Oddly enough with black/gold boats with aluminum gunwales (like my Yellowstone Solo) the carrying handles are ash but the center thwarts are black walnut. The seat’s stiffness or looseness in the boat is an issue, but is NOT an important one. I have found it is more efficient to paddle solo than tandem in this way. thanks, MADE OF ROYALEX: This canoe is made of highly desirable Royalex, which developed a reputation over 35 years of production as one of the most durable materials for building canoes while still being flexible, buoyant and lightweight. I just paddled 200 miles of the Yukon River in the canoe that was certainly overloaded. The Northwind is much faster, easier to paddle due to the tumblehome gunwales, and glides forever. I have added clamp-on portage yoke pads, which I'm very pleased with. Quiet, fast and seaworthy, the Magic flows across open waters, slicing through wind and waves. Two brief notes in finishing. Bells workmanship was first class and the boat was a jewel but if I got another composite boat it would have hard anodized alunminum gunwales. The differential rocker and asymmetry mean that it will never be able to spin like a top, and isn't the best for Bill Mason style back ferry. Boat was loaded completely with cooler, water, camping gear and my recurve, arrows, etc...plus clothing in waterproof bags. It is red, if that means anything. it's been hanging in the barn for all that time. Boat was a little uneven with front up about 8 inches even with water and cooler of food in front which caused the wind to catch it on the paddle to camp. question: It weighs 52 ponds without the center seat. Read reviews for the Northwind by Bell Canoe Works as submitted by your fellow paddlers. I purchased the Northwind from a friend a year ago. Not sure how they are measuring this, but it has much less than my Mad Rivers 2.5". Royalex - 59 lbs. Very lightweight! Like new used only a couple times. my $.01 However, the MorningStar is a pretty close runner up. Thank you. Good paddling.... Now I have more skills and can avoid swamping in Class III and I can dig deep to harangue it to maneuver with a big load, but it isn't ideal for either of those tasks, as Bell freely admits when they say "favorite for flatwater tripping." "Just 55lbs. From what I have seen it only seems that every thing will get better as it is loaded. We outgrew the old canoe and looked for a boat that would handle my wife and I, our dog and gear for a week. It only weights 63 LBS and is a dam good looking canoe. However, we noticed that if we got anything over a three+ inch wave, we were rocked like we were in a hurricane. Remarkably maneuverable, yet reassuringly stable. The canoe was surpringly fast and very manuverable.

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