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jillpine
distinguished member(812)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/06/2022 04:11PM  
Would like to hear from some who have this boat how they feel about it.
I'd like to get a tandem; I'm pretty set on Northstar. Needs to be lightweight (starlight or blacklight layup but not stealth).
I consider myself an intermediate paddler - looking for a tandem as challenging, fast and playful as my Trillium solo. Savage River also on the shortlist - will paddle a custom deepcreek in a couple weeks.
Thank you for your thoughts.
 
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Kermit
senior member (58)senior membersenior member
 
06/06/2022 05:08PM  
Based on what you said you were looking for in a boat I’d give hard look at the Northstar Polaris. Challenging, fast, and playful are all things I’ve heard others say about the Polaris. I have a NW Solo in blacklite with full E6 carbon gunwales and love the layup. Shaved off a few pounds for portaging and looks great. Just some ideas.
 
OCDave
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06/06/2022 06:17PM  
I paddle a Northstar Northwind Solo most days of the week. My tandem is a Northstar Polaris. I paddle the Polaris just 2 to 3 Sundays a month; whenever my wife would like to take a dog or two and go for a paddle. This means she sits in the bow and pets the dog while I do the bulk of the paddling. I wish I could make a meaningful comparison or contrast but sitting in back is different than kneeling in the middle. I really enjoy both these canoes and can't imagine parting with either of them.

Despite being 3 inches longer than the Northwind 16 (16'6' vs 16'9"), the Polaris is just wee bit lighter. While still very spacious, the Polaris is slightly narrower than the Northwind 16 and has a lower sheer height. The lower sheer height I interpret as less surface available to catch the wind but, I suppose that helps with keeping weight down as well.

I find the Polaris to be fun, fast and impeccably maneuverable even when I have to do most of the paddling. Given the comparable dimensions, bow and stern rockers ect., I expect you'll feel the same about the Northwind 16.

I bought the Polaris 4 or 5 years ago. At that time, it was priced just a bit more than the Northwind 16. If this s still true, it would certainly be worth considering/ comparing to the Northwind 16.

Good Luck, I hope something I type is helpful
 
06/07/2022 06:27AM  
I’m going +3 on the Polaris.
 
MidwestFirecraft
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06/07/2022 06:33AM  
jillpine: "looking for a tandem as challenging, fast and playful as my Trillium solo. s. "
I like the Northwind 16, but it does not fit the description above. As others have noted the Polaris or Bell Northstar canoe fits very well.
I have a Bell Northstar you are welcome to try. It is in blackgold with wood gunnels so a little heavier at 44 lbs.
 
jillpine
distinguished member(812)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/07/2022 08:11AM  
Thank you for the insight. I know what one means when they can't imagine parting with a canoe - this is how I feel about the Trillium in my fourth paddling season.

I spoke with a person recently who paddles a newer Polaris. When asked why he chose a Polaris and not a Northwind 16, he said he wanted a tandem that could work as a solo, and he was happy with the Polaris for this purpose. Not being interested in a "dual-purpose" tandem, I suppose I overlooked it for the the Northwind 16. But it sounds like maybe I should be taking a closer look at the Polaris.

Here are the specs comparison:
Northwind 16: 16'6" width: 32 / 36max / 32, rocker: 2.5 / 1.5 sheerline: 21 / 14 / 19 opt. load 275-575 (wt 41 carbon, 39 aramid)

Polaris
Polaris 16'9" width: 31 / 34.5 max / 31, rocker: 2.5 / 1.5 sheerline: 20.5 / 13.5 / 17.5 opt. load 250-550 (wt 40 carbon, 38 aramid)

Optimal load difference - not a factor.
Length - minimally different.
The minimally different max width and sheerline must make a notable difference in the handling.

No dog, no large loads, experienced bow and stern paddlers. River and lake paddling. Maybe the Polaris.


 
justpaddlin
distinguished member (451)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/07/2022 11:44AM  
+4 on the Polaris. The reason it solos well is that it's an efficient boat. I had a 75 year old woman in mine last week and she commented about the effortlessness and speed. The reduced waterline width separates it from other tandems. So the Northstar was a signature boat for Bell...considered to be their finest tandem. A Bell Northstar was used for the Polaris mold. They named their new company after that boat and the new signature boat uses the other name for the Northstar...Polaris. It's a special tandem.

 
PVnRT
senior member (84)senior membersenior member
 
06/07/2022 07:38PM  
Have owned Polaris Starlight and 16 as Bell in Royalex. Loved, loved, loved both. Polaris a bit faster. both very stable and turn very well. Perhaps ask where you will be paddling the tandem. frequency? rivers? tripping?

 
cmanimal
senior member (85)senior membersenior member
 
06/08/2022 09:34AM  
We tried out several boats a few years ago, and the polaris and seliga were #1 and 2 for me but at the bottom of the list for my wife who is the bow paddler (couldn't get comfortable in the cockpit area). So If you have a regular tandem partner I recommend trying them out together.
One quirk about the polaris is that the gunnel is narrower than the hull, so when you pick it up to portage, it rains on your arms for awhile, instead of the water coming off of the hull hitting the gunnel and running off the stern of the canoe.
 
jillpine
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06/08/2022 06:33PM  
PVnRT: "Have owned Polaris Starlight and 16 as Bell in Royalex. Loved, loved, loved both. Polaris a bit faster. both very stable and turn very well. Perhaps ask where you will be paddling the tandem. frequency? rivers? tripping?
"


PVnRT (best moniker ever) - past tense? Did you part with them?

Frequency: as much as possible, high water and low water, shoulder season and high summer.
Rivers - yes, everything except II technical and and higher.
tripping - yes, but at 56 yrs old and 125 lbs, I am not going to be able to carry or drag royalex for far and long. If the canoe can't carry it, I will do without or work around it. I cannot comfortably and safely portage a 50 lb or 17+ ft boat on a sustained trip. I can do it for a Lake One weekend, but not a wilderness paddle.

Basically, I am looking for my Trillium in a tandem. Sounds like Polaris needs a second look. As I said, I overlooked it simply because somebody said they chose it because it is "dual - purpose". I'm not looking for dual - purpose.

Really appreciate the thoughts and insight!




 
PVnRT
senior member (84)senior membersenior member
 
06/08/2022 09:44PM  
Why not a prospector-style canoe? Symmetrical rocker will allow for more playful opportunities than either Polaris or NW16. I haven't paddled Northstar's B-16, but might interest you. 41 lbs. in Blacklite.

Difficult to find a shipmate that is as hungry for frequent paddling as me, so couldn't justify the tandems taking up garage space. I'm now exclusively a soloist--in a Trillium, too.
 
Speckled
distinguished member(567)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/09/2022 09:11AM  
Polaris
 
Banksiana
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06/10/2022 02:00PM  
I'd consider a Wenonah Escape as well. Fast, light, no reach water access. Has that feel that the Trillium has that the boat is attached to your hips.
 
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