Wenonah or bell?

I have decided to renew my love for canoeing thirty-five years mostly due to raising a family and work. I have narrow my choices down to a Bell Yellowstone Solo or a Wenonah Vagabond. Since ive been gone from the sport for so long im hoping that some of you can give me some positive feedback on which would work beter for me. I will be using the boat for fishing and just getting back into nature on long trips on lakes and slow moving rivers. Also am interested in using a kayak paddle along with a standered straight bladed paddle. What length double would you recommend? Any help would really help. Thanks Tom

I think the Yellowstone Solo
is more responsive and the Vagabond more stable.

I am assuming you want to sit in the boat.

If you want to just be out there the Vagabond is fine. But if you want to improve paddling with a single blade too the YS will be more rewarding…plus its more maneuvarable for moving water.

For just getting out there and having fun with a double blade either would be fine. Which one has the better deal attached to it (I never every pay full price!)

A 240 might work well for a double blade… Maybe you can borrow one to see. I use a 240 double blade on boats about an inch narrower…but I am short.

Who would slander a straight shaft
canoe paddle for either of those boats? People who LIKE bent shafts and hit-and-switch can do it in a coracle if they like, but neither the Yellowstone nor the Vagabond is hard-tracking enough to make a 12 degree bent shaft advantageous. AND most of us are not hammering over the miles in a way where serious bent shaft use makes sense. Bent shaft canoe paddles quickly become pointless in even class 2 rivers, while a double blade is still useful.

People use bent shafts and hit-and-switch either because they’re covering water in a hurry, or because they think it’s cool. Some of them never learned proper straight shaft technique.

??? Where did the bent
shaft pop up in this discussion?

Both boats are a little wide for that though a long limbed paddler might make them work. Bents are pretty good for the seated paddler…

but they are not in the equation yet.

What’s your height & weight?
That information will help people guide you.

Bent shaft works quite well in
Yellowstone Solo. That’s what I use in mine 90% of the time. Not much benefit to a straight shaft in the Yellowstone Solo on flatwater, unless you’re trying to make the boat dance, rather than going somewhere.

Also, there’s more 12oz (or lighter) carbon bents to choose from than there are 12oz carbon straight shafts to choose from.

I like small bladed paddles, because I’m not strong, try finding that in a straight shaft carbon.

I know that you’re speaking from a big, strong ww paddler’s point of view, so I know that strongly colors your opinions on paddle choice for these boats.

Different paddles for different paddlers with different purposes. One size / type does NOT fit all.

Vagabond is less effected by wind
than the Yellowstone Solo. More manageable in wind than Yellowstone Solo. I compared the Yellowstone Solo & Vagabond on the same lake, the same day and in the same conditions and the Vagabond was much easier to manage in wind.

I own a royalex Yellowstone Solo and have paddled it on moving water with some relatively big wave trains, but have only paddled the Vagabond on a lake on a windy day with a choppy surface.

The Yellowstone Solo is more maneuverable and fun to play around in than the Vagabond.

I’m 5’6" and 150 lbs.

Agree w/ Eric

– Last Updated: Feb-18-10 8:52 AM EST –

The closest Wenonah to the Bell YS Solo is Argosy. Both have same waterline length and width.

Argosy may be a little faster. YellowStone S carries its tumblehome higher, so is more stable heeled.

Bell's Merlin II is closest to the Wenonah Vagabond. Merlin II has more waterline length and differential rocker, it is faster, tracks more easily and carries similar volume.

As others have said…
The Yellowstone is more maneuverable and more responsive, but I think for your purposes the Vagabond is the better choice. I find the Vagabond to be plenty maneuverable enough, it’s less affected by wind on the lakes and slow rivers, and it tracks better. All in all, I consider the Royalex Vagabond to be the best solo canoe available for fishing, unless you’re a big, tall person.

my stats,
im 5’10 and 235lbs.

I misread the OP’s word
"standered". So I could delete the whole subthread, but misunderstanding is part of pnet.

I wouldn’t say that a bent shaft is worse in any way for smoothwater cruising, but you have to understand that in north Georgia, most of the rivers worth running do NOT call for a bent shaft. I do use my home made 5 degree bent shaft on smoother sections.

Run my Wen-Vag with a 104" GP and it
does fine cruising with all the yaks around here especially into the wind and chop. Easy on the body too. Single stick it on woodsy narrow creeks with lots of overhangs. GP and paddle float makes deep water self-rescue from a dump easy too. Should work fine on either boat you’re considering. R