Bell Eveningstar

Some of you may have read my other thread about selecting a first canoe. I thought I’d start a new thread, as this canoe has really moved to the top of my short list, but I can’t find much info about it.

I’m looking at a Bell Eveningstar in Royalex. My intended use is 2 adults, a 10 year old, and sometimes a 16 month old. Mostly lakes and gentle rivers. Rivers are shallow sand/gravel. Lots of submerged tree stumps and logs in the lake. We weigh just under 400 lbs total. Any trips would be 2 days max. Novice paddlers.

Anyone have any experince with this canoe? Or even Bell in general.

Not That Model

– Last Updated: Jan-25-12 5:13 PM EST –

But, we had a royalex Bell Northwind, and a Bell Angler. The Northwind was a bit narrower but very stable. The Angler was very easy paddling for a wide, short boat. A smallish friend of mine uses it for a solo boat. The Northwind could haul plenty for a trip and we paddled it a few times with 3 people including my friends 10-12 (at that time) year old grandaughter. Looks like the Eveningstar is a wider, more stable version of the Northwind and the Morningstar. Probably be a bit slower, though. It was well made, and I love the "Shouldered tumblehome" on Bell Canoes. That's where the gunnels turn in toward the top. Keeps your knuckles from banging against them when you're tired.

One testament to the stability of the Northwind was the time my wife dug her paddle into a strong eddy and was pulled overboard! The boat dipped to the gunnels and popped back up! I think the Eveningstar sounds like a good "Fit" for your family. Been very happy with Bell if you can find one. I see you're in the friendly state of Nebraska? I believe the Kansas City Paddler has a few Eveningstars available.

Morningstar owner
We had a Morningstar RX for many years, and recently sold it to buy a used BlackGold Morningstar. Primary use is my wife & I (300 lbs combined) plus 1 or 2 70-lb dogs, paddling on inland lakes.

It’s been a great canoe for us. Very stable in waves, very comfortable to paddle. Not as fast or straight-tracking as a Penobscot 16, but more maneuverable. Predictable on edge. I’ve soloed it with a load in whitecap conditions.

The only real downside to the Bells is that they aren’t as happy being paddled “backwards” as a symmetrical hull would be. That can be a quick way to trim a boat with paddlers of significantly different weights.

Thanks for the info!
That’s great! Those are the kind of reviews I was hoping to hear.

Novice thoughts
Having seen a lot of frustrated novice canoeists on our lake…

It does take some skill to paddle a canoe in a straight line. The tradeoff for a maneuverable boat – canoe or kayak – is that it takes a bit more attention to keep it going in a straight line. It’s not hard, and quickly becomes automatic, but it does require some technique and teamwork. A lesson or two might make your new canoe – whatever it is – a lot more enjoyable.

And to clarify: When I call the Morningstar “stable”, I don’t mean “stays perfectly upright”. The arched bottom allows more motion on flat water than a flat bottom would. It’s more that it responds predictably to upsetting forces(waves, excited dogs), and still feels predictable with the gunwale an inch off the water.

Bought the Eveningstar.
I decided on the Eveningstar, finally. Thanks for everyones input. I’ll post some pics and a review on here once I take delivery.

It’s Here!
Just wanted to update this and let you all know that my Eveningstar arrived today! It’s really an awesome canoe, a real beaut! The walnut drops, cane seats, and dark stained woodwork look great! Wow there is a LOT of room in this thing. It arrived by truck with no issues.

Joe and crew at Rutabaga Paddlesports really came through. They went out of their way to get me the right canoe, at a great price, in a timely manner. And they put up with all my crazy questions and constant emails. I definately recommend them to everyone, and I know I’ll be doing more business with them soon!

Thanks also to everyone on here for all the input. I look forward to getting to know you all better and getting out on the water!

Good Deal!
Hope you enjoy it. The folks at Rutabaga ARE good to deal with!

Damn wide boat for any sort of forward efficiency.

He’s Looking For a Family Hauler
Not a “Racing” canoe. Not every paddler is in a hurry to get from point A to point B as fast and efficiently as possible. Some of us just enjoy paddling canoes!

fantastic !!
… you must be sorely tempted to christen her maiden voyage now !!

There’s only one thing you have to remember about cold water … it’s really , really , really , really cold . Sucks the heat out of your body something like 25x’s faster than being naked in the same air temps.

If you absolutely can’t wait , any non-moving , calm , flat water (pond) , staying “very very” close to shore should be safe enough … when the 1st priority rule is strickly adhered to … stay in the boat , and out of the water .

Cabin Fever!
Yep. I’m going crazy waiting to get it out on the water. We’d had a pretty mild winter till just recently. Now we have several more inches of snow on the gound, the ice is thicker, and it looks like it’s staying for awhile. We’re having below zero nighttime temps, and it doesn’t look like it’ll get above freezing for at least another week!

I think he made a great choice, …
… all things considered. Most people on such a tight budget head straight for the nearest big-box store and get something crude and exceptionally heavy, but he wanted something better and even went to the effort to have one shipped from outside of canoe-starved Nebraska. No one told him it would be a rocket ship, but it won’t be a total dog either, unless most canoes are dogs (and if they are, clearly most of us don’t care). For the sake of a quick partial comparison (one that’s convenient for me but not extensive), according to specs in my 2005 Wenonah catalog, the Eveningstar has a narrower waterline width than 7 of the 15 tandem canoes listed, and 6 of the other tandems are narrower by no more than one inch (often just a quarter- or half-inch). Of course, they do not define the depth of displacement for that waterline width so this comparison isn’t perfect, but I’d still conclude that the Eveningstar is “plenty wide”, but not to an unusual degree.

isn’t it 34" when drafting 4" …
… that’s pretty decent for 16’-6" with the volume and capacity it claims .

I think the wider 38" measurement is above water level in the tumblehome .


– Last Updated: Feb-13-12 11:31 AM EST –

By the numbers, the Eveningstar has the same length/width ratio as the Morningstar. My Morningstar is certainly not speedy, especially when pushed hard, but given the family-friendly stability it's a fine compromise. We've logged a lot of happy hours in it, often with the added excitement of two 80-lb dogs.

Sure, I'd probably like the extra efficiency of a Northstar, but I until I find a great deal on one I'm happy with what I have.

watch the tumble home, it is not radiused but at a rather sharp angle, this is NOT one of yost’s designs but a knockoff.

as the boats age i think there will be problems with the angle of the tumble home collapsing from stress. i also have to agree with charlie wilson about the width

As mentioned…

– Last Updated: Feb-16-12 6:17 AM EST –

before, speed and efficiency was at the bottom of my list of priorities. I did look at, and discuss at length, more efficient hull designs before I bought the Eveningstar. In the end, for my novice family of 4 with a toddler included, stability was number 1 priority. We plan to take this year to learn to paddle as a family, then buy another canoe next year and split up the team. Either a solo or a small tandem. At that time I will look at more efficient hull designs.

I am aware that it is not directly a Dave Yost design. As for the concern regarding the angle of the tumblehome, I guess only time will tell. I'm not sure if you're talking about something that will surface in 1 year, or 10 years? Rutabaga did commit to honor the warranty, despite Bell being out of business. They also assured me that it would be quite a rare thing if this canoe were to develop any structural problems, or any problem that would merit any warranty work.

got your paddles yet ??
… and PFD’s ??

Just wondering how it’s all coming together …

don’t forget the rope , 25’ of some good 3/8" will do the trick (3/8" or larger is easier on hands than narrower dia.) … remember , could have wet hands when working the rope !!

paddles & pfds
We got the Bending Branches Meadowhawk paddles. They look super nice and feel very light and comfortable! Way nicer than the cheaper ones we have looked at. We got a collapsible plastic and aluminum paddle for our extra.

We bought Harmony AF series PFDs, 2 adults and a youth. They seem really well made and they fit great. For the toddler we got a Cabellas Deluxe Infant PFD. We were able to try it on him in the store to make sure it fit right. There seemed to be a lot of confusion over infant sizing, so we wanted to make sure we got the right one. It seems identical to several other brands of infant PFDs. Has the head collar, leg strap, double buckles. We also got a throwable boat cushion type PFD that someone can sit on while we work out the seating arrangement. We’ve got Crazy Creek camp chairs that we may use also.

We do not have any rope yet. I’ve been wondering about attaching a painter. Should I just tie it to the lift handle, or install Tugeyes?

Nebraska law requires a bailing bucket in canoes. I cut the bottom off a detergent bottle. Seems okay? Besides good weather, what else do we need?

Painter Ropes

– Last Updated: Feb-17-12 1:41 PM EST –

For average use, tying ropes to the handles is fine. The purpose of Tugeyes or home-made equivelants is to make the rope pull on the canoe closer to the waterline for "lining" the boat through rapids. You see, if you were guiding your boat upstream or downstream in swift water by means of a rope attached to each end while you stood in shallow water nearby or on the river bank, you could actually steer to boat to some extent by adjusting the length of those two ropes and letting the current push diagonally against the side of the canoe. If you did that with the ropes attached up high, the boat might roll, but with the ropes attached near the waterline very little rolling torque would be generated and the boat would stay upright.

You might see in one of your Bill Mason videos that he rigged up a rope harness at each end of the canoe, so that the attachment point for the painters was on the bottom of the hull. That was the traditional method ages ago, and it's still the ideal way of lining through rapids, but of course in that case the harnesses must be removed during normal paddling.

Since you won't be lining through rapids anytime soon, there's no need for Tugeyes right now.

I like to always have a length of rope attached to each end of the boat because it simplifies launching and landing at difficult locations, as well as getting the boat through timber snags that block the river. At a difficult launch site, you can slide the boat down the bank end-wise and let it go while holding on to the rope attached to the last end to go in the water, which eliminates the need to reach down from a precarious location to guide the boat or to keep it from getting away. Then you can use that rope to steer the canoe alongside the bank so you can step in. When landing at such a spot, pull up alongside the bank and step out while holding one of the ropes. Then pull one end of the canoe up onto the bank with that rope. When getting through downed trees it's often helpful to use a similar strategy. I could describe a few scenarios for using rope while getting through a blockage, but you'll figure those things out.