BJX Canoe

Anyone know who has a BJX canoe in New Eangland? In the Northeast? I’d like to see and paddle one.


There was a used one in the Chicago area maybe a year ago. Chicagoland Canoe Base ( is connected to the local paddling club and maybe can track down a BJX owner for you.

My buddy found an old “road test” for me when I saw the one for sale in Chicago (and the owner sent me a photo and the boat was beautiful) and it looks like it was the hot rod in it’s day, but it’s day was 20-25 years ago.

It’s like 16 feet long with a 25 inch waterline -right? With zero rocker? (I don’t remember). Zoom!

My GUESS is that it would handle really well on calm water…since the specs make it sound like a longer and skinnier Curtis Nomad. I’d also guess that it would accelerate from a dead stop very quickly…but the boat IS symmetric so I just can’t believe that it could match the efficiency of a more modern asymmetric boat. I’ve never met a symmetric solo that didn’t run into a hard wall when pushed really hard.

So I’m purely guessing but I’d think it would handle great and be super efficient at low to medium speeds. It does not have any rocker (does it?) so it might get pushed around in river currents a bit…it’s a lake boat by design, right?

I think it’s a shallow vee hull if memory serves me and that would make it feel great but would also make it more tippy than a more modern shallow arch design…and the boat is narrow to begin with.

The BJX is a classic and will certainly be worth a fortune in the future so you have to buy one.

I have a Hemlock Peregrine and I think that in some ways the Peregrine may be the natural evolution of the BJX. I love my Peregrine! If your weight suits the smaller Hemlock Kestrel, that boat is even hotter I think! I still want a Kestrel ever since I paddled one.

Bardy Jones Express
The BJX is an acronym for the Bardy Jones Express, and was built by Mike Galt’s Lotus canoes. I’ve paddled one… and it’s fast. I haven’t paddled one in comparison witha J-203 but it’s got a much narrower beam than any canoe currently consturcted. I’d think it might have a shot at out running a Magic, and maybe even a marathon hull too. But it’s a moot point as the BJX is seriously illegal when compared with USCA rules.

It’s not a good turning hull though. The Magic will spin circles around a BJX. So while it might be faster than any other solo around, I doubt many folks would choose it because it does very little else well.

As to worth, I don’t think it’s worth any more than the other Galt designed boats, the Dandy, Egret, Swan, MGA, Peter Pond or any of the others.


Lotus BJX
I had one for several years, probably the “Chicago-area” example noted above. It took me all over, including a memorable trip on the Steel River in Ontario. It’s a nervous, thrilling, masterpiece of a canoe, one that’ll scare you off long before you reach the limits of its capabilities. It wll certainly perform with the best of the modern boats, at least those built with an eye on the USCA specs. I find my Magic a bit calmer and more to my liking these days, but still have a fond spot in my heart for the BJX.


Steve Baker

it sounds like a really cool boat!

BJX/Narrow Beam Canoes
Good comments on narrow beam canoes. I guess getting a chance to paddle a BJX will be a lengthy project. The reason for my interest in the BJX is getting an idea of how narrow can a canoe be at ~15.5-16.5 feet long and still maintain a moderately amount of initial and secondary stability. I reasoned that the BJX took this design constraint near the limit. I’ve test paddled a Bell Magic. For me, the Magic has more lateral and directional stability than I want. Since lateral and directional stability are largely independent design aspects for a nominal length, I think climbing into the BJX will be a good education. I checked out the specs on the Hemlock Peregrine. Very interesting. Seems worthy of a test paddle.

I’ve test paddled the Swift Shearwater. Like the Magic, it is too stable in lateral and logitudinal axes for me. Last month, I kneeled in a Swift Labrador Sea kayak (~25" max beam) beam)just to get a feel for a very narrow beam hull. I was very tender, but clearly close enough to the edge to reveal some wetted data.

Any other thoughs of non-racing designs you’ve tried or know of that push lateral stability limits?

Tom Clemow

I Own the Chicago BJX
Interesting boat. If anyone wants to kick it around about it, I’m going to take it for a ride, shortly.

I paddled it a few times last year. It seemed fast, but it maybe does hit a “wall.” I’ll have to paddle it again to say for sure…