Bell Magic vs Curtis Nomad

Considering replacing my Curtis Nomad Kevlar ( Hemlock Peregrine)with Bell Magic 1998 in White Gold with wood trim . Would like input on pro and cons of both canoes.

One is not mine and one is on my
want list.

Gimme your Nomad.

Curtis Nomad
If I buy the Magic I will have to sell the Nomad due to space issues. I will post it on pnet classified. Also have a Curtis Vagabond ( Hemlock Kestrel) which I dearly love.

There might be a market for the Nomad
at the Florida FreeStyle Symposium.

OK that is for the time being me for the market.

The Peregrine and the Kestrel for sure are kissing cousins but not the same as the Nomad and the Vagabond.

The latter having a little more rocker and ergo maneuverability under a tripping load.

Seems like you want a little more straight line boat for sit and switch.

I have a Peregrine and a Swift Heron (another descendant of those Curtis boats) and have an affinity for them though I find the Peregrine very “sticky” under load. It simply does not have enough rocker for my tastes.

The Magic WILL carve a 180 degree turn if railed to the water empty. I have no idea of its performance under a tripping load.

Different bottoms

– Last Updated: Feb-01-10 4:12 PM EST –

Nomad/ Peregrine / Heron / Merlin II are variants of DY's concept of the Solo Tripper. Slightly Swede form, quite happy with kneeling paddlers with a straight shaft; equally pleased with sitting paddlers with bents. Vagabond/Kestrel/RapidFire are the narrower variants

Magic is a different animal, descended from the Sawyer[s] SummerSong and ShockWave and his Texas Water Safari Special. It is a delta shaped hull, more radically Swede-Form, and dedicated to sit and switch paddling. Bell's Rob Roy 15 is based on the Magic shape; for DY a radically delta hull, slightly downsized in every dimension to fit the shorter length but similar shape.

Magic's ~ extreme rocker for a S&S boat makes it much more maneuverable than anything else in its class.

If you sit with a bent you'll love Magic. If you kneel with a straight, the Bell Merlin II is DY's latest entry into that class, but please don't do yourself the dis-service of selecting aluminum rails or the Lite tech laminate.

The smaller amongst us could argue that the Vagabond was the best designed of the bunch as it had more rocker, particularly stern rocker. I taught myself the basics of FreeStyle in a FG Vag. The Nomad had a more pinched and skegged tail to improve tracking. Hemlocks redo of both seem to have even less rocker and more stern skeg.

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I have owned and liked a Merlin II,paddled a Perigrine,and currently own a Kestral and a Swift Osprey.I paddle kneeling. I was surprised when I paddled a magic how big it seemed and not startlingly fast.I expected a more racy,exotic feeling boat.It felt boring.I didn’t like it.Magic lovers-don’t get mad at me!


Love my Magic but
I have not paddled a Nomad but I have compared the Magic to the Perigrine.

IMO the differences are subtle. I would not spend a lot to switch from one to the other. While I very much love my Magic, I think I like the Perigrine a little more.

For what it’s worth I kneel 98.5 percent of the time. I paddle switch with a bent shaft 50 percent of the time, 80 percent in the Magic.

Merlin Magic
Well @#$! I just sent a post via email rather than here. My apologies to whomever got it.

Anyhow, I once owned a Curtis solo. I forget the model but it was around 15’. It had the very best glide of anything I’ve ever paddled. Marvelous! The downside was that it was the squirreliest beast imaginable in bouncy water, especially in quartering waves. (I once had a Proem, so I understand the stability thing, or the lack of it.) It dumped me one very cold day and I never forgave it.

The Magic that I bought next was an excellent canoe. Dave Yost told me that he was surprised to see me using it as as tripper but it did a geat job. The load slows down the roll a bit and gives you a lot of confidence. It was a lot of work to keep on line in trailing/quartering wind and waves but never scary. I think that was a by-product of the racing hull.

These days I paddle a Merlin II and a Rob Roy 15, both the same hull at the waterline, I’m told. Great canoes: a tick slower but more maneuverable and able to hold the line when pushed from behind. No tripping experience with either yet. I’ll have to do something about that.

My $0.02.


Don’t know about yours
but my Nomad is a very well made boat. I’d never sell it. Comfortable, capable and maybe it’s just me getting older, but lately I have more respect for older dependable things than for the “latest and greatest”. If you’re weight appropriate for the Nomad I’m not certain the Magic will do significantly more for you than the Nomad…and it doesn’t cost anything to keep what you own.

Rats. NM

Come on now

– Last Updated: Jan-12-10 11:20 PM EST –

Merlin II and Rob Roy are the same length, and catalog the same width, although RR measures more like 24". I'll bet you find RR faster in shallow water and Merlin faster in deep, and that Merlin tracks and turns better than RobRoy. [Who would name a canoe after a Scottish cattle thief?]

This is due to the more pronounced Swede form in RRoy. The extra flotation aft resists squating in shallow water as the bow tries to rise on the wave refracted off the bottom.

And YellowCanoe, lil Red Canoe, KayakMedic, etc, [why does one woman have so many aliases?], doesn't need to feel so disheartened. The Nomad mold is close and in good hands.

running from the IRS
never mind…there was a reason which I forget…

cryptic statements…
“The Nomad mold is close.”

I just got all tingly.

are you sayin
that the mold is close to being raised from the dead?

Very interested!

I have no idea
But, as I understand it, DY has the mold. And if DY is doing a revision for Colden I might wet my pants.

Cleanup in Aisle 5
in front of the Depends display.

Keeping the Curtis Nomad
I decided against the Bell Magic and keeping my Curtis Nomad in Kevlar. I like to kneel and don’t like sit & switch so the Magic was not the canoe for me. The Nomad is a great all around canoe. Also have a Curtis Vagabond which I will never part with!

merlin, magic, rob roy
I have heard several times magic and Rob Roy share a hull shape. I own a Rob Roy and will have a chance to paddle a magic soon so will be interesting to compare the feel of the two. Now I read that the Rob Roy may have derived from a merlin. Hmm anyone know the scoop on this? Anyone paddled all three? I am very pleased with the RR’s touring speed for a 15 footer and I wonder how it compares to the merlin or magic…

Spoke with Dave Yost
regarding this one afternoon paddle a couple years ago. If I remember right he said the Rob Roy, below the waterline, is a descendant of the Magic. I forget what changes he made, but it may have just been shortening the waterline.

CEW probably has better info if he’s paying attention.


said that in about the 4th reply (on Jan-11-10 10:54 PM (EST))