White Gold vs Black?

I plan to pick up a canoe at the High Holy Days in Madison, WI this weekend. I have a deposit on a Bell Northwind in White Gold. That is, I believe, a fiberglass/kevlar composite that worked well in my Magic. For another grand I can get the same canoe in Black Gold, a carbon kevlar composite, and save 10 more pounds. Does anyone have any data to suggest that the functionality, other than weight, of one layup is superior to the other?



Northwind Blackgold
My old faithful was a Grumman 18’ standard.(about 90#) As I approached the 50 curve it became apparent that I had to have something lighter. We went with the Northwind in Blackgold. We’ve done Isle Royale, a couple trips in the BWCA & innumerable non-wilderness trips in it. Its been through a lot, including being dropped on the rocks on the horse portage when some twit from la-la land caused me to loose my balance. I can’t say enough good about it. But I do agree that if you aren’t going to do any significant portaging you probably won’t see the benefit. Just be sure you aren’t going to do the portaging. My wife broke a rib on Lake Richie on Isle Royale. Guess who did the lions share coming out to Mosky Basin? That’s 2.5 mi. each way :>)

Best wishes with your new boat. The Northwinds are worth the money.


White or Black
I’ve found both to be very good durable lay-ups.

One thing worth mentioning, the Blackgold really shows scratches…but it’s meant to be used right!

Congrats on the new boat and enjoy,


Black and white
Bell’s white/gold hulls used to have coremat cores, which tend to flatt6en the hull a little.

Bell’s black/gold used to be either solid or foam cored. The solid core hulls always had rounder bottoms than white/gold hulls. The foam copres were just as flat because Bell didn’t have an oven to preheat, and hence shape the foam. When the vacuum came off the foam rebounded a little.

One would presume they now have a core /rib oven, and thet B/G hulls are nopw properly shaped, but it wouldn’t hurt to ask.

Excellent feedback!
I knew this group would have the answers. I guess tomorrow morning will be decision time. That’s always easier with good info.



Whats a coremat hull?
Not trying to highjack the post but I just purchased a 1996 Bell Merlin and it’s a kevlar/FG layup. It’s an Ivory, white colored canoe. The bottom of the boat has a thicker layup that runs from about the front thwart to the rear thwart (inside the hull). It’s painted white. Is that the coremat? I must say, it’s a pretty canoe that is fast and does not turn easily. Just what I wanted!

CoreMat is a polyester matrix used to build thickness, and hence stiffness, inexpensively in composite laminates.

Cut it with shears, plop it in, resinate it; an ok way to build stiffness.

More modern bulk fillers improve infusion, but, in general, all add thickness by holding resin, which is heavy and brittle.


– Last Updated: Mar-08-08 5:00 AM EST –

"One thing worth mentioning, the Blackgold really shows scratches...but it's meant to be used right!"

MB is right about that. I have more white scratches and spots than I could count, but...1.most are at or below the water line. 2. when wet they dissapear. 3. If you are any sort of project person you can buff them out (ok I confess, I'm not) If they are deep I fill them when I do Gelcoat repair, which you would do anyway regardless of cosmetics.
We are two trip portagers. We pack the kitchen sink. It is REALLY nice to have a lighter boat.
Fully loaded, we have been in some really rough water and can attest to the seaworthyness of the Northwind. (but I don't think the layup choice would change that}