Bell NorthStar center seat

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Not sure what forum this belongs in - maybe "Boat Mods"? Anyway ...

The Bell NorthStar was advertised as having a kneeling thwart. The one I got - kevlar skincoat - didn't have one. I test-paddled it using the aft thwart and since then I've put a can seat in it with the front edge of the seat using the old thwart holes in the gunwales. I intend to use the boat for solo tripping.

A friend of mine, well seasoned in the ways of boats, suggested that the skincoat layup may not be strong enough to handle regular use like this and may eventually crack (which would be a good reason for not putting a kneeling thwart in it). If it did crack, I'd guess it would be in the tumblehome area and the upper hull. The question is: Should I put some layers of fiberglass or structural foam in that area to reinforce it? On the flip side: Will the gunwales distribute the weight along the hull enough that it will be strong enough.

I weigh 170 lbs max. and mostly kneel but sit some of the time.

Thanks for any feedback.
 
Joined
Dec 1, 2012
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Gavia, I have a kevlight Northstar with a kneeling thwart. I took out the bow seat for more room for my dog. I switch between kneeling at the thwart and sitting in the stern seat. In the kneeling position, my full weight isn't on the kneeling thwart, but at 215 lbs. I have not had any issues with cracking. Barry
 
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Thanks, Barry. I'll be sitting some of the time, which is more of a concern than kneeling.
 
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Well, the seat has worked out fine. The hull flexes a little bit (about 1/8" on each side) but I haven't noticed any cracking. I did, however, find a leak that caused me to turn around after a couple of days in the BW a few weeks ago. I could have fixed it but I didn't trust the boat structurally so I took the safe way. I.e., I chickened out instead of taking what would have been a very small risk of getting stranded in the middle of Lac La Croix.

The whole story is in the trip report: http://codabone.net/canoeing/bwca/BW1309_1.htm.
 
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The latest on this is that I laid in two layers of 6-oz. fiberglass to reinforce the area under the center seat. It goes from the "shoulder" of the tumblehome to the foam on the bottom, so the flex isn't transferred somewhere else. It just came back from 9 days in the Boundary Waters with no apparent effect.

After adding the fiberglass, I noticed there's still a slight flexing, maybe 1/16" on each side. It's about the same as the flex in the Hemlock Peregrine (and probably other boats as well).
 
Joined
Jan 1, 2014
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Lower Saranac Lake, Adirondacks
The issue with Yost's shouldered tumblehome, later called the "Bell Curve" is, that while it stiffens the hull longitudinally it is a Z hinge vertically. One probably should glass all the way to the hull's edge, under the rails, which requires removing and refitting them.

In a more perfect world, the hull could have been ordered with the third thwart position bolstered for a kneeling thwart. Everything would have cross linked chemically, cosmetics preserved etc. It's often problematical to alter existing hulls, usually voids warranty and compromises looks.
 
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