Your load is too light for the boat. Note that the efficient load range is listed as 350-650 pounds...you are not in the zone. I had a Bell Northwind and sold it because my normal loads are too light for it (even with 2 adults and a dog). The boat wants at least 450 pounds to feel decent and 500 or more to feel good. The Bell has some rocker so it takes a big load to get the ends in the water as opposed to Wenonahs which have no rocker so their ends are always in the water so they are less affected by wind. The Polaris or Northwind 16 should fit you much better.
Never paddled a Northstar Northwind 17 but was under the impression that except for the tumble home it's pretty much the same as a Bell Northwind. I've never had much of a problem paddling the Bell Northwind in the wind with two adults w/o gear . Paddling solo on the other hand is difficult in all but the slightest breeze.
There's probably 20lbs difference, not enough that I feel front to back balance is affected. One instance sticks out in my mind, windy day and we needed to refill water containers. Quick paddle out with a basically empty canoe, wind turns us broadside while we're filling waters. Gust came up and I was nervous about keeping the boat upright. I grabbed my paddle and told her to fill everything. Wasn't going to let that continue.
I know you are from Iowa, but ya gotta eat something besides corn! Maybe you'll get a little weight in that boat. ;)
I have not paddled one, but this link does seem to support what you were saying about being blown around without pack weight.
Is there much weight difference between you and your wife?
It doesn't seem to have a really bigger profile/higher shear line than the Wenonahs, but it does have differential rocker that the others don't. Steve and I paddled one last year, sometimes unloaded other than the two of us, and traded bow and stern at different times. He outweighs me some, but not a huge amount, and we didn't really get blown around any more than in the Boundary Waters. We did paddle it unloaded in some windy conditions once or twice.
cyclones30: "You are correct, that's why I rented from Sawtooth in Tofte. Got a north star, north wind 17 as I wasn't a huge fan of the Sawbill lineup.
hahaha..... Huge apologies. I guess my coffee hadn't kicked in and I misread it. Sorry about that.
I have not paddled the Northstar Northwind 17 but have paddled the Bell Northwind. I felt like that was much less of a sail than our old SR Q18.5 and the SR Q17 that we rented a couple of times before buying the 18.5.
You are correct, that's why I rented from Sawtooth in Tofte. Got a north star, north wind 17 as I wasn't a huge fan of the Sawbill lineup.
I've been in MN II, Boundary waters, and Seneca and don't recall feeling like that much of a sail in any of those. But it's also been a few years so that's why I'm asking.
I didn't think that Sawbill caries the Northstar Northwind 17? On their website they have the Northstar Seliga 17 listed but not the Northwind17.
Since they are different canoes I just want to make sure we are talking about the correct one.
I have a MN II kevlar and I sometimes want to fish when my wife has had enough. My solution has been to bring a few old dry bags to fill with water and put them in the bow. Just put them where you need to them to trim the canoe the way you want. They are easy to fill, take up little space, weigh very little and are gentle to your canoe. A 20L bag full of water weighs 40 pounds, but empty only a few ounces.
I have also used them to stake out tents and tarps instead of tying chord to rocks. Another great use is transporting live fish. Once in a while I find that I have fished my way quite a ways from camp. Instead of dragging them behind the canoe or letting them flop in the canoe, fill a decent sized dry bag half full of water, add the fish and close the bag. Now I can travel fast back to camp and the fish are in great shape. I have even tossed the stringer of fish in the water back at camp and the fish were fine until I was ready to clean them. In a pinch you can also fill them with small rocks and sand and use it as an anchor for your canoe.
We rented a Northwind 17 Kevlar from Sawtooth for our trip last week. Great people there and I'd always wanted to paddle a Bell at some point. I loved it loaded, but with just my wife and me in it for day trips, water runs, fishing, etc., the wind just had its way with us at times. I also liked the weight when portaging, but hated the yoke that was on it but that's an easy fix.
I know all boats perform this way to some extent but this seemed more obvious than in the past. Am I imagining it? I added a few rocks for one part of a trip to try and reduce it a bit. We're about 300 lbs combined so not a whole lot there. Thoughts?