Submitted: 08-08-2005 by birren
Five years ago, when I first got into solo canoeing, I test-paddled a Mad River Guide (now the Freedom solo), a Mad River Independence and a Wenonah Solo Plus. I bought the Solo Plus because of its stability and tracking, since my skills were only marginal. Since then I've bought other boats, including my current favorite, a Bell Wildfire, and I'm comfortable in Class II+ water. A few days ago I test-paddled another Guide/Freedom and found it to be just as squirrelly as the first time. It's plenty responsive, but it simply does not track unless it is going perfectly straight and level. The slightest deviation causes it to go into a spiral, meaning an increasingly tight turn. I could not let up on this boat for a moment or it would spin out of control. On the up side, I must admit it has good primary and secondary stability. The addition of a rudder would be a great improvement, but as it is I cannot recommend it for anyone or any purpose, except perhaps as a planter in front of a boat shop! Sorry, Mad River, it just doesn't measure up to your other boats.