Northwind 16, Starlite or Blacklite

We’ve decided to buy a new Northstar Northwind. We’re trying to decide between the Starlite and the Blacklite. I’m looking forward to exploring some smaller streams and would like the added durability of the Blacklite especially if we end up in some shallow summer rivers. There’s almost a $1000 difference in the two boats we have available to us locally, a Starlite with aluminum or the Blacklite with wood. I’m interested in hearing from folks about the durability of the two layups. I’m not sure the Starlite would be durable enough for us.

Have you watched the video about laminations on the Northstar website? Based on that it sounds like your inclination towards BlackLite makes sense. But you can always give NS a call and they will help you out. I assume that half that $1000 difference is for the wood. I ordered a Firebird in Nov and was able to specify the build at that time; opted for alum gunnels/BL since I like to buy the best I can afford but wanted to stay away from the extra expense/weight of that beautiful wood. No other dealers in driving distance who have a different config? Good luck with whatever you decide; beautiful boats.

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That is a great choice of canoe! Congrats. I have a Polaris in blacklite with wood. I’m partial to the blacklite for the strength. But outfitters do use Starlight boats as rentals; they are not delicate. And neither the starlight or blacklite offers much abrasion resistance…they both have only a “skin coat” protective skin. But the carbon boat would survive BIG impacts with rocks better. I’d consider a starlight boat and I bet there’s a good chance that it would work just fine for you. Northstar aluminum trim is nice too, I have an older Bell solo with that trim and I like it (comfy/strong/light/zero maintenance).

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I have narrowed my 3 choices for a canoe to use on the Mississippi River to a Placid Boatworks RapidFire or a NorthStar Magic or Solo. The question I have is how does the BlackLiteCarbon compare to the RapidFire Infusion Clear Lamination as far as durability? I assume that the BlackLite Carbon is much stronger but I dont like to assume.

I recently got a used Rapidfire and I had a NW Solo in the past. My guess is that the stronger Placid lay-up (whatever it’s called) has similar strength and durability to Northstar’s Blacklite lay-up. I think Northstar’s smaller Trillium is similar size to Rapidfire and in Blacklite with their special E6 trim and carbon thwarts I think it’s 25 pounds, about same as Rapidfire. Rapidfire has a low sheerline and is narrower than Magic or NW Solo so it saves weight by being smaller but the construction is excellent. I love the large diameter, hollow carbon/kevlar thwarts and gunwales on the Placid. Also just FYI the Northstar boats use a foam core for stiffness but some folks don’t like that because they are more prone to puncture or dent (I can confirm the denting on my 2 Swifts). I’m not familiar with all the Placid lay-ups but mine does not have a foam core.

Anyway if you have specific durability questions I’m sure Joe at Placid or Bear at Northstar can help you. Just FYI I recently spoke with Joe and you’ll have to wait about a year for a Rapidfire after ordering it.