anyone solo a Bell Northwind?

Is a royalex Northwind too big to solo? I have only used it tandem so far. I started looking for a solo for fishing but maybe I can get by with what I have. It’s 16’5" and I’m not sure I can handle it without adding a center seat. Any suggestions would be welcomed.

Excellent canoe for fishing solo IMHO
expecially on larger lakes and rivers and adding a third seat about 21 inches aft of the yoke will balance you well enough if you put your bait bucket and other gear forward of the yoke. If you’re doing twisty little rivers and creeks the Yellowstone is more manuverable but not nearly as fast as the Northwind.

nice solo
I use mine solo all the time. It is a bit tough to handle on big open stretches in high winds, but that is the only prolbem.

Would definitley recommend installing either a third seat or a kneeling thwart just aft of the center yoke. In fact, the kneeling thwart used to be an option from Bell when you bought the boat. I put my dog just forward of the thwart and the boat is trimmed nicely.

I read the subject line in a hurry - disregrd please. My comments are for the Northstar, not the Northwind.

replace third thwart
At 17’6" by 36 NorthWind is too large to be a decent solo boat. That said, it isn’t as bad as most 36" wide hulls because it has pretty heroic tumblehome to help[ the paddle r get his hands stacked up and the paddleshaft vertical in the water. Replacing the third thwart w/ a kneeling thwart seems almost a necessity. Ed’s Canoe Parts has thwarts and drops.

Royalex Northwind solo
Had one for 4 years or so before selling it a few months ago. Everyone makes mistakes :-(.

I think the royalex Northwind is a very nice fishing canoe. I paddled mine solo a good deal, for both day trips and expecially for fishing. The trick of having an extra dry bag and filling it with 3-4 gallons of water to help with trim and thus holding down the bow in the wind is realy worth giving a try. Joe at Redrock Store has a nice little pictoral how to on this.

I used a kneeling thwart most of the time I had the boat. I made the thwart a little wider than you normally see and that helped with comfort.

But if you are planning to fish longer than an hour or two I highly recommend a third seat. I don’t like them aesthetically to be honest, but I’ve had them in two different tandems and they are just the way to go for all day fishing comfort.

I think I used the holes that the rear thwart used as the holes for the back of my third seat.

That leaves you plenty of leg room between your seat and the portage yoke. If I still had the boat I’d run make some measurements. One idea is to use some pine board and maybe plywood scraps to make a seat or kneeling thwart that you can put in various positions using handy clamps, then go to the pond and see what works best for you regarding seat/thwart height and position fore and aft.

Good luck and have fun.

Kneeling thwart vs third seat
A kneeling thwart gives you a very stable and powerful paddling postion, but for some people kneeling for long periods is just uncomfortable. I like to use mine for paddling and fishing both.

As another poster already noted, you can certainly kneel using a seat. My only problem with this is my heels get caught under the seat when trying to get out in a hurry.

As for placement of either, it is not rocket science. You want it close to the center for best trim and control, but far enough aft of the portage yoke that there is comforable clearance for you. Lots of people choose the location based on where holes already exist in the gunwales for a thwart they are removing so they do not have to drill more holes.