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04/28/2024 08:53AM  
I've been looking at buying my first solo canoe to complement the family tandem. After way too much research I think I have it narrowed down to a Northstar Magic or NW Solo. I primarily want it to be efficient and seaworthy when tripping and able to keep up with tandems but also plan to be using it empty on a fairly wide and slow river for day paddling. Not planning on any rapids, though I suppose that could happen in the BWCA depending on where I go over the next decade.

I've seen a lot of conflicting accounts of these two canoes being described as tippy or stable and I am wondering if that has to do as much with weight, height, and seat position as it does experience. I weigh about 185 and with load less than 230, though I may end up taking my 25 pound dog with at some point so that would be 255-260 max. So within the "optimal load" of each empty and loaded. I'm 6'3" with most of my height in my legs. I've had some knee issues and have size 13 feet, so I'm almost exclusively a sitter. I prefer a relatively high seat position and will probably mostly paddle sit and switch. It seems to me stability may be a pretty important consideration if I'm by myself in the middle of nowhere, but on the other hand I've never unintentionally dumped. Yet.

I plan on paddling a Magic in the next week or so from a dealer but there will be no NW Solos to try for another month. My heart says Magic for that nice glide but my brain is saying NW Solo for the stability, capacity, easy loading/unloading, and overall versatility. The Magic seems versatile for my use as well, just maybe not as much.

I considered an Advantage or Wilderness but I think I'll prefer something more well-rounded. There's a lot of wind in my neck of the woods so I don't think the rather tall and long Prism would work great (though they sure are the easiest to find used).

Any thoughts would be appreciated.
 
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04/28/2024 01:05PM  
Tough call, and I can understand your perseveration.

I have owned both. Kept the Magic, which was/is definitely faster.

Trip with me (175#) a dog (50#) and UL gear for a total weight of 255-260.

You are a bit taller (I am just under 6'), and I lowered my seat below stock height, so your center of gravity would be higher.

When you paddle the Magic, take packs or dry bags (add water) or whatever it takes to simulate your tripping weight. If you like it, I'd tell you to get the Magic. If you can't get used to it in a 30 minute paddle, head toward the NW solo.

In full disclosure, I bought a Savage River Blackwater which is faster still, and have not tripped in the Magic for a few years.

Your Glide May Vary.
 
MagicMan1
senior member (64)senior membersenior member
  
04/28/2024 02:16PM  
My perspective regarding your choice, having owned both, is the following:

*Initial stability in both will feel very different than your tandem and will improve with experience. Secondary stability is equal between your choices.

*Use a double blade paddle in rough waters. Having one of those blades constantly in the water will give confidence. Also, a double blade will help you keep up with the tandem paddlers regardless of the canoe. Keep a single blade in the boat for when making time is not a major concern.

*if paddling with dog and gear is a frequent occurrence, go with the NW Solo

 
04/28/2024 07:15PM  



Magic w/E6 Carbon thwart and trim. Alum footbrace.

I really like this boat as it is really efficient and stable. From all day travel to jigging walleyes and Lakers in Q and the BWCA it has seen a variety of uses and handled them all well.

27LBS all up

I use a ZRE single and also a Bending Branches Carbon 260 kayak paddle as well.

If it is windy or I just want to make time then the Yak paddle gets the nod as it is on average .5 mph faster.

Single blade when Im just cruising or keeping up with my buddy in his Old Town Northern Light with his Yak paddle..............grin

 
OCDave
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04/28/2024 07:32PM  
I have a NW Solo that I enjoy. It is stable, maneuverable and accommodates our moderate large dog with ease. The major negative is I can't keep up with the NW Magics on the local lakes. If your primary goal is keeping pace with a well paddled tandem, the Magic is the better choice.

The Magic is a bit narrower so I see many of those paddled with double bladed paddles.

Good Luck
 
04/28/2024 08:04PM  
Thanks for the great info so far, definitely has me leaning towards the Magic. sns, that Blackwater is a beauty but more than I'm willing to spend. If you've thought about selling your Magic, let me know.

ISRO: "
"


Very nice. What size pack is that and how much does it weigh? One of the things I'm wondering about is getting it trimmed properly with one pack so I can single portage. I'm surprised a double bladed paddle is that much faster. I have a Wenonah Black Lite now but will have to consider a double blade in the future.
 
04/28/2024 09:56PM  
My two cents-

The Magic makes almost the perfect compromises for an all around tripping solo. Decent speed, surprisingly sea worthy, comfortable to paddle.

A double blade is only faster if you're better at paddling with a double. A single bent paddled from a seated position should be the most efficient means of locomotion. If you paddle faster with a double its because you paddle at a higher cadence with a double than you do with a single. From a seated position the bent (when properly wielded) will transfer more of the energy you expend into forward motion.

I paddled an Advantage for most of my career and like SNS have jumped to a Savage River Blackwater late in life.
 
04/29/2024 04:46AM  
plmn: "Thanks for the great info so far, definitely has me leaning towards the Magic. sns, that Blackwater is a beauty but more than I'm willing to spend. If you've thought about selling your Magic, let me know.


ISRO: "
"



Very nice. What size pack is that and how much does it weigh? One of the things I'm wondering about is getting it trimmed properly with one pack so I can single portage. I'm surprised a double bladed paddle is that much faster. I have a Wenonah Black Lite now but will have to consider a double blade in the future. "



Pack weight to start was about 53LBS with a weeks worth of food for my Q trip last fall.

I limited my travel to 8 hours a day on last falls solo trip, at that I would only single portage for the first 4-4.5 hrs then double portaged as I realized fatigue was a factor and did not need to risk an injury.

Started at PP on a Thursday and paddled up the Man Chain, left on the Falls Chain, left into the McEwen Chain thru to Louisa/Agnes and out to Basswood on Sunday.

There were many sections that I double portaged due to the rain and terrain.
 
Arcola
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04/29/2024 05:24AM  
I'd put my Greyduck Orion against either of those boats. If you'd like you can paddle mine anytime. I'm in Stillwater.
 
justpaddlin
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04/29/2024 06:05AM  
I've owned both Magic and NW Solo and I agree with all the thoughtful comments you've gotten already. Magic is excellent in high wind. I used mine almost exclusively on rivers and the handling is much better than it should be for a boat with not much rocker. I recommend that you take a variety of seat pads on your test paddle so you can raise the seat height to your preference because your height plus preference for a high seat are the only things that could possibly make a Magic feel tippy although my coonhound was top heavy and it was never a problem.

 
04/29/2024 06:20AM  
Arcola: "I'd put my Greyduck Orion against either of those boats. If you'd like you can paddle mine anytime. I'm in Stillwater.
"


Thanks for the offer, there's not much info out there on Greyduck. I did consider the Orion originally, but they are at least $700 more expensive and from what I can find on their website all their finishes, including clear, appear to be gelcoats. Otherwise from the specs it looks like it may be much like the Magic at the waterline while being more open at the gunwales. An interesting design and not totally out of the question yet.
 
MagicMan1
senior member (64)senior membersenior member
  
04/29/2024 06:45AM  
Ask the dealer to provide both a longer double blade paddle (260cm) and single blade paddle when you test the Magic. Decide for yourself which will propel you more efficiently.

 
04/29/2024 07:29AM  
ISRO: "Pack weight to start was about 53LBS with a weeks worth of food for my Q trip last fall. "


That pack looks like a perfect fit. According to my measurements one of my Sealline 115s should fit if it's not full to the top, while my GG #4 has no chance unless it's sitting upright above the gunwale, which may act like a sail. I'll be bringing those and a backpack with to try so I'll find out.
 
04/29/2024 07:29AM  
Arcola's suggestion of the Orion is a good one...should have thought of that. I would say it has elements of both the Magic and NW solo, and glides superbly.

Here's his:


More intel is good - take him up on his offer to paddle it!
 
Driftless
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04/29/2024 08:34AM  
I test drove the NW Solo and Magic side by side 5 years ago at a MW Mtneering demo day. The NW Solo felt a bit more stable on that first paddle, but the Magic was..... well, Magic. Loved the glide and handling over the NW Solo. Since then, I still love the Magic. I canoe all the time with my 60 lb dog with no issues (of course the temperament of the dog is going to matter as much if not more than the weight). The Magic feels very stable to me.
 
OMGitsKa
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04/30/2024 08:21PM  
I was able to get a steal on a used Magic several years ago now, the thing is a beast! Super fast. I think though if I bought new id go with the NW Solo, sacrafice a little speed but have a little more room in the canoe.
 
mgraber
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05/02/2024 12:32AM  
The only way I'd pick the NW solo over the Magic is if I had a large dog that was not well behaved, or if fishing was my main priority, more because it is more maneuverable than anything about the tipiness.
 
AlexanderSupertramp
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05/02/2024 10:27AM  
I looked at both the Magic and the NW solo and the Magic was just too snug for the dog up front and I couldn't get my pack far enough back in the stern to trim out properly, so I got the NW Solo. I got it specifically for trips in the Boundary Waters and because I'm never really in a huge hurry, speed an maneuverability were further down my list of wants/needs, with comfort, stability, and cargo space at the top. I have used it on 4 trips and have probably around 100 miles on the water with it.

I really love the canoe and would still recommend it to any solo paddler, but if I could do it all again I honestly probably wouldn't get either. I feel I should have purchased the Basswood Solo (which I was also considering), simply for even more stability and space.

I suspect for you a Magic or NW Solo would make you happy. The Magic is like the nimble sports coupe and the NW Solo is the sports sedan that doesn't corner as well but has a bit more room.

 
Ryeman
member (18)member
  
05/02/2024 11:00AM  

I looked at several different solo canoes before deciding on the Merlin III. I got a sweet deal, and it comes in at 28.8#: smooth, great acceleration, good tracking, and responsive turning. The stability is good, even unloaded. I am 6'1" and 220+


 
05/03/2024 06:57AM  
Thanks again everybody. Was planning on paddling the Magic this weekend but that's not going to work out. Soon, hopefully. I'm about 80% certain I'll go with it. My biggest question about it now is how much it can haul. From what I can tell a 70-80 liter pack should fit behind me, plus another 30-40 liters in the front if necessary, which should be more than enough.
 
AlexanderSupertramp
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05/03/2024 07:14AM  
Where in MN are you? If you're close to Duluth, you're welcome to paddle my NW solo, if you haven't yet been able to test one out.
 
05/04/2024 10:10AM  
AlexanderSupertramp: "Where in MN are you? If you're close to Duluth, you're welcome to paddle my NW solo, if you haven't yet been able to test one out."


Thanks for the offer, but I'm clear across the state and don't get that way very often.
 
Rainman1990
  
05/05/2024 06:25PM  
plmn: "
Arcola: "I'd put my Greyduck Orion against either of those boats. If you'd like you can paddle mine anytime. I'm in Stillwater.
"



Thanks for the offer, there's not much info out there on Greyduck. I did consider the Orion originally, but they are at least $700 more expensive and from what I can find on their website all their finishes, including clear, appear to be gelcoats. Otherwise from the specs it looks like it may be much like the Magic at the waterline while being more open at the gunwales. An interesting design and not totally out of the question yet. "



I paddled a Magic next to an Orion for 5 days and the Orion outdid the magic around every corner. Great pack space much faster/more efficient, I struggled to keep up. Their Gelcoat holds up better on surprise rocks in my experience and overall beauty of a Grey Duck is higher. I would call Grey Duck and see what they have to say about it though, I agree their isn't much info out there yet.
 
NikonF5user
senior member (77)senior membersenior member
  
05/06/2024 11:19PM  
Ryeman: "
I looked at several different solo canoes before deciding on the Merlin III. I got a sweet deal, and it comes in at 28.8#: smooth, great acceleration, good tracking, and responsive turning. The stability is good, even unloaded. I am 6'1" and 220+



"


Merlin III brothers!
 
NikonF5user
senior member (77)senior membersenior member
  
05/06/2024 11:21PM  
Not sure whether you have chosen your boat yet - but just a thought from my experience. Last year I was in the same exact boat (pun intended!) - and ended up going with a Merlin. I though for sure I wanted a Magic or Swift Cruiser, but then I started test paddling and really thinking about how I was going to paddle. I love both day crusing and tripping - if you're in that same category (if you'll be using this boat for creeks and rivers and tripping in the BWCA), then it's VERY hard to beat the NW Solo / Merlin / Kee15 / Peregrine. You can sit or kneel, they track well but also maneuver, and they run well with a load. I prefer to kneel most of the time using a straight paddle, I think the NW Solo is a much better boat for that than is the Magic.

If you are looking for speed - if you're a fitness paddler or if your preferred style is sit-n-switch with a bent-shaft paddle, then the Magic is about as good as it gets. I think it's a wonderful boat, but after paddling the Merlin I realize just how much fun you can have sneaking into creeks and narrows and inlets when you want (and crusing when you need to). Had I purchased a Magic or Cruiser I would be plenty happy, but I would also be out there getting a second boat (probably a WildFIRE or Phoenix) to explore. The NW Solo does both decently well.

It really does come down to paddling style, but for tripping in the BWCA and similar places you certainly couldn't go wrong with a NW Solo (or its close relatives the Peregrine, Merlin III, and Swift Keewaydin 15).
 
timf1981
distinguished member (136)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
05/07/2024 12:43PM  
plmn: "I've been looking at buying my first solo canoe to complement the family tandem. After way too much research I think I have it narrowed down to a Northstar Magic or NW Solo. I primarily want it to be efficient and seaworthy when tripping and able to keep up with tandems but also plan to be using it empty on a fairly wide and slow river for day paddling. Not planning on any rapids, though I suppose that could happen in the BWCA depending on where I go over the next decade.

I've seen a lot of conflicting accounts of these two canoes being described as tippy or stable and I am wondering if that has to do as much with weight, height, and seat position as it does experience. I weigh about 185 and with load less than 230, though I may end up taking my 25 pound dog with at some point so that would be 255-260 max. So within the "optimal load" of each empty and loaded. I'm 6'3" with most of my height in my legs. I've had some knee issues and have size 13 feet, so I'm almost exclusively a sitter. I prefer a relatively high seat position and will probably mostly paddle sit and switch. It seems to me stability may be a pretty important consideration if I'm by myself in the middle of nowhere, but on the other hand I've never unintentionally dumped. Yet.

I plan on paddling a Magic in the next week or so from a dealer but there will be no NW Solos to try for another month. My heart says Magic for that nice glide but my brain is saying NW Solo for the stability, capacity, easy loading/unloading, and overall versatility. The Magic seems versatile for my use as well, just maybe not as much.

I considered an Advantage or Wilderness but I think I'll prefer something more well-rounded. There's a lot of wind in my neck of the woods so I don't think the rather tall and long Prism would work great (though they sure are the easiest to find used).

Any thoughts would be appreciated. "


6'3" 185# most of weight in legs. Lol
I have a prism if you want to try it out. It is for sale.
Definitely get yourself a kayak paddle. If you have some money. Spurge on a Werner ulral light bent shaft. Take care of it and it will last 40 years. Call the factory and ask for a blemished paddle.. 6'2" 220# trying unsuccessfully to lose any. Age 60. Up until 52 i could eat what i want. No longer
 
05/08/2024 10:15AM  
I had a similar dilemma myself. I'm heavier than you and carry more gear, resulting in about a 300lb total payload, at 5'9" though so lower center of gravity as well. I rented a NW Solo last year and loved it. The Magic seems to be the way to go for almost everything except winding rivers/creeks, or fishing, due to the slimmer/faster hull and better tracking. I see a lot more of them for sale than NW Solos. While waiting for a decent condition NW Solo to be listed at a price I could justify for a used boat, I ended up just buying a new one in red Starlite with wood trim. I couldn't deny the beauty.

What I will say regarding stability is that the NW Solo is a little squirrelly with just me in it. Once you're in it, and paddling normally, it's pretty much fine, but it definitely rocks a little if you shift your weight. With an extra 80lbs of gear, food, and camera stuff, it's noticeably more stable. I think a Magic with my gear loadout would also probably feel mostly fine for me, but at your height, with no gear, especially if you raise the seat drops higher than the standard seating height, it might be on the tippy side. What you gain in speed over the NW Solo for typical tripping (I'd assume ~0.5-0.8mph), you lose in stability, maneuverability, and cargo capacity. I had no problem keeping my NW Solo around 3-3.2mph with a moderate single blade pace, and I could go faster if needed, but prefer the steady pace.

As everyone says, I'd urge you to paddle them both before buying, but I think most would agree that the NW Solo is the more versatile boat. With a dog potential, I think the NW Solo is the clear front runner. If you're around the Twin Cities, I could possibly meet up with you to let you paddle mine after work on a weekday next week.
 
timf1981
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05/08/2024 11:16AM  
JD: "I had a similar dilemma myself. I'm heavier than you and carry more gear, resulting in about a 300lb total payload, at 5'9" though so lower center of gravity as well. I rented a NW Solo last year and loved it. The Magic seems to be the way to go for almost everything except winding rivers/creeks, or fishing, due to the slimmer/faster hull and better tracking. I see a lot more of them for sale than NW Solos. While waiting for a decent condition NW Solo to be listed at a price I could justify for a used boat, I ended up just buying a new one in red Starlite with wood trim. I couldn't deny the beauty.


What I will say regarding stability is that the NW Solo is a little squirrelly with just me in it. Once you're in it, and paddling normally, it's pretty much fine, but it definitely rocks a little if you shift your weight. With an extra 80lbs of gear, food, and camera stuff, it's noticeably more stable. I think a Magic with my gear loadout would also probably feel mostly fine for me, but at your height, with no gear, especially if you raise the seat drops higher than the standard seating height, it might be on the tippy side. What you gain in speed over the NW Solo for typical tripping (I'd assume ~0.5-0.8mph), you lose in stability, maneuverability, and cargo capacity. I had no problem keeping my NW Solo around 3-3.2mph with a moderate single blade pace, and I could go faster if needed, but prefer the steady pace.


As everyone says, I'd urge you to paddle them both before buying, but I think most would agree that the NW Solo is the more versatile boat. With a dog potential, I think the NW Solo is the clear front runner. If you're around the Twin Cities, I could possibly meet up with you to let you paddle mine after work on a weekday next week."

I have a very nice bent shaft kayak paddle you could try out. I live right nect to Medicine lake in Plymouth. No more momentum killing energy wasting J stroke
 
05/09/2024 10:00AM  
Thanks again for the thoughts.

I found an older Bell Magic for sale, but there are a few spider cracks in it, the worst being a foot or so long. I didn't realize this but they used clear gelcoat instead of resin back then. No chips or peeling or apparent damage to the underlying Kevlar but I'm thinking I'd still want to fix that to prevent future issues. The gelcoat repair I did on my ski boat, well, let's just say it's a good thing it was underneath and mostly out of sight. Any thoughts? Does anything really need to be done at all so long as it isn't chipping? Other than that it appears to be in great shape for its age, much better than an outfitter rental.

A used boat is pretty attractive, since I know that even if I don't like it I can still use it for the summer and sell it next year for little to no loss. But the gelcoat is giving me some pause.
 
05/09/2024 11:30AM  
Give Northstar a call. You might even get to ask Ted Bell directly what his recommendation would be.
 
Arcola
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05/11/2024 05:27AM  
plmn: "Thanks again for the thoughts.


I found an older Bell Magic for sale, but there are a few spider cracks in it, the worst being a foot or so long. I didn't realize this but they used clear gelcoat instead of resin back then. No chips or peeling or apparent damage to the underlying Kevlar but I'm thinking I'd still want to fix that to prevent future issues. The gelcoat repair I did on my ski boat, well, let's just say it's a good thing it was underneath and mostly out of sight. Any thoughts? Does anything really need to be done at all so long as it isn't chipping? Other than that it appears to be in great shape for its age, much better than an outfitter rental.


A used boat is pretty attractive, since I know that even if I don't like it I can still use it for the summer and sell it next year for little to no loss. But the gelcoat is giving me some pause. "


Gelcoat protects the boat. Spider cracks are cosmetic for the most part, unless the boat really took a hit and is soft. The "anti gelcoat" thoughts are silly at best unless one is trying to save 2-3 pounds and doesn't intend to hit bottom or rocks, EVER. Buy the boat and go paddling.
 
05/11/2024 09:32AM  
Go for it! Used canoes definitely hold their value. About 15 years ago we purchased a used canoe from an outfitter and then sold it 8 years later for the same price.
 
05/26/2024 01:45PM  
My new to me Magic. First paddle and it is definitely the right choice for me. I don't find it tippy at all. Should be fine with the dog. Was planning on putting a foot brace in but after today I'm not sure I'll need one. I will probably need some foam or something on the gunwales for long paddles as they're uncomfortable on my legs. I think that would be an issue with the NW Solo too.

A big thank you to all who helped here!



 
05/26/2024 02:41PM  
Congrats!! Great looking boat :)
 
WHendrix
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05/26/2024 08:20PM  
plmn: "My new to me Magic. First paddle and it is definitely the right choice for me. I don't find it tippy at all. Should be fine with the dog. Was planning on putting a foot brace in but after today I'm not sure I'll need one. I will probably need some foam or something on the gunwales for long paddles as they're uncomfortable on my legs. I think that would be an issue with the NW Solo too.


A big thank you to all who helped here!





"


The foot braces would eliminate the need for the foam on the gunwale. I have owned both a Magic and a NW Sole and had/have foot braces on both. I have also had/have a kayak style back braces on both and combined with the foot braces, they make you feel very much attached to the boat.
 
timf1981
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05/27/2024 07:25AM  
Can you add a pic of the back brace and foot brace?
 
05/27/2024 09:40AM  
Congratulations! Enjoy.
 
WHendrix
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05/27/2024 02:36PM  
timf1981: "Can you add a pic of the back brace and foot brace?"


This first image is of the back brace. It is from Surf to Summit.
Here's the foot brace. It was installed at Northstar.
Both of these are installed on the NW Solo.
 
05/28/2024 06:23AM  
This 2002 Bell Magic was was listed at 32 pounds from what I could find, which seemed reasonable for gelcoat compared the current 27 pound resin model. But I thought it felt a bit heavier than that. I weighed it and it is actually 38 pounds. It's all stock and has never been refinished or repaired. That is quite a disparity from what they claimed and 11 pounds or 40% heavier than what a current Northstar Magic is.

I still like it, but was not expecting that. 11 pounds is enough of a difference to justify buying a new one at some point, which is good or bad, depending on if you are me or my wife.
 
justpaddlin
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05/30/2024 06:32AM  
plmn: "This 2002 Bell Magic was was listed at 32 pounds from what I could find, which seemed reasonable for gelcoat compared the current 27 pound resin model. But I thought it felt a bit heavier than that. I weighed it and it is actually 38 pounds. It's all stock and has never been refinished or repaired. That is quite a disparity from what they claimed and 11 pounds or 40% heavier than what a current Northstar Magic is.


I still like it, but was not expecting that. 11 pounds is enough of a difference to justify buying a new one at some point, which is good or bad, depending on if you are me or my wife. "


That is a bit surprising with aluminum trim. In my experience Bell was optimistic (or ?) about their boat weights.

On the positive side, I think that whatever adds weight is likely adding to strength and durability since other than the gelcoat (which I think Bell listed at 3-5 pounds) it can only be the fabric or the resin or the wood density of the thwarts or the thickness of the gunwales. My Merlin II is also in the high 30's I think but it's taken several full speed direct hits on rocks with only minor chips to the gelcoat plus I can treat it almost like Royalex where I ram partially sunken trees in rivers all the time to get over them while my friend that does the same thing with his Northstar Trillium has epoxy-coated his boat a couple times and added skid plates and it still has a soft area from ramming trees after 2 years of (hard) use while my boat is 25 years old with no issues. He thinks the blacklite lay-up is too light. He's also a bit disappointed in how hollow/noisy the boat sounds if you bump it with your paddle. I enjoyed the solid feel of my black/gold Bell Magic. I also prefer the interior finish on Bells vs the shiny interior with wrinkles on Northstars.

For normal use (ease of use) or single portaging I'd definitely consider a lightweight Northstar Magic too, I just think there are some positives to the Bell that may offset the weight penalty vs Northstars for some folks.

 
05/30/2024 07:28AM  
justpaddlin: "
plmn: "This 2002 Bell Magic was was listed at 32 pounds from what I could find, which seemed reasonable for gelcoat compared the current 27 pound resin model. But I thought it felt a bit heavier than that. I weighed it and it is actually 38 pounds. It's all stock and has never been refinished or repaired. That is quite a disparity from what they claimed and 11 pounds or 40% heavier than what a current Northstar Magic is.



I still like it, but was not expecting that. 11 pounds is enough of a difference to justify buying a new one at some point, which is good or bad, depending on if you are me or my wife. "



That is a bit surprising with aluminum trim. In my experience Bell was optimistic (or ?) about their boat weights.


On the positive side, I think that whatever adds weight is likely adding to strength and durability since other than the gelcoat (which I think Bell listed at 3-5 pounds) it can only be the fabric or the resin or the wood density of the thwarts or the thickness of the gunwales. My Merlin II is also in the high 30's I think but it's taken several full speed direct hits on rocks with only minor chips to the gelcoat plus I can treat it almost like Royalex where I ram partially sunken trees in rivers all the time to get over them while my friend that does the same thing with his Northstar Trillium has epoxy-coated his boat a couple times and added skid plates and it still has a soft area from ramming trees after 2 years of (hard) use while my boat is 25 years old with no issues. He thinks the blacklite lay-up is too light. He's also a bit disappointed in how hollow/noisy the boat sounds if you bump it with your paddle. I enjoyed the solid feel of my black/gold Bell Magic. I also prefer the interior finish on Bells vs the shiny interior with wrinkles on Northstars.

For normal use (ease of use) or single portaging I'd definitely consider a lightweight Northstar Magic too, I just think there are some positives to the Bell that may offset the weight penalty vs Northstars for some folks.
"


Yeah, that's the theory, more durability with more weight. I do plan on taking this on a river weekly and will probably only have it in the BWCA once or twice per year, so that may turn out to be a net positive. It just surprised me. If I add a foot brace and a removable portage yoke it will weigh nearly the same as my 17' tandem.

Personally I think the interior finish looks kind dingy compared to my glossy tandem and will be harder to clean, but not a big deal. To each their own.
 
timf1981
distinguished member (136)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
05/30/2024 08:26PM  
plmn: "Thanks for the great info so far, definitely has me leaning towards the Magic. sns, that Blackwater is a beauty but more than I'm willing to spend. If you've thought about selling your Magic, let me know.


ISRO: "
"



Very nice. What size pack is that and how much does it weigh? One of the things I'm wondering about is getting it trimmed properly with one pack so I can single portage. I'm surprised a double bladed paddle is that much faster. I have a Wenonah Black Lite now but will have to consider a double blade in the future. "

Werner makes many styles of kayak paddles. Anywhere from 50 to $700 dollars.
I picked up a discounted factory blemish.
I didnt get the top of the line. But close.
Give them a call because they dont always get the blemished paddles listed right away. I also got the paddle with double bends where you hold it.
Very comfortable and easy on the wrist.

I have done 5 bwca solo trips in my 20ft 3in Wenonah mn3
. The first trip was with a $30 kayak paddle and my expensive single bent shaft carbon fiber paddle. I used the kayak paddle for the first two hours. Then switch to the expensive paddle. After thirty seconds it went straight to the bottom of the canoe. I was able to travel at 4.25 mph loaded with 95# of gear.
I have convinced two youtubers to switch to kayak paddles.
One other is a purist and is sticking the the single paddle.
My cheap paddle could be split in half into two single paddles with handles
 
05/31/2024 07:41AM  
A double blade is faster if you lack the technique to paddle a bent at a similar rate. With proper technique a bent is a more efficient means of propulsion due to a combination of factors, the most important being the paddle's path being closer to the center of the canoe, weight differential is also a significant factor. Paddlers that achieve higher speed with a double find it possible to paddle a double at a higher cadence; it's technique not the tool that determines the pace.
 
timf1981
distinguished member (136)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
05/31/2024 09:40AM  
Banksiana: "A double blade is faster if you lack the technique to paddle a bent at a similar rate. With proper technique a bent is a more efficient means of propulsion due to a combination of factors, the most important being the paddle's path being closer to the center of the canoe, weight differential is also a significant factor. Paddlers that achieve higher speed with a double find it possible to paddle a double at a higher cadence; it's technique not the tool that determines the pace."

I disagree...
There is a reason why they dont allow kayak paddles into a canoe race.
How efficient is a J-stroke? Even a sweep or C stroke is not efficient.
You may be able to switch paddling side at lighting speed. But 99% of us cant.
Kayak paddles can be stroked very vertically.
Last spring i had a very difficult 45 minute paddle into the wind across open water . If i lost the bow. There was no getting it back.
I would never had tried it with a single paddle
 
06/01/2024 07:52AM  
timf1981:"
I disagree...
There is a reason why they dont allow kayak paddles into a canoe race.
How efficient is a J-stroke? Even a sweep or C stroke is not efficient.
You may be able to switch paddling side at lighting speed. But 99% of us cant.
Kayak paddles can be stroked very vertically.
Last spring i had a very difficult 45 minute paddle into the wind across open water . If i lost the bow. There was no getting it back.
I would never had tried it with a single paddle
"


Whatever works for you works for you. But in terms of mechanics and physics a properly paddled bent is a more efficient means of propulsion. Most folks that are quicker with a kayak paddle are faster because they paddle at a higher cadence with the kayak paddle- it's the equivalent of saying "the red bike is faster than the blue bike because I move my legs faster on the red bike". A vertical kayak stroke mimics the efficiency of blade motion that a bent provides but it is difficult to maintain a high cadence with a vertical stroke and energy is lost due to the increased distance that the blades must travel compared to the standard stroke.

Then there is the considerable loss of efficiency due to the mass of the paddle. A 51.5" ZRE bent weighs 7.5oz, a Werner Cypress bent comes in at 25.5oz. If a day is 4 hours of paddling at a sedate 30 strokes/minute the total "lifted" during the course of a day: Kayak paddle = 11,475#, Bent shaft = 3,375#.

I easily switch sides with scarcely any difference in stroke time.

Using a j-stroke from a center seated solo is ridiculously inefficient. A j stroke is simply a rudder applied with every stroke; makes a little bit of sense from the stern (where your leverage reduces the forward motion tax), but from the center of the hull you're simply squandering your forward motion.

C stroke inefficiency replicates the path of a double blade.

A kayak paddle definitely can be of assistance in rough conditions. It's length and ease of applying pressure on either side really can help in high seas.
 
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