We-no-nah Argosy / solo for creeks

I’m considering purchasing an Argosy soon - will mainly be used on small rivers & creeks - twisty & rocky - in the midwest.

Before I pull the trigger on this, I’d like any testimonials or recommendations from anyone who’s owned or paddled one in these types of streams.

I haven’t paddled an Argosy, but
based on its specs, I think it will work very well for what you want to do. Especially when you paddle it lightly loaded, so it is sitting more on rather than in the water and so is more maneuverable. I have a 14’ 6" Mad River Guide which has more rocker than the Argosy, but when it is loaded with gear, the Guide doesn’t turn or side slip as easily. Still, though, you should be able to canoe camp on your streams if you are disciplined about what you carry with you.

I would suggest getting the Royalex version. The reason is that the Ultralight is obviously too fragile, and the Flexcore is vulnerable to damage to the foam core structure in the bottom.

If you get the Royalex version, consider getting a minicell pedestal seat, possibly from Mohawk, and stuffing it between the center thwart and the bottom of the boat. You can kneel behind the thwart with the thwart holding your thighs down. The pedestal, supported by the thwart, will prevent the upward flexing that sometimes occurs with Royalex. Note that for the first year, the Royalex will seem “soft.” Later it will firm up.

paddled one once
At demo. It was too “lively” for my type of paddling which is mostly impounded waters and slow rivers.( read that as going fast and hardtracking.) I think it would be a great boat for your described needs.

3 of my favorites…

– Last Updated: Feb-09-10 12:00 PM EST –

Three of my favorites for the type of paddling you describe are as follows:

Mohawk Odyssey 14 (royalex)
Bell Wildfire/aka Yellowstone Solo (royalex)
Mad River Guide (royalex)

I briefly owned & paddled a royalex Argosy, and it was ok, but I still have one of each of the 3 listed above, but no longer have the Argosy. It didn't make the cut as far as I was concerned.

I personally did not like the way the Argosy felt when I had a load of gear for multi overnights. Sluggish on turning, eddy turns & peel outs.
A little better when lightly loaded for a day trip.
It was a little too hard of a tracker for my tastes. I like to play & I didn't find the Argosy to be much fun.
I prefer more manueverability; I can keep a boat going straight.
The Argosy will get up to cruising speed without too much effort & will easily maintain a decent cruising speed without working at it.
It is a wet boat(water over the bow & gunwales)if you are dropping ledges, or going into standing waves.
I found initial & secondary stability to be good.
Fit & finish of the Argosy I had was good.
I found the Wenonah royalex layup to be more prone to damage than the other 3 solos listed above.

I knew I should have test paddled it before I bought it; I didn't. I suggest you do a test paddle before you buy one, and if you get a chance, try to test paddle a couple of the others mentioned.

Some paddlers like the Mohawk Solo 14 for that type of paddling. I have also owned & paddled one of those for a brief period of time. I am NOT a big fan of Mohawk's light weight/R-84 layup. Don't think it will hold up to the abuse of shallow rivers & creeks & I hated the hull flex.


P.S. I weigh about 205 lbs.

How Bigga Boy Are You?
I’ve not paddled it extensively as theBob or others have, but have tried the boat 3 times. 2 Royalex and 1 Tuffwave. With my 270lbs, I sink that “Bubble” of tumblehome quickly. The secondary stability is minimal as I easily go past the point where it goes from “Comfortable” too “Whoa, wait a minute.” Seemed a brace was necessary continually. I could paddle it, but photography or fishing would be impossible.

On the other hand, my less experienced but much lighter wife feels very comfortable in the friend’s boat she paddled. And lighter guys like theBob and rHow note no problems with stability. I might have been more comfortable kneeling, but the seat was too low for that in the ones I tried. Going to e-mail rHow, who’s also from Iowa, to chime in with his input since he owns one too. WW

is a specialized boat, but your needs sounds like a great fit for your needs. I have paddled an Argosy and love it. Asymetrical design allows for pretty good turning and good tracking too. Not a play boat, but great for twisty streams with some flatwater.

Even when they try, Wenonah has a
hard time designing a boat that doesn’t end up being kinda hard-tracking. Rendezvous for example. Fine for cruising easy WW, but way behind the MR Guide for working eddy turns.


– Last Updated: Feb-09-10 3:16 PM EST –

I'm about 225, and would like to use it for fishing these creeks also, so maybe I better demo a few first.

Thanks for the input everyone!

I don’t recognize the user name but I bet it’s Brian or Ben. I’ll be at the Central Iowa Paddlers table at Indianola Friday night and Saturday. I would be glad to express my opinions to you directly about My boat which is a tuffweave Argosy and the Roylex Freedom Solo it replaced.Also I can discuss The bob and ww if you like. I don’t offer opinions here cuz I’m a tender soul. I sure enjoyed paddling and fishing with you guys last summer.


Argosy in Action

If I ain’t mistaken, this was an Argosy.

I have an Argosy but
have only paddled it on a couple of trips with gear…perhaps got a couple of hundred miles on it.

Did the Current and some Pine Barrens Rivers and some lakes in the Daks.

Contrary to popular dogma here it does not oilcan at all. Its the Rx version with the adjustable seat. That seat is an asset and a noisy bane which requires some swearing while trying to fiddle with it in the boat midstream.

Loaded and flat hulled on the water it is kind of sticky sterned. I tie my gear in and heel it to the rail for twisty slow moving waters. Then it will respond and carve some pretty tight turns. Unloaded of course it is more maneuverable.

It seems to be Wenonahs attempt at acknowledging that the world is not straight but in some respects its a hull that is more comfortable for most upright rather than heeled as the widest part of the boat is quite low and narrows going up to the gunwales. Kind of a modified delta shape. Yet concessions have been made to the kneelers who can get the most out of this boat with their more stable position.

I am looking forward to taking it to Florida to paddles some spring runs and perhaps the Okefenokee.

For me its just a tad tight to consider a serious two week trip in… for trips under a week its fine. The 60 liter barrel just doesnt fit well.

I do have a gripe about the narrowness of the bow…its rather fine for a river boat and it wants to pierce haystacks. My druthers would be to introduce more flare to the bow.

I have one
I haven’t really mastered placing my gear. The seat seems to work pretty well, although my creaky knees prevent me from kneeling. It’s not a lake boat, but fun on twisty streams.

made to paddle kneeling. Much less stable when I have to straighten the knees out.

not really. Its more a function of
water time in the boat and what you have just paddled. Going from big barge to Argosy has a psychological impact. If you spend an hour or so sitting in a safe place and practicing breathing evenly its quite stable. The old adage about tipsy paddlers rather than tippy boats is true. Lots of times people are unstable because they are holding their breath unconsciously. That leads to trembling muscles.

Put a week of gear in the Argosy and you may be able to stand in it… I can but cant guarantee same results for everyone.

I am contemplating foot pegs for Argo for sitting and making time on lakes.

Heeling the beast while sitting is an interesting potentially wet excercise…works much better kneeling!

Foot pegs will help a lot, and it is
sometimes possibly to improvise thigh hooks so that, when sitting, the thighs are splayed, supported by minicell or similar hooks glued just under the gunwales. My Guide, bought used, was set up like this. The previous owner had it set up so he could kneel on the Mohawk pedestal seat for whitewater, or throw his legs forward for flatwater.

My go-to boat
For twisty rivers, the Argosy is my go-to boat in the barn. I own a Kevlar Flex-core version and it is a tough boat. Wenonah will build a Tufweave version for a bit more than a Royalex hull on request. I bash mine against all kinds of rocks. I’m not at all worried about the Flex-core layup. The composite Argosy is a much better paddling model than the Royalex version and I recommend the upgrade, but the RX one is still nice. I love how nimble the boat is once you are comfortable with its handling. Drop the seat, put our feet on the footbrace (get it as an option regardless which layup you choose), pull out a bent paddle and hammer away. The Argosy can cruise at an impressive speed. I like the Bell Yellowstone Solo too and also own one, but it is a slug in comparison. The Mad River Guide/Freedom is a fun boat to paddle in bigger water, if you are heavy enough for it.

Now that you mentioned
a MR Guide. I just bought a used (obviously) model and am looking how to set it up. Looking at adding flotation. Is a Mohawk saddle the way to go or is the seat with possibly thighstraps adequate for class II type rivers?

The seat is OK for class 2 if you’re
comfortable with it. I think you should paddle the boat with the seat and see if you want more control than it allows.

If you send me an email address, I can send a photo of how the previous owner had the Mohawk saddle installed. He put it somewhat back of the balance point, I think because he was carrying gear in the bow. I plan to do some recarving so the boat trims level. As he had it, the boat is a bit bow up when kneeling with no extra gear, and about level with one’s legs out, sitting on the pedestal.

Harmony TKO
The Mad River/Harmony TKO Pedestal is 9" wide, so may be more comfortable if putting your feet out in front. More like a seat.

See it here: http://www.harmonygear.com/product/203799/TKO_PDSTL/_/TKO%20Pedestal

Tried three
I had the opportunity to try YellowStone Solo, Argosy, and Osprey last summer at the Western PA Solo Canoe Rondezvous, WPASCR. They are 14’ 14.5’ and 15’ overall length respectively with 30" max beam and differential rocker.

I have a standardized test regime. I accelerate the boat, hit a couple cross forwards and try an onside circle. If that works, I try a cross inside circle, if that works I’ll try an onside skidded eddy turn to test turning ability and stability when heeled.

All three allowed onside and offside inside circles and all three skidded past 180 degrees of rotation. The Argosy was the least happy heeled to the rail, the Yellowstone the most secure.

It’s impossible to evaluate speed with hulls in different condition; new or scratched, composite verse rubber, but Argosy and YellowStone have the same waterline length while Osprey should be a little faster because it is longer. Heavier paddlers should consider Osprey due to the extra volume the length delivers. YellowStone and Argosy seem to have about the same volume.

I guess I wouldn’t consider any of the three to be candidates for a pedestal, or a MRC Guide.