Wenonah Agrosy, Rendezvous, or Wildernes

I am looking to buy a canoe for some class II, III WW, and i cant decide between these three boats. I am a small man at 130lbs. I am wondering which of the boats is the most stable? I would also like the boat to track well though. The reasons i am considering the Agrosy and the Wilderness is because i am so light, but i am afraid the Agrosy will be to unstable in class III. I know a guys who paddle class III in boats really similar to the Wilderness, and because I am so light, boats don’t take on water as easily.

Just an opinion
I am not familiar with the Wilderness I paddle a Rendezvous when solo tripping it has definitively more initial stability than the Argosy and will probably track better too. But if you are really want to run CIIIs (section IV on the Wolf river) I would rather be sitting in an Argosy with air bags. The Argosy has a round bottom this makes it “ Rolly”. But with time in the boat you will get use to it. Those type of boats usually have lots of secondary stability that get only better when loaded. You been on the smaller size person will only be an advantage to you. You might also want to consider a solo WW boats if you really want to get into heavy WW.

Any way, since you probably do not live far from me, if you want to try out my Rendezvous for a weekend let me know.

“Which one is the most stable?”

– Last Updated: May-02-10 11:08 PM EST –

I don't think you should be asking which one is the most stable. Your profile says you do moderate whitewater, but if you do, perhaps if you think about your experience you will know what I mean when I say that canoes that are a bit more "rolly-polly" in the water (less "stable") are actually much more forgiving in big waves and in severe turbulence than those that resist being leaned. In big waves, a boat that easily "falls off-center" on calm water will also allow the water to "tilt beneath it" without trying to stay aligned with that surface. That means that boat won't get slammed or tossed to one side when it finds itself on the edge of a steep wave. As for turbulence, when the boat suddenly finds itself being "hit from the side" by the current, during those first few seconds, before the boat gradually accelerates to match the new current (speeding up to match a sudden fast current is the same process as suddenly slowing down after entering slack water or a reverse current), a boat that leans easily is your friend, as is a boat that can accidentally lean "too far" without becoming twitchy and rollover prone. Again, a boat that tips easily, and feels "rolly-polly" will handle sudden changes in cross-currents much more easily. I know that some dedicated whitewater canoes have a flatter bottom that planes up onto the surface easily when encountering sudden current changes, but your choices indicate you are looking for a more traditional boat, and in that case, the most-stable boat is not the one that will serve you best.

Since you are a small guy, I think your most important criterium is a boat that fits you, as long as it also has some attributes that make it suitable for moderate whitewater. My most whitewater-capable boat is a Novacraft Supernova, which by some standards is "too big" for me, since I'm a bit of a lightweight too. However, I'm tall and thin, so I have a pretty good reach. I'm guessing you'd best avoid a boat that is wider than average, so you won't be limited in your ability to do cross strokes.

One boat you might add to your list is the Odyssey 14 by Mohawk. It has a bit less rocker than the Arogsy, but is still pretty maneuverable (especially for a lightweight paddler), and the ends are fuller, probably providing better "lift" in wave trains (I've heard others mention the Argosy's tendency to cut through waves rather than ride them, but let's wait for word form someone with more experience than me). The Rendezvous is a little bit of "big" boat, but the gunwales are pinched-in quite a bit, which will help a paddler your size, though I think that would hinder your pry strokes.

Okay, so I didn't add much advice on choosing a boat, but that issue of looking for stability is a pet issue of mine. Good luck.

I’d Nix the Wilderness

– Last Updated: May-02-10 11:32 PM EST –

Okay, I just refreshed my memory on the Wilderness specs, and don't think it's a good choice for you for two reasons. First, the catalog length is 15.5 feet. I wouldn't be surprised if it's half a foot shorter than that in Royalex, but that's still a long lever-arm for you to be prying around in whitewater, especially since you are a small person. Second, 1.25 inches of rocker isn't much, not enough for moderate whitewater in my opinion, and based on my observations of about 10 different Royalex Wenonah Vagabonds over the last few years, I'm betting that that 1.25 inches of rocker on the Wilderness will end up being ZERO inches in a Royalex version. Whatever you do, don't buy it sight-unseen for that reason (if you do end up wanting this boat, look at it to make sure there really IS some rocker).

I see that the Rendezvous is roughly the same length as the Wilderness, but at least that boat has some rocker which will make any "unnecessary extra length" much easier to deal with.

Doing class II & class III…

– Last Updated: May-03-10 9:19 AM EST –

If you are going to be doing a fairly steady diet of class II & class III; I'd forget about Wenonah canoes. Your being light weight will not safely get you down real class III. In my opinion, only the Rendezvous is really capable of class III, and in my opinion it is too big a canoe for you.

If I were you; I'd be looking at Mohawk, or Esquif canoes as better options than Wenonah, especially for class III. Might consider the Esquif Vertige, or Mohawk XL 13. Both can handle class III; both have fair tracking ability, and good stability. Want something more frisky; check out the Mohawk Probe 13.

If you do get a Wenonah Wilderness & follow up by using it class III; be sure & have someone take some photos & post them here. Wear a good pfd, and helmet, have some good flotation in the Wilderness, and have some friends with throw ropes nearby. That boat has no business on a river with class III rapids, nor was it designed to be there. The Argosy wasn't designed for class III either.

I have paddled class III.
I have owned & paddled an Argosy & a Rendezvous.
Looked at Wilderness; passed on it.........
I didn't think it was suitable for a twisting, turning class II river, much less class III.

You're questions "don't" sound like questions I'd expect to hear from someone who says they're an intermediate paddler, and who also says they paddle moderate whitewater ???

It "does" sound like you live close to a dealer who sells Wenonah canoes.

What do you paddle now?
Is your pnet name choice somehow related to your current canoe? 119?


P.S. Test paddle before you buy if possible, and give some serious thought to buying used. A lot of dedicated whitewater solo canoes can be had for a few hundred dollars. Another canoe you might consider is a used Mad River Outrage. I bought one fully outfitted, and wood trimmed for $450.00. Bought used Mohawk Probe 13, Mohawk XL 13, and Dagger Impulse (all fully outfitted) for less.

Have to agree with BOB

– Last Updated: May-03-10 7:23 AM EST –

None of those boats belong on class III but...

I went through this discussion with a friend. He was initially going to buy a Yellowstone Solo, but was convinced to buy a dedicated whitewater boat - a Vertige - which he thought he could use as a river tripper and a playboat. Now the Vertige is a great boat, but he quickly realized that its not a great tripper, nor a playful playboat. He has since bought the Yellowstone that he wanted initially, and is looking for a C1.

So I guess my answer would be this - if you are interested in tripping, and are willing to portage or swim the big stuff, any of those boats would be fine. If you're more interested in playboating - get a dedicated whitewater boat.

Definitely try some other boats. I have a Yellowstone which I love. Odyssey is nice. And try some whitewater boats - they are easy to find used.

p.s. - looked up the Black River on American Whitewater - looks like flatwater with some class I-II sections. I'd probably take my Yellowstone - especially on stuff like this


In spring in higher water, it might be a different answer.

I’ve only paddled the Wilderness, and.
like has been said it doesn’t belong on Class III.

At your size, I wouldn’t really want the Wilderness for anything. Don’t get me wrong, I thought it was a nice boat, but I’m a pretty big guy (6’2" 245), and seriously considered buying it.

i agree with bob as well
i have a argosy and i wouldnt consider using it on some class 2 whitewater ive been on… i would look at a whitewater canoe properly outfitted … if your looking for a argosy to trash on some class 3 i have just the boat for you…reasonably cheap

Argosy is fine on some class2
with float bags. It may fit in terms of width.

But that bow is too fine to ride over haystacks and wave trains and unless pool and drop its going to be hard to empty.

Think you need to look at a true ww playboat.

No way would I take Argosy on Class 3. It just doesnt move fast enough with that skegged stern.

You at a light weight may ride higher but I think you will be happier with a true WW boat.

You’re limiting options by comparing only WeNoNah hulls. Your physical size is also a factor, immediately eliminating the Wilderness. At 31" max beam it is too wide for smaller paddlers. It is one of the new size series of solos for larger paddlers, and it’s complete lack of rocker would make it a very interesting ride in class II-III.

That class III requirement actually eliminates all of your candidates. For a steady diet of class III you’ll need a dedicated WW hull. Look at Bell’s little guy or one of the smaller, less tuner, Mohawks in rubber. ABS is kinda contra-indicated due to weight, but…

If you’ll look at Argosy, compare it with Bell’s YellowStone. Both very similar hulls, both, at 30 " beam, probably too wide for you too. In whitewater you want to dominate the hull, which requires a vertical paddleshaft and a narrower hull

Narrower hulls that will handle class III are pretty rare. Hemlock’s SRT is 28.5 with differential rocker, but at 15’ has a lot of wetted surface and weighs ~ 39 lbs. Colden’s FlashFire is also 28.5 by 13’, closer to reasonable wetted surface for you and can be had at 25 lbs. In between, the old Curtis DragonFly, 14.5’ by 28.5" is a superb hull if your balance is good, as it is a race boat with rounded bottom. The mold is at Colden, probably 30lbs. The last two weights realized by combining integral foam rails and vacuum infusion.

Well, I have paddled a tandem boat my whole life, I have two tandem boats, but I have only canoed a solo boat a few times, and I am looking to buy one because I only have one person that I feel comfortable takeing to some of the rivers I paddle, so I want to get a solo boat so I can go alone. I paddle the black river a lot, its mostly class II with one class III, but there is a dam upstream, and once a month they let water through the dam so then the river is all class III, IV. There are a number of tributary creeks into the Black River that I paddle also, and Robbinson Creek has a few class IIIs. I rented an Argosy, and it was ok on most of the river, but when I got to the class III I dumped it. But it could just be from my lack of experience in a solo boat.

Oh yea, I call myself schank119 because I am a high school wrestler and I wrestled the 119 pound weight class last winter.

Black River
Yea for the most part it is, but where I go there is a dam(Hatfeild dam) 50 yards from where I put in, and it all depends on how much water they are letting through, once a month they let water through just for WW paddlers, then its class III, IV. And I paddle the tributary creeks and Robbinson Creek has a few class IIIs, but most of them are ledges of 4-7 feet.

If you are in high school …

– Last Updated: May-03-10 10:03 AM EST –

... I'd seriously consider getting a dedicated WW boat. You'll learn more, have way more fun and be safer.

Just curious ... why aren't you considering a "real" WW boat? There are good reasons for not wanting one, usually involving lack of money for multiple boats. But there are not so good reasons too.

Hatfeild Dam
I have been there when it isnt the release too and sometimes they are letting 1000 cfs just because. So you never know what you will get on this stretch.

Old Town Penobscott
I have a friend who paddles a tandem Old Town Penobscott solo, and I have seen him go down class II, III with high water on the Flambeau.

Sure… fit is not important if you
are just river running…

My friend has an OT Kennebec and at seventy does river running in it. But ask her for hitting micro eddies in it and its not gonna happen.

She uses a Prodigy for that.

Nelsvill To Lake Arbutis
I have paddled the entire Black river. U arnt even looking at the stretch that I am talking about, that stretch is riffles with a few maby class II. Look up the stretch from Lake Arbutis Dam to Halls Creek Landing.

The Black River
Now that I know this boat is primarily for the Black River below Hatfield, I agree with the others who say find a dedicated whitewater canoe. I have yet to actually see this part of the river during a significant dam release, but I’ve recently talked to people about it, and have seen major flows below the dam at Black River Falls at times. Just two weeks ago I paddled below Hatfield during a minor release, and I know you will have a much easier time in a whitewater canoe. I don’t even think it matters too much “which” whitewater canoe you get, as any of them will be much easier to handle during major flows on that part of the river than the more traditional styles you initially asked about.

If you aren’t determined to hone your single-blade paddle skills, you might (some here won’t believe I’m saying this) get a whitewater kayak. It will be cheaper, easier to find whether new or used, and will need no special outfitting (float bags, pedestal, thigh straps, toe blocks) to be made ready to paddle. If you ARE determined to hone your single-blade paddle skills, good for you!


– Last Updated: May-03-10 10:53 AM EST –

I've met several people over the last few years who have no clue what Charlie is talking about when he mentions canoes made of "rubber" so I'll jump in and tell the original poster right now that "rubber" is Charlie's word for "Royalex" (since there is no "rubber" in Royalex and he makes no secret of the fact that he despises the stuff, I think it is a derogatory name).