Rocker/Maneuverability Bob Special

Looking for a little more information on the maneuverability of a Nova Craft Bob Special. I can’t find any published rocker numbers for the Bob to compare to other boats. The small tandems I’m paddling now include a Dagger Reflection 15 and a 16’ Oldtown Canadiene. Spent a ton of time in a Bell Northwind royalex which I found to be very manueverable solo and tandem. The Reflection 15 is a sweet little boat, but I’m looking for something with more rocker.

For what it is worth I paddle solo in these boats 70% of the time. I’ve had solos, but prefer small tandems, particularly when fishing…and when taking the teen and retriever along.

My experience
I brefly paddled a Bob and Pal so I can compare those two. The Bob was more manoverable paddled healed solo and tandem. The Bob wasn’t even close to the great manoverability my 16’ Novacraft Prospector however.I bought the Pal because it was narrower and faster and I didn’t need the manoverablity.


Bell YS tandem

– Last Updated: Feb-21-11 12:46 PM EST –

Bell's YelloStone tandem has 3" bow rocker and 2" stern It's a fat little thing at 35" and only available in RX. I got one for a loaner/ house/ boney river bottom. A kneeling thwart at the third thwart position renders it workable if not ideal for solo paddling due to the significant tumblehome.

In composite, the Bell Northstar and Swift Kewaydin 16, both tumblehomed with differential rocker, the Swift available with integral rails at ~30#, are your best bets, along with the contact laminated Hemlock Eagle. The Swift 16 ft Prospector weighs the same and has symmetrical rocker but has a less svelte, fuller, bottom shape.

Not many choices for those insisting on the Bill Mason thing, soloing a tandem.

Hemlock Eaglet
may be what you would enjoy. Scaled down version of Eagle hull. Small tandem, large solo, 30.5" gunnel width but full enough in the ends to float you high enough to be maneuverable. One and a half inch rocker front and back, capacity of 600 max.

nice boat
The Bob Special is a nice tandem for paddling solo. I paddled one for a couple of years and really enjoyed it. Maneuverability is pretty good - somewhere between the Pal and the Prospector.

Tradeoffs and Compromises
Thanks for the input folks it helps. Due to the kind of use I have, I’m always looking for a middle of the road kind of boat, so I know about tradeoffs and compromises.

Down here in south central Texas, it can be hard to see and paddle many boats. We have a great dealer in San Marcos, but they mostly have Wenonahs and Old Towns.

I did once see a Yellowstone tandem several years ago and thought it looked like just the ticket. Never was able to paddle one though. I’ve owned both a yellowstone solo and a royalex northwind and so think highly of Bells.

Don’t think there are Novacraft dealers anywhere nearby. Never saw a Nova Craft in the flesh.

Looking at the specs. of the Bob Special at a couple of strip building sites got me thinking that it might be the kind of compromise I’m looking for.

So it sounds like if I can find a Bob or Yellowstone used or on sale I may go that route.