Swift Keewaydin 14 & Bell Phoenix

Has anyone seen or paddled either?

kee 14
I bought a Kee 14 this spring set up for kneeling. It replaces my Hemlock Kestrel. I wanted a boat that paddled at a good pace with as little effort at the Kestrel, but turned better which it does. A slight heel unsticks the ends nicely. I also like the increased tumblehome. Mine is kev fusion in that lovely green. My wife named her “Granny Smith”. Can’t comment on the other boat.


Thanks for that feedback.

Its not the Bell Phoenix
But rather the Northstar Phoenix


Haven’t seen it either. I don’t see dealers in Illinois… I might have to call Contocook to see if they have one for demo.

That I don’t need.

I’d like to try a Keewaydin 14 with a
kneeling seat. I like your comparison to the Hemlock Kestrel.

I would be considering it as sleeker and more efficient compliment to my black gold Bell Yellowstone Solo, if I were to buy one - possibly a replacement for my Bell Merlin II. The composite Yellowstone Solo is a pretty fine boat in it’s own right, but is a bit higher volume than I really need and catches a bit more wind than I’d prefer.

The reality is that I’ll probably never even see a Keewaydin 14 in person.

As long as you are dreaming…
How about a Colden Dragonfly - seems like a similar boat.


In a 14’ composite, my dream boat is still a Wildfire.

Maybe someday…

The DragonFly
isn’t at all like the Kee.

The DregonFly has a rounder bottom. Thats one thing you can only learn from hull cross section and not a number.

DF is deep. Its a river boat design

And it has symmetrical 2.5 inch rocker.

Lake George Canoe and Kayak describes the Phoenix as a stretched WildFIre with asymmetrical rocker. Well then the Phoenix has nothing to do with the WildFire. i’d think it to be more closely related to the Yellowstone Solo. WildFire has 2.5 inches symmetrical rocker.

And WF is nothing like the DragonFly…wider bottom, flatter bottom.

You’re welcome to paddle my Colden DragonFly. I would suggest soon… Don’t stand in it!

Paddled one
I paddled the Colden Dragonfly at Marc Ornstein’s pond. Loved it.

Kee 14
I have been spoiled by the Kestrel’s easy paddling and narrow paddling station. I is also the most wind resistant solo I have paddled. The Kee will probably not be quite as good in that area, but–tradeoffs.


I bought the Kee 14
for my wife, but in the sitting / pack boat configuration. It is a sweet boat and I was pretty pleased with how responsive it was with a double blade. For some reason, I haven’t tried it with a single blade yet. But I think it will work well, even though I’m not a sitting paddler. I would like to try boat in the kneeling configuration someday.

Still, I don’t think I would replace my Wildfire with the Kee, but that is just me. I like having symmetrical rocker.

I would like to see a Phoenix, but that will probably be unlikely in my location.


next time your up this way you are welcome to try mine on beautiful Turtle Pond.


Phoenix specs
My name is Bear Paulsen. I’m working with Ted Bell at Northstar. The Phoenix mold will be done this week. Next week we start building them!



Width 26/30/27

Shear 19/13/17

Rocker 2.5/2.5

any info you can give re hull shape?
Is it more like the Dragonfly or WildFire… two different kinds of performance?

Hull elliptical or rounder?

First - I haven’t paddled either the Curtis or Colden Dragonfly. I spent a night with David and Carl talking boats this spring. I believe this is the way David characterized the differences:

Dragonfly: not as full in the ends, wants to track more because the cheeks (float tank area) are not full

Phoenix: more full in the ends, more maneuverable, fuller cheeks which means more bouyancy.

I don’t know about the roundness of the Dragonfly. Phoenix behaves more like a Wildfire than a Yellowstone Solo.

  • disclaimer - this is as accurately as I can remember David’s comments, but I do not claim a perfect memory.

Thanks for those comparisons.

it’ll be fun to paddle a Phoenix
I’ve got a DragonFly and a WildFire.


– Last Updated: Sep-20-14 9:47 AM EST –

DY has told me several times that the Phoenix has 2.5 " bow, 1.5" stern rocker. It turns out that Bear Paulson changed design specs to SYmmetrical 2.5 in rocker bow and stern.

I think the concept was to reproduce the Merlin with NorthWind Solo and YellowStone solo with Phoenix with hulls sized to fit todays solo paddlers who are surely larger than those of the 90s.
The redrawn Phoenix is now a stretched WildFire, so a better boat for skilled paddlers, more a handful for improving floaters.

Interestingly for those espousing variants in his "Small Solo Tripper" series, [Vagabond, Loon, Kestrel, RapidFire, Kee 14], DY designed the Keewaydin 14 to be more efficient at lower effort levels by reducing wetted surface and including stepped bow rocker. As the shortest in the series Kee 14 is always going to be the slowest by 1/6 mph, but takes less drive to get to the magical cruising speed of 60% of theoretical max hull speed.

Now I am completely befuddled.
Just give me a Phoenix… It would make a whole lot more sense to have a skegged stern in light of todays paddler than to have a boat with a lot of symmetrical rocker.

Charlie, thanks for that update.
Of those two boats, the Keewaydin 14 would probably best fit my needs.

Keewaydin 14 photos and feedback…
Two of the first four Keewaydin 14s to be built ended up here in the UK. Glorious boats. This link has photos of my daughter’s… taken before it had even left Austria:


I’ve had at least one of the pair out five weekends in a row… and with dozens of paddlers taking them for a spin. General verdict: wow!

If you’ve ever paddled a Placid Boatworks double-diamond Rapidfire (set up for kneeling), you’ll have a pretty good idea of what to expect. I don’t doubt differences exist… but the pair share stunning glide off a single stroke.

If you “fit”, and don’t need the greater volume of the 15’ options… the 14 is by some margin the most delightful boat in the Swift line up - a fitting “touring” partner to the more playful Colden Flashfire.