What an outstanding canoe! Drove the folks at The Jersey Paddler nuts for months: Kept coming back, taking many different canoes out for test paddles. Tried a bunch before the Bell NorthStar, and a bunch after, but the outcome was never really in question once I tried the NorthStar. Drove Ted Bell nuts with questions while I was in the decision process. He actually talked me out down from the larger model (forget the name) to the NorthStar. Convinced me this was all the canoe I'd ever need, and he was right. BCW was backed up at the time (1998?) and I pestered Ted and Charlie Wilson to finish my canoe and ship it ASAP. Didn't get me my boat any faster, but both are great guys and treated me better than I deserved.
Took it out once on my lake in high winds (20 mph) with a zillion power boats creating lots of chop. Brought my 70-year-old mother with me. Had to do all the paddling myself, and took her on a 10-mile trip. She never felt at all nervous about capsizing, and I wasn't tired. The canoe paddles that well. On smooth water, it's a rocket. Initial stability is a tad low (though I much prefer this design to the "shallow V" that Mad River was pushing at the time). Secondary stability, though, in incredible. With a proper load, you pretty much have to put the gunwales under the water if you want to capsize it.
I chose the carbon-fiber/Kevlar layup (<50#) and am glad I did. Another Ted Bell recommendation. Beautiful to look at, tough, and light. One more thing, I agree with John that the kneeling thwart is utterly essential for solo paddling. Make sure you specify it when ordering your NorthStar. I doubt I'll buy another canoe as long as I live.