compare a Penobscot 16 to a Northwind RX

-- Last Updated: Mar-29-12 1:34 PM EST --

Has anyone paddled both a Penobscot 16 and a Bell Northwind Royalex ? I was/ am looking for a Penobscot, but have come across a good used Northwind. I wonder if it will suit me as well.

I will use it some solo with my dogs (and so would probably add a center seat to the Northwind.) I would also use it as a second boat on trips.

Is one boat significantly faster than the other?

The Northwind is a somewhat more
sophisticated design, but I would not expect you to notice a speed difference. I consider the Penobscot 16 to be a “pocket tandem” but I don’t have an opinion on the RX Northwind. I think Bell’s website is still up and running, so you can study their capacity versus freeboard figures.


– Last Updated: Mar-30-12 8:40 PM EST –

I think they're both excellent boats, but I would have to say say the Northwind is probably a bit faster, and may be more wind resistant as well. The Northwind may have a kneeling thwart factory installed so you might be in good shape to paddle it solo. Bell canoes always had nice wood, and a far better gunwale than the Old Town if that helps you make up your mind. You cant go wrong with either, but if I were to pick the better boat I'd pick the Norhwind.

I should point out that I almost bought a Penobscot RX but went with the Northwind RX instead...and I've never regretted it.

the Bell
The Penobscot 16 has been a good one for decades.

That said, the Bell is a more modern boat; differential rocker to improve tracking and turning, shouldered tumblehome to narrow both tandem and solo paddling stations. Plus. the Bell has an extra six inches of length, so yes, it’s a little faster too.

Northwind RX all the way!
Penob is a good boat, but the RX Northwind is one of the better RX tandems to ever be produced.

Owned a Northwind RX and sold it only to help finance a kevlar tandem. It is an outstanding canoe. Agree with the above posters but would add that it will turn better than the OT and has a more stable feel due to slightly increased maximum width, shouldered tumblehome and bottom shape.

Nothing against the OT.

Not sure you’ll notice much speed difference.

Well, My Thoughts and Pics Are Here
And the guy in the green boat is Mr. Osprey!