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      33 lb. Northstar Polaris     

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RunningFox
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04/04/2021 06:29PM  
The latest Paragis Northwoods Company catalog lists a special carbon version of the Northstar Polaris canoe that weighs 33 lbs, which is nine lbs. lighter than a backlight version.

Materials include carbon fiber/innegra and Arimid. The gunwales, deck, seat, and thwarts are E6 carbon.

Paragis said only 6 would be produced this year. The price is rather high at $4,595.

The idea of such a light wt. canoe is very appealing, especially as I get older.

What do you think?
 
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martian
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04/04/2021 07:13PM  
I thought both the canoes featured on page 2 were just amazing. Form and function to the max. Very well done.
 
Banksiana
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04/04/2021 07:14PM  
I've wanted to upgrade to a Savage River Blackwater since I first saw one; weighs in around 25#. Most of their tandems come in around 35#. Unfortunately the pricing is similar to the Polaris @ 35#.
 
mschi772
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04/04/2021 07:42PM  
A carbon Swift Prospector or Keewaydin with carbon hardware would be about as light as well, but even more expensive, especially if you go for the really nice Textreme stuff. Savage River also makes some spectacularly light carbon canoes in a variety of different layup options. Savage isn't quite as pricey as Swift can be, but it still isn't really any cheaper than the one you're talking about though. Carbon canoes are not cheap, and if one was, I would be very suspicious.
 
04/04/2021 09:50PM  
What do I think?

I think that sounds tempting.

Not seeing it online - do they have photos? Is Piragis getting all 6?
 
MidwestFirecraft
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04/05/2021 06:54AM  
I may be on my own on this one but unless I was solely paddling deep lakes I wouldn't be interested in an all carbon canoe. The beauty of the Carbon/Kevlar is that it is light and stiff, yet can take some significant hits on unsuspecting rocks, etc.
 
MagicPaddler
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04/05/2021 07:56AM  
The Northstar website has a misprint on Polaris specks. It list that the Polaris has front + back rocker as 4 inches. My Polaris has less than ¼ inch rocker.
 
mschi772
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04/05/2021 08:28AM  
MidwestFirecraft: "I may be on my own on this one but unless I was solely paddling deep lakes I wouldn't be interested in an all carbon canoe. The beauty of the Carbon/Kevlar is that it is light and stiff, yet can take some significant hits on unsuspecting rocks, etc. "

"Materials include carbon fiber/innegra and Arimid"

Aramid = Kevlar. Innegra is pretty good on taking impacts and abrasion as well.

If you're referring to my comment on others who build "all carbon" boats, I apologize. None of them are ALL carbon. What I meant is that they build with layups that use carbon and they also have carbon gunnels, yokes, thwarts, etc. Swift's carbon boats still incorporate aramid and innegra, and so do Savage River.
 
tumblehome
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04/05/2021 01:38PM  
Piragis has one hanging in their store as of Sat.
I did notice the carbon fiber portage yoke.

It’s a slick looking canoe for sure and will probably be sold in short order. The price tag is at the very upper limits of the price of a new canoe. Only wood canvas canoes sells for that amount.

When you build a premium canoes, you can make a premium profit.

Tom
 
justpaddlin
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04/05/2021 02:17PM  
A 33 pound Polaris sounds cool. I think the BlackLite lay-up with E6 gunwales was already down around 37 pounds...and somewhere around $4k. That 33 pounder is worth the money if it means you spend more time on the water. I have a BlackLite Polaris and I think it's just a bit over 40 pounds with wood trim so I'm happy with that.
 
04/05/2021 03:04PM  
tumblehome: "Piragis has one hanging in their store as of Sat."

I for one would like to see some photos - very interested to see how they've executed the thwarts, yoke and seats.
 
MidwestFirecraft
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04/05/2021 04:06PM  
mschi772: ""Materials include carbon fiber/innegra and Arimid"


Aramid = Kevlar. Innegra is pretty good on taking impacts and abrasion as
well


My bad, I thought it was an all carbon layup. I'm curious how they add innegra and get the weight lower than the blacklight carbon/kevlar mix?
They keep coming up with new and amazing layups!
 
mschi772
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04/05/2021 06:54PM  
MidwestFirecraft: "mschi772: ""Materials include carbon fiber/innegra and Arimid"



Aramid = Kevlar. Innegra is pretty good on taking impacts and abrasion as
well



My bad, I thought it was an all carbon layup. I'm curious how they add innegra and get the weight lower than the blacklight carbon/kevlar mix?
They keep coming up with new and amazing layups!"


As I understand it, Northstar's blacklight is starlight with a layer of carbon added to the exterior. I'm guessing that these special Polarises *replace* a layer of aramid with carbon/innegra rather than just adding an extra layer. The carbon gunnels and carbon hardware/seats reduces weight compared to aluminum & wood.
 
mjmkjun
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04/06/2021 08:40AM  
Depends on what it's worth to your safety and comfort zone. I do enjoy my used Prism at 35 lbs (give or take a pound) at the $1100 purchase price. If I can't lift that over my head in my 70's decade, then physically that's the handicapper to ponder and be concerned about.
If you've got bucks to spare then go for it!!
 
04/08/2021 10:53AM  
So I have a bit of additional detail on this canoe.

Piragis has one now, and is getting another in May and another in July.

They are all-black. Outside, but also inside too. They look amazing.

Sounds like all the things that are normally wood or aluminum are Carbon Fiber (E6).

The Thwarts and the Yoke are through-bolted. Some manufacturers (Swift and Placid Boatworks, I believe) infuse and permanently connect those CF components. So NS has gone the modular route.
 
04/08/2021 01:04PM  
And some more:

Looks like the seats are also CF/E6, in the traditional form-factor with webbing. Black webbing, of course.

They are hung from the gunwales the same way as on their other canoes.
 
04/09/2021 09:38AM  
 
MidwestFirecraft
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04/09/2021 10:12AM  
Beautiful!
 
04/09/2021 12:13PM  
 
04/09/2021 04:49PM  
 
Voyager
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04/09/2021 06:42PM  
For that amount of money I'd buy a Savage River Deep Creek in Textreme carbon. It's 3 " shorter I believe and 3# lighter, weighing in at a whopping 30#. I was talking to Alan Kesselheim, he has a Deep Creek tandem and loves it. I paid dearly for Textreme on my Blackwater, but it looks so "purty". I'm not too keen on the all black interior on the Polaris.





 
04/09/2021 09:36PM  
Voyager: "I paid dearly for Textreme on my Blackwater, but it looks so "purty"."

Well, now we're going to need some photos, aren't we?
 
Voyager
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04/10/2021 09:16AM  
One quick photo, since you asked. This was before I abused it on 2 border route trips, 500 miles in total, including twice on the Pigeon River to Ft. Charlotte. I'm in the process of adding a rudder to it to help in the wind on an August border trip. One plus for buying the Polaris from Piragis ( if that canoe turns your crank) is, there is no waiting. I shudder to think what the wait time would be on ordering a new canoe from the manufacturer today.
 
04/10/2021 10:23AM  
Voyager: "One quick photo, since you asked. This was before I abused it on 2 border route trips, 500 miles in total, including twice on the Pigeon River to Ft. Charlotte. I'm in the process of adding a rudder to it to help in the wind on an August border trip. One plus for buying the Polaris from Piragis ( if that canoe turns your crank) is, there is no waiting. I shudder to think what the wait time would be on ordering a new canoe from the manufacturer today. "

That's a sweet looking ride. How much rocker does a blackwater have?
 
Banksiana
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04/10/2021 10:45AM  
sns: "Voyager: "One quick photo, since you asked. This was before I abused it on 2 border route trips, 500 miles in total, including twice on the Pigeon River to Ft. Charlotte. I'm in the process of adding a rudder to it to help in the wind on an August border trip. One plus for buying the Polaris from Piragis ( if that canoe turns your crank) is, there is no waiting. I shudder to think what the wait time would be on ordering a new canoe from the manufacturer today. "


That's a sweet looking ride. How much rocker does a blackwater have?"

None. Unless you ask them to increase the fullness (gunwale width)of the boat when you order it.

Lead time from order to delivery recently was about two months according to Savage River.
 
Voyager
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04/10/2021 10:47AM  
I can't find rocker amounts on SR site. I would guess none.
 
04/10/2021 11:19AM  
The Blackwater has been on my radar for a while...but I've never even seen one in person. Was all ticketed and had a hotel for canoecopia last year, mostly to see a Blackwater. (We know how that turned out). Really cool fast tripper.

Any limitations compared to say, a Magic, in terms of rougher water?
 
04/10/2021 11:23AM  
Here's one more of the Piragis Stealth Polaris.

If anyone is in the store and can post better pictures, have at it!
 
Voyager
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04/10/2021 04:11PM  
I've never paddled a Magic, though I have friends that do. It's a very capable boat. I own a Voyager too. I thought the Blackwater wouldn't weather cock as much in those quartering, following seas. In 2019 I paddled the Blackwater on the entire border route beside a guy from Calif. He was in a rented Voyager, double blading it. We were both equally fighting the dreaded weather cocking. In 2020 I paddled the border route beside a guy from Conn. He was double blading a Rapidfire, and because of some rocker in his boat, he was able to keep it under control much easier. I had to move my grip closer to the end of the double paddle and sometimes give it a couple of sweeps in a row . I was impressed with the Rapidfire, light and fast. At 73 I can't begin to get the speed potential out of any canoe. I'm really surprised someone hasn't grabbed that Polaris already. A bit early for heavy traffic in Piragis I guess. It's pretty skinny, which might dissuade some folks. I'll be in the store in July . Maybe they'll have 1 to ogle . Even though I'll be on a solo trip, bringing home another canoe would wreck my happy home. I like the quote from a surf ski lover, " I always buy white boats, that way she never notices another purchase." If you commit to always buying those black carbon boats, you'll be in the poor house. I think my Blackwater has increased in price about $350. since I bought mine. Another thing to consider, and a reason not to put off a carbon purchase too long.
 
04/10/2021 04:50PM  
Banksiana: "None. Unless you ask them to increase the fullness (gunwale width)of the boat when you order it."

Are you pulling my leg on this, or can this be done?
 
Banksiana
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04/11/2021 08:34AM  
sns: "Banksiana: "None. Unless you ask them to increase the fullness (gunwale width)of the boat when you order it."


Are you pulling my leg on this, or can this be done?"


I've corresponded with John Diller (designer of Blackwater) at Savage River concerning the suitability of the Blackwater for tripping with a decent sized canine companion. Quoting Mr. Diller: "If you are going to have a heavy load we can raise the gunwale 1" to give you more freeboard and we can also spread the gunwale a little if you want to add a little volume to it as well. It will also put a little rocker in it which will make it turn easier but not track as straight."
 
04/11/2021 11:00AM  
Banksiana: "sns: "Banksiana: "None. Unless you ask them to increase the fullness (gunwale width)of the boat when you order it."

Are you pulling my leg on this, or can this be done?"


I've corresponded with John Diller (designer of Blackwater) at Savage River concerning the suitability of the Blackwater for tripping with a decent sized canine companion. Quoting Mr. Diller: "If you are going to have a heavy load we can raise the gunwale 1" to give you more freeboard and we can also spread the gunwale a little if you want to add a little volume to it as well. It will also put a little rocker in it which will make it turn easier but not track as straight."
"


Nice - and John should know! I have the same issue - I've looked at the pics of the Blackwater and thought the 53lb dog would be tight up front. The idea of putting a hair of rocker in a solo that long is also appealing.
 
Banksiana
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04/14/2021 11:21AM  
SNS-

Talked with John Diller yesterday. They are considering offering the increased volume Blackwater hull as a new model- BlackwaterX. Adds about 1/2" of gunwale width to paddling station. Mr. Diller felt it might be the better option for dog-tripping.
 
04/14/2021 12:11PM  
Banksiana, thanks - so I assume it's the same mold, just longer thwarts to spread the gunwales a tad wider?

Option B is that my dog could lose some weight. :-)
 
mschi772
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04/15/2021 07:46AM  
To get back on the topic of the Polaris...

I certainly have questions bouncing around in my head. A starlight with carbon gunnels is listed as 37 lb I think and blacklite with E6 is 39 lb, so for something like $900-1200 extra this boat shaves 4-6 lb, has carbon yoke/thwart/seat, and a carbon interior. Is that doing anything for the performance of the canoe other than changing its cosmetic look and shaving a few lb? I respect weight savings, but paying *that much* more just for a few pounds? Also wondering how the black interior feels on a hot, sunny day.

Also, looking at the photos, it is hard to tell with the lower resolution, but the material/pattern on the outer hull looks more like their starlite aramid dyed black instead of carbon fiber. Now I have more questions about what the hull layup actually is.
Maybe if this boat had the stiffness and ruggedness of blacklite, it might be reasonable to upgrade for something like $500-700 more, but if this is $1200 extra to dye a E6 starlite black and shave 4 lb with carbon yoke/thwart/seat, then yikes.
 
04/15/2021 08:34AM  
I recall the NS folks saying that the E6 gunwales are very stiff, so it should help performance.

Aramid does come in black - could be wrong but I think their starlite is a black & yellow aramid weave.

I too was wondering about the heat factor in high summer - paddling in an oven might not be fun!
 
04/15/2021 09:07AM  
mschi772: " but if this is $1200 extra to dye a E6 starlite black and shave 4 lb with carbon yoke/thwart/seat, then yikes."

It's all about perspective...most will likely agree wholeheartedly with you.

This is actually +$1300...plus tax puts you right at $1400 extra over a $3295 Starlite/E6 Polaris.

That makes it about $22/ounce of weight saved, assuming 4 pounds lighter for the Stealth Polaris.

UL backpackers generally look for weight savings in the $10 to $20 / oz range. So even by their standards, this is a little pricy, but perhaps not obscenely so.
 
mschi772
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04/15/2021 09:18AM  
sns: "I recall the NS folks saying that the E6 gunwales are very stiff, so it should help performance.

Aramid does come in black - could be wrong but I think their starlite is a black & yellow aramid weave."

I was comparing it to E6-equipped starlite/blacklite, so the E6 gunnels aren't a factor in comparing the physical performance of the stealth to the starlite/blacklite.

And yes, their starlite is yellow+black, but from the looks of the stealth in the photos provided, the weave looks identical to their starlite aramid fabric, not like any carbon fiber I've ever seen, so until someone shares some more information, I'm presuming that this Polaris Stealth is just using starlite that is all black instead of black+yellow.
 
Banksiana
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04/15/2021 11:16AM  
mschi772: "<
And yes, their starlite is yellow+black, but from the looks of the stealth in the photos provided, the weave looks identical to their starlite aramid fabric, not like any carbon fiber I've ever seen, so until someone shares some more information, I'm presuming that this Polaris Stealth is just using starlite that is all black instead of black+yellow."


Looks like a standard carbon fiber weave to me. Star-lite is a combination of kevlar and carbon fiber woven together. Check the Savage River website for decent images of all the weaves that carbon is available in.
Most manufacturers use a carbon outer layer attached to a layer of kevlar for tripping or touring canoes. Carbon is stiffer and has greater abrasion resistance, but it is brittle and subject to impact injury; by mating carbon to kevlar you get the best of both worlds. Racing hulls value stiffness and lightness over durability and thus are willing to use an all carbon lay up. Kevlar is more durable for interior of the hull on a tripping boat as carbon can be injured (due to brittleness) when packs (heavy and may contain hard objects) are loaded and unloaded. Not to mention the possible heat factor.
 
04/15/2021 11:37AM  
From Bear Paulsen, posted with permission:

"Yes, Piragis has a Stealth version of the Polaris. Carbon/Innegra outer and black aramid inner. E6 trim and E6 parts. Weight 33lb."
 
mschi772
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04/15/2021 11:21PM  
Banksiana: "mschi772: "And yes, their starlite is yellow+black, but from the looks of the stealth in the photos provided, the weave looks identical to their starlite aramid fabric, not like any carbon fiber I've ever seen, so until someone shares some more information, I'm presuming that this Polaris Stealth is just using starlite that is all black instead of black+yellow."


Looks like a standard carbon fiber weave to me. Star-lite is a combination of kevlar and carbon fiber woven together."


No carbon in the standard starlite layup to my knowledge, and I have been deeply researching many different companies' layups very recently and consuming as much information from them as I can find, including Savage River for that matter.

sns: "From Bear Paulsen, posted with permission:

"Yes, Piragis has a Stealth version of the Polaris. Carbon/Innegra outer and black aramid inner. E6 trim and E6 parts. Weight 33lb.""


Glad it isn't just a black starlite. Carbon+innegra weave is a nice choice--Swift has had a lot of success with it, and the only reason I don't already own a Swift is that they don't have a boat quite like the Polaris. If they did, there'd be no contest as I love how their carbon+kevlar gunnels are integrated into the hull (don't actually know if E6 is similarly integrated or made separately and added to the hull after) and I prefer the way they reinforce their hulls and mount the seats directly to the hull instead of hanging them from the gunnels. Even with all there is to love, I want a Polaris more.
 
justpaddlin
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04/16/2021 08:32PM  
I wonder how the strength and durability compare to a BlackLite Polaris. It's hard to tell from sns' pics but it looks like it has only one thwart (vs the normal 2) and looks like the one thwart isn't a kneeling thwart. You have to have a kneeling thwart or center seat in a Polaris since it solos so well.

I also prefer the way Swift mounts their carbon seats and the fact that the Swift carbon seats are contoured. I'll be curious to see whether Northstar will sell just the seat because I'd consider putting one on my Bell Merlin II to save 2-3 pounds if the price was reasonable.
 
04/16/2021 10:07PM  
justpaddlin: "I wonder how the strength and durability compare to a BlackLite Polaris. It's hard to tell from sns' pics but it looks like it has only one thwart (vs the normal 2) and looks like the one thwart isn't a kneeling thwart. You have to have a kneeling thwart or center seat in a Polaris since it solos so well.

I also prefer the way Swift mounts their carbon seats and the fact that the Swift carbon seats are contoured. I'll be curious to see whether Northstar will sell just the seat because I'd consider putting one on my Bell Merlin II to save 2-3 pounds if the price was reasonable."



Pretty sure they have two (non-kneeling) thwarts and a yoke on the Stealth Polaris; I bet that's overkill given the extra stiffness of the carbon fiber gunwales.

And as a guy who has replaced the seat on his Northstar Magic - the seat & drops & hardware on mine weighed 2lb 6oz. I crafted and use a minicell seat (build in the DIY subforum) which weighs 12 ounces. So net weight reduction for me is 1lb 10oz...however I bet you don't save quite that much with a traditional-form, CF seat in your Merlin...probably just over one pound. But a pound is a pound - go for it if they'll sell it to you!
 
Banksiana
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04/17/2021 09:36AM  
justpaddlin: "
I also prefer the way Swift mounts their carbon seats and the fact that the Swift carbon seats are contoured. I'll be curious to see whether Northstar will sell just the seat because I'd consider putting one on my Bell Merlin II to save 2-3 pounds if the price was reasonable."


Savage River will sell their carbon seats- buy the ones with the pad.

I got to spend some time in a Swift Cruiser 16.8- terrible seat design, it was a brand new boat and the carbon fiber seat was already cracking. The owner returned the canoe for a new one with an upgraded seat design- better but still a bit questionable. Swift's layup and construction of the hull absolutely top-notch- a beautiful design and execution.
 
justpaddlin
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04/17/2021 12:21PM  
sns: "justpaddlin: "I wonder how the strength and durability compare to a BlackLite Polaris. It's hard to tell from sns' pics but it looks like it has only one thwart (vs the normal 2) and looks like the one thwart isn't a kneeling thwart. You have to have a kneeling thwart or center seat in a Polaris since it solos so well.


I also prefer the way Swift mounts their carbon seats and the fact that the Swift carbon seats are contoured. I'll be curious to see whether Northstar will sell just the seat because I'd consider putting one on my Bell Merlin II to save 2-3 pounds if the price was reasonable."




Pretty sure they have two (non-kneeling) thwarts and a yoke on the Stealth Polaris; I bet that's overkill given the extra stiffness of the carbon fiber gunwales.


And as a guy who has replaced the seat on his Northstar Magic - the seat & drops & hardware on mine weighed 2lb 6oz. I crafted and use a minicell seat (build in the DIY subforum) which weighs 12 ounces. So net weight reduction for me is 1lb 10oz...however I bet you don't save quite that much with a traditional-form, CF seat in your Merlin...probably just over one pound. But a pound is a pound - go for it if they'll sell it to you!"


I'm curious about stiffness/strength/durability partly because the E6 gunwales ar the only ones that include a caution "not meant for whitewater". Maybe they are stiff but brittle, I don't know. Also just FYI when I spoke to Swift about possibly installing some carbon parts in a couple of my canoes (both now sold) they pointed out that the carbon fiber thwarts are not as strong as wood, presumably because they are hollow and biased towards weight savings.

I put a black walnut seat from edscanoe on my Merlin II to replace the stock seat. It's beautiful and you can feel the added stiffness...but it made the boat noticeably heavier so I think I'd appreciate a carbon fiber replacement.
 
justpaddlin
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04/17/2021 12:30PM  
Banksiana: "justpaddlin: "
I also prefer the way Swift mounts their carbon seats and the fact that the Swift carbon seats are contoured. I'll be curious to see whether Northstar will sell just the seat because I'd consider putting one on my Bell Merlin II to save 2-3 pounds if the price was reasonable."



Savage River will sell their carbon seats- buy the ones with the pad.


I got to spend some time in a Swift Cruiser 16.8- terrible seat design, it was a brand new boat and the carbon fiber seat was already cracking. The owner returned the canoe for a new one with an upgraded seat design- better but still a bit questionable. Swift's layup and construction of the hull absolutely top-notch- a beautiful design and execution."


Thanks for the tip, I'll take a look at the Savage River seats. I'd be looking for a regular webbed seat that allows kneeling, it looks like the Cruiser uses a tractor seat. Swift also makes a contoured seat with carbon frame that looks a lot like their wood frame countoured seats which I like a lot.
 
Banksiana
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04/17/2021 12:52PM  
justpaddlin: "

Thanks for the tip, I'll take a look at the Savage River seats. I'd be looking for a regular webbed seat that allows kneeling, it looks like the Cruiser uses a tractor seat. Swift also makes a contoured seat with carbon frame that looks a lot like their wood frame countoured seats which I like a lot. "


Sorry- I think Savage River offers only tractor seats. I assumed tractor when you said carbon fiber. They do have a nice system for a tractor seat that can change heights to accommodate kneeling. Not an option for me with touchy knees and size 13 Muck boots.
 
mschi772
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04/17/2021 08:42PM  
justpaddlin: "Also just FYI when I spoke to Swift about possibly installing some carbon parts in a couple of my canoes (both now sold) they pointed out that the carbon fiber thwarts are not as strong as wood"

This is the kind of practical information about their products I wish they would share more freely. All their published info and advertising is just Bill Swift grinning and telling you how "beautiful" everything it. "Beautiful carbon." "Beautiful cherry wood." "Beautiful curve in the chine area." "Beautiful H-weave pattern." "Beautiful Textreme." "Beautiful basalt innegra." Nothing useful about stiffness, strength, weight, repairability, resilience... So frustrating. I feel like it's because they're being overprotective of their designs, but I don't choose a canoe strictly based on how "beautiful" its features are especially when the guy selling them thinks literally everything is "beautiful."
 
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