Bell Northstar/Hemlock Eagle

My goal is to trim the fleet and simply live with one canoe. I am looking for the one boat to have the following characteristics: a tandem that isn’t so long or too wide that it is difficult to use solo occasionally, efficient and reasonably fast to paddle, not so tippy you can’t fly fish from it and anchor in an eddy, can handle moderate class II or easy III and lite enough to lift/load and portage. I know it sounds a little too American with the “I want,I want”, but since I have never paddled either of these boats and they are pricey I would appreciate any suggestions.

I can speak only about the Northstar. It’s a great boat and will do what you’re asking it to do(although I’ve never had mine in Class III.) I’ve never found an easier tandem to paddle solo. I flyfish from mine all the time. It will hold a week’s worth of food and gear for two paddlers, and it still handles pretty well when fully loaded. Moderate initial stability, great ultimate stability, excellent tracking & speed, easily maneuverable with two competent paddlers or a competent solo (a rookie in the bow does affect agility!) You can’t go wrong with this boat, IMO. Good luck.

Another Happy NorthStar Owner…
Wonderful boat, but be sure that you get the Kneeling Thwart Installed, I found it really hard to solo with out it so I installed mine, but the instructions are a bit arcane and don’t give instructions for countersinking the holes. Mine’s BlackGold/wood and it’s an amazing boat. Here’s some shots of it on last years’ trip to the northern New Hampshire:



I agree that you can’t go wrong with a Northstar. It’s an amazing boat.

Let me plug for the local guy…
Dave Curtis and Hemlock. There is a very favorable review of the Eagle in the product review pages here. Also, Dave has an outstanding reputation for great designs and build quality. If you don’t mind buying used, I think there is a pre-owned Eagle for sale on the Hemlock website; that would save you some money.

Both boats are thorobreds
and if they were racehorses they would be kept in the same stable. A quick look will reviel similarities between the two. There is a reason that they are pricey, they are designed and built for paddlers by paddlers and these guys have years of experience under their belts. Both boats are beautiful and no photo can show the detail and craftsmanship that goes into making them. Of the two I would have to say that a quick paddle would show that the Hemlock is built like a tank and is a little more stout, a very serious real world boat ment to take the bumps and bruises and last for years. The Bell…I could just sit and ogle the beauty of it for hours. The first scratch in a boat like that has to hurt.