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mags459
member (29)member
 
06/17/2020 08:18PM  
I have searched everything I can. I know I need to paddle to check for sure, but does anyone have a direct comparison of a B17 or Northwind 17 to SR 17? I currently have a SR 18.5 and it is a great canoe, but I need a second and want to stick to 17'. I am down to these finalists.

My tripping style is lightweight. Light packs are the best luxury item, I single portage and fishing with an empty canoe is a must. Two 200-225# paddlers. I love the primary stability of the SR and the durability, but I am hearing the newer canoes are maybe not equal to the older rib style and I want to support an American Company.

Is the Northwind 17 comparable stability-wise to a SR 17 or do I need to go to the B17 for that? I used to own a Spirit II if someone can compare to that. If close, I would like to go for a little more glide in the NW17. The B17 seems to be really hard to find to demo. Upper St. Croix and Namakagon are also on the paddling itinerary.

Thanks for any help to narrow a bit more.
 
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Abbey
distinguished member (274)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/18/2020 07:12AM  
I don’t have a direct comparison for you on SR17 vs NW17, but we have tripped and fished from SR18.5 with three people and NW17 with two people, which would have averaged in a similar weight range. I found the NW17 to be less tippy, but take that with a grain of salt as there is an experience component in that as the SR18.5 was an earlier trip rental when we had less experience. To illustrate, we added ballast to the SR18.5 while fishing, and despite assuming that we would need to do that with other tripping canoes, we did not feel the need for ballast in the NW17.

Also, I hadn’t heard that SR changed their design. When did that happen?
 
mschi772
distinguished member(575)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/18/2020 07:55AM  
They're not going to be dramatically different as they are both big water tripping canoes. I can weigh-in with my very direct comparison of a NW17 with my own Nova Craft Haida. The NW17 was lighter, a little faster, a little less initial stability, less comfortable, and couldn't technically hold as much weight (but actually reaching the weight limit of a NC Haida is virtually impossible).

I'll qualify the comfort remark a little more--Nova Craft boot lace seats are the most comfortable seats I've ever had in a canoe, so that's why I feel it will always be an uphill battle to beat the comfort of any Nova Craft. However, that's not the only factor. I had heard many complaints about the shape and location of aluminum gunwales of Northstars and can confirm that I *immediately* understood as I sat in the stern of the NW17; that gunwale edge is really uncomfortable on the knee/leg, and I fully understand why a lot of people wrap that section with pool noodle/pipe insulation.
 
BigCurrent
distinguished member(606)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/18/2020 01:24PM  
I've paddled both and most recently a NW17 on my last two trips. Both are plenty stable, the Northwind tracks better and is faster while traveling, but both are great boats. The one big difference for me is the design of the Souris River. I am not a fan of the raised ribs on the bottom of the boat for various reasons, but the main one is they have a tendency to break and are terrible to repair. I talked to one outfitter who won't by any more Souris Rivers because of this exact issue.
 
06/18/2020 03:37PM  
NS NW 17 and the SR QT17 are pretty similar in my experience. The SR is, I believe, epoxy while the American manufacturers use vinylester.
But as you say, light is the best luxury...and the Northstar NW 17 is 40 lb to the 44 for the SR QT17.
 
schweady
distinguished member(7258)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
06/18/2020 04:53PM  
The SR Q17 and the NS NW17 are incredibly similar. Having piloted rental Qs for many years and feeling that it was THE canoe, I was hesitant to change to the NW, but it's been all good. The NW has a bit more initial instability, but it evens out quickly and the secondary stability of the two is nearly identical. And the difference is really only noticeable when near empty, like when day tripping or fishing for the day or collecting water. You can twitch it farther to the side than the Q, but you're certainly not going over. Both are excellent fishing platforms, even when empty. Bonus: the foot space for the bow paddler in the NW is just as roomy as in the Q, something not found in every tripping canoe.

The rib failure problem of the more recent models of the Q is real. Ask John at VNO about it. He could probably name the year it was changed. I would imagine that he has nearly completed selling off their Q fleet in favor of the NW, something he started a few years back.
 
06/18/2020 05:47PM  
In renting both the Q17 and NW17 our last 2 trips, I'd take the NW17 in a slight edge.
 
MuskyMike
member (33)member
 
06/22/2020 11:50AM  
I LOVE my B17. If you get up to the Iron Range area let me know. I live 100 yds from a lake and would be happy to let you paddle it a bit. Hit the link below for a review I posted here.

B17 Review
 
user0317
distinguished member (349)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/22/2020 12:49PM  
BigCurrent: "I've paddled both and most recently a NW17 on my last two trips. Both are plenty stable, the Northwind tracks better and is faster while traveling, but both are great boats. The one big difference for me is the design of the Souris River. I am not a fan of the raised ribs on the bottom of the boat for various reasons, but the main one is they have a tendency to break and are terrible to repair. I talked to one outfitter who won't by any more Souris Rivers because of this exact issue. "

I also find that older Souris River canoes tend to 'oil can' between the ribs. If you look at pictures of the bottoms of older hulls, you'll notice little dips between the ribs. I don't believe that it compromises the safety or integrity of the hull, but I would imagine that it has a negative impact on your paddling efficiency. I'm probably not very efficient to begin with, so no harm done.
 
06/22/2020 08:59PM  
Just curious - can someone elaborate about what changes were made to the SR boats, and when these changes were made?
 
Jackfish
Moderator
 
06/23/2020 08:04AM  
Jaywalker: "Just curious - can someone elaborate about what changes were made to the SR boats, and when these changes were made?"
You may want to call Souris River and get the information straight from the horse's mouth (so to speak). Here is their contact information.
 
mgraber
distinguished member(1182)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/23/2020 09:54PM  
Jaywalker: "Just curious - can someone elaborate about what changes were made to the SR boats, and when these changes were made?"

I believe my outfitter friend said that 2016 was when he started having problems with cracked ribs, as many have. Our 2012 model was purchased new and used very hard and has been bulletproof. Our friends who frequently trip with us have a Northstar17. The Northstar is not going to be as tough as the earlier SR but is slightly faster with slightly less initial stability but plenty of final stability. If I were buying today I would choose the Northstar but I would be a little more careful with it as our friends is obviously a bit more fragile.
 
Banksiana
distinguished member(2310)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/24/2020 09:19AM  
In my opinion the difference in toughness between Souris River and other composite canoes is just marketing BS. Yes the epoxy resin is "harder" but the degree of hardness is insignificant especially in relationship to the shield country rock. Also as someone who has repaired a large number of canoes I wonder if the epoxy resin is more subject to UV degradation as the Souris River boats I've worked on seem more subject to this problem.
 
cmanimal
member (29)member
 
06/25/2020 01:48AM  
Midwest mountaineering is holding a paddle sports demo on July 25th and it looks like you can try both a B17 and northwinds 17.

Personally I favor the Souris river, but have also heard about issues with the ribs.
I have one limited experience in a northwinds and we developed a standing roll while crossing snowbank and couldn't loose it. I'd like to try one again with my regular paddling partner, I might get a different result.

Last fall I rented a Wenonah Boundary waters and found that to be a good paddle for two good days of paddling.
 
06/25/2020 07:31AM  
My only direct experience is owning a Souris River Quetico 18.5 and then paddling a Northwind 20 last summer. The Northwind seemed to glide a little better, maybe felt a little faster. Checking my average speeds on my trip GPS there was no measurable difference. The Souris River felt more stable, but the Northwind stability didn’t Concern me at all.

I you could paddle them both that is always the best option. If you typically paddle Northstar Canoes or the Souris River I suspect most would choose the one they were used to. I guess what I am saying is they are both great canoes, I’d personally buy based on cost. If I found one for a deal I wouldn’t hesitate to buy either.

The only reason I am switching to Northstar is Souris doesn’t make one the entire family can ride in anymore. Otherwise I had no need to switch.

T
 
mags459
member (29)member
 
06/25/2020 10:07PM  
Thank you all for the answers, it looks like I need to get to midwest to paddle the NW. that may be the way to go. Just got back from a week in the BWCA I really like my old duralite SR 18.5 but Northstar looks better and better as it appears just as good to fish from.
 
jhb8426
distinguished member(1284)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/26/2020 12:13AM  
The hull of NW 17 is supposed to be the same as a Bell Northwind with the exception of the tumblehome. I have owned a Northwind and found it to be a very stable hull and good for fishing even when unloaded. As with any unloaded canoe, the wind will have an effect. No experience with any SR boats.
 
argv
member (9)member
 
06/28/2020 12:46PM  
I had no problem fishing with a 10-year old bowman in my B16.
 
mags459
member (29)member
 
06/29/2020 05:53PM  
that looks like a killer trip.
 
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