Sunday, February 21, 2016

Finally got my Wildfire - February 20, 2016

Back in 2005 I went looking for a solo canoe.  I was new to canoeing, and didn’t have the knowledge, connections or patients to find a used boat.  Fortunately there was a dealer in my area who carried Bell and Mohawk canoes.  I fell in love with a black gold Wildfire with cherry trim, but I ended up buying a Yellowstone Solo because it was in my price range.  The other option was a Mohawk Odyssey, which came in a close second.

I paid $800 for a 2004 Yellowstone Solo with a couple of scratches, and for the past 10 years have paddled it just about anywhere you can take a canoe.  It’s a great boat, but I have still wanted a composite Wildfire – and now I have one.

A local paddling friend sent around an email around looking for advice on a used solo boat.  He ended up with a Mad River Courier from DougD – the king of bringing wrecked boats back from the dead.  That email got me corresponding with TommyC1 about his Wildfire.  Tommy was looking to shrink his fleet.  He offered me the Wildfire at a fair price, and I grabbed it. 

Tommy apparently purchased the boat from a gentleman named Tony Figuerido who advertised it on P-Net.  Apparently Tony was an old-time P-netter who pre-dated me.  Tommy says:

She's a sweet boat, especially suited for Freestyle. But for tripping and touring, I prefer paddling the Osprey, Magic, and Independence. So the Wildfire needed a new owner. I think she and Erik will get on just fine.

Its a 1997 white gold Wildfire with wood trim.  There are a few scratches on the bottom, and a couple of nicks in the gel coat in the stern, which I have since repaired – a boat with character!  I picked it up after a hike with Tommy and Bill at the Leominster State Forest, and raced home to get it in the water.

For all the talk on P-net about the skegged stern on the Yellowstone Solo, I didn’t find that the Wildfire paddled much different than the Yellowstone on the flats.  To me, they both track easy. 

The Wildfire did heal over a lot easier than the Yellowstone, and felt a lot steadier.  It was 50° here yesterday, but the water is in the mid-30’s, so I didn’t try to push it down to the rail.  I will when it gets warmer.

My turns were about the same – I still only got to about 90°, but maybe I’ll do better with the Wildfire healed to the rail.  Bow prys seemed a lot easier with the Wildfire – not sure why that would be.

I'm looking forward to a lot more flatwater practice in this boat.  Few pictures of the (red) Wildfire here, along with some shots next to my old (green) Yellowstone Solo. I’m sure it’s just the pictures, but the Yellowstone Solo looks narrower than the Wildfire.

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1 comment:

  1. Congrats on getting the Wildfire! May it provide many safe journeys.

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