Hot Carbon Fiber

I love my Bell Yellowstone Solo in royalex as a “general purpose” canoe for the twisty streams and occasional light whitewater I encounter in Alabama. However, on lakes and slow moving rivers I often wish I had something a tad faster. I was considering Bell’s Merlin II in Black/Gold carbon fiber layup, but wonder if the black interior would absorb heat like crazy, a major consideration in the Alabama sun. Would Bell’s carbon fiber canoes make the heat even more unbearable when the temp & humidity here match at 95+? HB

No problem
with my blackgold Northstar here in South Florida. I use the boat at least once a week year round. The material does not heat up. Go for it. The Merlin II is a great boat.

Black/Gold is just that
Black on the exterior, gold on teh interior. Sure, the boat feels hot in the sun on top of your vehicle, but the layup is so thin that there is little mass to retain heat. As soon as the hull hits the water, it reaches the same temp as the water almost instantaneously. As for the exterior above waterline, I doubt the CF will make much difference.


B/G Magic owner

The Merlin II is a great canoe and I don’t think you can go wrong with it. But you already have a great Bell river canoe. If you plan to keep it, I would be looking at the Magic for the additional speed.

If you are going to sell the Yellowstone the Merlin II is the logical compromise lake/river canoe.

Bell Black/Gold and Radiant Heat.
The outside is black carbon. The inside tweed is 25% black kevlar 29 and by 75% yellow kevlar 49.

I’ve never had an issue with interior radiant warming.

charlie’s the man
that’s good information.

also, i thinkn i’d agree with the other poster who suggested you think about the magic, especially if you’re keeping the yellowstone. you’ve already got a great river canoe that’s OK on big lakes. why not get a great lake boat instead of somthing that’s in between.

the merlin’s a great boat, especially if you can only have one. but i think you’d get a “wow” factor out of the magic that you may not get with the merlin since it’s closer in size/speed to the yellowstone.

size can make a difference, though. if you’re small and light, that can change things.

Decisions Decisions
Thanks to all for the great info. I now feel comfortable springing for a carbon fiber boat, but now must decide between the Merlin II and Magic. Of course I’m keeping the Yellowstone Solo. (Why would anyone sell such a functional boat?) I had first thought I wanted the Merlin for a little more speed on quieter waters while retaining good maneuverability. But now you’ve got me thinking about how I would enjoy the glide of the Magic. If only my wife didn’t insist on still being able to park her car in the garage, I’d have room for two more new boats.


Merlin II
is not a slow boat. I owned a Magic and a Merlin II and must say I prefer the Merlin II. Keep in mind I mostly kneel. The speed difference between the 2 boats is not that great IMO. The Swift Osprey in the new light infused layup is another option.

Have you looked at Placid Boat Works
Rapidfire? Neither had I when someone asked the first time.If you are looking for a solo with speed, check it out.

the merlin II is not slow
my point was i think he may enjoy the magic more as an option to paddle on flat water, escpecially considering he already has a great kneeling boat in the yellowstone. i’ve got three canoes, they’re all very different, and they all perform well for their intended use. a 15-foot solo for tripping and fishing, a 18.5 marathon C1 and a stripper tandem. i love them all, but the C1 really has a “wow” factor to it when compared to my 15-footer or the tandem.

the merlin is a fine boat, and may be the best choice. but i like diversity in boats. personally, i wouldn’t buy a magic or merlin while still keeping my rob roy, unless my wife wanted to keep the RR for herself.

With everyone. Have a B/G Merlin II and also a B/GNeorthstar and never notiecd any heat problem ever and have used both in hot weather many times.

Disagree with recommendation to go for Magic instead of Merlin II; I think Merlin II is way better boat - and even faster for real world use. I sold my Magic but use Merlin II more than my other few solos combined.

Alabama paddlers
Where in Alabama are you? I’m in Bay Minette. I love paddling my Wildfire everywhere I paddle. Actually, I have three, so it’s more like what color do I want to paddle today, Heron Blue(my first), green or beige.

Central Alabama
Hey Miriamcanoe, I live in Tallapoosa County near Auburn. Lot of pretty creeks and rivers here that almost noone uses. This was the year I was going to paddle every runnable stream within 100 miles, but then you’ve heard about the severe drought we have up here, so I’ve been pretty well restricted to Lake Martin and occasional runs on the Tallapoosa River. I’ve done a bit of paddling in your neck of the woods too though, particularly enjoying the Bartram Canoe Trail, Big Escambia Creek, and the Sepulga River.


War Eagle
My husband is an Auburn graduate so we’ve been in your area lots, just haven’t paddled there. Big Escambia is my favorite here. I paddle it more than any other streams. How old is old enough to be “yo daddy”? I’m 54.

Fly Down the Field
I’m also an AU grad (twice) and to answer your question Miriamcanoe, maybe I’m not old enough to be “yo Daddy” since I was only 6 when you were born. I never thought about getting different color canoes to match my mood. Great idea! Big Escambia is a fun creek and it is amazing how cool that spring-fed water was when I was paddling it in 100 degree heat a couple of months ago. By chance do you know “Whit” Whitaker or Roy Chancery who practically live in the creeks down there? Since this conversation is probably no longer of interest to the Forum, we should probably continue via the e-mail option if you wish to converse further.


Merlin II might be better and faster
than Magic on twisty rivers because its turning radius is less.

Unless you can heel the Magic to the rail (and it does then turn quite well but in a wide arc) its a bit of a fight on turns.

Merlin II can be mildly heeled for quick turns without losing your load and heeling isnt necessary to get it to turn.

Sometimes straighter does not equal faster… I did some twisty creeks last week where there must have been 50 near u turns in 5 km

hey paddlehb

– Last Updated: Oct-02-07 5:27 PM EST –

you live in Tallapoosa county. I live a few miles from Horseshoe Bend Park. If you need any info on surrounding creeks let me know.