yellowstone solo ?

I just bought a yellowstone solo !

I am a whitewater paddler (probe 12) but I have thought about branching out to some trips and maybe trying freestyle canoing It is just so beautiful. Any way what can I do in this boat and what is like? Can I do trips . Is more or less stable loaded. Do you only do flatwater when it has a camping load.Any helpful comments appreciated

Thank you for all of your help. I am so excited. It has that new New boat smell…

Go wild
I have not paddled that particular canoe but it looks to me that it would be ok for short trips where you don’t need to carry a ton of food. I trip all the time - long and short - but in a very different kind of boat. I commonly run a fully loaded canoe through class 2 and some class 3 white water. It is a skill that you need to develop because the boat responds very differently and you can’t do some things that you can do with an empty boat. I don’t think the Yellowstone is a canoe that most people would purchase for extensive tripping - but I could be wrong on that.

good canoe
The Yellowstone Solo was initially brought out by Bell under the title of Royalex Wildfire. The Bell, and now Colden Wildfire is an extremely popular freestyle canoe, so I am sure you can freestyle in the Yellowstone Solo.

Although the Yellowstone Solo is similar in dimensions to the Wildfire, it is very significantly different. One of the major differences is the asymmetrical rocker on the Yellowstone Solo with 2.5" bow rocker and 1.5" stern rocker. Asymmetrical rocker will make the boat track a little better, but I prefer symmetrically rockered boats for river maneuvers. I don’t freestyle, but many of those moves derived from river maneuvers, so I am pretty sure the same would apply.

I have paddled the Yellowstone Solo a number of times but not with a significant load. I certainly know folks who river trip in the Yellowstone Solo and Bell states a 6" freeboard capacity for this boat of 650 lbs. I personally would not care to trip in a solo boat with only 6" of freeboard, but I’m sure you could carry a substantial load in it and still maintain 8" of freeboard. The boat is very stable heeled.

Some of the differences you will note with the Yellowstone solo compared to your Probe 12:

  1. The Yellowstone Solo is considerably faster.

  2. The asymmetrical rocker of the YS makes the stern “stickier”. Of course, the YS has only half the rocker of the Probe 12 even in the bow, so it is not going to spin like your whitewater boat. If you heel it enough to free up the stern stem, it will turn nicely, however.

  3. The YS is much less deep. The Probe 12 has a center depth of 15.5" and the YS center depth is fully 3" less. This will make the YS significantly wetter running rapids of any significance. Although I have heard some YS owners claiming to run their boats in up to Class III whitewater, I personally would limit the YS to Class I and reasonably short Class II rapids.

Thank you for the info!I can not wait to paddle this boat. I have not ever done flat water paddling. I have not even sat in this boat yet.So I am online until sunday getting all the info I can.

Great Boat
I think you’re going to love your YS. I know I love mine. Mine gets used mostly on Class I and solid Class II. I also like to take it to the lake and just paddle and paddle. It’s not considered a fast canoe, but to a whitewater guy, it’s going to be super fast. The YS is definitely a tripping boat—as long as you’re not looking to do month long expeditions.

I got mine a couple of days before Christmas two years ago. The months of waiting before I could paddle it were agonizing, and I spent my time doing just what you are doing. :slight_smile:

Next you’re going to be looking at paddles.

Send me an email if I can help with anything!

Thank you I look forward to the replies.By the way I am a whitewater girl not guy.But I do appreciate the infomation.

Paddles? You are right . I only have my whitewater paddle.

Sorry, Whitewater Girl
Sorry for assuming you were a guy.

My background is in whitewater, too. I don’t know if that’s why I always kneel, but since I do, I installed a foam saddle and knee pads in mine. I also only use straight paddles, although I also have a touring kayak paddle which is nice for fighting wind, making time, or just for using a different muscle group now and then.

Did you get red or green?

The funny thing is, I’d love to find a used Probe for a good price, and am hoping to run into someone who will let me test drive theirs. I’ll be interested in hearing your comparisons once you’ve paddled your YS.

tripping in a YS Solo
I did a four- or five-day trip in a rented (Royalex) Yellowstone Solo. It wasn’t a problem, but for canoeing I pack like a backpacker, then add a few niceties like fresh fruit every day – some canoeists pack much heavier.

I wouldn’t want to use a heavily loaded YS Solo in rapids over class I with my current skills, but back in the day, I could probably have done class II. It’s reasonably maneuverable compared to the go-fast boats that I prefer. Not at all maneuverable compared to a Probe.

I do think you will want a non-whitewater paddle. You can get a gazillion suggestions by posting here, but basically: think smaller blade, lighter, shorter.


Yellowstone Solo

– Last Updated: Sep-27-11 11:01 PM EST –

Do yourself a favor...........

Use the Probe for class 3 & above; use the Yellowstone Solo for class 1 & 2.

I too have heard about paddlers running class 3 in a loaded Yellowstone Solo, or Wildfire. BUT, I have been asking on pnet for 6 or 7 years for one of those paddlers to "show me". All I've ever seen posted was 2 or 3 photos of someone in a Yellowstone Solo running what I'd classify as a class 2 at best.
If you're running class 3 in a gear filled Yellowstone, that means you will have very little, or no flotation. Take a loaded Yellowstone over a 4 foot drop, into some standing waves at the bottom of the drop & see what happens!
The bow will dive like a U boat!

If you limit your use of the Yellowstone to class 1 & 2; you can carry yourself, the kitchen sink, and any amount of gear you could possibly need, for anything from a day float to a multi overnight trip. A decent paddling, nice looking, "multi purpose" boat.

I own & have paddled (many miles)in 2 different sized Probes, a royalex Wildfire, and a kevlar Wildfire.

Red boats are faster.........


P.S. You can run any class of water in any boat you choose. There are of course, natural consequences for doing so.

Nice boat but you may have to learn …
… how to paddle straight on flatwater.

In my early days as a class 4 paddler, I found out that I had a lousy correction stroke when I moved into a dedicated FW solo boat. Most WW paddlers use a goon stroke to go forward. I had to learn the svelte J (as opposed to the wrist and forearm torture J), and then ultimately and thankfully learned the C, Canadian, Pitch, and Indian forward strokes.

All this took about 35 years.

Install a foot brace for efficiency
while sitting when taking a break from kneeling. The YS is plenty stable for small to medium sized paddlers to sit and paddle.

Enjoy your new boat
I love mine. Easy to paddle in flatwater, handles moving water well, I even had mine out in the ocean this summer. One thing that I haven’t done is river tripping, but I know Jeff-B has. He installed a pedestal and short bags to leave room for gear. Here’s Jeff with his boat loaded on the Saranac River (green boat in the foreground).

And running the boat with a load through some rapids

I wasn’t on this trip, but you may see some other familiar P-net faces – Wickerbutt, Riverstrider and TommyC1 are in this album. Boy that looks like a nice trip. Someday…

good boat
I own a Yellowstone Solo. It is fine for tripping with a load. Easy class 2 is all the whitewater You will want. The Yellowstone is a wet ride in anything bigger.

Thank You so much for the information . Now I am looking at paddles and kneeling pads. I can not wait to sit in this boat.I will take any advice about seats foot brace etc…

I love my probe and the whitewater but a little change is nice.I think the freestyle adventure will really help my paddling. It may be a really humbling experence.Does anyone know of any teaching videos?

Thank you Scott

(my new name) Whitewater Girl .


– Last Updated: Sep-28-11 6:08 PM EST –

Wooden paddles: Bending Branches, Sawyer, and Grey Owl all have some nicely priced, and very good quality paddles. All have straight, and bent shaft paddles available.
Do yourself a favor; don't fork over $250.00 to $300.00 for a light as a feather, composite, bent shaft paddle........that someone thinks you "just gotta have". At least NOT until you've tried one for an hour or more.

Cooke Custom Sewing makes nicely priced, well made kneeling pads.


paddle freestyle
Wich bending branches paddle would you reccomend. I can not find anyone in the u.s. that sells the sawyer freestyle. Thank you. for the info.

for freestyle in a solo canoe
you are probably going to want a straight shaft paddle with a symmetrical palm grip. A symmetrical palm grip allows you to roll the grip in your hand and change the powerface. You also want a blade that will slice through the water nicely on an in-water recovery, but that is difficult to judge unless you can demo the paddle.

Another maker of quality wood paddles is Foxworx:

Of their paddles I would probably go with the Foxtail or the Classic.

Of the Bending Branches selections I would probably go with the Beavertail because of the symmetrical palm grip on that model.

Contact Sawyer and order direct

They will make the Freestyle in three different blade sizes and can also customize the grip.

I personally like the cedar Voyager as an all around paddle and the Manta as a bent shaft.

Pads and Paddles
The Bag Lady is now making the Grade VI KneeBed II which folds on the centerline and does not absorb water.

Paddles are problematical. FreeStylers want a longer shaft to enble cross strokes and maneuvers; with a firm, paddling grip on the top grip, drop it downwards in front of your, body. The neck, where blade and shaft meet should locate an inch above hairline. All young, male, paddlers should get a 1 cm tatoo there now. It’ll help later in life.

We used to always recommend the Grey Owl FreeStyle. It has now become Carbon at $200 and needs a ounce of lad in the grip to balance. Tom MacKenzioe likes a Bending Branches in the $130 range as a starter. After that the Sawyer and grey owl lead pretty quickly up-price to Dog Paddle designs by Marc Ornstein. Craig Quimby has started building again, but he was at $500 a decade ago and I haven’t seen current pricing.

Probably best to figure blade size and shaft lngth in the $150 range.