Bell Rockstar & Bell/Placid Starfire

Been looking for a Bell or Placid Starfire for a few years now. Pretty much given that quest up as impossible. The Colden Starfires are just out of my price range. But, despite Bell being out of business, the Bell Rockstar can be found. Specs are fairly close, although; less stern rocker in the Rock Star a smidgeon less bow rocker. A tad less rocker MAY not be bad, but not having paddled it…

Last fall I had the opportunity to paddle a Starfire for the first time in a few years and was reminded just why I fell in love with that hull in the first place; it just “Fits” me. Just kinda wondered if anyone out there has paddled BOTH canoes and could compare them? Or anyone with paddle time in the Rock Star discuss their impressions? Just musing on whether I need to sell a kidney and try to save up for a Colden or if I would be satisfied with the Rockstar? I’m not getting any younger, and I’ve been watching for a Starfire since 2005. Thanks for any imfo!


I have had a rockstar for two years now.I have had it on slow moving rivers, to windy rock infested creeks… From day paddles, to week long trips… It suits me perfect, but I have never paddled a thorough breed like a colden either.

Different hulls
StarFire and RockStar are different hulls from different designers. Star is 15’X34" with 3" rocker, Yost measuring system, at each end. It was conceived, by DY and myself, as a Sport Tandem for compact couples that could be solo paddled by rangy folks or soloed Canadian style at a standing heel. The stern rocker allows wildly skidded turns but demands an almost perfect forward stroke. At 5’9", 165 lbs I do not enjoy solo paddling Star; it is too wide for me to cross heel without taking a big step with the offside knee.

Most FS turns are skidded with extreme heel. One heels the boat to either side and draws/prys the bow off course resulting in a stern skid. To stop the hulls rotation just heel it upright again. WHen Star is heeled back upright she keeps turning, the rotation must be stopped by the stern or solo paddler.

RockStar is a modern solo tripper made wider to fit larger folk. At 15X31 inches with differential rocker, Rock feels just a little larger/wider than Swift’s Osprey and has similar handling characteristics. Both can be spun 180 dg but are obviously much smaller hulls than Star but I still need to move my offside knee to cross heel. The skegged sterns are sticky to help tracking. Larger folk will have no trouble getting their knees into the chines and dominating RockStar.

Rock is narrower thus easier to paddle
level, but it is very deep. Not a fan of that depth unless carrying a large load, say 300 lbs or so. Think it would carry more. Very maneuverable when heeled though.

If you want a playboat go star. If you want a tripper go rock.

Both very nice but in the interest of full disclosure I will confess a strong preference for DY hulls. He’s just the best at what he does.

Me Too
Loved my Autumn Mist and Bell Northwind. Thanks for the info! Just got home from the river and soloing that Esquif Mistral in the wind gets a bit “Trying.”

Bell Starfire

– Last Updated: Mar-21-12 8:36 PM EST –

I am considering selling mine so that I can buy a fast tripping boat (like a Wenonah Minnesota II). She's made of carbon kevlar ("black-gold") and has always been stored indoors. She has some hull scratches but otherwise in beautiful condition.

Any ideas on how much I should ask for her?

E-Mail Sent!

– Last Updated: Mar-21-12 8:49 PM EST –

Have no idea, on price, depends upon condition and/or age. Was considering going after a Bell Morningstar instead since there are a few at the "Bell Sale" in LaCrosse right now. They're going for $1665 in kevlar light and $1830 in Black Gold. Also have a line on a new, demo kevlar light Rockstar for $1600. I've been close to pulling the trigger the last few days, but have held back. I hope this works out!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!