BWCA Buying my first canoe - Northstar B17? Boundary Waters Gear Forum
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technically_rugged
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04/20/2022 06:19PM  
Hey all,

I've got a fever, and the only prescription, is my first canoe! I've rented Kevlar canoes for the past 4 years and could have almost paid for a brand new one at this point. I think it's high time I got my own.

After looking at my options, thinking about my priorities while tripping (stability over speed, for fishing and choppy conditions that I'm only moderately averse to), and seeing what's out there, I've settled on a Northstar Northwind 17 or B17. I called Northstar today and talked to Bear for a half hour and he took the time to listen to my experience, my hopes and fears, and helped me understand my options and iron out expectations. It was a great experience and solidified my desire to go with Northstar.

I'm almost set on the B17, in BlackLite layup, with aluminum trim. It should give me most of the stability I want, obviously not like I'm used to with the flat bottomed canoes I'm used to, like the SRQ17 and Wenonah BW, but still be faster than those, be more maneuverable than those, be more durable than those, and look dang good doing it to boot! I don't plan on paddling it solo more than once in a blue moon, or maybe fishing on a calm morning while my canoe partner is still sleeping, but it does seem like the B17 with the symmetrical hull is a better choice for solo paddling.

It's tough to demo these canoes, though, especially the B17. I'm hoping some B17 owners can chime in - it's quite hard to find reviews and impressions of it! Ideally I'd like to hear about initial stability compared to something flatter, the tracking on open water, comfort in whitecap conditions, bow leg room, and these razor sharp gunwales I keep reading about. I very much appreciate any opinions at all, though!
 
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04/20/2022 06:56PM  
No experience or opinion to share but...CONGRATULATIONS on a new canoe! Very exciting. One suggestion, see if they can retrofit it with skis so you can slide it along the ice until the fourth of July!
 
BrianDay
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04/21/2022 08:28AM  
Hi JD,

Sounds like you had a good talk with the folks at Northstar. If you ever want to talk Wenonah, give us a call. We're here M-F 8-4 and happy to talk canoes anytime.

Good luck in the hunt for your new canoe!

Brian from Wenonah
 
schweady
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04/21/2022 11:41AM  
jd - In a nutshell, what were the differences that you learned there are between the Northwind 17 and B17?
I love paddling the former, and am just this year hearing about the latter.
 
schweady
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04/21/2022 11:41AM  
oops - the dreaded dbl post
 
cyclones30
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04/21/2022 12:45PM  
Sharp gunwales? Yikes.

I've been in some of the kevlar ones you've mentioned and of them I did like the NW17 a lot. Yes the Q17 and the Boundary Waters are slower and more stable flat bottom.

What in the Wenonah lineup would compare? The MNII is a long rocket ship and the BW is wide and slow. Is there an in-between for carrying loads and good at lake travel? I've always felt like the NW17 was a good middle-ground of speed and stability and handling. The BW and Q17 felt like slow stable bath tubs....and the MNII is in a whole different speed class but narrow up front and less initial stability.

Wenonah just came out with the Basswood? But sounds like even more stable than the BW which sounds like not what you're after.
 
BrianDay
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04/21/2022 12:59PM  
cyclones30: "What in the Wenonah lineup would compare? "

Hi Cyclones,

Our General Touring canoe family includes both the Spirit II at 17 feet and the Champlain at 18. These canoes slot right in between the speed of the Minnesota II and the stability of the Boundary Waters.

My wife and I have a Spirit II that we use for just about everything. It's stable enough to fish out of and to take our (active) dog on day trips. We can fit two canoe packs, a 60 gallon barrel and a couple day packs into the Spirit for Boundary Waters trips--plenty of capacity for trips of a week or more. The Spirit is a very versatile canoe and our best seller.

That said, if I were buying a Wenonah right now I would go for the Champlain. I love the extra volume in this canoe for gear (and the dog), it's fast, even more stable than the Spirit and very seaworthy on big water. This is definitely my go-to tandem tripper these days.

One last bit. The best way to understand Wenonah's canoe models is to think of the canoes within each family as different sizes of the same canoe.

Within the General Touring family we have the Heron, Aurora, Spirit II, Champlain and Seneca. These are essentially the same canoe in 15, 16, 17, 18 and 19.4 foot lengths.

The Performance Touring family includes the Escapade, Escape, MNII, MN3 and MN4--all very similar designs at different lengths.

If you're considering a Wenonah the best place to start is figuring out which family best matches your needs and then decide on the right length.

Hope this helps!

Brian from Wenonah
 
technically_rugged
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04/21/2022 01:04PM  
re-posting down below - spent too long composing!
 
cyclones30
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04/21/2022 01:13PM  
Thanks! I was looking at the sites and saw the Escape which I kind of forgot about. It's just a shorter MN II? Or how would you compare the Escape to the Spirit II? Narrower? (faster)

From a shape point of view, it seems like the Spirit II would be comparable to the B17 but that's from memory, not writing down things like bow height and rocker and all those values.

I've never paddled a Champlain but I'd seen others in them and on portages and they seemed very large. (for a tandem) I do really like the Seneca as a 3 person though.

But to the original point, you're saying the Spirit II would be kind of the happy medium of efficiency and capacity for tripping? Between a MN II and the BW for example.
 
BrianDay
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04/21/2022 01:26PM  
cyclones30: "Thanks! I was looking at the sites and saw the Escape which I kind of forgot about. It's just a shorter MN II? Or how would you compare the Escape to the Spirit II? Narrower? (faster)


From a shape point of view, it seems like the Spirit II would be comparable to the B17 but that's from memory, not writing down things like bow height and rocker and all those values.


I've never paddled a Champlain but I'd seen others in them and on portages and they seemed very large. (for a tandem) I do really like the Seneca as a 3 person though.


But to the original point, you're saying the Spirit II would be kind of the happy medium of efficiency and capacity for tripping? Between a MN II and the BW for example. "


Hi Cyclone,

That's correct. The Spirit II is the happy medium between faster designs like the Minnesota II and Escape and more stable sporting designs like the Boundary Waters.

The Escape is narrower, faster and less stable than the Spirit II. It also tracks a little straighter. Think of it as just like a MNII but a foot shorter.

Any 18 footer will be less handy on a portage than a 17 footer. It all comes down to which tradeoff you prefer to make. I really like the performance of the Champlain on the water so I'm willing to put up with the extra length on the portage trail.

I can't speak to the comparison between a B17 and a Spirit. Based on the literature the B series looks like a traditional prospector style design, most similar to the prospectors in our Downriver family of canoes.

Most of the time when people compare our canoes to the offerings from Northstar they end up comparing the General Touring family to the Northwind series. Spirit vs Northwind 17, Champlain vs Northwind 18, etc.

Best wishes,

Brian from Wenonah
 
Banksiana
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04/21/2022 01:32PM  
There is a sweet Wenonah Escape graphite skin coat with wood inwales for sale in Ely. I know the owner and the canoe. Well cared for and a beautiful boat.

Wenonah Escape
 
technically_rugged
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04/21/2022 02:10PM  
schweady: "jd - In a nutshell, what were the differences that you learned there are between the Northwind 17 and B17?
I love paddling the former, and am just this year hearing about the latter.
"



Here is my understanding of what is different about the B17:


* Symmetrical rocker
* More rocker, like a Prospector design (3 inches bow/stern)
* Slightly wider
* Better secondary stability) -- I haven't found many reports but I saw one where they said the B17 may have less initial stability than the NW17 though, which is unfortunate as I would prefer a little better initial stability
* Geared more for rivers due to the rocker but still sort of a do-it-all design like a Prospector
* Stays drier when heavily loaded


I think that's the gist... I am probably missing something though. I just called again to sound a few things out and ended up talking to Ted Bell. He thinks the NW17 is a better choice for typical BWCA tripping (not much for rivers, little to no rapids running, lakes where you want better tracking) but if heavily loaded (>= 500lbs between people and gear) the B17 is going to be a drier boat. Since my friends and I are all ~200lbs (+10% maybe) without gear, and then you add 80-100lbs of gear and 40-50lbs of food, I think the B17 is a better option for me with a payload of around 550-600lbs, even with inferior tracking on open water.
 
schweady
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04/21/2022 05:10PM  
jdoutdoors: "Here is my understanding..."
Thanks much.
 
cyclones30
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04/21/2022 07:23PM  
A stealth NW 17 would be one amazing boat....if the price didn't start w/ a 5 in front.
 
deerfoot
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04/21/2022 07:50PM  
cyclones30: "Thanks! I was looking at the sites and saw the Escape which I kind of forgot about. It's just a shorter MN II? Or how would you compare the Escape to the Spirit II? Narrower? (faster)


From a shape point of view, it seems like the Spirit II would be comparable to the B17 but that's from memory, not writing down things like bow height and rocker and all those values.


I've never paddled a Champlain but I'd seen others in them and on portages and they seemed very large. (for a tandem) I do really like the Seneca as a 3 person though.


But to the original point, you're saying the Spirit II would be kind of the happy medium of efficiency and capacity for tripping? Between a MN II and the BW for example. "


I have owned the Escape since 2006 and it has worked well for me. My brother has the same boat but in a lighter layup so we often use his when we trip together. The Escape works well for 2 people and their gear but the Champlain works very well for 3 and their gear. I have rented a Champlain several times and were I to buy new again I would go with the Champlain. It has accommodated me, my adult daughter and 12 yo granddaughter very well and also would be fine for 2 and gear.
 
scottiebaldwin
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04/22/2022 12:47PM  
Everyone has great suggestions here. I'd definitely go with Northstar NW17 over the B17. It's stable as heck. The only thing (for your consideration) is to go with either wood (heavy) or carbon fiber (expensive) gunnels. Aluminum is just too dang loud when your paddle consistently strikes it. If you're going for it, why not just go wood or Stealth?! It's not my money but it's a true concern how loud those bangs and bonks are to you while using aluminum gunnels. Ask Bear about the Stealth. Good luck and congrats!!
 
technically_rugged
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04/22/2022 02:41PM  
scottiebaldwin: "Everyone has great suggestions here. I'd definitely go with Northstar NW17 over the B17. It's stable as heck. The only thing (for your consideration) is to go with either wood (heavy) or carbon fiber (expensive) gunnels. Aluminum is just too dang loud when your paddle consistently strikes it. If you're going for it, why not just go wood or Stealth?! It's not my money but it's a true concern how loud those bangs and bonks are to you while using aluminum gunnels. Ask Bear about the Stealth. Good luck and congrats!!"

You probably shouldn't be hitting the gunwales ;) it does happen but it shouldn't be a regular occurrence. I think it means your paddle is too short if you aren't getting enough reach. This can also cause you to hit your hand on the gunwale as well which hurts a lot more than a dinging sound from the paddle hitting the gunwale!

I think I will be going with the B17 as it will always be loaded down fairly heavily and speed/tracking aren't of paramount importance to me. An additional correction stroke here or there is of little consequence in most occasions I find myself in. I am sure in a few years I will want a faster canoe meant more for covering ground than fishing and putzin' around - but it might be a solo! We'll have to see when that day comes...
 
HayRiverDrifter
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04/22/2022 04:23PM  
I would recommend you find an outfitter that carries both canoes and go paddle them. When I bought my Prism, I paddled 4 boats that day (Prism, Wilderness, Tranquility, and a Magic) and it was obvious to me which one I wanted. Paddle with and without packs if you can.

From my experience, Wenonah will have better initial stability than Northstar or Bell. Ted tends to favor a livelier design.

I have a Champlain, a Prism, and a Vagabond (royalex) all very stable. I used to have a Bell Yellowstone which was too lively for me. I have a friends Northwind 18 in my garage. I want to paddle it and compare to my Champlain.

In the end, whatever you choose, you will get used to that boat and love it. Buy, paddle, enjoy my friend.
 
Lawnchair107
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04/22/2022 04:58PM  
jdoutdoors: "Hey all,

I've got a fever, and the only prescription, is my first canoe! I've rented Kevlar canoes for the past 4 years and could have almost paid for a brand new one at this point. I think it's high time I got my own.

After looking at my options, thinking about my priorities while tripping (stability over speed, for fishing and choppy conditions that I'm only moderately averse to), and seeing what's out there, I've settled on a Northstar Northwind 17 or B17. I called Northstar today and talked to Bear for a half hour and he took the time to listen to my experience, my hopes and fears, and helped me understand my options and iron out expectations. It was a great experience and solidified my desire to go with Northstar.

I'm almost set on the B17, in BlackLite layup, with aluminum trim. It should give me most of the stability I want, obviously not like I'm used to with the flat bottomed canoes I'm used to, like the SRQ17 and Wenonah BW, but still be faster than those, be more maneuverable than those, be more durable than those, and look dang good doing it to boot! I don't plan on paddling it solo more than once in a blue moon, or maybe fishing on a calm morning while my canoe partner is still sleeping, but it does seem like the B17 with the symmetrical hull is a better choice for solo paddling.

It's tough to demo these canoes, though, especially the B17. I'm hoping some B17 owners can chime in - it's quite hard to find reviews and impressions of it! Ideally I'd like to hear about initial stability compared to something flatter, the tracking on open water, comfort in whitecap conditions, bow leg room, and these razor sharp gunwales I keep reading about. I very much appreciate any opinions at all, though!"


Heck Yea, JD. Can’t wait for pictures to come in to show it off.
 
technically_rugged
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04/23/2022 07:05PM  
Lawnchair107: "Heck Yea, JD. Can’t wait for pictures to come in to show it off."

:) It's been purchased!! B17, BlackLite, aluminum trim, with internal skid plates. I don't think the skid plates are really necessary but I won't complain about a little extra peace of mind for high wear areas and an extra pound or two. It's what Piragis had and it should be a fantastic boat. I'm hoping to pick it up maybe next weekend and take it for a couple test paddles to get used to it, maybe catch a couple fish too if I'm lucky... That should break it in for my early June trip - 9 days, ~75 miles... only a little over a month away!!

Oh and don't you worry, glamor shots will be delivered... the internet is woefully short on B17 photos!
 
schweady
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04/23/2022 07:21PM  
Well done, jd!
 
04/23/2022 07:27PM  
Congrats, JD! Enjoy every minute of it!
 
04/23/2022 10:25PM  
That’s cool. Looks a lot like my SpiritII as was mentioned as an alternate. Should be a sweet boat. Not so skinny for the person in front, stable, good capacity, with a bit of rocker. Nicely played, you had your mind made up from the beginning, I’m like that too. Got the ultralight version too. Hope you go on a lot of good trips with it. Should be fun.
 
Hockhocking
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04/24/2022 10:50PM  
I think Sawbill Canoe Outfitters has one B17 in their fleet, if you want to try it on a trip before buying.
 
04/24/2022 11:09PM  
Congrats on the purchase!

T
 
907Tundra
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04/26/2022 06:40AM  
Congrats JD! Keep us posted. Looking forward to some video reviews on your YouTube channel.
Al
 
Kendis
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04/26/2022 02:59PM  
cyclones30: "
I've never paddled a Champlain but I'd seen others in them and on portages and they seemed very large. (for a tandem) I do really like the Seneca as a 3 person though.


But to the original point, you're saying the Spirit II would be kind of the happy medium of efficiency and capacity for tripping? Between a MN II and the BW for example. "


I own and have paddled a kevlar Champlain for several years on BWCA trips. It's a dream to paddle and in kevlar it's only 46 pounds. Heartily recommend it. Bought mine used from Piragis.
 
technically_rugged
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04/30/2022 11:58AM  
Well we made it to Ely and back safe and sound yesterday. I haven't done that much driving in one day in a while. The rain in the evening made it extremely hard to see on the freeway so it was a bit of a white-knuckled affair for the final hour or so, but it all turned out. As a bonus, the rain probably washed off most of the wood chip dust that was on the canoe from the warehouse, though this boat will still need a good wipe-down before I take any real glamor shots!

First impressions...

1. This is a beautiful boat. I've seen Northstars before but never really closely inspected them - I haven't closely inspected many canoes to be honest, as most are vanilla yellow Kevlar with patches and scratches :) The carbon fiber weave is gorgeous. I suspect it will look really cool with headlamps shined on it while walking around camp.

2. Holy smokes that's a lot of bow space. It will be quite spacious even when putting a daypack at the front. Some canoes have your legs quite cramped when sharing the bow with a backpack.

3. The aluminum trim does look nice; with the bronzed finish it's less shiny and more elegant looking than other aluminum I've seen.

4. The gunwales aren't razor sharp, rather rounded off pretty nicely, but we'll see how I feel about them after a long day of paddling adjusting my sitting posture, with legs up against them for some part of the time.

5. There are some minor QC defects like small clusters of tiny pits in the resin from what I assume were bubbles, along with some "folds" of dried resin inside the boat from the vacuum process, as well as some dried resin that pooled up in the bow/stern so there's just a milky blob. Overall these are pretty easy to overlook considering I will no doubt be putting many scratches (hopefully shallow!) on this boat over its lifetime, but given this thing was a mouse fart under $4k after tax, it'd be nice if I didn't have pooled resin/epoxy (which could maybe be sanded away). They are churning these boats out as fast as possible right now which explains it and I'm sure with time I will overlook and possibly even forget about these flaws completely.

6. Since the thwarts are easily screwed in through the gunwales (no hidden screws/rivets or anything), I may see about replacing them with wood thwarts, which shouldn't get damaged like wood gunwales. The wood is flat and should provide a better clamping surface for accessories, plus I can screw some tracks into them to attach accessories as well. That would largely take care of my desire for more wood on this boat, for practicality and aesthetic purposes.

This weekend is gross and rainy, but the forecast for next weekend is looking like sun with highs in the mid-60s, so with any luck the forecast will hold and we'll be able to take it for its first paddle!!

More photos to come of course - but for now take a look at this beautiful weave (don't worry about the garage, it's on a tarp + foam pads):



 
mschi772
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04/30/2022 12:33PM  
jdoutdoors: "but given this thing was a mouse fart under $4k after tax, it'd be nice if I didn't have pooled resin/epoxy (which could maybe be sanded away). They are churning these boats out as fast as possible right now which explains it "
This is what is stopping me from buying a new canoe right now in addition to the fact that Rutabaga requires payment in full up front for special orders which are 6-12 months out the last time I looked (the odds of them having a wood+carbon B17 in-stock are slim to zero) which I can't afford since selling my current canoe is part of my plan for affording a new canoe, and I can't just sit around with no canoe for an entire season while I wait for my new one.

Hopefully prices and turn-around time come down so that I can more easily make the transition. Not long ago, $3k seemed like top-dollar for a brand new canoe, and now I'm seeing used, basic kevlar canoes being sold for $3000. It's insane. Hopefully the bubble bursts soon when people discover they aren't actually using all these canoes they've been buying these last few years and all decide to sell them at the same time.
 
04/30/2022 12:41PM  
Congrats on the new boat!
 
technically_rugged
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04/30/2022 03:48PM  
mschi772: "jdoutdoors: "but given this thing was a mouse fart under $4k after tax, it'd be nice if I didn't have pooled resin/epoxy (which could maybe be sanded away). They are churning these boats out as fast as possible right now which explains it "
This is what is stopping me from buying a new canoe right now in addition to the fact that Rutabaga requires payment in full up front for special orders which are 6-12 months out the last time I looked (the odds of them having a wood+carbon B17 in-stock are slim to zero) which I can't afford since selling my current canoe is part of my plan for affording a new canoe, and I can't just sit around with no canoe for an entire season while I wait for my new one.

Hopefully prices and turn-around time come down so that I can more easily make the transition. Not long ago, $3k seemed like top-dollar for a brand new canoe, and now I'm seeing used, basic kevlar canoes being sold for $3000. It's insane. Hopefully the bubble bursts soon when people discover they aren't actually using all these canoes they've been buying these last few years and all decide to sell them at the same time."


I agree, prices are absurd for brand new ultralight canoes. However, I was told from Bear or Ted at Northstar (can't remember which) that a price increase is very likely coming as a result of inflation. If they increase it to match inflation, you could be looking at close to an extra 10% in price (ouch). I wouldn't wait too long, if there's any way you can finance it now...
 
04/30/2022 04:08PM  
Nice canoe!

To piggy back off of cost comments…I bought my new one in mid February and picked it up in March. By the time I picked it up the price had already risen by $250, and Piragis was told it would go up again due to materials cost going up. It’s a crazy time to buy. I feel good about my purchase as I bought before the 2 price hikes and I could probably resell it for more than I paid…no way I’d do it…but just saying. Plus used canoes are crazy expensive. I hear what you’re saying though, at some point there could be a correction.

T
 
mschi772
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04/30/2022 04:47PM  
jdoutdoors: "mschi772: "jdoutdoors: "but given this thing was a mouse fart under $4k after tax, it'd be nice if I didn't have pooled resin/epoxy (which could maybe be sanded away). They are churning these boats out as fast as possible right now which explains it "
This is what is stopping me from buying a new canoe right now in addition to the fact that Rutabaga requires payment in full up front for special orders which are 6-12 months out the last time I looked (the odds of them having a wood+carbon B17 in-stock are slim to zero) which I can't afford since selling my current canoe is part of my plan for affording a new canoe, and I can't just sit around with no canoe for an entire season while I wait for my new one.


Hopefully prices and turn-around time come down so that I can more easily make the transition. Not long ago, $3k seemed like top-dollar for a brand new canoe, and now I'm seeing used, basic kevlar canoes being sold for $3000. It's insane. Hopefully the bubble bursts soon when people discover they aren't actually using all these canoes they've been buying these last few years and all decide to sell them at the same time."



I agree, prices are absurd for brand new ultralight canoes. However, I was told from Bear or Ted at Northstar (can't remember which) that a price increase is very likely coming as a result of inflation. If they increase it to match inflation, you could be looking at close to an extra 10% in price (ouch). I wouldn't wait too long, if there's any way you can finance it now..."


Even if I *could*, which I can't, I think I refuse to on principle. The cost is just far to spectacular, and since I at least have something of my own AND since rentals are a thing, there's no way I'm spending $4000+ on a canoe. I also won't be coerced into spending so much under the threat of an impending price hike beyond what I feel like are already prices that hit the limits of what I feel the value of the product is. I'll wait for the Covid canoe bubble to burst and snatch a lightly-used canoe off of someone when the market floods with them. Hopefully among them will be a 16-17' carbon prospector or some other versatile, slightly soloable tandem.

My current Nova Craft Haida is in excellent shape, and I'll be fine keeping it until things stop being so stupid. I just wish I could trade it for something a little lighter, a little stiffer, and without a flat bottom so that rougher waters don't have to be quite so sketchy.
 
technically_rugged
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04/30/2022 05:26PM  
mschi772: "jdoutdoors: "mschi772: "jdoutdoors: "but given this thing was a mouse fart under $4k after tax, it'd be nice if I didn't have pooled resin/epoxy (which could maybe be sanded away). They are churning these boats out as fast as possible right now which explains it "
This is what is stopping me from buying a new canoe right now in addition to the fact that Rutabaga requires payment in full up front for special orders which are 6-12 months out the last time I looked (the odds of them having a wood+carbon B17 in-stock are slim to zero) which I can't afford since selling my current canoe is part of my plan for affording a new canoe, and I can't just sit around with no canoe for an entire season while I wait for my new one.



Hopefully prices and turn-around time come down so that I can more easily make the transition. Not long ago, $3k seemed like top-dollar for a brand new canoe, and now I'm seeing used, basic kevlar canoes being sold for $3000. It's insane. Hopefully the bubble bursts soon when people discover they aren't actually using all these canoes they've been buying these last few years and all decide to sell them at the same time."




I agree, prices are absurd for brand new ultralight canoes. However, I was told from Bear or Ted at Northstar (can't remember which) that a price increase is very likely coming as a result of inflation. If they increase it to match inflation, you could be looking at close to an extra 10% in price (ouch). I wouldn't wait too long, if there's any way you can finance it now..."



Even if I *could*, which I can't, I think I refuse to on principle. The cost is just far to spectacular, and since I at least have something of my own AND since rentals are a thing, there's no way I'm spending $4000+ on a canoe. I also won't be coerced into spending so much under the threat of an impending price hike beyond what I feel like are already prices that hit the limits of what I feel the value of the product is. I'll wait for the Covid canoe bubble to burst and snatch a lightly-used canoe off of someone when the market floods with them. Hopefully among them will be a 16-17' carbon prospector or some other versatile, slightly soloable tandem.

My current Nova Craft Haida is in excellent shape, and I'll be fine keeping it until things stop being so stupid. I just wish I could trade it for something a little lighter, a little stiffer, and without a flat bottom so that rougher waters don't have to be quite so sketchy."


I'm with you. The prices are absurd. But, I doubt you will be able to snag a lightly used Kevlar/carbon for under $2500 unless you get lucky. Prices may drop after COVID becomes a thing of the past and supply chains are "back to normal", but that might still be a few years away. At least you already have a canoe, like you said. Best of luck in your search!
 
BrianDay
distinguished member (110)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
04/30/2022 05:33PM  
The price increases in canoes have been brutal for the past couple years. Unfortunately, its unlikely that we'll see them come back down again unless there's a sharp reversal in the cost of materials to canoe manufacturers.

The past year has included a nationwide shortage of resins and fabrics and price increases on materials of up to 40 percent. All canoe manufacturers have been impacted by these costs, as well as by a shortage of labor associated premiums on wages.

There are certainly a lot of canoes out there and we may see them make their way into the used market but this won't happen soon. That hypothetical unused canoe will have to sit in somebody's garage for quite a few years before they decide it's time to unload it.

Hopefully prices don't go up much more than they have in the past year. None of us who work in the business want to see this happen. All of us want to see more folks out there on the water in canoes enjoying the sport and we understand that higher prices don't make it any easier to get out on the water in a new canoe.

Brian
 
BrianDay
distinguished member (110)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
04/30/2022 06:25PM  
jdoutdoors: "

5. There are some minor QC defects like small clusters of tiny pits in the resin from what I assume were bubbles, along with some "folds" of dried resin inside the boat from the vacuum process, as well as some dried resin that pooled up in the bow/stern so there's just a milky blob. Overall these are pretty easy to overlook considering I will no doubt be putting many scratches (hopefully shallow!) on this boat over its lifetime, but given this thing was a mouse fart under $4k after tax, it'd be nice if I didn't have pooled resin/epoxy (which could maybe be sanded away). They are churning these boats out as fast as possible right now which explains it and I'm sure with time I will overlook and possibly even forget about these flaws completely.

"


Hey JD, these sort of details are very common artifacts of composites construction. You'll always find a certain amount of porosity in the stems of skin coat canoes and since all canoes are hand made there is inevitably a little variation in the finished product.

Sounds like you've got a great canoe. Enjoy!

Brian
 
Bjelde
member (36)member
 
04/30/2022 06:30PM  


"I'm with you. The prices are absurd. But, I doubt you will be able to snag a lightly used Kevlar/carbon for under $2500 unless you get lucky. Prices may drop after COVID becomes a thing of the past and supply chains are "back to normal", but that might still be a few years away. At least you already have a canoe, like you said. Best of luck in your search!"

The used canoe market has been interesting. I've seen (and taken advantage of) some great deals. I've also seen people asking ridiculous prices. When a good deal comes along, you've got to be lucky enough to be geographically close and quick on the draw.
 
mschi772
distinguished member(769)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/01/2022 10:39AM  
Bjelde: "I'm with you. The prices are absurd. But, I doubt you will be able to snag a lightly used Kevlar/carbon for under $2500"

No one ever said they expected to pay that little. For a 16-17' carbon tandem in good condition, I could see going as high as $3000 for the right boat, but people are asking that much now for non-carbon boats that aren't lightly used, and the new ones are hitting the $4000 range. Don't dichotomize this into people either paying any price or being cheap. Clearly companies are having no trouble selling boats for $4000 or more, but as long as prices are that high for a canoe, I'll never be among their customers.

To return to the primary topic, a carbon B17 or B16 is a boat I am very specifically interested in, and there isn't a whole lot of discussion about it out there, so I'm looking forward to seeing more reviews of its pros and cons. I haven't looked super hard, but I haven't seen them available as rentals really either. I like the theory behind the little alterations to the traditional and conventional design of "prospectors," and I'm eager to see how that all pans-out in the real world especially when compared to the predecessors and alternatives.

P.S.
Heck, even though I'm most interested in a carbon Northstar, pricing for aramid and innegra boats from anyone has crossed a value line for me. I paid $1100 for my kevlar Nova Craft just a few years ago. Yeah, it was 10 years old, but it was very well cared for and barely used at all. Sure, I could probably sell it for double what I paid for it now, but I can't sell it until I can replace it. My primary goal is to get something without a flat bottom because this flat bottom, while stable as hell, gets sketchier than I'd like in rougher waters which aren't uncommon on my long, remote trips. Some more maneuverability would be nice also since my current canoe is much more of a straight-line lake boat, but I would like to trade some of that way for more agility. Being 50-60 lb (I'd like to weight it but am not about to buy a scale I'd never use for anything else just for that) because Nova Craft is frustratingly heavier with their boats than others, I'd also like to shave some weight or gain something like stiffness or durability from the extra weight over competitors' boats. My current canoe is also next to impossible to solo effectively, so it would be nice to get a model that's even just a hair more solo-friendly, but that's barely on the radar as it is probably asking too much (I considered a Polaris, but no one can agree on whether my usual tandem loaded weight of of 500-550 lb would be too much or just fine for a Polaris to handle on a long trip). My best bet is to find something readily available so that I don't have to wait a century to get it and to quickly sell mine off at this crazy prices in order to afford it. Or trade mine+some cash, but the odds of someone having what I want and wanting what I have are super slim--I can't imagine someone having something like a B or prospector or Polaris or Keewaydin and wanting a flat-bottom cruiser like mine.
 
Speckled
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05/02/2022 09:14AM  
Congratulations! Beautiful boat, which you will no doubt love.

 
papalambeau
distinguished member (203)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/02/2022 02:28PM  
Congrats on the new canoe JD. I have the same Northstar Northwind and wouldn't trade it for anything. The sharp gunwales were a problem for my wife when she was in the bow but we fixed it by using a black foam noodle to cap the gunwales. One noodle cut in half did the trick for both sides and the black color makes it totally unnoticeable. Now she wants the noodle padding on all our canoes. Lol!
 
technically_rugged
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05/16/2022 10:18PM  
Well I got the canoe out for the true maiden voyage - the first one a little over a week ago did not go well, with our 95# dog taking us all for an unexpected swim about 30ft from shore. Today's voyage was without the dog and in about half as much wind. We did not get wet and we did not lose any gear, but we came back in earlier than expected as my girlfriend felt very uncomfortable after the unexpected swim of the first voyage and feared it would happen again, but much further from shore. I worry she will never be comfortable in this boat, that she never wanted anyway. If it was up to her I think she'd have preferred that I bought a Wenonah Boundary Waters or SR Quetico 17 - a boring, flat, stable hull that lets us paddle in comfort and safety.

I am not so sure the "lively" hull of the B17 is for me, either. When every slightly overpowered paddle stroke causes the gunnel to rapidly dip 6 inches, my brain is screaming "level out or we're dumping!!!". I feel like I have to be way more attentive paddling this canoe to get a cadence and power level that doesn't result in the boat always rocking a little side to side. If my bow paddler and I paddle gently and deliberately, we can get away without rocking the canoe, but I want to be able to put the hammer down and haul through a headwind, or paddle hard to turn the bow to cut through waves without feeling like a combination of my hard paddling + a poorly timed wave is going to take us over.

I know people say secondary stability is what you're supposed to want, and the rounded hull rides waves better, and it's more "seaworthy", blah blah blah... but no amount of mind tricks will change the fact that when I lean, the boat feels like it's going to keep leaning and slip out from right underneath me. It doesn't seem to settle, it just keeps wobbling as you correct for it. There is no stability to this canoe unless my bow paddler and I are sitting perfectly upright and making gentle paddle strokes that never cause us to lean or shift weight for power.

To say I am disappointed would be a slight understatement. I'm annoyed with the people who say they can't flip a Northwind no matter how hard they try, or people who say they feel rock solid in one, or people who praise the glide of David Yost designs, or the B17 description on Northstar's website that says "you can enjoy its safe, stable reassurance while day-paddling when the two kids and Lassie are all hanging over one side of the canoe watching Mom land a walleye". If you hang two kids and a dog on the side of this canoe, you're going for a swim. I'd LOVE to see a photo (better yet, video) of this scenario in action.

I'm also annoyed with myself, because I briefly paddled a friend's Keewaydin 17 last year and thought "well this feels a bit tippy" and thought if I had just dropped $4k on a beautiful but tippy canoe I would be pretty disappointed. I knew with the David Yost design I was likely getting myself into the same situation, but I wanted to believe that it's a hull I could grow into, that it would make me a better paddler, that I would learn to love it and eventually never want to paddle those ugly slow flat bottom boats I have grown so accustomed to. I wanted to believe that the anxious, jittery hull would not be a concern after I just had some more time on the water with it. Well, I think my wishful thinking led me astray.

I've only got about 30 minutes of paddling with this canoe, so I can hardly say with confidence, but I have a hard time believing I could ever be happy with a canoe that doesn't let my mind relax because I have to be two to three times as conscious/careful about my paddling technique so it doesn't rock back and forth and put us at risk of dumping. I feel like a noob, a fool, for letting myself be "duped" by people with so much more experience than me - of course they love these hulls; they aren't boring stable designs that let you focus on what you're using the canoe to get to and do, instead turning canoeing into a mindful sport of its own. That's not what I use a canoe for today - it's a tool that gets me to some of the most beautiful places on Earth I've ever been, and I need to feel safe and relaxed in it. I'm worried I won't get there with this B17, and that thought deeply saddens me.

I feel like a failure, a stupid novice, but I couldn't find anywhere to demo these boats locally because vendors are selling them too fast to have any demo models, and I was trigger happy on a boat that by most accounts sounded like it was the perfect next step for me. I'll be that guy next time though, any time someone asks about buying a canoe they can't try on the water first. I would firmly recommend you paddle a boat you intend to buy before you buy it. If I wanted to sell this, I suspect I wouldn't have too hard of a time finding a buyer since these boats are hard to find right now, but I really don't want to go through that hassle.

I'd appreciate any and all thoughts here. I know I need more time on the water with it, and I intend to put that time in, as much as possible before my early June trip (for which I might still not feel comfortable enough in this to take it). I'd love to find out I've just built up some bad habits from my time with high initial stability flat bottom boats, and figure out how to break those habits. I'd love to be happy with this boat. I'd love even more if my girlfriend could be happy with this boat, as I'd prefer not to rent when I own a brand new $4000 canoe.

If someone could just feed me some more of that hope I desperately need to be able to appreciate this boat for what it is, and feel confident and safe in it, I'd really appreciate it. Because if I can't get to that point, it's going to have to find a new home, maybe sooner rather than later, so I can get a canoe that I do feel good in, that I'll get a lot more use out of. I'd prefer for this to be that boat, but here we are. Thanks for reading if you got this far!
 
BrianDay
distinguished member (110)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/17/2022 06:10AM  
technically_rugged: "I'd appreciate any and all thoughts here. I know I need more time on the water with it, and I intend to put that time in, as much as possible before my early June trip (for which I might still not feel comfortable enough in this to take it). I'd love to find out I've just built up some bad habits from my time with high initial stability flat bottom boats, and figure out how to break those habits. I'd love to be happy with this boat. I'd love even more if my girlfriend could be happy with this boat, as I'd prefer not to rent when I own a brand new $4000 canoe.


If someone could just feed me some more of that hope I desperately need to be able to appreciate this boat for what it is, and feel confident and safe in it, I'd really appreciate it. Because if I can't get to that point, it's going to have to find a new home, maybe sooner rather than later, so I can get a canoe that I do feel good in, that I'll get a lot more use out of. I'd prefer for this to be that boat, but here we are. Thanks for reading if you got this far!"


Hi Technically,

Very sorry to hear that you're having difficulty with your new boat. I can offer some advice in a couple areas.

First, it certainly is possible that you'll become more comfortable with the canoe as you paddle it more, and there are things you can do to feel more stable in a rounder bottomed design like a Prospector.

The first would be to kneel. This lowers your center of gravity and improves stability dramatically. A second option is to try to lower the seats. Moving them even an inch will offer more stability. Third, make sure you and your paddling partner are always paddling on opposite sides and matching paddle strokes. This will largely eliminate gunwale bobbing. Finally, the canoe will be more stable when loaded with camping gear. You'll feel more stable on a trip than you will on a day paddle. Especially one with a 95 pound dog.

One thing that can be tough to get the hang of is letting the canoe roll while keeping your upper body upright. The canoe will really only flip if your head and shoulders move outside the gunwale. If you stay stiff at the waist the canoe will feel less stable. If you keep your upper body in balance over the hull the canoe will roll without flipping. Stay loose and keep your head and shoulders over the hull. Kneeling will make this easier.

All that said, there is a reason that stable designs are popular for Boundary Waters trips and you might be happier with a design that has more felt stability like a Northwind, Boundary Waters or Spirit II. You could try calling the guys at Piragis. Maybe they would be willing to work with you to get you into a different design. Particularly if your canoe is in like-new condition.

I'm not a huge believer in the idea of secondary stability in human powered boats like canoes and kayaks. In my experience, designs that feel unstable at rest or in calm water, feel unstable in rough water too. Especially when you put a nervous paddler in the the boat. Paddlers with well-developed skills might enjoy a design like this a lot, but they can be challenging as first canoes.

Brian
 
Kermit
member (42)member
 
05/17/2022 08:15AM  
Glad Brian's trying to talk you off the ledge here.

Strongest advice is this, get to know the canoe. Every canoe design is going to handle slightly differently and for me, the only other thing going in the boat until I know it like the back of my hand is a portage pack to get the weight/trim ideal. Once I understand how the boat is in the water, then I'll start adding variables like the dog, camera gear, a reluctant friend, etc.

When I got my Northwind Solo I took it to the smallest and shallowest lake I could find and casually paddled it for the better part of a day to get a feel for it. I've had it two months now and my 50lb dog (who's very good in a canoe) has yet to join me. I want to feel rock solid in it before she comes along so we don't both go for that dreaded unexpected swim.

Another thing to consider here is the B17's "optimal load" at 400-700 lbs. The boat will be more stable the closer you get to the 500-600lb range.

I'm sorry you're frustrated and annoyed with those who tried to help with your decision. Obviously one's personal skill level and experience are major factors. That said, in 2018 the Northstar crew and friends took several B17s down the Rio Grande, loaded to the brim, in all kinds of water conditions, and did just fine. I have all the faith in the world that with some more paddling time you'll be good on flat water.

Northstar B17s on Rio Grande
 
technically_rugged
distinguished member (384)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/17/2022 10:21AM  
Thanks to both of you. I was led to believe the B17 should be more stable than the Northwind 17 since it is slightly wider, but it sounds like the hull is more rounded leading to less initial stability? I wish Ted or Bear had told me that. I tried researching differences in them but hardly anyone online has written about their B16/B17 and most accounts are for the river paddles that the Northstar crew has done, so there is little to no reading material.

It seems like everyone naturally transitions towards kneeling, but I'm a bigger guy and I don't want to kneel for hours at a time. I shouldn't have to lower my center of gravity and put strain on my knees for the canoe to be manageable, IMO. I get that it helps, but it's not something I'm interested in doing at this time, so there's another strike against me in this saga.

With just the two of us and a small amount of gear, we were probably getting close to the 500lb mark, so the canoe wasn't under-loaded by any means. It would have another ~100-120lbs when in the BWCA, which should help a little, but I don't think it's going to completely change the personality of the hull. I knew it would feel a little wobbly but this feels more like when someone says something is easy when it's actually difficult but they've learned how to do it. I would not call this canoe stable yet most people out there who have touched this boat are saying different. I get the feeling most of them have decades of experience though, just based on how my reality seems to differ from set expectations.

The tip about letting the canoe roll while staying upright is well-founded, but I think I've already been doing this, using loose hips to let the hull move under me without moving my torso. The thing is, this canoe dips and rolls much more sharply than anything I've used in the past, so I feel like I have to be more on edge, more quick with my corrections, or I risk the boat going over because I didn't loosen up my core fast enough. I dunno, that's just how it feels. Maybe I don't need to freak out every time it dips to the side but I'm not used to it and it is unsettling to feel the canoe act like it's going to tip basically the entire time you're paddling it. Yeah, if we time our paddling almost perfectly and also match paddling force, then there's little to no bobbing, on flatwater. When waves come around it'll be a different story, and I also don't expect to be perfectly in sync all the time. It seems like this boat design is almost intentionally punishing for bad form. I just don't want to be on edge every time I'm paddling! Sometimes I just want to lean back in my GCI Sitbacker and put the paddle in the water and enjoy the scenery without thinking. I wonder if that will ever be a possibility with this boat.

I digress... but it's hard not to overthink this. It's a lot of money tied up in something I might not like, so I need to learn more. I need to know if I can take this boat on my upcoming 75 mile trip through some big water. Without practice, I won't know, but I can at least ask people, based on ways I prefer to paddle, if this is even worth my time. I want to believe it is, but wanting to believe XYZ (and choosing to overlook some concerns in the process) has put me in this position. I won't let wishful thinking put my friends and I at risk in the backcountry. If I don't feel like I can comfortably paddle this thing in big open water, then it's not useful to me.
 
05/17/2022 01:28PM  
I am really sorry to hear this. I cannot imagine the frustration.

I've never paddled this canoe so don't know how it feels, part of me says if you and your partner have negative feelings towards the canoe it's going to be hard to change. Can you take it back? Can you sell it? You might take a small loss, you might be able to sell it for more than you paid? There just aren't boats on the market right now? Sometimes cutting your losses early and running is the best option. I think it is just going to be hard to get over your initial impression no matter what others might say.

My guess though is it isn't as "tippy" as you feel it is... Canoes typically tip because of the paddler. They perceive the canoe tipping/leaning then try to correct. The correction is what causes the canoe to tip over. Most canoes you can lean way over--the boat tips that way but will not tip over...but the paddler gets scared and leans the opposite way to "correct" and that's when it tips almost like a slingshot affect. That's what Brian was saying about staying straight or centered. With a lot of experience you learn this and not to react. It can become no big deal. I have no doubt with experience this will happen and you will be happy. People say it is no big deal or not hard because it is actually less effort. From you explanation it seems you are trying too hard. Relax, just paddle, let it tip a bit, don’t try to correct it. What you have to ask yourself is do you want to do this? Does your significant other want to do this? If not you are back to what I said at the beginning.

Once again sorry such a fun moment turned tough for you.

T

 
Lawnchair107
distinguished member (202)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/17/2022 05:11PM  
technically_rugged: "Thanks to both of you. I was led to believe the B17 should be more stable than the Northwind 17 since it is slightly wider, but it sounds like the hull is more rounded leading to less initial stability? I wish Ted or Bear had told me that. I tried researching differences in them but hardly anyone online has written about their B16/B17 and most accounts are for the river paddles that the Northstar crew has done, so there is little to no reading material.


It seems like everyone naturally transitions towards kneeling, but I'm a bigger guy and I don't want to kneel for hours at a time. I shouldn't have to lower my center of gravity and put strain on my knees for the canoe to be manageable, IMO. I get that it helps, but it's not something I'm interested in doing at this time, so there's another strike against me in this saga.


With just the two of us and a small amount of gear, we were probably getting close to the 500lb mark, so the canoe wasn't under-loaded by any means. It would have another ~100-120lbs when in the BWCA, which should help a little, but I don't think it's going to completely change the personality of the hull. I knew it would feel a little wobbly but this feels more like when someone says something is easy when it's actually difficult but they've learned how to do it. I would not call this canoe stable yet most people out there who have touched this boat are saying different. I get the feeling most of them have decades of experience though, just based on how my reality seems to differ from set expectations.


The tip about letting the canoe roll while staying upright is well-founded, but I think I've already been doing this, using loose hips to let the hull move under me without moving my torso. The thing is, this canoe dips and rolls much more sharply than anything I've used in the past, so I feel like I have to be more on edge, more quick with my corrections, or I risk the boat going over because I didn't loosen up my core fast enough. I dunno, that's just how it feels. Maybe I don't need to freak out every time it dips to the side but I'm not used to it and it is unsettling to feel the canoe act like it's going to tip basically the entire time you're paddling it. Yeah, if we time our paddling almost perfectly and also match paddling force, then there's little to no bobbing, on flatwater. When waves come around it'll be a different story, and I also don't expect to be perfectly in sync all the time. It seems like this boat design is almost intentionally punishing for bad form. I just don't want to be on edge every time I'm paddling! Sometimes I just want to lean back in my GCI Sitbacker and put the paddle in the water and enjoy the scenery without thinking. I wonder if that will ever be a possibility with this boat.


I digress... but it's hard not to overthink this. It's a lot of money tied up in something I might not like, so I need to learn more. I need to know if I can take this boat on my upcoming 75 mile trip through some big water. Without practice, I won't know, but I can at least ask people, based on ways I prefer to paddle, if this is even worth my time. I want to believe it is, but wanting to believe XYZ (and choosing to overlook some concerns in the process) has put me in this position. I won't let wishful thinking put my friends and I at risk in the backcountry. If I don't feel like I can comfortably paddle this thing in big open water, then it's not useful to me."


JD, keep trying to get it out paddling so you feel comfortable in it. We all would feel the same as you as I’m glad you posted this. Keep practicing, you’ll gain confidence everytime you take it out. Just my .02 cents
 
cyclones30
distinguished member(3903)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/17/2022 09:34PM  
Is anyone else confused on the OP and usernames? I thought it was JD and now it's not?
 
paddlingpika
member (13)member
 
05/17/2022 09:52PM  
Are the seats mounted relatively high to accommodate kneeling or are they lower? I know Bell used to offer two different length seat drops to optimize seat height for either sitting or kneeling. If you have seats mounted high and use a GCI sitbacker on top of that I can imagine it would feel pretty tippy because your center of gravity would be quite high, especially if you are a larger guy. Switching to longer drops or adding spacers to lower your seat would be an easy modification to try. You might also want to try a different seat cushion/back that doesn't add as much height, at least while you get more used to the canoe.
 
05/17/2022 10:26PM  
cyclones30: "Is anyone else confused on the OP and usernames? I thought it was JD and now it's not? "

I didn’t even notice until someone replied JD…Didn’t know you could change your name. I’ll have too look into it myself.
 
technically_rugged
distinguished member (384)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/17/2022 10:31PM  
timatkn: "I am really sorry to hear this. I cannot imagine the frustration.


I've never paddled this canoe so don't know how it feels, part of me says if you and your partner have negative feelings towards the canoe it's going to be hard to change. Can you take it back? Can you sell it? You might take a small loss, you might be able to sell it for more than you paid? There just aren't boats on the market right now? Sometimes cutting your losses early and running is the best option. I think it is just going to be hard to get over your initial impression no matter what others might say.


My guess though is it isn't as "tippy" as you feel it is... Canoes typically tip because of the paddler. They perceive the canoe tipping/leaning then try to correct. The correction is what causes the canoe to tip over. Most canoes you can lean way over--the boat tips that way but will not tip over...but the paddler gets scared and leans the opposite way to "correct" and that's when it tips almost like a slingshot affect. That's what Brian was saying about staying straight or centered. With a lot of experience you learn this and not to react. It can become no big deal. I have no doubt with experience this will happen and you will be happy. People say it is no big deal or not hard because it is actually less effort. From you explanation it seems you are trying too hard. Relax, just paddle, let it tip a bit, don’t try to correct it. What you have to ask yourself is do you want to do this? Does your significant other want to do this? If not you are back to what I said at the beginning.


Once again sorry such a fun moment turned tough for you.


T
"


Thanks T. The dump on the first time we took it out definitely provided some trauma for my girlfriend and I think it's hard for her to override that, especially given the shock of the cold water. I could probably sell it for little to no loss given how hard it is to get these things right now, but again I'm not ready to explore that as I really want to tackle this and figure out if I just need to learn some new habits or if this just doesn't suit my current paddling style.

I'm definitely aware of overcorrection causing tips and that's actually part of the reason why we tipped the first time with the dog - he was standing and took a step toward one side, and as he put more of his weight down, I leaned more and more to the other side, but kept my core mostly centered as I suspected he was going to suddenly shift his weight and try to turn around again and my girlfriend and I would've taken it over by correcting too hard. Well, I don't know if I could've prevented him from tipping it regardless, but I still feel that I made the right decision, not leaning my entire torso outside the opposite gunnel. Calm, small changes to your balance, with loose hips, are the way to keep a canoe stable in my experience. It's just that with this canoe, there is basically no totally calm position - there is always a small amount of rock side to side, unless you are robotic with calm paddling to ensure there is no rocking.

We are going to take it out again as soon as we can to deliberately see how far we can push it. I don't think we ever really let the secondary stability kick in because it felt tippy as it was. Next time we'll be very intentional in trying to understand how the hull performs and which kinds of movements we can get away with (netting a fish, handing a net forward/back after netting a fish, reaching for a hat that just fell in the water, leaning into a turn, etc). I find that attempting to understand something you fear helps remove a lot of the fear, and instead turns it into healthy respect. I want to be able to respect this boat as I'm sure it is quite capable and I just need to adapt - the question is how much adapting is really required of us and whether or not we will be able to (relatively quickly, i.e. 10 hours vs 50-100 hours) get to a position of comfort where we aren't always thinking about capsizing and are able to enjoy the paddle, the scenery, photography, fishing, and on the days when weather isn't in our favor, know that as long as we communicate and use the habits we've formed, we are safe.
 
technically_rugged
distinguished member (384)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/17/2022 10:42PM  
cyclones30: "Is anyone else confused on the OP and usernames? I thought it was JD and now it's not? "

Sorry for the confusion -- I made my account before I had found a name I liked for my YT channel and didn't want to make a new account. I decided to ask adam nicely if I could change my username, since it's not an option on the profile page, and he kindly agreed.
 
technically_rugged
distinguished member (384)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/17/2022 10:45PM  
paddlingpika: "Are the seats mounted relatively high to accommodate kneeling or are they lower? I know Bell used to offer two different length seat drops to optimize seat height for either sitting or kneeling. If you have seats mounted high and use a GCI sitbacker on top of that I can imagine it would feel pretty tippy because your center of gravity would be quite high, especially if you are a larger guy. Switching to longer drops or adding spacers to lower your seat would be an easy modification to try. You might also want to try a different seat cushion/back that doesn't add as much height, at least while you get more used to the canoe."

I think they are at standard sitting height. I did not use the Sitbacker yesterday but my girlfriend did. I wanted to see how it went without the slight increase in height and just get a feel for the seats. I normally find myself pretty hunched after a long day of paddling without the Sitbacker since I don't work out and my core is mostly made of craft beer and gummy bears (not at the same time of course!) so I really do like the Sitbacker. I will almost certainly put it on for the next paddle because it is how I intend to paddle it. If I can easily lower the seats considering it'll almost always be paddled with Sitbackers attached, then I will probably do that before my upcoming June trip. If not, we'll just see how it goes...

I have tried the Crazy Creek chairs (which are thinner) and found they don't stay tight enough to the seat so you can't really lean back in them, as they just keep leaning. The Sitbackers are much more sturdy. I'd dig some thinner butt pads on a seat like that as long as it still offers the level of rigidity needed to truly take a load off!
 
Canoedad89
senior member (54)senior membersenior member
 
05/18/2022 08:59AM  
HayRiverDrifter: "I would recommend you find an outfitter that carries both canoes and go paddle them. When I bought my Prism, I paddled 4 boats that day (Prism, Wilderness, Tranquility, and a Magic) and it was obvious to me which one I wanted. Paddle with and without packs if you can.


From my experience, Wenonah will have better initial stability than Northstar or Bell. Ted tends to favor a livelier design.


I have a Champlain, a Prism, and a Vagabond (royalex) all very stable. I used to have a Bell Yellowstone which was too lively for me. I have a friends Northwind 18 in my garage. I want to paddle it and compare to my Champlain.


In the end, whatever you choose, you will get used to that boat and love it. Buy, paddle, enjoy my friend."


Good advice HayRiverDrifter.

To the OP: I really hope that you are able to get used to your new hull and end up loving it. If not, don't beat yourself up over it. There are plenty of paddlers out there who do better in a canoe with more initial stability. Thanks for sharing and good luck!
 
05/18/2022 09:33AM  
technically_rugged: "timatkn: "I am really sorry to hear this. I cannot imagine the frustration.



I've never paddled this canoe so don't know how it feels, part of me says if you and your partner have negative feelings towards the canoe it's going to be hard to change. Can you take it back? Can you sell it? You might take a small loss, you might be able to sell it for more than you paid? There just aren't boats on the market right now? Sometimes cutting your losses early and running is the best option. I think it is just going to be hard to get over your initial impression no matter what others might say.



My guess though is it isn't as "tippy" as you feel it is... Canoes typically tip because of the paddler. They perceive the canoe tipping/leaning then try to correct. The correction is what causes the canoe to tip over. Most canoes you can lean way over--the boat tips that way but will not tip over...but the paddler gets scared and leans the opposite way to "correct" and that's when it tips almost like a slingshot affect. That's what Brian was saying about staying straight or centered. With a lot of experience you learn this and not to react. It can become no big deal. I have no doubt with experience this will happen and you will be happy. People say it is no big deal or not hard because it is actually less effort. From you explanation it seems you are trying too hard. Relax, just paddle, let it tip a bit, don’t try to correct it. What you have to ask yourself is do you want to do this? Does your significant other want to do this? If not you are back to what I said at the beginning.



Once again sorry such a fun moment turned tough for you.



T
"



Thanks T. The dump on the first time we took it out definitely provided some trauma for my girlfriend and I think it's hard for her to override that, especially given the shock of the cold water. I could probably sell it for little to no loss given how hard it is to get these things right now, but again I'm not ready to explore that as I really want to tackle this and figure out if I just need to learn some new habits or if this just doesn't suit my current paddling style.


I'm definitely aware of overcorrection causing tips and that's actually part of the reason why we tipped the first time with the dog - he was standing and took a step toward one side, and as he put more of his weight down, I leaned more and more to the other side, but kept my core mostly centered as I suspected he was going to suddenly shift his weight and try to turn around again and my girlfriend and I would've taken it over by correcting too hard. Well, I don't know if I could've prevented him from tipping it regardless, but I still feel that I made the right decision, not leaning my entire torso outside the opposite gunnel. Calm, small changes to your balance, with loose hips, are the way to keep a canoe stable in my experience. It's just that with this canoe, there is basically no totally calm position - there is always a small amount of rock side to side, unless you are robotic with calm paddling to ensure there is no rocking.


We are going to take it out again as soon as we can to deliberately see how far we can push it. I don't think we ever really let the secondary stability kick in because it felt tippy as it was. Next time we'll be very intentional in trying to understand how the hull performs and which kinds of movements we can get away with (netting a fish, handing a net forward/back after netting a fish, reaching for a hat that just fell in the water, leaning into a turn, etc). I find that attempting to understand something you fear helps remove a lot of the fear, and instead turns it into healthy respect. I want to be able to respect this boat as I'm sure it is quite capable and I just need to adapt - the question is how much adapting is really required of us and whether or not we will be able to (relatively quickly, i.e. 10 hours vs 50-100 hours) get to a position of comfort where we aren't always thinking about capsizing and are able to enjoy the paddle, the scenery, photography, fishing, and on the days when weather isn't in our favor, know that as long as we communicate and use the habits we've formed, we are safe."


I am by no means an expert :) just trying to help…but I would not try to correct any rocking at all, just let it move and get used the movement. If it rocks too far, stay relaxed but keep everything straight. You should not correct any rocking or tipping feeling. I really think you are just trying too hard because it doesn’t feel the same as other canoes you paddled. Albeit I wasn’t there and I am just guessing. Just I’ve been doing this for 25 years and the only time I ever tipped or seen people tip is correcting for the canoe rocking or leaning and that was in the first few years of paddling.

The dog is an extreme example/issue so leaving it at home until you are comfortable is a good plan.

Good luck!

T
 
technically_rugged
distinguished member (384)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/21/2022 11:14AM  
I have a very positive update to provide! It's funny how my opinion has swung the other direction so dramatically.

Yesterday I was able to get the canoe out with my friend who will be my (most but not all of the time) bow paddler on my upcoming June trip, and we were able to see how it performs in wind and waves. We had 10-15mph winds with 20-25mph gusts (I think it was on the lower side - no whitecaps sadly) so we had some semi-respectable waves to contend with. It was honestly the perfect amount of wind to get a feel for how it'll handle in both calm and choppy water. It is imperative to me that we both feel comfortable enough in this boat in *rough* water to take it on a 9 day, 75 mile trip, into the deepest, most isolated parts of the BWCA.

I gave my friend a spoiler and let him know that it feels like it's gonna tip basically the entire time, BUT that the secondary stability is supposed to keep it upright and once we get used to it, it won't feel as constantly concerning to our lizard brains which are primarily concerned with staying alive! That's the idea, anyway, so let's test it...

Well, I couldn't be happier with the outcome, given the first two outings. We got to test a couple different things...

* Putting the power down when trying to turn 90 degrees, quartering the waves one direction to quartering a different direction, like when we are trying to get to a campsite or portage but can't go direct because we'd be parallel to waves

* Paddling hard to get away from a landing or just cover some ground

* Reaching as far as we can to grab a hat or something that fell in the water, or trying to land a fish

* Twisting around in the bow to hand something back, or looking back at something behind the boat

* Getting broadsided by a wave (many times)

* Cutting through/riding over waves

* Slowing down quickly as if we just spotted a big rock or are coming in hot to a landing

In almost all of these exercises, my friend and I both said "that actually wasn't that bad!" We had rocking of the gunwales of course, and some stuff like rapidly slowing down was not as graceful as we intended, causing some sharp dipping of the gunwales , but despite that, the boat recovers from it almost as sharply as it rolls. It takes some repetition to feel just how much the hull rolls on the water instead of sticking to it like a flat bottom, and to accept/understand that this boat will almost never be perfectly stable, but instead always have a little bit of movement as you are paddling, turning, and bobbing with waves. It is a departure from the wide flat Kevlar yachts that just seem to cruise right through choppy water with nary a movement of the gunwales.

We did not dump the boat. Primarily this was because we didn't actually inadvertently tip. I planned on *trying* to tip it, and see how far it really can go, but even with us rookies (in this boat anyway) just trying stuff out, even when we accidentally leaned more/faster than intended, we didn't tip. On top of that, it was only ~64F outside with only a little sun, and windy. We had towels and a change of clothes but it would've left us with a chill as we wanted to grill afterwards. I think when we can get this on totally calm water and can very slowly and deliberately lean the boat to get the gunwale touching the water, then we might tip it just to truly see how far we have to go with it.

I came away from this experience feeling rejuvenated, relieved, overjoyed. Dealing with my dog and my girlfriend's discomfort from the previous two experiences prevented me from analyzing and testing the behavior of the canoe, and we hadn't intended to do stability tests on those attempts anyway. By taking the canoe out with nothing in it, fully prepared and intending to tip it, I was able to let go of any concerns and see, without any consequences, just how reckless I can be in this boat before I actually feel uncomfortable.

Overall I learned a few things that put my mind at ease:

1. While this canoe will never feel totally stable, it seems to always recover from any dipping of the gunwales. It can do a whole lot of wobbling and still feel "not too bad". We will have to be a little more careful with our movements when leaning to fill up water or landing a fish, but as long as we remember that dumping the canoe is a lot worse than losing a fish, we should be OK.

2. Even with GCI Sitbackers raising our center of gravity, we still felt comfortable in the boat. In fact, I think the seats actually help, as you're able to take some weight off your core by leaning into the seat and focus more of your efforts on leaning/correcting wobble. They are also amazing for helping endure long paddles, so I'm really glad that the canoe feels good with them in place.

3. This is all with only ~450lbs in the canoe (2 guys, paddles, PFDs, Sitbackers). Our actual BWCA loadout would be 2 portage packs averaging 45lbs each, a food barrel averaging 45lbs, 2 day packs averaging 15lbs each (tackle/water/possibles), a camera bag around 10lbs, and some fishing rods and net that make up, let's say, 5lbs. This adds another 180lbs of weight, putting us around 630lbs when fully loaded. This extra weight should make a fairly noticeable difference in stability and maybe even turning in windy scenarios where the more exposed, "underloaded" hull gets blown around easier. We will have less freeboard (maybe 1" less or so) so technically we could take on water sooner if we have a drastic wobble, but the wobbles should hopefully be less with the added weight as well, so it might even out.

Again, I cannot explain how relieved and happy I am that not only I feel much more comfortable after the stability testing, but that my friend does as well. He had a really good attitude about it and is willing to learn the quirks of this kind of hull design. That sort of "it should be fine, let's do this!" attitude was exactly what I needed to let go of my worries and give the boat a fair shot. Now I just need to repeat the process with my girlfriend in warmer water so she can see her worries can be let go of as well.

Thanks to everyone who offered advice and condolences. Using the advice provided, at the end of the day I knew nothing would truly convince me one way or another besides actual time in the boat, and I'm thankful I was able to do what I needed to, to get the assurance I needed.

Here's a glamor shot before I remembered to put the registration sticker on it finally (sorry DNR!).

 
cyclones30
distinguished member(3903)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/21/2022 12:40PM  
I'm not sure I agree on kevlar having anything to do with the stability of other canoes.

But good to hear it's going better. It should be more stable with the full load I'd think. When I'm going from one style of canoe to another I definitely notice it getting in and out type stuff right away. But once in the "livelier" canoe for a few min I forget about it and it's like anything else.

But going from a wide, stable boat like a Q17 or Boundary Waters to say a MNII is a big change. I've not tipped in any of them and to me the speed and efficiency is worth not feeling as stable as a barge
 
technically_rugged
distinguished member (384)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/21/2022 02:21PM  
cyclones30: "I'm not sure I agree on kevlar having anything to do with the stability of other canoes.


But good to hear it's going better. It should be more stable with the full load I'd think. When I'm going from one style of canoe to another I definitely notice it getting in and out type stuff right away. But once in the "livelier" canoe for a few min I forget about it and it's like anything else.


But going from a wide, stable boat like a Q17 or Boundary Waters to say a MNII is a big change. I've not tipped in any of them and to me the speed and efficiency is worth not feeling as stable as a barge "


I just chose to describe those canoes as yachts made of Kevlar, since they're not actually yachts. My bad. But yes, it is a big change, that I think we'll feel right at home in, once we spend a full day on the water, fully loaded. I don't mind that the Q17 or BW aren't zippy but if I can get extra speed for a little less comfortable stability, and still feel OK 98% of the time, then why wouldn't I?
 
Kermit
member (42)member
 
05/21/2022 03:18PM  
So very happy to hear! I think your experience is a fairly common one actually, especially for anyone who’s ever bought a boat without actually having paddled it.

The first time I got in my NW Solo I was very nervous and unsure, despite having a fair bit of experience. Nothing is more settling than getting to know the boat and just spending time seeing how it reacts to different situations and what you can get away with. That’s part of the joy of having your own canoe vs renting one every year. I also try to take day trips out on very small lakes when the weather isn’t great. I’d rather see how the canoe does in rough conditions when I’m right near my car with a change of clothes and heater than say 10 miles into a multi day trip in the BWCA.

Again, happy to hear you’re having a better experience now that you’ve spent more time in it. Ted and Bear at Northstar are wonderful, genuine, insightful folks and if they steered you towards the B17 after talking through your wants and needs then I’d think they had good reason.
 
Lawnchair107
distinguished member (202)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/21/2022 05:50PM  
technically_rugged: "I have a very positive update to provide! It's funny how my opinion has swung the other direction so dramatically.


Yesterday I was able to get the canoe out with my friend who will be my (most but not all of the time) bow paddler on my upcoming June trip, and we were able to see how it performs in wind and waves. We had 10-15mph winds with 20-25mph gusts (I think it was on the lower side - no whitecaps sadly) so we had some semi-respectable waves to contend with. It was honestly the perfect amount of wind to get a feel for how it'll handle in both calm and choppy water. It is imperative to me that we both feel comfortable enough in this boat in *rough* water to take it on a 9 day, 75 mile trip, into the deepest, most isolated parts of the BWCA.


I gave my friend a spoiler and let him know that it feels like it's gonna tip basically the entire time, BUT that the secondary stability is supposed to keep it upright and once we get used to it, it won't feel as constantly concerning to our lizard brains which are primarily concerned with staying alive! That's the idea, anyway, so let's test it...


Well, I couldn't be happier with the outcome, given the first two outings. We got to test a couple different things...


* Putting the power down when trying to turn 90 degrees, quartering the waves one direction to quartering a different direction, like when we are trying to get to a campsite or portage but can't go direct because we'd be parallel to waves


* Paddling hard to get away from a landing or just cover some ground


* Reaching as far as we can to grab a hat or something that fell in the water, or trying to land a fish


* Twisting around in the bow to hand something back, or looking back at something behind the boat


* Getting broadsided by a wave (many times)


* Cutting through/riding over waves


* Slowing down quickly as if we just spotted a big rock or are coming in hot to a landing


In almost all of these exercises, my friend and I both said "that actually wasn't that bad!" We had rocking of the gunwales of course, and some stuff like rapidly slowing down was not as graceful as we intended, causing some sharp dipping of the gunwales , but despite that, the boat recovers from it almost as sharply as it rolls. It takes some repetition to feel just how much the hull rolls on the water instead of sticking to it like a flat bottom, and to accept/understand that this boat will almost never be perfectly stable, but instead always have a little bit of movement as you are paddling, turning, and bobbing with waves. It is a departure from the wide flat Kevlar yachts that just seem to cruise right through choppy water with nary a movement of the gunwales.


We did not dump the boat. Primarily this was because we didn't actually inadvertently tip. I planned on *trying* to tip it, and see how far it really can go, but even with us rookies (in this boat anyway) just trying stuff out, even when we accidentally leaned more/faster than intended, we didn't tip. On top of that, it was only ~64F outside with only a little sun, and windy. We had towels and a change of clothes but it would've left us with a chill as we wanted to grill afterwards. I think when we can get this on totally calm water and can very slowly and deliberately lean the boat to get the gunwale touching the water, then we might tip it just to truly see how far we have to go with it.


I came away from this experience feeling rejuvenated, relieved, overjoyed. Dealing with my dog and my girlfriend's discomfort from the previous two experiences prevented me from analyzing and testing the behavior of the canoe, and we hadn't intended to do stability tests on those attempts anyway. By taking the canoe out with nothing in it, fully prepared and intending to tip it, I was able to let go of any concerns and see, without any consequences, just how reckless I can be in this boat before I actually feel uncomfortable.


Overall I learned a few things that put my mind at ease:


1. While this canoe will never feel totally stable, it seems to always recover from any dipping of the gunwales. It can do a whole lot of wobbling and still feel "not too bad". We will have to be a little more careful with our movements when leaning to fill up water or landing a fish, but as long as we remember that dumping the canoe is a lot worse than losing a fish, we should be OK.


2. Even with GCI Sitbackers raising our center of gravity, we still felt comfortable in the boat. In fact, I think the seats actually help, as you're able to take some weight off your core by leaning into the seat and focus more of your efforts on leaning/correcting wobble. They are also amazing for helping endure long paddles, so I'm really glad that the canoe feels good with them in place.


3. This is all with only ~450lbs in the canoe (2 guys, paddles, PFDs, Sitbackers). Our actual BWCA loadout would be 2 portage packs averaging 45lbs each, a food barrel averaging 45lbs, 2 day packs averaging 15lbs each (tackle/water/possibles), a camera bag around 10lbs, and some fishing rods and net that make up, let's say, 5lbs. This adds another 180lbs of weight, putting us around 630lbs when fully loaded. This extra weight should make a fairly noticeable difference in stability and maybe even turning in windy scenarios where the more exposed, "underloaded" hull gets blown around easier. We will have less freeboard (maybe 1" less or so) so technically we could take on water sooner if we have a drastic wobble, but the wobbles should hopefully be less with the added weight as well, so it might even out.


Again, I cannot explain how relieved and happy I am that not only I feel much more comfortable after the stability testing, but that my friend does as well. He had a really good attitude about it and is willing to learn the quirks of this kind of hull design. That sort of "it should be fine, let's do this!" attitude was exactly what I needed to let go of my worries and give the boat a fair shot. Now I just need to repeat the process with my girlfriend in warmer water so she can see her worries can be let go of as well.


Thanks to everyone who offered advice and condolences. Using the advice provided, at the end of the day I knew nothing would truly convince me one way or another besides actual time in the boat, and I'm thankful I was able to do what I needed to, to get the assurance I needed.


Here's a glamor shot before I remembered to put the registration sticker on it finally (sorry DNR!).


"


Awesome to hear! I can only imagine with each paddle stroke the emerging confidence you’ll gain. My Kevlar BW yacht gets wet in 2 days…
 
cyclones30
distinguished member(3903)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/21/2022 06:55PM  
Yeah, I'm not saying I like those stable boats. I'd rather paddle a MNII 98% of the days over those. But kevlar is the same across them all
 
05/21/2022 08:40PM  
Weird…this post made my day…reading your post right after you tipped was so disheartening. I understand the excitement of getting a new canoe then to think it may not be what I wanted…I was right there with ya emotionally and felt terrible for you.

I am so happy todays run went better! It will only get better with time.

The glamour shot is awesome. Canoe is sweet!

T
 
05/23/2022 05:58AM  
Strange - your experiences don’t match the description of the B17 on their website. It lauds the ‘safe stable reassurance’ of the design, two kids and lassie can be hanging over the side watching mom catch a walleye. Certainly not what you are reporting, you’re saying it feels like it’s gonna tip at any second, when you merely lean to put a paddle in the water. Hopefully you just need to get used to it, maybe you are over thinking or overreacting. Good luck with it, maybe you just need to gain more confidence and trust it a bit more.
 
technically_rugged
distinguished member (384)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/23/2022 10:17AM  
Kermit: "So very happy to hear! I think your experience is a fairly common one actually, especially for anyone who’s ever bought a boat without actually having paddled it.


The first time I got in my NW Solo I was very nervous and unsure, despite having a fair bit of experience. Nothing is more settling than getting to know the boat and just spending time seeing how it reacts to different situations and what you can get away with. That’s part of the joy of having your own canoe vs renting one every year. I also try to take day trips out on very small lakes when the weather isn’t great. I’d rather see how the canoe does in rough conditions when I’m right near my car with a change of clothes and heater than say 10 miles into a multi day trip in the BWCA.


Again, happy to hear you’re having a better experience now that you’ve spent more time in it. Ted and Bear at Northstar are wonderful, genuine, insightful folks and if they steered you towards the B17 after talking through your wants and needs then I’d think they had good reason. "


While I do feel like a bit of a jackwagon with the kind of swing you saw in this thread, I want to believe that it is probably a common experience as you say. I kind of knew what to expect but it still caught me off guard, and I didn't make a point to push it to the limits right off the bat, which I really should have done.

I am considering renting a NW Solo for my first solo this year, but I might go for something with more initial stability for that experience. I'd love to test paddle the NW Solo - might have to ask someone here if they'd be willing to meet up and let me paddle theirs, as I don't think I've ever seen one locally at canoe/kayak rentals.

I do think Bear and Ted gave me genuinely insightful advice even if they could have tempered my expectations a little bit. I've taken a couple hours of their time over the phone at this point so they've been very helpful and patient.

Thanks very much for your thoughts and reassurance!!
 
technically_rugged
distinguished member (384)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/23/2022 10:22AM  
timatkn: "Weird…this post made my day…reading your post right after you tipped was so disheartening. I understand the excitement of getting a new canoe then to think it may not be what I wanted…I was right there with ya emotionally and felt terrible for you.


I am so happy todays run went better! It will only get better with time.


The glamour shot is awesome. Canoe is sweet!


T"


Thanks T :) it was a disheartening experience for me and while I am embarrassed to not have expertly paddled a new type of canoe right out of the gate, it was good experience to get. I usually do a lot of research to make sure I don't buy something expensive that is likely unreturnable that might not be for me. In this case, I did as much research as I could think to do, using information about the Northwind, Keewaydin, other David Yost hulls, other Prospectors, and of course anything I could find on the B16/17 (of which there is little). But, no amount of reading will tell you what 5 minutes in the seat will.

Thanks for empathizing and I look forward to growing with this boat. Maybe you and I can meet up for a paddle so I can see that slick Stealth in person, and you can take a casual glance at the BlackLite, before turning back to your jewel. :)
 
technically_rugged
distinguished member (384)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/23/2022 10:27AM  
scat: "Strange - your experiences don’t match the description of the B17 on their website. It lauds the ‘safe stable reassurance’ of the design, two kids and lassie can be hanging over the side watching mom catch a walleye. Certainly not what you are reporting, you’re saying it feels like it’s gonna tip at any second, when you merely lean to put a paddle in the water. Hopefully you just need to get used to it, maybe you are over thinking or overreacting. Good luck with it, maybe you just need to gain more confidence and trust it a bit more."

Yup - I even quoted that exact bit in my long disappointment post in this thread. When I called Northstar and talked to Bear after this experience, I told him I thought that quote was disingenuous, as there is no way I could imagine having two small children and a dog leaning over the gunwale without tipping.

Yes it feels like you are going to tip every second, because the hull doesn't "stick" to the water, so the gunwales are always dipping and bobbing as you shift your weight while paddling. If you can maintain a perfectly upright position and paddle robotically, I think you could keep the gunwales pretty flat, but I doubt I will get there any time soon (need some exercises for my core!). Despite this constant motion of the gunwales though, it does require a lot more movement to roll far enough to the side that you're actually worried about tipping. I don't know if I was overthinking it but I certainly was unfamiliar with the behavior of these types of hulls (still am for the most part) so when I went from stable gunwales and a stable canoe, to one that was constantly rolling left and right and couldn't really be called stable at all, yes I was concerned that I was one simple mistake away from taking a swim.

I think Northstar could update the description for the B17 to make it less suggestive of rock solid stability. I get that they are suggesting it's more stable but the rounded hulls ain't havin' 2 kids and a dog hanging over the side without mom and dad hanging over the other side just to keep it upright.

I did ask Bear if they had any plans to make hulls with a flatter bottom to offer better initial stability, and he told me that they don't, at least not in the near future, as their goal is to make boats that are approachable for beginners, but satisfying for experienced paddlers as well. Still, I think something to compete with a SRQ17 or Champlain, in BlackLite, would be pretty slick. I know you could say "just buy those boats instead" but you might like Northstar and the folks that run it, and their construction process, and want to buy their take on a high initial stability tripping canoe. It's like wishing your favorite musical artist would do a cover of a song you love because you know they'd do an awesome rendition. (I'm not suggesting Northstar is my favorite canoe company but they've been pretty great to deal with thus far.)
 
technically_rugged
distinguished member (384)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/23/2022 05:22PM  
I made a video of the shakedown run in case anyone is interested in seeing how the B17 performs with just 2 guys and paddles in relatively mild/moderate waves.

B17 Shakedown Run
 
05/23/2022 09:30PM  
I see what you are saying about the wobbling. If you aren’t used to it it would be unsettling. I really think you need to ignore it and just get used to paddling it and you will be alright. Test in shallow water and see what it takes to tip it, how far can you lean and be okay. Continue to develop the confidence. I paddled a barge…Souris River 18.5 for many years…when I paddled a Northwind it took some getting used to as well.

Love seeing your journey and the raw reactions.

T
 
technically_rugged
distinguished member (384)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/23/2022 09:49PM  
timatkn: "I see what you are saying about the wobbling. If you aren’t used to it it would be unsettling. I really think you need to ignore it and just get used to paddling it and you will be alright. Test in shallow water and see what it takes to tip it, how far can you lean and be okay. Continue to develop the confidence. I paddled a barge…Souris River 18.5 for many years…when I paddled a Northwind it took some getting used to as well.


Love seeing your journey and the raw reactions.


T"


I think I was already able to ignore it a bit - once you're moving it seems more stable. Kind of like riding a bike at a snail's pace versus actually pedaling. It wants some forward motion!

I think sometime in July when the water is closer to 75-80F here, my girlfriend and I will go intentionally dump it at that lake and just generally screw around. She feels better after watching the footage but definitely needs more seat time. We have almost 4 months before she and I go on our longest trip together yet (8 days) so we should have plenty of time to prepare and get comfortable.
 
05/27/2022 03:24PM  
I think you should stay away from your idea that you need to tip it, might be looking at in a negative way which feeds your anxiety. Just get used to how it feels and you might get more comfortable. It took me a little bit to get used to my Prism from a 2 person Spirit II but once I did I never feel a bit unstable anymore. It’s like a part of me now. The boat looks wide enough, are you saying it feels tippy because the bottom is rounded. I think once you get used to it you’ll be fine. I used to tell myself to keep my butt quiet, if that makes any sense. I never use a chair of any kind anymore, I just think they are unnecessary and don’t really do anything for you. Yours is raising you higher which doesn’t help that your center of gravity is further from the water. Just thinking out loud. Think positive! And have fun!

Cheers. scat
 
technically_rugged
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06/16/2022 10:16AM  
Well I'm sure most folks are tired of seeing this thread but I wanted to provide an update.

This past weekend I got back from a 9 day trip, entering on Lake One, staying on Insula, Adams, Thomas, Ashigan, and exiting via a tow through Splash. The GPS track with single-way portaging only (except for when I carried on all 3 trips through the Boulder-Cap portage), plus all fishing we did, was 73 miles. Just the travel days alone were probably somewhere around 60-65 miles double carrying. It was quite a few lakes and portages, big water and small water, with a variety of landings with moving water and still water. We had amazing weather the whole time, with wind that hardly exceeded 15-20mph gusts. I didn't get to experience big whitecaps like in past trips, but that's OK.

What I can say is that this canoe feels SOLID, like a different boat entirely, when you put another ~180lbs of gear in it (on top of 2 ~200lb paddlers). This is 2 portage packs (~45lbs each), 1 barrel (~40lbs), 2 day packs (~20lbs each), 1 camera bag (~12lbs), 1 net, 5 fishing rods, and 3 paddles. The gunwales move WAY less when you are fully loaded down. I would not even say the boat feels tippy when you are loaded with gear. The only time you feel that is when one person tries to lift something from behind them (pull daypack/camera bag up front), or when you are paddling parallel to waves (which we did for a bit while trolling because they were small enough). Even then, it doesn't have that "cliff edge" feeling where you feel like you're about to tip every second, it just feels like you're rocked to the side but the boat wants to settle right side up.

I consider myself a relatively novice paddler as I only just finally learned how to properly J-stroke on this trip (or, better than I ever have), so my boat control skills are mild at best. That being said, I was usually able to keep the boat straight using a lot of J-strokes (using a straight paddle). It doesn't track very well which is expected from the prospector-type design with a lot of rocker. We did have some windy creek sections on this last trip and it was nice to be able to turn relatively easily, but I do wish I had slightly better tracking.

I will also say that my friend's Keewaydin 17 was faster in all flatwater scenarios, beating us to landings almost every time even when we were the first to launch (which was rare). Using my Garmin watch I tracked our paddling on longer paddles and we usually averaged _at least_ 3mph, usually pushing up to 3.2-3.5mph. We broke 4mph pretty often when we actually put some effort into it, but we didn't feel the need to push that fast as we wanted more endurance (as our first 2 days ended up being 8 and 9 hours, respectively). Even with 10-12mph headwind one day on Adams, putting some effort into it, we were still above 3mph. Overall I think this boat's speed is good, but not impressive. This makes sense given how wide it is (it's WIDE) and how much gear we had in it.

There were no issues with "sharp" gunwales, though my friend in the bow said when he shifted his posture, he occasionally found them a little uncomfortable when resting his legs on them. He never once complained about it though; I had to ask him at one point if he noticed anything. In the stern, my legs never touched the gunwales.

When loaded down, this boat feels rock solid. When we went out fishing with just day packs and camera gear, it was back to feeling slightly tippy, but we got used to it. The friend I had in the bow 99% of the time is good at staying upright when he paddles so there wasn't much issue with dipping the gunwales, but I went fishing with the friend who was the bow paddler in the Keewaydin, who is sometimes a little less controlled with his posture when he pulls on the paddle and was dipping the gunwales. I gave him a friendly nudge about leaning too hard into his strokes (which was well received). I also asked him which boat felt tippier, the B17 or the Keewaydin 17. He told me he thought the B17 felt just slightly more tippy. I didn't paddle the Keewaydin this year so I couldn't do a more direct comparison, but take that for what it's worth!

Overall, I am MUCH happier with this canoe than before. It really needs to be fully loaded to perform its best, with regard to stability and control. It does get blown around a bit when empty (or almost empty), and the gunwales rock a lot more with a small payload as well. While Northstar says the payload for this boat is 400-700lbs, I would say it should be closer to a 500lb minimum for better performance. To me, this isn't a boat you buy because you want an enjoyable day paddle around home. This is a workhorse, designed to be packed with gear (a lot of it!) and haul it long distances. With a little ballast, it certainly can be enjoyable for shorter paddles or fishing, just as long as you are a little more intentional with your positioning against waves, and leaning/paddling posture.

I put more than a few scratches on this beauty, and it hurts to see the ones in especially more preventable areas like the sidewalls, but it did its job well. I think this will be a great tripping boat for years to come. Hopefully others find my journey with its ups and downs somewhat educational, and I hope I can be forgiven for my kneejerk reactions and novice skills.
 
technically_rugged
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06/16/2022 10:52AM  
Here is a photo of the RAM mount setup I put on the walnut thwart (which is upside down for better mounting, along with details of what I purchased in case someone wants to do it themselves.

To get things as centered as possible, I cut the thwart to fit the canoe first (using the aluminum thwart to make guide marks for cutting), then I used a measuring tape to get the proper placement with even spacing from the sides of the thwart for the small tracks, with the big track as centered as possible. Then I used electrical tape (could use masking tape) to hold the tracks firmly in place in the desired positions. Then I drilled the holes (I believe a 3/16" bit, for the #10 screws) and the screws were a snug fit. From there the washers went on along with the supplied nuts and I hand tightened them in opposite corners. The thwart is curved just so that the nuts don't sit flat, unfortunately, but the washers help distribute the load. I preferred this to the track having an overhanging lip on the rounded side, which is why I mounted the thwarts upside down.

---TRACKS---
* 1x RAM Mount RAM Tough-Track Overall Length 10.75 (RAP-TRACK-A9U)
* 2x RAM Mount Top-Loading Composite Tough-Track Overall Length 4.75 inches (RAP-TRACK-A3U)
* 24x Everbilt #10 1 inch machine screws (round, Philips head, came with nuts but you could buy Nylock nuts if you wanted)
* 24x Everbilt #10 flat washers

---GARMIN GPSMAP 64/66 GPS HOLDER---
* 1x RAM Mount Plastic 1 inch Ball Track Base with T-Bolt Attachment (RAP-B-354U-TRA1)
* 1x RAM Mount Medium Arm B-Socket (RAM-B-201U)
* 1x RAM Mount Garmin Spine Cradle with B-Ball for Handheld Devices (RAM-B-202-GA76U)

---GARMIN STRIKER 4 MOUNT---
* 1x RAM Mount Plastic 1 inch Ball Track Base with T-Bolt Attachment (RAP-B-354U-TRA1)
* 1x RAM Mount Medium Arm B-Socket (RAM-B-201U)
* 1x RAM Mount Aluminum 1 inch Ball 2.5 inch dia Base Plate (RAM-B-202U)

---GOPRO SETUP---
* 1x RAM Mount Plastic 1 inch Ball Track Base with T-Bolt Attachment (RAP-B-354U-TRA1)
* 1x RAM Mount Plastic 18 inch Extension Pole with Double 1 inch Open Socket (RAP-BB-201-18U)
* 1x RAM Mount Plastic GoPro Camera Adapter 1 inch B-Ball (RAP-B-202U-GOP1)

---ROD HOLDER SETUP---
* 2x RAM Mount Medium Tough-Claw Universal Clamp Base with 1.5 inch C-Ball (RAP-404U)
* 2x RAM Mount Ratcheting Rod Holder no Base Mount (RAM-114-RBNBU)
* You could use C-size trackballs for this, but I forgot I had 1 with me! Plus the bow paddler still needed a clamp in my case.

---TRANSDUCER ARM SETUP---
* 1x RAM Mount Plastic 1 inch Ball Track Base with T-Bolt Attachment (RAP-B-354U-TRA1)
* 1x RAM Mount Transducer Arm Mount with Open Socket for 1 inch B-Ball


 
06/17/2022 10:33PM  
Thanks for the update.

T
 
Walt47
 
06/19/2022 06:55PM  
I just found this interesting thread and have a couple of belated comments. I bought a Northstar Phoenix ( a solo kind of little brother of the B17 ) a couple of years ago. I found it to be more “tippy” than the tandem Kevlar Mad River Explorer which I had been paddling solo, sometimes with dog, but enjoy it now after getting used to it. I would highly recommend trying kneeling, which may be different than what you envision. You actually rest your butt on the seat and there is relatively little weight on your knees, per se. I am only 6’ 170, but my 6’6” 220 pound son (45 years old with bad knees) also enjoys paddling this way- solo and tandem. I use one of the Northstar knee pads and it makes a huge difference in comfort. It is really nice to have multiple options and kneeling with knees in the bilges gives so much more stability and control when conditions get dicey. I probably sat 50% and kneeled 50% on a recent 2 day river trip. I am 75 with no knee problems. You may find that you like it!
 
Lawnchair107
distinguished member (202)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/23/2022 07:54AM  
technically_rugged: "Here is a photo of the RAM mount setup I put on the walnut thwart (which is upside down for better mounting, along with details of what I purchased in case someone wants to do it themselves.

To get things as centered as possible, I cut the thwart to fit the canoe first (using the aluminum thwart to make guide marks for cutting), then I used a measuring tape to get the proper placement with even spacing from the sides of the thwart for the small tracks, with the big track as centered as possible. Then I used electrical tape (could use masking tape) to hold the tracks firmly in place in the desired positions. Then I drilled the holes (I believe a 3/16" bit, for the #10 screws) and the screws were a snug fit. From there the washers went on along with the supplied nuts and I hand tightened them in opposite corners. The thwart is curved just so that the nuts don't sit flat, unfortunately, but the washers help distribute the load. I preferred this to the track having an overhanging lip on the rounded side, which is why I mounted the thwarts upside down.
---TRACKS---
* 1x RAM Mount RAM Tough-Track Overall Length 10.75 (RAP-TRACK-A9U)
* 2x RAM Mount Top-Loading Composite Tough-Track Overall Length 4.75 inches (RAP-TRACK-A3U)
* 24x Everbilt #10 1 inch machine screws (round, Philips head, came with nuts but you could buy Nylock nuts if you wanted)
* 24x Everbilt #10 flat washers


---GARMIN GPSMAP 64/66 GPS HOLDER---
* 1x RAM Mount Plastic 1 inch Ball Track Base with T-Bolt Attachment (RAP-B-354U-TRA1)
* 1x RAM Mount Medium Arm B-Socket (RAM-B-201U)
* 1x RAM Mount Garmin Spine Cradle with B-Ball for Handheld Devices (RAM-B-202-GA76U)
---GARMIN STRIKER 4 MOUNT---
* 1x RAM Mount Plastic 1 inch Ball Track Base with T-Bolt Attachment (RAP-B-354U-TRA1)
* 1x RAM Mount Medium Arm B-Socket (RAM-B-201U)
* 1x RAM Mount Aluminum 1 inch Ball 2.5 inch dia Base Plate (RAM-B-202U)
---GOPRO SETUP---
* 1x RAM Mount Plastic 1 inch Ball Track Base with T-Bolt Attachment (RAP-B-354U-TRA1)
* 1x RAM Mount Plastic 18 inch Extension Pole with Double 1 inch Open Socket (RAP-BB-201-18U)
* 1x RAM Mount Plastic GoPro Camera Adapter 1 inch B-Ball (RAP-B-202U-GOP1)
---ROD HOLDER SETUP---
* 2x RAM Mount Medium Tough-Claw Universal Clamp Base with 1.5 inch C-Ball (RAP-404U)
* 2x RAM Mount Ratcheting Rod Holder no Base Mount (RAM-114-RBNBU)
* You could use C-size trackballs for this, but I forgot I had 1 with me! Plus the bow paddler still needed a clamp in my case.

---TRANSDUCER ARM SETUP---
* 1x RAM Mount Plastic 1 inch Ball Track Base with T-Bolt Attachment (RAP-B-354U-TRA1)
* 1x RAM Mount Transducer Arm Mount with Open Socket for 1 inch B-Ball

"


Setup looking pretty sexy, JD. How do you like your racheting rod holder? I've got a scotty currently, but think I want to move to a move securable ram mount system.
 
technically_rugged
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06/23/2022 09:49AM  
Lawnchair107: "Setup looking pretty sexy, JD. How do you like your racheting rod holder? I've got a scotty currently, but think I want to move to a move securable ram mount system."

Thanks, it worked really well. That GPS holder was probably the best freaking thing I added. I used it pretty much any time we were in the canoe!

I do like the rod holders, but honestly I'd almost consider them to be overkill. They're a bit heavy (as are the clamps). I do like that you can pivot them out of the way and then ratchet them to the right angle - something I did not really do, as I mostly just had the holder sticking straight up. I would like to get it out of the way in the future but it wasn't really "in the way" which is why I didn't feel the need to move it. I think I would angle it more if I had used a C size trackball on the thwart instead of the clamp, to get it away from the other track mounted stuff (and the net).
 
Lawnchair107
distinguished member (202)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/23/2022 10:09AM  
technically_rugged: "Lawnchair107: "Setup looking pretty sexy, JD. How do you like your racheting rod holder? I've got a scotty currently, but think I want to move to a move securable ram mount system."


Thanks, it worked really well. That GPS holder was probably the best freaking thing I added. I used it pretty much any time we were in the canoe!


I do like the rod holders, but honestly I'd almost consider them to be overkill. They're a bit heavy (as are the clamps). I do like that you can pivot them out of the way and then ratchet them to the right angle - something I did not really do, as I mostly just had the holder sticking straight up. I would like to get it out of the way in the future but it wasn't really "in the way" which is why I didn't feel the need to move it. I think I would angle it more if I had used a C size trackball on the thwart instead of the clamp, to get it away from the other track mounted stuff (and the net)."


I was looking at this to add to my ram claw:
Ram Mount
 
technically_rugged
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06/23/2022 02:15PM  
Yeah, that looks like a smaller/simpler version of the ratcheting ones. You'll have less control over the rod angle depending on how you tilt the holder on the ball, but I doubt it'd be an issue. A little less weight would be welcomed by me knowing my bag of claws and rod holders probably weighs 4-5lbs. RAM stuff is pretty beefy but a bit overkill when you're trying to keep weight low!
 
Lawnchair107
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06/23/2022 02:18PM  
My thoughts exactly.
 
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