One of my favorite all time canoes was the Bell Rob Roy 15. Mine went with me to a myriad of places, both close and quick, and remote and long. Unfortunately back surgery and a few other ailments of "middle age" prompted me to sell mine in search of something just as nice but lighter. It was, then, with great pleasure, that David Yost showed me the prototype of North Star's new Rob Roy. I ordered the very first one on the spot.
Fast forward two months and my new canoe has arrived. I took it out today to put it through its paces. Much has stayed the same; some things have changed for the better. The original model had a foam seat and a skinny back pad that was torturous after about a half hour. I replaced it with the second generation seat, which was a great improvement. The new model has what appears to be a close relative of the seat used in some Placid Canoes. Since both are Yost designs it's not much of a stretch to figure that out. This one is really comfortable. It will hold water but that can be dealt with. The seat is a few inches higher than the original model. That doesn't make the handling squirrley as it could but lets me also use a short bent shaft paddle in addition to the double. That will be handy. The next significant change is in the deck. The front section sits a little higher and allows easier access and room for really big feet. The foot pegs are easily adjustable from the seat.
In back the deck has been trimmed to make it easier to stow packs and other gear. I had to use a tape measure to be sure but there is definitely more open space to swallow bigger stuff. A really big portage pack will fit there. Throw a smaller pack under the decks at each end and you have yourself a very capable tripper.
Also new is a small wooden deck secured between carbon formed gunwales. I'm not sure it's all that functional but it really looks nice.
Finally, there is a nylon strap across the deck. I refer to it as a Geezer Assist Strap. It makes getting in and out much easier.
Performance wise, the picture hasn't changed much. It's still a fast, sweet handling boat. It heads upwind without drama and takes quartering waves on the downhill run without weather cocking.
North Star has answered every one of my issues, however minor, with this new model. It's a definite winner.
I'm now on my 2nd Slipper. The first one took me all over, most memorably to James Bay via the Missinaibi River. It performed extraordinarily well. With a few dramatic exceptions, the Missinaibi is fast and populated by relatively interesting but not overly difficult rapids. As the trip progressed I developed a technique whereby I approached the lip of set of rapids, leaned the canoe over and spun it into an upstream ferry. When I reached the chute I wanted to use I spun it again and dropped down through the waves. Repeat as needed.
The Slipper was designed at a time when designers were designing rocker out of hulls. That helps with tracking and maximizes the waterline length for decent speed. The other half of the equation lies in the shallow V hull shape. That shape leave a nice flat plane on each side of the keel line. When you tip the boat to do that top-of-the-rapid spin you lean out on that plane and feel the canoe firm up nicely. Very confidence inspiring.
I weigh quite a bit more than Cliff Jacobson. With me and 10 days worth of gear the canoe was loaded beyond its design limits. It continued to handle fine but was prone to taking on water in big frothy waves. Still, even swamped as I once was, I was able to paddle through the rapid and stay upright all the way. Those who use a little more sense than I should have no problems.
Yes, this is truly an oldie but a goodie.
On the water it's strong, quiet, and very quiet. I really like paddling with it. The adjustment button is a bit small and hard to work, but I think it'll loosen a bit with time and use. The range of adjustment is pretty wide. A person should be able to find a spot in the comfort zone. It's spendy but well worth it!
The canoe is a bit small for tripping but Ostrum's 2-piece solo pack system will fit fine under the decks and a Duluth "Rambler" fits perfectly behind the seat. It can be done, and the low, decked profile lets you slip under the wind on big lakes and rivers. I sometimes miss using my single paddles but with a good double we really fly. A keeper!
Once again Dave Yost has done it right. We were easily the fastest canoe out there yet even heavily loaded, we were able to maneuver through the big water without incident. Winds didn't push the boat around at all. It's stable, aside from a slight wiggle on center, and confidence-inspiring.
All things considered, this is a great tripper, and should work just fine on day trips as well.