Considering ordering a 17’ Canadienne by Bell. Most of the info I’ve found has been re: the older ones made by OT. Has anyone purchased a new Canadienne from Bell within the past few years. Any experience/comments about Bell’s production of this classic?
No experience, though I had a quick
look at Ralph Frese’s originals when I was at Chicagoland Canoe Base. My opinion from the little I know is that they will have good primary and secondary stability (due to the shallowness of the shallow arch hull) and while not the fastest, will be efficient and easy paddling. Both of our tandems were designed according to the same principles, and have these characteristics.
Canadienne experience and comment
Long time ago I owned a Old Town Canadienne 17.
A few years ago I paddled the Bell Canadienne a little bit, and I think they are alike.
Experience: very dry, quite fast but not very easy to paddle in wind and waves. Especially didn’t like the stability in waves.
Comments: would rather buy the NorthStar from Bell!
I find no such boat on their web page.
Do you think the waves were getting
under and “working” the relatively flat shallow-arch underside? Our older tandem is an adaptation of a Howie Labrant design, similar to the Canadienne, but with a more pronounced arch and softer chines. It was outstanding in waves.
Our newer tandem, a Bluewater Chippewa, is more like the Canadienne, but a bit assymetrical. It has a rather flat arch, more of a chine, and very high (16") slab sides. It is a bit of a problem in wind unless loaded with more than just the paddlers. We have not had it in more than a 10" chop, so can’t say about how it will handle waves.
if only I knew what is was
our Canadienne just had a way of reacting in (side) waves that was
making me feel uncertain -- I always kneeled in this canoe when paddling in waves.
When I tried the Bell Canadienne, which had much lower seats than my Old Town Canadienne, I still felt the same about it.
Looking at the hull didn't tell me much.
I have compared it side to side to my Kipawa, and if I didn't know better, I would expect the Canadienne to be better in waves and easier to paddle, but it just wasn't. Well at least for us.