-- Last Updated: Oct-30-12 1:36 PM EST --
Yes, it is common for a Royalex version of a hull design to end up with dimensional differences from the composite version, simply because of the differences in material and the molding/manufacturing differences that accompany those different materials.
But the Yellowstone is clearly a different design from the Wildfire. Compare the composite Yellowstone to the composite Wildfire, a case where we can factor out molding/manufacturing differences occasioned by Royalex. They are different boats, and not just in the rocker line.
The sin is not in reducing stern rocker. That may be an advantage to many paddlers. And I'm not claiming the Wildfire or the Yellowstone is the better boat. They are both very nice boats. But they are different boats.
Different boats should have different names. Otherwise, you could have 30 very different hulls called a Prospector. Oh, I forgot, we do.
Bell's original sin of trying to eat too frequently of the successful Wildfire apple continues to snake its confusing legacy throughout all of canoeing mankind, frequently here on this board, by rendering almost useless many of the "Wildfire" reviews as well as rendering ambiguous many classified Wildfire ads. Many people are simply unaware of what hull they own, or what hull they are buying or selling, unless they are aware of this tortured nomenclatural history.
When I was negotiating to buy a used composite Wildfire from a seller 500 miles away, the seller had no idea about this issue and no clue as to whether his stern rocker was the same as his bow rocker. Professor Wilson was a great help in identifying the year of manufacture for me, but couldn't recall at the time when the composite Yellowstone mold was made or whether Bell had called its early Yellowstone composites by the Wildfire name, as it had its Royalex version.
So he went the extra mile and contacted Dave Yost to reconstruct the timeline of this whole issue. As I recall, he and DY concluded via the mold history that no composite Yellowstones had ever been marketed by Bell as Wildfires. This gracious effort gave me confidence that I was getting the hull I wanted.
However, it really shouldn't require these kinds of divine interventions to figure out what the hull you are buying.
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