quickly.

The gunwales of the Argosy are somewhat pinched together which can make it easier to get the paddle out vertically over the water but it also somewhat limits the width of packs that can be placed flat in the hull.

Pretty decent boat

– Last Updated: Apr-26-13 2:32 PM EST –

I'm 5'10" and 165 lbs. I've had one for several years. It's a pretty decent "all around" design: not slow in flat water, tracks reasonably well, turns decently if you lean it, doesn't get blown around too badly, and gets down class 2- acceptably if you can read water and know what you are doing. It would be passable to camp out of if you didn't bring the kitchen sink. Stability when leaned moderately is ok, but it gets twitchy when leaned hard.

It does nothing well, but it doesn't suck, either.

When I bought mine, the other choices were a Bell Yellowstone Solo and a Mad River Freedom Solo. I bought the Argosy mostly because the outfitter had it discounted close to $400 below the price of the other two boats. If price hadn't been an issue, I would have bought a Freedom Solo for the symmetrical rocker, more swiftwater-friendly hull shape, and greater gear capacity. But the Argosy has treated me fine - even won a combined flatwater/portage/class 1/2 whitewater race in it.

I have also seen a MR freedom solo
Used for sale. It doesn’t have a seat in it though. Both the argosy and freedom are Rx which is a plus in the rocks but as I get older I know the weight will become more of an issue. Still I am able to lift 55#. As both my sea kayaks and canoe are in the low to mid 50s.


– Last Updated: Apr-25-13 4:01 PM EST –

At one time I owned an Argosy, a Mad River Guide, Mad River Freedom Solo, Mohawk Odyssey, and a Bell Wildfire all at the same time.
Still have the Wildfire, Odyssey, and Guide.
I prefer any of those 3 to an Argosy.
Was not happy with Freedom Solo build quality; especially when compared to Mad River Guide.

Sold the Argosy 6 months after I bought it; having done just one multi overnighter on a class I/low class II river. I found the Argosy to be a wet boat in standing waves, or over small ledge drops. Not that manueverable under the best of circumstances, and got worse as weight was added.
It tracked OK, but I am more concerned about manueverability than tracking. If wind is too strong for me to keep a canoe going straight; the wind is too strong for me to stay out on the river.

I thought my old Blackhawk Shadow 14 was equal to the Argosy.
In my opinion a Blackhawk Zephyr is better.

Didn't think much of other Wenonah's I've owned either; that includes the Vagabond, Prism, and the Rendezvous. I'm sure all Wenonahs canoes have their advocates; I am not one of them.

My wife likes her Vagabond a lot. She also likes having foot pegs, and a seat back in her canoe. She uses a kayak paddle & has cute little Snoopy stickers on the bow of her canoe. I don't have any of that stuff.

To each their own; whether canoe, or accoutrements.


seats are cheap/easy
If the price and condition are right on the used Freedom Solo, get it. You can buy replacement seats and mounting hardware from places like Ed’s Canoe online.

I own a Guide Solo. Don’t know about
any essential differences between it and the later Freedom Solo, which most of us thought was just a renamed Guide. Maybe Bob will enlighten us. My Guide Solo is rather sturdy and not anyone’s portage dream.

Maybe you should look at Swift.


– Last Updated: Apr-26-13 12:34 AM EST –

As stated in my previous post.........the Mad River Freedom Solo that I owned "was not of the same build quality" as my older Mad River Guide.
I did NOT say anything about it being a "different" boat. Don't know what enlightenment you expect, but some of my complaints are listed below.

The wood in the seat hangers on the Freedom Solo was poorly cut; the seat shifted,and sqeaked with every shift in weight.

Screws in the gunwales were drilled off center; some were not even snugged down.

The decking had rough edges that was poorly trimmed.

The fit of the decking on the gunwales was askew.

End of thwarts fit poorly; one had to be pounded on to remove it from under the gunwale. The other thwart was overly loose, and dropped out when the screws holding it in place were removed from the gunwales.

Generally speaking; it looked like the result of poor quality control, and a lack of attention to detail to me.


From the side-by-side examples I saw…
the freedom solo is not as deep as the Guide

Thanks for everyones input
I learned a lot more about both the argosy and freedom solos than I knew before posting. Your info is very much appreciated!

Thanks for actually following up
Too often people ask for this sort of advice, and then disappear. Thanks for not being one of those :).

,I can get you some Snoopy stickers and I have an extra seat back somewhere on the porch. Heck, I’ll even install your footbraces and give you a spare kayak paddle! I’ll even take your picture when you launch your tricked-out boat (LOL)!

I have a very nice decal that reads “Have you hugged your kitty today?” that I am planning to apply to Bob’s boat next week.

…I LIKE that (LOL)! Sorry to the OP for diverting your thread to “Pick on Bob” moment!

And I just didn’t want to repeat myself
too often in old age I do that anyway…

Hey I didi a search and read
Much of what you had to say. You have a right to remain silent! ;o)

BTW my grown son and I will be taking the MR explorer river camping this weekend. Your advice help to put me in this boat. My wife and I had a great time in the glades and will be back there again.

Mine, bought used, was so
re-outfitted that most of those problems on yours don’t apply. The detail finish on mine seems very good.

Maybe they have fixed some of the quality problems that occurred after the move to NC. Recent UK reports of MR quality and finish have been good, including an occasional Freedom Solo.

Pete & Terry

– Last Updated: Apr-27-13 1:44 PM EST –

You two are a couple of Sh-t Disturbers!

Appreciate offers of seat back, Snoopy & Hug your kitty stickers, foot pegs, and kayak paddles...............

Am sure you already know the answer to what I think "you 2" should do with those accoutrements.
Apply Vaseline liberally before attempting to do so.

On a more serious note; I am thinking about outfitting all my boats with "sponsoons".