Care and usage of Mike Galt Lotus BJX?

I bought a used 39 pound Mike Galt built Lotus BJX solo canoe in kevlar with wood trim on ebay Sunday and plan to pick it up this weekend. Because of it’s relatively light weight, I expect this to be my go to boat for every day paddling on relatively calm flatwater, but may try it on some of the larger rivers also.

I’ve read the two pnet reviews and all of the threads I could find with this boat mentioned and am wondering if any of you out there would like to share your experiences with the BJX and hints and tips for care of the boat and what types of uses that it’s best suited for.

I’m 5’6", 150 pounds and my other solo canoes are a goldenglass Sawyer Summersong with foot controlled Feathercraft rudder, Carbonlite 2000 Mad River Slipper and royalex Bell Wildfire and the BJX appears to be quite a different boat than those three, so any input, advice or experiences with the BJX that you might like to share would be appreciated.

P.S. This is my first boat with wood gunwales.

Thanks in advance for your sharing.

Welcome to an elite fraternity: BJX owners. The BJX was developed for fast paddling in the Everglades. The length and shallow draft make it ideal for that kind of work. I’ve also paddled one on the Steel River in Ontario and it worked out really well on those big lakes and shallow streams.

It’s a thoroughbred. That shallow arch bottom lets it roll around a LOT and I found it a bit scary on big rough lakes, but then I don’t like big water much anyway. It’s fast, light to portage, and has a lot of secondary (although very little primary) stability if you find the nerve to bury the rail. Start on small streams and work your way up.

These days I paddle a Bell Magic for trips like that and find that 20 years of design experience shows big time. In the 80’s Real Men paddled Tippy Boats. We don’t need to prove so much these days.

I’m glad the BJX stayed with me for as long as it did but the Magic is the better boat for my kind of tripping by a pretty good margin. I guess that’s why Baskin-Robbins sells all those flavors.

Thanks for the feedback Stevebaker.
I hope to test paddle a Magic this weekend when I pick up the BJX. I hope that test paddling the Magic doesn’t make me wish I’d saved up for a light weight Magic instead of buying the lower priced 21 year old BJX.

I’ll give the BJX some considerable seat time before passing any judgements on it.

Any more thoughts on the BJX?

I’ve been to Mike Galt’s shop
in Tampa on 40th St and the Hillborough River years ago. I’ve paddled a few of his canoes and although pricy they well designed canoes and well worth every penny. I wish he could still built them. I wish I could afford one.

Mike Galt
Unfortunately, Mike passed away a couple years ago… so he won’t be building any canoes. Several of the molds for his canoes are now owned by Bell Canoe. If you are interested you might contact Ted and see if he might be willing to build you a custom hull.


I’m off to MI to pick up the BJX.
I’ll drive 275 miles tonight and pick it up in the morning. I’ll post my first impressions Saturday evening.

First trip report: Kneeling Hurts!
1. The seat in this boat is 10" off the bottom compared to 8" in my other boats, including my Bell Wildfire, which most people paddle kneeling, but I paddle sitting. This seat is way to high for me to get my butt on while kneeling without having 4-5" of minicell foam under my knees. There is plenty of room under the seat for paddlers with larger feet.

2. The max gunwale width is 28.5" and the max hull width is 27.5" rather than the 25" that has been reported in other places. This boat flares all the way to the gunwales, so the waterline width, about 8" below the gunwales with my 150 lbs and about 20 lbs of gear, is probably only about 24". Maybe the waterline width is what other people were referring to, but didn’t elaborate on that point. The boat did measure right at 16’6" long.

3. I’m using a 2.5" longer paddle in the BJX than in the Summersong and it feels right, presumably because of 2" higher seat. The shorter paddle feels great in the Summersong.

4. The BJX does feel much more stable when kneeling than when sitting and kneeling is painful on my knees after about the first 1/2hr, but the paddling motion feels good and the boat moves along quite nicely. Sitting feels much more precarious and twitchy on that 10" high seat. My body just seems to hurt less when paddling while sitting than when kneeling. I plan to try to lower the seat a couple inches and see how that improves the paddling experience while sitting.

If I’m unable to lower the seat effectively to a desireable sitting height, I may still keep the boat for the main reason I bought it for - everyday paddling after work for an hour or so because it only weighs 39 lbs. For that short of time, the adverse effects that kneeling has on my knees and legs, won’t be too significant. I’m also considering trying to find someone that prefers kneeling and owns a Wenonah Advantage to see if they want to trade their light weight and fast sitting canoe for my light weight and fast kneeling canoe.

5. The BJX does seem fast and efficient. It accellerates quickly and cruises pretty easily using a 50.25" Zaveral rec paddle, that’s the boat’s characteristic that I like second best, after the light weight.

6. My knees and legs are very sore from kneeling - I’m not used to it and I have problems with my right knee anyway.

7. I’m very tired and still need to put the boat and gear away. I may add more observations later.

Happy paddlling.

It may not be the most comfortable boat to paddle, and it won’t be so fast with a large load, but it’s just so BEAUTIFUL that I can’t sell mine even though it only gets out once or twice a year. Same with all Galt boats…others may paddle better but none can match the elegant looks. Mike was not a scientific designer, he told me he sat under a palm tree and carved out something that looked good and then built it. His Caper solo is still one of the most innovative boats for solo paddlers…it has its faults, but is certainly captivating. Have both models and sold an Egret years ago…regretted it ever since. Enjoy!!!

I have always been intrigued by the BJ and finally was able to buy one today. It is kevlar and in great shape. The lines on this boat are as pretty as any boat I have ever seen.

I wish the tanks allowed me to get my knees a little farther spread apart so it would not feel quite so tender. The glide is phenomenal. I didn’t really need another solo boat, but I am really glad I got to add this to my collection. We own a Galt Swan and used to own an Egret. Love the Galt boats and miss the gruff but lovable Mike.


ps this one has the initials DK carved in the thwart. Anyone have a clue as to the original owner?

Congratulations on your BJX.
Are you going to stay with the stock seat or make a change?

I prefer sitting, so I’m looking into lowering the seat a couple inches.

Suggestions for lowering the BJX seat?
It looks like the sliding seat rails could probably be lowered about an inch on the built in sponsons, but I’d like to lower it two inches to match the eight inches in my other solo canoes.

To experiment with what height works best, I’ll probably just remove the stock seat and stack some foam on the bottom and try it sitting.

I’ll also consider installing a footbrace.

Hey Wildwater, what was your suggestion for lowering the seat? I should have written it down when you gave it to me.

Happy paddling.

I am a kneeler and will likely keep the seat as designed.

Lower seat greatly enhances stability as
expected for paddling while seated instead of kneeling. I just stacked some slabs of styrofoam and a foam boat cusion for the experiment. I may get more elegant or I may just use this tacky looking fix. Paddling from the lowered seat also benefits from using a shorter paddle.

The make-shift footbrace helped also. It definately needs more work.

This boat seems to move well with either a bent shaft canoe paddle or a 240cm kayak paddle. The BJX has a pretty good combination of tracking and maneuverability.

No suggestions for lowering the seat in
a funtional and asthetically pleasing way?