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Name: mcwood4

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The last StarFire? Well, maybe not. As some of you know I…

The last StarFire? Well, maybe not.
As some of you know I drove over to Placid BoatWorks during our annual 4th of July trip to Lake Bonaparte NY to pick up the LAST STARFIRE. Severe, likely terminal problems with the mold made it look like the end for the StarFire model.

My new StarFire paddled even better than I remembered I had the opportunity to paddle a half dozen times in a friends StarFire a few years back, but none since then. It was light, strong, quick, very responsive... a real pleasure as I remembered, plus. Played a lot in the shallows exploring the marshes. With my 210 pounds, a few paddles, and a day bag (essentials, food, and water) it barely drew 3-1/2" of water. I soloed early every morning on glass lakes and later in the days winds. My 13 year old and I paddled the rivers and lakes a couple days. It is everything the MorningStar could have, would have, should have been with just the correction of a few dimensions. DY sure designs damn good hulls. Charlie and Joe do excellent job of translating those designs in very pleasurable finished hulls. StarFire, what a great boat, solo or tandem.

I was not going to write about it on paddling.com as it was to be the last made. No sense in wetting appetites for nothing... Well, I called Placid to ask about a fabric portage yoke for my solo canoe. Charlie Wilson mentioned that there was a chance the StarFire mold could and would be saved with a lot of work over the winter. So if you are so inclined check with them next spring, the StarFire might just be back in 2008.

A word about the rating: I do not like the ratings. Everyone rates 10, so if I do not then readers wonder what is wrong. Therefore a rating of 10. My actual rating is: This is the best solo/tandem in my fleet. And if a boat is not good it is not in my fleet at all.

Specs:
Top View
length: oa =15' (wl = 14'9"); length/width ratio: 6.0; weight: 40-45# (depending on seat options)

Side View
shear: bow 19"; center 13.5"; stern 17"; rocker: 3"/3"

End View
max 34"; 4"wl 32"; 3"wl 30.5"

Displacements
6" freeboard 750#; 5" wl 500#; 4" wl 370#; 3" wl 260#; 2" wl 160#

WOW !!! I'll even say that backwards. !!! WOWI had…

WOW !!! I'll even say that backwards. !!! WOW

I had planned to resell the Flashfire when I first bought it. I picked it up as it was a Bell and I had to make the trip right past the sellers door any way to pick up my Wildfire. I had kind of indicated I would sell it to a friend. Welllll. Sorry "...Lady" it is no longer for sale!!! We'll have to fine you one of your own. I have had the chance to really paddle my Flashfire in most all conditions now. I love it more and more every time I take it out!

I weigh 220 pounds and thought the little 13' length and narrow hull would not be stable and could not handle the load. Even after talking to free stylists that put more weight than I do in a Flashfire I did not think it would work. I just figured that they were so good (and a little crazy) in canoes that they could get away with it, but not me. What a surprise! The Flashfire is very, very responsive, very stable and handles the load very well!

To date I have logged over 20 hours in the Flashfire in extremely different conditions. I have not found a single place I would not take it again. My friends have paddled it and been very impressed as well. I have taken the Flashfire through class I and II rapids repeatedly. Handles like a dream, especially for a non white water (WW) boat. She enters and surfs the holes with ease. A WW open canoe instructor friend of mine tried it and stated that it was better than his WW Mohawk in class I and II rapids. I paddles across a small lake in high winds quartering into white caps the whole way. No problem.

Over half of my time in the Flashfire has been going up river in a good current in a shallow river. Handled great. Turn, draw, ferry and hold with the greatest of ease. Very seldom had to walk is as the Flashfire's tremendous maneuverability allowed me to hold, move, backtrack and get into the right spot to continue on up stream.

On the flats the Flashfire paddles true and straight with the minimum amount of correction. I recently paddled a Rendezvous which had to be fought constantly to keep straight. The Flashfire maneuvers every bit as well and better, but tracks much better as well. (I must make a small disclaimer statement here. I do not like canoes that must be leaned to turn so I am not comparing this canoe to ones that track like they are on rails which I consider a defect.)

Faults? The only one I may have found is that while surfing the holes the tops of the waves would sporadically come over the gunwales. Is that really a fault? I do not think so. One should expect to get wet while playing in a hole. The low sides were a god send on the high wind lake.

Accessories needed: If you are to use the Flashfire as I do you will need a splash cover to keep the water out as you have the time of your life. My splash cover is in the planning stages as I plan to have even more fun, to get more daring in Baby, my Kevlar Bell Flashfire.

Low profile decked canoe or open cockpit kayak. Whichever you wish to call it. Fast, large capasity boat that is very easy to handle and very forgiving. Can hold three months supplies with ease. Expedition class boat that is at home on any water from small stream to open ocean. Very well balanced with extremely comfortable protage yoke. No longer made, but you can still buy the even better Sea Wind made by Kruger Canoes, krugercanoes.com. The Monarch was a Kruger design made for a time by Mad River, but they failed to make it up to full Kruger standards or promote it properly.

Souris River Tranquility 15' Duralite solo canoe. "Lite" is a word to highlite here. It is not only lite at 37# for the loading and portage, but it always looks and feels lite! This sets an attitude that carries over into the whole experiance. THe experiances with this canoe are fantastic! I earlier reviewed my 16' Duralite Souris canoe. That was a compromize canoe and it was a very, very good canoe to fill that role. What I have discovered is that a compromize is just that, a compromize. I have moved on to owning several canoes where each has a purpose and I am oh so much happier with all of my canoes. The 15' Tranquility is the best open straignt keeled solo canoe that I have paddled. It is very fast and stable. I love it more each time I take it for a paddle. My one complaint is that it can be a bit hard to turn at times, but then I do understand that it was designed to travel straight and fast in the boundry waters and it turns slow by design. It is a 9 of 10! in my book. (So far only Kruger Canoes get 10 of 10 ratings from me!)

The Kruger Sea Wind 17'2" solo decked composite 57# canoe comes with rudder, adjustable tractor type seat, spray cover and sail mast step. I have never paid full retail for any boat before. After reading about and seeing these canoes I ordered the first one before even trying one out. I now have three Sea Winds. I would pay twice the price I paid for each one and feel lucky to get it. I have taken my Sea Wind through class three rapids without the spray skirt installed, paddled it through a water fall, paddled 10 hour days, and sailed it in very heavy winds. There is no other canoe like it period! One very suprising thing I have discovered about these fabulous canoes is that I have never been sore after a hard or long paddle. They glide through the water so easy I go up river for hours on end just for the fun of it. My very first paddle in a Sea Wind was after not having paddled or done much else in the way of exercise for over a year. Mr Kruger and I went up the Grand River over three miles with him setting a very brisk pace. I was a little stiff at the end of the paddle and expected to be sore that day or at least the next morning. I never had one sore muscle!! I had never experianced anything like the Sea Wind and am now in love with all Kruger Canoes! I still buy and paddle some other canoes, but only when they are available at discounted prices. I gladly pay full price for my Krugers and impaiently wait for their custom layup to be completed!

My Souris River Quetico 16 Duralight Canoe was simply the best 16' 2" aouund! I passed up Bells, Mad Rivers, and all the rest after saving, looking and testing canoes for over four years. This canoe makes an outstanding solo as well. If you are primarilary going tandum with gear please look at the new 17' Souris. With the Duralight you do not need the expence of kevlar. It is not really the fiber that you should look at with the most critical eye anyway, but the glue. Souris River's epoxy resin is far superior to the poly resins used by almost all of the other manufactures. The only canoe I would reccomend above the Souris River is a Custom Verlen Kruger. My Souris is for sale as my Kruger will be done in two weeks. (see canoes for sale, Michigan) Again he uses a far superior resin in his canoes and kayaks and his designs are superb. If you paddle a Kruger, you'll have to have one! Don't paddle a Kruger unless you are ready to plop down $3,500, plus or minus, it takes to have one built! If you are ready go see Verlen and paddle up river with him or Scott three or four miles and you will believe!