Submitted: 01-10-2005 by johns913
I've had my Morningstar only about four months but while the lakes were ice free I enjoyed it greatly. I purchased it for the solo/tandem capability. However, the tandem part didn't work out well as my wife would rarely go.
My typical paddling venue is a very scenic nearby lake of about 450 acres. This being my first canoe, I had a lot to learn about solo paddling. The Morningstar is paddled solo with the canoe heeled over and the paddler kneeling (I have a kneeling thwart). At first I struggled with directional control. But, with each session I became more confident about what I was doing. After about a week I could go anywhere I wanted (all while paddling on one side, Canadian style). I really enjoy the Canadian style of paddling. The Morningstar is confidence inspiring because you can lower the gunwale right to the water line and not loose the feeling of stability. It does not require a brace to bring it back upright, it will just roll back up when you release the pressure holding it over. I just tried this same thing in a different canoe and almost went for a swim. The stability of the Morningstar makes it really nice to take along a dog. My six month old puppy (45 lbs) did not exactly stay still while paddling but I still felt perfectly comfortable. She went out with me on every solo trip.
I did a fair amount of paddling in high winds, 15-20 mph, and I had a lot of fun with the Morningstar on the windy days. I found that if I angled her just right to the wind I could paddle without any correctional strokes (j or pitch stroke). In doing this I had the luxury of not having a destination, just paddling around for the fun of it. I had my GPS with me on a few of the calmer days and I found my paddling speed ranged anywhere from about 2.7-3.6 mph. As a novice paddler, I didn't think that was too bad.
I like the BlackGold layup and the ash gunwales. I found that carrying the Morningstar to the put in was much easier than carrying my kayak ever was. It makes getting on the water faster and easier.
If you purchase a Morningstar, I highly recommend the kneeling thwart for solo paddling.