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Submitted: 11-15-1999 by Mike C.

Bell Northstar in Black Gold (carbon/kevlar). This is a tough boat for me to rate, because it's so dependent on the paddlers, the load, and the conditions. It's beautifully made, and the weight makes it easy to hoist onto my Pathfinder. Once my wife and 6-year-old daughter unracked it from our garage, carried it outside, and loaded it on top of her minivan! That said, my Royalex Wenonah Spirit II is easier to do a gentle river or creek run in with the family (two adults, 4 year old and 6 year old kids). It glides better with that kind of load, and is easier to control from the stern. But the Northstar is awesome with just a couple of people aboard and a bowman (or woman) who really knows how to paddle! Damn, the boat just flies, and can turn like crazy! I guess the bottom line is that the Northstar is a thoroughbred. In the right hands, on the right track, she'll amaze you. But there are better beasts for plowing fields.
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