Bell Rockstar

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I'm thinking I remember Bell being out of business or something. Was looking at the Rockstar, thinking a lightweight version would be really good for me. Anyone know if it is possible to get one of these?
 
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Possible no doubt, but difficult. I have never even seen a Rockstar and they are no longer being made. Even if someone eventually buys the molds that are owned by ORC, with the unavailability of Royalex, that version of the Rockstar will probably never be made again.
 
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You should probably set your sights on something more attainable. A Swift perhaps...

The Raven would be the closest counterpart to the Royalex Rockstar that I can think of (although much more rockered):

http://www.swiftcanoe.com/canoe/rivertouring/raven.htm

But that's heavy (by my measure - 60lbs for a solo boat = torture).

And then if you want the lightweight, more lake focused version you look to the Osprey (which I thought you built?):

http://www.swiftcanoe.com/canoe/solo/osprey.htm

But for us guys in the 200+lb range that boat's a little skinny.

So that puts you right at what everyone around here is has, a Keewaydin! The 15 of course.

No idea how it handles or what you want it for but it's light in Kevlar. If it's anything even remotely close to the 16 tandem it's a quick handling boat:

http://www.swiftcanoe.com/canoe/solo/keewaydin15.html
 
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I have seen ONE RockStar. Kevlar no less. I will probably see it again at Midwest Canoe Symposium in three weeks. Its the only Rock Star I have seen but I've seen it three times.

Its a bit big for short people. Charlie paddled it and it was a stretch literally. Needed rubber arms.
 
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Geeze, sounds like a unicorn or a sasquatch. Yes, oiseau, I have built two ospreys and one raven, the raven is my favourite canoe, just used it on a very portage heavy trip, which got me thinking more and more about a large lightweight canoe. The rockstar sure looked like it fit the build. Darn, why do solo canoeists all have to be lightweights!
 
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You know I bet if you outfit a kneeling seat in the proper position in a Kee 16 it would be more what you are after. It's 40lbs with aluminum trim.

I thought it was tough to solo on real water but I never tried with it loaded up. On calm stuff it acted just like a big solo boat. If you load it down and trim it properly it would probably paddle really nice, but be a bit slower than a true solo boat.
 
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And actually because you're a big boat guy you would probably really like a SRT. That sucker would run everything you'd put it through. They are heavy for a solo boat but still lighter than a UL tandem.

http://www.hemlockcanoe.com/srt.html

It's a deep boat. Stiff sides. It'll handle heavy loads. I didn't consider myself because of the weight, but probably more versatile all around than what I have. Might be the last boat you ever need.
 
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Well, in the back of my mind, I'm thinking that I might enter into kevlar boat building, I'll pay for another licence for a raven, make a fiberglass plug, and see what happens. Got to get some good books on kevlar boat building. Either that, or I'll just try building another raven lightweight.
 
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I see Bell Rockstars for sale occasionally. I have one in Blackgold layup but have never seen another one in person. I'd call it a big guy's solo at 15.5'x27". It weighs 35lbs. I have a Bell Northstar in Kev light layup and use it for solo tripping, and it outperforms the rockstar by a huge margin in my opinion, but I travel with a big dog. On the rare times that she isn't with me I use the Rockstar. The Northstar is 16.5' and 31" and only weighs 31#. I took the bow seat out for the dog and it is the fastest wilderness tripper I have paddled. I don't see the Northstar much either. I don't think the Northstar would be a great tandem unless the paddlers were smaller and the gear was kept light. I think around 500# max and then you're getting out of its performance curve. Without a full load, I prefer the kneeling thwart when solo.


Barry
 
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I'm guessing the mold is entirely different for a Rx boat than it is for a composite? I honestly don't know what the molding process is for Rx.

It honestly might be cheaper and certainly easier to buy a Kevlar Raven if Swift can mold you one than it would be to venture into mold building and hand lay composites.
 
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Gosh, seeing those pictures, I have serious Rockstar envy. I already contacted swift about making a lightweight composite Raven. They said it wouldn't be popular enough to make any money. Personally, I think they could corner the big guy solo market with it. Of course, that's probably only 3 or 4 boats a year.
 
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Manufacture of Royalex canoes involved heating up the sheet, then drawing it over a male mold and applying vacuum while the sheet cooled.

Manufacture of composite boats involves laying cloth into a female mold or molds (many are two piece molds). So no, you can't use one kind of mold for the other method of construction.

I suppose conceivably one could use a Royalex boat mold as a plug to make a composite mold off of.
 
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I didn't think it was the same. And I doubt you'd like additional cost to build a female mold. But I honestly wasn't sure if Rx was roto-molded.

Seems like a trip to Hemlock to try a boat is out of the question but the other one I'd throw out there as a big guy solo is the Eaglet.

If you can't tell, I really, really like the Eagle as a tandem. I've paddled the Eaglet too. It's a scaled down version. It's a nice boat.

The other thought I had is re-stripping a Raven with some advice from Stripperguy Mike. He may be able to help you shave the pounds. I don't see a reason that hull couldn't be mid to high 30's for weight in cedar and glass.
 
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From Glenn from another forum:

I own an SRT and Bell Wildfire and have day played and overnight tripped in both. The SRT is significantly faster and more efficient on the flats than the Wildfire or Yellowstone. It's flat speed is a function of narrow waterline, rounded (more so than shallow arch) bottom, differential rocker and pinched stern. The tradeoff is that the SRT is more initially tippy than the Wildfire or Yellowstone.

The SRT is also more capable in whitewater than either the Wildfire or Yellowstone, especially with a tripping load. It is more capable because of it's greater depth and its fuller and more flared bow. The SRT laughs at class 2 rapids, but it's not a whitewater playboat.

As to turnability, the Wildfire is more turnable than the SRT when paddled with a load less than about 220 pounds. They are about equal at 220, but of course the SRT will have much more freeboard. I wouldn't trip in the Wildfire with 250 pounds of load because of the freeboard. The SRT can probably be loaded up to 400 pounds and still have good freeboard.

Dave Curtis now makes a lightweight version of the SRT, which he says comes in at about 34 pounds. If you could talk him out of gelcoat, you could probably drop another 3 or 4 pounds and probably be the first to convince him to do so.

I think the Osprey is also a boat that would satisfy your OP criteria.

Just to save him the trouble of beating down the Wildfire...
 
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No one has mentioned two other big guy boats. Swift Shearwater.. available in Kevlar ( but not skin coat) and the Colden Nomad. If Mem is happy with the Osprey I wonder why he is looking for much bigger. The Shearwater is bigger and the Nomad a bit bigger. The Colden DragonFly is a precursor the the SRT. The DF is a bit of a challenge for some with its round bottom. The SRT is flatter.

The other issue is adding flooring thickness to avoid oilcanning in composite boats. Foam cores are used by commercial builders but optimally need to be heat shaped.. Foamless builders use plenty of layers of cloth. But laying up a boat by hand is expensive, requires at least a vacuum bag even if you are using an old hull for a mold..and the Raven with its tumble home does not work as a mold ( try to get the kevlar baby out!)
anyway this is interesting

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iPPMHdTaeeA

and perhaps fun.. remember the respirator

http://bwca.cc/tripplanning/equipment/canoes/kevlarcanoebuilding.htm
 
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I think he's lost interest... but I haven't LOL.

Sounds like they tweaked the Nomad ever so slightly to be a bit more like the Peregrine. They were already similar. For the amount of river paddling he does I doubt that'd be the optimum boat for him - he'd swamp that sucker in some rapids... And if I'm reading right he favors the Raven over his Osprey (probably because it's a river boat).

Just from his last trip report it really sounds like he should give the SRT a try:

'Nervous about a heavy load and big waves' - sounds like something the SRT would eat up.

'Running xyz whitewater sections' - SRT is supposed to be a whitewater capable boat in experienced hands. Ask Glenn, he's a whitewater guy. He loves his.

I think the general consensus I've read is that the SRT is leaps and bounds better than the DF. I think they got the boat they were looking for initially from that design.

I happened to locate a Rockstar close to me as well. The guy is not interested in selling though. I know of another one near Old Forge - owner is pretty attached though. They are out there, just not for sale.
 
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Glenn MacGrady

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L'oiseau, I don't care that you quote me from other sites, but I'm not sure what that quote of mine has to do with the Bell Rockstar. Then again, I'm often confused as to what topics morph into.

Since this one seems to have morphed, Harold Deal would be the world's expert on the Dragonfly vs. the SRT. He spec'ed the Dragonfly and it was designed and built for his combined class whitewater racing in the early '80's, which was run on different kinds of courses than it was later and is now. No one raced or wilderness paddled the Dragonfly more than Harold in the 80's and early 90's. In the 90's Harold designed the SRT to be his tripping and touring canoe. He seems to use it in all waters other those those in which he paddles his whitewater play boat, the Shaman. Harold has written a history and comparison of the Dragonfly and SRT, and maybe he would send it to paddlers who are interested. Also maybe not.
 
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The quote has nothing to do with the Rockstar, it was directed toward the SRT v Wildfire.

I hate to say but I would consider the Rockstar an unobtainable boat. The few that are out there, aren't for sale... so I suggested a few alternatives.
 
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Thanks for all the suggestions guys. However, just to throw a fly in the ointment, I think I will build a Jack's Special this year, (thanks Robin). Apparently it has similar lines to the Chum. I just measured the plans, and it's around 30 inches to the outside of the planking. I'm developing a strong preference for symmetrical canoes with the same rocker for and aft. If I can get it down around 45 pounds I will be happy. Goin to go look for some spruce for the gunwales today.
 
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