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02/13/2023 01:10PM  
Does anyone know if the Polaris was based on any of the old Bell canoe designs?
 
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02/13/2023 01:46PM  
The Bell Northstar.
 
NEIowapaddler
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02/13/2023 10:10PM  
What ducks said
 
jhb8426
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02/14/2023 12:36AM  
Yes, it's basically a renaming/rebranding of the Northstar.
 
NikonF5user
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02/14/2023 05:34PM  
I feel like I read somewhere that Mr. Bell loved it so much, he named the new company after the boat!
 
catadromous
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02/20/2023 03:15PM  
I am interested in the Polaris and am wondering if anyone has much experience using it as a solo. If you replace the center thwart with a seat, how to you set it up to portage? It is asymmetrical, but not so much as to preclude good performance paddling backward? Paddled tandem what does it compare to? The Northstar website doesn't go into much depth describing it's performance. Thanks! Jack
 
WHendrix
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02/20/2023 04:11PM  
catadromous: "I am interested in the Polaris and am wondering if anyone has much experience using it as a solo. If you replace the center thwart with a seat, how to you set it up to portage? It is asymmetrical, but not so much as to preclude good performance paddling backward? Paddled tandem what does it compare to? The Northstar website doesn't go into much depth describing it's performance. Thanks! Jack "


I've not had any experience with the Polarais but I have had two solos,a Bell Magic and and Northstar Northwind. In both of them the front of the seat is a few inches aft of the actual center line or balance point of the canoe. You then use a camp-on portage yoke just forward of the seat
 
02/21/2023 06:29AM  
The Northstar clamp on yokes work well on the Polaris. They also make quick release/removable seats for the Polaris so it’s really easy and quick to change the seating configuration. Just pop the pins out.

I think it’s similar to the SR Quetico 16 and Wenonah Adirondack. I found the Piolaris to be just as stable as the others when using it tandem and it paddles better. Better glide, tracks straighter, easier to turn in streams/tight spots etc. With the Tumblehome I find it better to paddle solo especially from the middle seat than the other small tandems I’ve used as a solo.

 
MagicMan1
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02/21/2023 07:03AM  
You might find directly emailing or calling Northstar most helpful in answering your Polaris questions. They helped me make an informed decision regarding my Polaris setup. Your arm length, combined weight of you, your paddling partner, and gear as well as intended purpose will factor.
In the end, I decided to replace the rear thwart with a kneeling thwart, so I paddle solo from that position. Strangely, I find the Polaris more enjoyable to paddle than my dedicated hit and switch solo boats. Perhaps has something to do with the closer connection with water when kneeling and heeling. Paddling tandem in the Polaris is a beautiful experience. The boat glides efficiently and turns quickly.
 
justpaddlin
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02/21/2023 07:05AM  
catadromous: "I am interested in the Polaris and am wondering if anyone has much experience using it as a solo. If you replace the center thwart with a seat, how to you set it up to portage? It is asymmetrical, but not so much as to preclude good performance paddling backward? Paddled tandem what does it compare to? The Northstar website doesn't go into much depth describing it's performance. Thanks! Jack "


The boat is light and my carries are short so I just pick it up and carry it, holding it by the front thwart and back of the center seat.

It paddles nicely solo. It takes a little more effort than a true solo but I'm surprised that it's not far off from a Swift Shearwater. For a tandem the solo efficiency is nice and it won't get blown around excessively in wind.

If you paddle a Polaris backwards the Canoe Police will come to your house and confiscate the boat.
 
NEIowapaddler
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02/21/2023 08:54AM  
I used a Polaris on my solo trip last year because that was the only option the outfitter had for a canoe that could be paddled solo (I rented last minute). I found it handled well, although it was a bit long for all the tight bends on Hog Creek. In open water it tracked very well though, and I didn't feel like it was hard to handle at all.

The issue I had was that it was just a little too wide for me to comfortably paddle with a double-blade paddle, and I kept knocking the handle shaft on the gunwales unless I took a wider grip than normal. My normal/comfortable grip width wasn't wide enough. So that meant I either put up with the obnoxious clunking of the shaft hitting the gunwales, or had to use an unnatural grip position. For that reason I wouldn't use one solo again if I had a choice.

As far as portaging went, it was no problem. The center of gravity was in front of the center seat position, and using the clamp-on yoke was easy.
 
Tomcat
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02/21/2023 10:57AM  
catadromous: "I am interested in the Polaris and am wondering if anyone has much experience using it as a solo. If you replace the center thwart with a seat, how to you set it up to portage? It is asymmetrical, but not so much as to preclude good performance paddling backward? Paddled tandem what does it compare to? The Northstar website doesn't go into much depth describing it's performance. Thanks! Jack "


I have the Northwind 16 which is similar to the Polaris . I replaced the rear center thwart with a kneeling thwart and have used it on a solo trip. A kneeling thwart or solo seat would not have to interfere with the factory installed carry yoke.
 
02/21/2023 01:08PM  
NikonF5user: "I feel like I read somewhere that Mr. Bell loved it so much, he named the new company after the boat!"


Well he technically couldn't use the Bell name anymore. He sold Bell Canoe in 2006 and it is still owned by ORC industries. Unfortunately ORC bought Bell right before the economic collapse in 2007-2008ish and could never recover financially so they closed their canoe side of the business in 2011.

ORC tried to sell off the Bell name, but no one was touching anything during that time. I am pretty sure ORC still owns Bell and technically could use the designs to build their own line of canoes again with the Bell name. But if they didn't jump in during the pandemic when canoes where in high demand then I guess they never would jump in.

The closure of ORC canoes allowed Bell to get back in without being sued but needed a different name...I believe Northstar Canoes was established/re-established in 2014? I am sure it killed him to see his old business die...so had to jump back in and use his creativity. I believe as part of the buy out Ted Bell worked for ORC and that probably ended with ORC stopping manufacturing as well.

I am sure I got some details wrong but that's the gist of it...

T
 
02/21/2023 04:53PM  
timatkn: "Well he technically couldn't use the Bell name anymore. He sold Bell Canoe in 2006 and it is still owned by ORC industries."


I believe that when Ted started back up (in 2013 I think) the company was, for less than 12 months, called Bell Composites. Then he changed it to Northstar (no idea if that's because Bell Composites was legally too close to Bell Canoe).

My information could be totally wrong and might have been made up by someone I spoke to, or by my overactive imagination.
 
jhb8426
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02/24/2023 12:31AM  
timatkn: "...Unfortunately ORC bought Bell right before the economic collapse in 2007-2008ish and could never recover financially so they closed their canoe side of the business in 2011..."


The impression I got at the time was that ORC didn't have the technically skilled labor needed to reliably produce the canoes. Here again, I could be wrong but that was what was going around on a few of the canoe forums at the time.
 
02/24/2023 07:40AM  
jhb8426: "
timatkn: "...Unfortunately ORC bought Bell right before the economic collapse in 2007-2008ish and could never recover financially so they closed their canoe side of the business in 2011..."



The impression I got at the time was that ORC didn't have the technically skilled labor needed to reliably produce the canoes. Here again, I could be wrong but that was what was going around on a few of the canoe forums at the time."


I am sure that maybe was part of it…but their sales were terrible the value they bought the Bell Canoe name literally dropped overnight. Just like for normal people who bought homes in 2006-2007…and saw their homes drop in value 20-50% over night…not many can take that financial loss. Heck during that same time Space X and Tesla were days away from closing their doors forever and are now are Billion dollar companies. The edge between successful company and failure can be sharp. It was a very tough time period…and absolutely the WORST timing to buy a company. We can’t see into the future though…

T
 
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