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Submitted: 06-24-2011 by Nick
I love the Northwoods. Bell is no longer in production, so this may be a pointless review, but you still may find a used one here or there. If you do I'd say get it. I've had an older Whitegold version, and now have a Blackgold/woodtrim version. On a recent trip to the BWCA I was with a weak bow paddler. I'm a somewhat strong paddler and I was still running faster than a pair of reasonably strong paddlers in another tandem. (SR Q17) We had a big load, but it didn't slow us down. When I'm with a strong paddler this thing will fly regardless of the load. The tracking is excellent, although I did find that I needed to make quite a few corrections to compensate for the weaker bow paddler. I don't really blame the boat for that though.
I've never once felt unstable in either of the Northwoods I've owned. Whether fully loaded or just with fishing gear its always felt solid. We did get blown around a bit in 20mph winds with a light load one day, but were able to maintain a course fairly well despite the light load as long as we communicated and really dug in when we needed to.
I also found that despite its size it was fairly comfortable to fish from solo in the early morning calm. I would never take it out like that in breezier weather, but it worked out great for this trip. I'm probably going to replace the rear thwart with a kneeling thwart just for that purpose.
Overall I love this boat. If you get one you'll love it too. If you find one, grab it! You'll be glad you did. While you're at it you may as well get a 75+ lb dog, you'll have room for it.
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