Tandemfor Ozark streams

Wow, can I relate to that!
Except with us it’s in the car. On trips he drives while I navigate. And he seems to think navigator is a full-time job. Can’t say how many times, after telling him we’ll be taking ‘###’ Hwy, Rd. or Exit, I’ve tried to read only to look up and discover we’re already miles past it. Then there’s when we’ve stopped someplace unfamiliar and when we’re leaving, he immediately starts the car and starts driving out of the parking lot and wants me to tell him which to turn. Hey, I probably didn’t even know where we’d parked let alone … GRRR

Few tandems can carry over 600#
safely and with decent performance. We have a 17’, 34.5" wide, 16" deep, low rocker Bluewater Chippewa, and the manufacturer rates it at 580.

I would hesitate to carry 580# in a Morningstar. Max is probably 500#, and that would be pushing it on lakes.

In the distant past, some idiot decided that canoes should be capacity-rated based on how much they could carry with a 6" freeboard at the center. Unfortunately, few canoes work properly with a 6" freeboard, and no canoe is safe on large bodies of water with just a 6" freeboard.


– Last Updated: Dec-21-07 3:39 PM EST –

My wife & I will also be at the Spring Rendezvous, if all goes as planned.
We both paddle solo canoes, and will probably have a minimum of 2 solo canoes there(probably a Bell Wildfire & a Wenonah Vagabond) & maybe 3(the 3rd to be determined at a later date).

It wouldn't surprise me if there were at least 10 different solo canoes at that get together, and usually a few differnt tandems too.

Join us, a fun get together & a great group of people.

I'm betting that you & I don't live too far apart. Would be happy to let you test paddle a few of my solo boats sometime. Email me if you think you might be interested in doing so.
Have excellent test paddle site just 20 minutes from my house. Wildernesswebb & I know each other well.


Morningstar owner
We own a RX Morningstar, and have use of a Penobscot 16. The Morningstar is more maneuverable and feels more stable than the Penobscot. For me, the Penobscot wins for open lake travel, and the Morningstar does better poking around in the twisty bits. I’ve enjoyed soloing it (kneeling thwart works well) as well as using it tandem and for large-dog transport.

I agree, but…
I own two Penobscots, and have paddled the Morningstar. The Morningstar definitely has more initial stability. The Penobscot is a bit faster and a lot easier to keep going straight. I prefer the Penobscot mainly because I find it a lot easier to learn to maneuver a good tracking canoe than to learn to make a more maneuverable canoe effortlessly go straight when you want it to. I paddle a lot of the slower Ozark streams, and have no problem maneuvering the Penobscot in the riffles, and it’s a lot easier to paddle through long, dead pools. But I’m always fishing, and the long, dead pools are the poorest places on Ozark streams to fish, so I want to get through them as quickly as possible to get to the next good fishing place. If you’re just poking around in no particular hurry, or if you’re on the smaller, twisty, brushy, rocky creeks, you may find the Morningstar to be just what you want.

By the way, the poly boats are okay, but unless you’re reasonably young and in good shape, every pound counts when you’re using a poor access and paddling by yourself.

My wife loves paddling with me in the Penobscot, and I love paddling with her. But I have a WHOLE lot more pure selfish enjoyment paddling by myself in the Vagabond. And the wife likes solo paddling, too, which is why we now own FIVE solo canoes–well, that doesn’t really explain it since we only NEED two…

Comparing Apples to Apples and…

– Last Updated: Dec-22-07 2:18 PM EST –

....oranges to oranges. Al_A's post about slow pools got me to thinking; all Ozark streams are a bit different. I paddle the Explorer 15, and the previous 14TT/St. Croix primarily on the upper Current, where slow pools are rare. I primarily paddle my solos on the St. Francis where slow pools are longer and more frequent. The more long, slow pools, I think you would be happier with a longer boat. But the Explorer 15 is perfect for the upper Current, Eleven Point, Northfork, et al with plenty of current and lots of twisty, turny water.

Another point Al_A made about the poly; I sold my 14TT and bought the 10 lb lighter Explorer 15 for just that reason. As I near 50, that 10lbs difference was important loading the boat at the end of the day!

Good luck! WW

One note – the Royalex Bells have very blunt entries compared to the composite versions of the same model. I’d expect a composite Morningstar to be a bit faster than the RX version.

But I’ll admit that I’m biased – the Morningstar was my first “nice” canoe, and it’s an old friend at this point. You probably feel the same way about the Penobscot. And I’m spoiled by the Bell tumblehome – when I get into the Penobscot I always whack my knuckles on the aluminum gunwales a couple of times before I readjust my stroke.

Happy paddling!

what is the spring gathering?
Have a bunch of solo and tandems (sixteen at last count)…not sure if I can bring them all…

i agree on the used im just getting into canoeing and had a friend tell me that he knew someone that had a canoe so i called him only to find an older alum canoe in GOOD shape for FREE

Spring gathering…
I think what you are calling the “spring gathering” is what some of us call the Spring(and Fall) Rendezvous.

It’s a gathering of pnet paddlers & any other paddlers(canoers & kayakers)who care to show up, at a paddling get-together

on a river(usually the Current River),in the Missouri Ozarks.

Was organized about 6 or 7 years ago; I lost track of the first one.

Based on your profile location, it would be a long haul for you.


I agree with that Bell shouldered tumblehome “Spoiling” you. When you’re tired at the end of the day you don’t “Rap” your knuckles on the boat as easily. My Northwind is the best paddling royalex boat I’ve owned. Funny thing is, that bow is MARKEDLY more blunt than the bow on a Mad River Explorer, yet the Northwind doesn’t feel like it’s pushing as much water. How can that blunt bow paddle as well as many similarly sized composite boats I’ve owned with sharper bows? I don’t understand “How,” but Bell certainly makes a sweet paddling royalex boat! WW

I have a Mad River Explorer I would sell worth the money, Royalex with all the goodies thrown in.


After checking my paddling logbook, I believe with some degree of confidence I can state that this year’s Spring Ozark Rendezvous will be Ozark Rendezvous # 11.


I wonder how many people
worry themselves to death by searching for the perfect canoe.

There isnt any. Get something and deal with it. Most problems stem from the paddler and not the boat. Sure there are differences that some may feel, and many might not.

Look at any group going downriver. I did the Buffalo with a group of eight. We had eight different boats(solos). We all had a great time

you’re right
Kyamedic - every boat I have looked at has most people who own it say they love it and just one or two who don’t. SO I will decide on something and am sure that I will learn to paddle it and love it. Later I may find something better or maybe not.

Thanks for all ya’lls help. Hope to meet you at Spring Rondezvous

Merry Christmas!


Where are you located? How much?