04-16-2010Submitted by: VaughnT
Reviews for MorningStar Canoe by Bell Canoe Works
Based On: 11 Reviews
- Rating: 10 of 10 Being new to canoeing, I wasn't sure what I was looking for. I hadn't been in a canoe in more than twenty years, and then it was in aluminum behemoths at boy scout camp. I remembered how fun those river trips were and wanted back in the game, but....
Considering the expense of even a used canoe, I thought some research would be in order. As a large guy (6'1, 300#) doing mostly solo paddling, I wanted to stay as small as possible. After months of research on the various canoeing forums, I settled on the Bell Morningstar, in royalex, and wonder how you could find a better canoe!
Being new to "high end" canoes, I didn't know what to expect and was worried that my weight might be too much for any boat to float. Couldn't have been more wrong. The Morningstar moves through the water with grace and all the speed I can muster. Even with myself and my 8yo nephew, I can paddle straight and makes all kinds of turns without issue. My nephew's just ballast at this point!
If you're a big guy looking to get into the game, I can't recommend the Morningstar highly enough. Excellent stability (far more than I remember from childhood), not too heavy to portage, and easy to turn. For the big guy, this makes a great solo canoe with plenty of capacity left for camping gear. Not too small to be tippy or sluggish and not too big to be a bear getting off the roof rack.
09-30-2009Submitted by: kbw
Two thumbs up!
- Rating: 9 of 10 With six canoes hanging from my rafters, this one has a special place close to the door. Be it a rocky class II river, a wind-swept coastal lagoon, or something in between, I would heartily recommend the Morningstar to anyone who only wants to buy just one canoe that can also be paddled solo from the optional third seat.
To be sure, it's not the best boat for every situation, but it is the best all-around canoe I've ever owned and if it was the first canoe I'd purchased I'm sure I would not have six boats hanging from my rafters!
10-07-2008Submitted by: the-buddler
- Rating: 9 of 10 I have a Morningstar roylex , I paddle it solo most of the time. At 32" wide it is much easier to cross bow stroke than my Mad River Express which is 34" wide.
I like the versatility of this boat. I have loaded it down with 450lbs of gear, and dogs for a river trip, and handled it just fine. This boat is great for poling also. I was a little surprised at how well it tracked while being poled. Most canoes under 16' do not pole well. I outfitted it with a kneeling thwart, because of its asymmetrical shape which prevents you from turning the boat around, and paddling it solo from the bow seat.
It handles mild class 2 rapids fine, and still paddles well in smooth water. With 14" sides it is a fairly dry canoe. I highly recommend this boat for someone looking for a large solo, or smaller tandem.
10-30-2006Submitted by: escalonrod
- Rating: 10 of 10 I bought a roylex morning star., it's my first boat. I use it for small lakes and mild rivers. I was thinking of a getting Wenonah Adirondack, or the morning star. and found a morningstar at Mr canoes paddle sports, in N.Calif.Tom gave me a great deal on the boat paddles pfds etc. I went to a small lake by arnold calif. I met a guy their who had a adirondack, and several other boats, he went with me in my canoe and showed me the proper way to jstroke and other strokes. he said he thought my morning star was a little faster, and handled really good. I know wenonah makes really good canoes, but the finish on the bell is much nicer. so far everytime I take it out someone coments on how nice it looks. Now I'm new at this but for my purpose so far I rate it a ten, I don't know what else I could want in a canoe.
02-15-2006Submitted by: antiqfreq
- Rating: 10 of 10 he Morningstar is our first canoe so I don't have much to compare it to other than the rentals we have been getting for about 2 years now. We wanted something that made me feel stable while in the water. I am not the greatest of swimmers so I have a little water fear. We canoe mainly small rivers and streams. Living in South Florida we have experienced some really beautiful rivers in our state so far and I have to say that I am completely satisfied to this point with this canoe. We do paddle only tandem, taking along our small dog who is well behaved while with us on our journey. I don't feel the least bit uncomfortable entering/exiting the canoe or while paddling. My husband is very patient with me with his instructions as I am new to using the bent shaft paddles. Which, by the way, seem to cut our effort in half when paddling in waters where we may be against the current. And even if we aren't these paddles are effortless. So far we love our canoe and don't feel it is tippy, or unstable at all. If we have winds it doesn't seem to be pushed around very much at all. We have the 58 lb Royalex model. It is a 10 as far as I am concerned!
01-10-2005Submitted by: johns913
- Rating: 10 of 10 I've had my Morningstar only about four months but while the lakes were ice free I enjoyed it greatly. I purchased it for the solo/tandem capability. However, the tandem part didn't work out well as my wife would rarely go.
My typical paddling venue is a very scenic nearby lake of about 450 acres. This being my first canoe, I had a lot to learn about solo paddling. The Morningstar is paddled solo with the canoe heeled over and the paddler kneeling (I have a kneeling thwart). At first I struggled with directional control. But, with each session I became more confident about what I was doing. After about a week I could go anywhere I wanted (all while paddling on one side, Canadian style). I really enjoy the Canadian style of paddling. The Morningstar is confidence inspiring because you can lower the gunwale right to the water line and not loose the feeling of stability. It does not require a brace to bring it back upright, it will just roll back up when you release the pressure holding it over. I just tried this same thing in a different canoe and almost went for a swim. The stability of the Morningstar makes it really nice to take along a dog. My six month old puppy (45 lbs) did not exactly stay still while paddling but I still felt perfectly comfortable. She went out with me on every solo trip.
I did a fair amount of paddling in high winds, 15-20 mph, and I had a lot of fun with the Morningstar on the windy days. I found that if I angled her just right to the wind I could paddle without any correctional strokes (j or pitch stroke). In doing this I had the luxury of not having a destination, just paddling around for the fun of it. I had my GPS with me on a few of the calmer days and I found my paddling speed ranged anywhere from about 2.7-3.6 mph. As a novice paddler, I didn't think that was too bad.
I like the BlackGold layup and the ash gunwales. I found that carrying the Morningstar to the put in was much easier than carrying my kayak ever was. It makes getting on the water faster and easier.
If you purchase a Morningstar, I highly recommend the kneeling thwart for solo paddling.
09-19-2004Submitted by: ---
- Rating: 10 of 10 This Bell MorningStar is the most seaworthy and comfortable crossover canoe I have ever paddled. I have used it as both a solo and a tandem (usually solo) and it performs wonderfully as either. When going solo I heel it over and paddle Canadian style using the center kneeling thwart (Get it if you'll ever paddle solo).
The MorningStar tracks quite well and I don't think you could swamp it without trying really, really hard. It has a smooth, stealthy glide to it and it maneuvers quite easily, resulting in very predictable overall handling. This boat seems to just float over the waves and though it is not super fast, it is plenty fast enough for ordinary canoeing. The fastest boats don't offer the kind of comfort or ease of use that this one does.
Secondary stability is exceptional and it has tons of room inside for fishing equipment, coolers, etc. If you want a boat that excels at both solo and tandem, this one would be hard to beat. My boat's layup is Royalex and the one improvement to it would be to go with Kevlar and reduce the weight from 58 to 40 pounds. If I ever replace this one it will be with the same model in KevCrystal.
In conclusion let me just say that this is the only canoe with crossover capablility I have thus far paddled that I can honestly say does everything well! It allows the paddler to feel at one with the water while still remaining dry-something that can't always be said about kayaks. I recommend it to anyone looking for a safe choice in a versatile canoe.
05-17-2004Submitted by: Chris
- Rating: 10 of 10 If I could give this boat an 11, I would. My Kevlar Crystal is 5 years old, and there still isn't another canoe out there that I would consider an "upgrade." The MorningStar seems to glide right over the water with nary a ripple. You don't notice it until you're with a group on a trek. . .and at the end of the day everyone else is tired and you're barely getting started. The maroon color seems to shine from within, and with walnut trim makes this one classy boat. I've received a lot of compliments on how the color is "different" without being garish in a natural setting. Like everyone says, initial stability isn't great. . .but the secondary is awesome. You REALLY have to make an effort to capsize this canoe. As a solo, she is a little large, but still manageable. . .and as a tandem she's probably the most manuverable boat available. The best part is Bell's brilliant carrying yoke that slides and locks into the center seat-- so if you aren't going to be portaging, you don't need to carry it with you. My only complaint would be the cane seats. While they look nice, they just aren't wide enough. I'm 5-11 and 140#, and even my skinny butt seems to overlap the uncomfortable edges. I recommend a thin pad, and all the problems go away. Kudos to Bell on the perfect all-around trekking boat.
07-21-2003Submitted by: louc
- Rating: 10 of 10 I have a Royalex MorningStar. I use it for tandem on rivers and lakes. I added a center seat to solo the MorningStar on Class II and above due to it's stability and volume. This boat can handle a lot of weight and will stay dry in most conditions. When soloing it is not as nimble as smaller / thinner solo canoes so you will have to paddle more aggressively to catch eddies and surf. The MorningStar is a great quality canoe. It does not do any one thing perfectly but it does almost everything well. I rate it a 10 because I don't think you'll find a better crossover solo/tandem canoe that can handle flatwater to whitewater.
07-18-2003Submitted by: ---
- Rating: 9 of 10 Well, after researching for a canoe which would be versitile to my needs, I came up with the MorningStar. I'd have to say that I'm very pleased with the boat as I use it both tandem and solo. My intentions when purchasing a new canoe were to find one with enough capacity to handle solo day trips while deer hunting in the fall and tandem camping trips with my wife during the summer months. The ability to handle a load of any where of 300 to 500 lbs while solo paddling was a major concern. Stability and manueverability were also very important considerations. I own a RX model with tandem seating. I would have to say that the boat is a hair wide for myself to paddle from a center position, but am impressed with how well the boat paddles solo from the rear seat with just a slight load up front(40lbs or so.). The stability is what I consider very good. It is just a hair loose with it's initial stability, but rock solid with secondary. I have only paddled the boat on flat water thus far. I have absolutely never felt nervous about stability. As for manueverability I'd say, excellent. I was really suprised in regard to how easy it turns that I did't have a bit of problem making it track nice and straight with a J stroke. Speed wasn't a huge concern for me, but I was pleasantly suprised on how quick I could get a canoe of this width moving. Nice glide, I wouldn't say fast, but definately not slow. Again, my over all rating for my MorningStar is in consideration of my needs, but I will break it down in the this manner.
Capacity - 10. Manueverability - 10. Stability - 9. Efficiency - 8. Craftmanship - 10. Used as solo - 8. Used as tandem - 10. Overall rating 9 out of 10
02-06-2002Submitted by: ---
- Rating: 10 of 10 I first started paddling a morning star 4 years ago. I owned 6 different tandem canoes at the time. I bought it so my Girlfriend and I would have a good canoe for day tripping. We have a Kevlar crystal lay up with wood trim. This canoe is so easy to carry it's actually a joy to put on the car. We've paddled our canoe all over florida's rivers and lakes, as well as it's protected coastal waters. We found it to have excellent agility for the narrow rivers, while maintaining good efficientcy in open water. We generally paddle with our beagle and do alot of photography from the canoe. We have never felt nervous about the stability of the Morning Star even in some heavy coastal chop.
A few weeks ago my parents borrowed our much loved canoe to paddle the Hillsborough River. My mom is a non- swimmer and feels a little nervous in canoes usually. I wasn't surprised to find out that she felt very secure in the Morning Star. She said it has a great sense of stability even though it's hull is desighned with secondary stability in mind.
I think the Morning Star is a perfect canoe for any couple that likes to paddle day trips on quiet water.
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