Bell Mystic

I have a line on a used Mystic and am looking for advice from anyone who has owned or paddled this discontinued model. I would test paddle before purchasing it, but want to verify performance before making a long drive to test paddle.

I own Northstar and Northwind models presently and am looking for a third model that is even more efficient. The specs make it look extremely efficient/fast, but can someone confirm that? Does it handle well when loaded? Main use would be multi-day tripping with relatively light people and loads.


Been a few years
Years ago, I was thinking of getting a big (18’6") tripping boat. I loved the feel and rough water performance of the Northwoods, but just couldn’t get over the speed of the Wenonah Minn II. Part of the problem is that, as far as canoes go, I was either racing marathons, or paddling whitewater. I wanted it all…

When I paddled the Mystic, I thought I had my holy grail. It really felt like a mix of the best qualities of both boats. Really fast, but still seaworthy. Admittedly, the Mystic doesn’t quite feel like a classic Bell, especially when heeled over. But I thought it was a sweet boat. And faaaasst.

Nice boat.

nice looking boat
but I have never been beaten by one in a race. That being said there aren’t alot in any of the races I have done.

Got one

– Last Updated: Sep-09-09 9:29 PM EST –

and like it a lot. I'd highly recommend it.
I don't think its as good for hauling large quantities of camping gear as the "North" series and I think it would swamp easier in really big waves. It has less volume than the others. If my main use for it was long expeditions on large lakes that might be a problem. Still, it easily carries everything I need for a week or so in the BWCA or and does so in fine fashion. I could stretch that if I used more freeze dried stuff. It's light and a joy to carry (if anything is).
It is fast. (Durangoski and I won our class this year in the Callie Rohr race with it. And I'm no racer and neither of us paddles tandem much. We were running mostly against Minn IIs on the small twisty headwaters of the Wisc. River. Much credit to the boat.)
As one might expect of any 18.5 footer, its a handful to solo empty in a wind. Mine is the KevCrystal lay up and it can even be a bit of a problem to portage in strong winds. It's so light for its size that the wind wants to turn you once its on your shoulders. On a couple of occasions its made me feel like a weather vane afflicted with a sense of will. Any large light canoe would do the same though.
Its a very nice boat.

Mystic was my tandem, code named Sorcery when speced. It was supposed to be a little hotter than racing spec but more maneuverable and seaworthy.

It was also supposed to be shouldered, but Ted wanted a one piece mold, the shoulders went away and so did I. I quit because I couldn’t be part of a story line: “Shouldered tumblehome is almost necessary for solo, very nice in tandems but not needed on our hottest tandem.”

Mystic is a flared hull, kinda wide at the top for compact paddlers and never as fast as we wanted, but very maneuverable, very efficient and very seakindly.

It could use tumblehome, should have been S railed, but that was before CobraSox, and so needed another iteration with more speed dialed in.

Hope you find aBlack/Gold version.

personally - don’t like it
I guess it’s all personal taste with high end canoes.

My paddling buddy and I paddled one and we wanted to love it. It’s fast…gets up to hull speed quickly and easily but also hits a wall…does not want to be pushed. Boat wiggles around a lot underneath you (always moving)…basic stability is much much lower than a Northstar.

Yes it’s fast and efficient but not for me.

I have very little experience with Wenonahs but my favorite big/fast boat is the Swift Quetico 18’4"… close to the Mystic in speed/efficiency but much more stable and seaworthy and maneuverable…like a big long fast Northstar.