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Old 07-29-2013   #11
aka The Curmudgeon
captishmael's Avatar
Hopelessly Stuck in Yesterday, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1994
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 322
I've had a bunch of them. Two 14 Hurricane SB, a 16 Big Dipper SB, a Sport Bug 14.5, a 15 Ft Cat,and now a Big Dipper 15.5.
First I found used and sold it to a buddy a year later. He put it thru Hell and it finally blew after 10 years hard use- Poudre 2 or 3 x Week, inflated HARD, lived in the direct sun all summer. When it did blow, it owed him nothing and he bought another.
Based on my experience with the first one I bought the new 14 and 16 in 1996. I sold the 14 after 12 years as I never used a 14 ft boat, but had plenty of friends to borrow it or row it for me. I got tired of being the unpaid outfitter so I sold it.
The 16 "Big Red" was my favorite all time boat, a full 8 inches wider inside than the 14 footer. Handled very well, rowed easy, hauled a ton of gear, had a very solid, secure feeling in big water due to the size. Alas, it was one of the mid-90s era boats with bad glue and black chafe pads on top of the tubes. Black was bad- too much heat on the seams underneath. It developed a bad seam in 1998, I retired it and bought a new 15.5 ft Big Dipper. Good boat, good floor, but I wish it had the size of the old 16ft boat. The new one is 6 inches narrower inside the tubes- doesn't sound like much, but it is. The Sport Bug I used on Lake Granby with a motor as a runabout/dinghy/exploration craft for my sailboat and was one of the most fun and practical boats I've ever owned. I ruined it by cleaning with Westley's Bleach White (tire cleaner) for several years in a row. It basically rotted the PVC fabric.
Friends, never use any chemical on a PVC boat other than 303!
I also had the cat, which is the one boat I would loan to a novice or I would use myself if in doubt about my abilities on a new run. Extremely stable, huge decks, lots of gear capacity, a bit of a slug to row. The Stars allowed me to own up to 3 boats at a time for about the price of one Avon. I introduced many good people to river running, outfitted lots of trips myself, and had a wonderful time doing it. My thoughts? Buy a Star, plan on it lasting 15 years. Use It! Use It Up! Wear It Out! After 15 years you might want something bigger, smaller, motorized, whatever.

Don't Wanna Die Askin' for Another Chance
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Old 07-30-2013   #12
aka The Curmudgeon
captishmael's Avatar
Hopelessly Stuck in Yesterday, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1994
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 322
Typo in the above-
The 16 footer developed the bad seam in 2008, not 1998.

Don't Wanna Die Askin' for Another Chance
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Old 07-31-2013   #13
Albany, Oregon
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 46
If you are looking into getting a boat without selling your first born child, look into the Aire tributary series. They go for almost the same price as the Star and they are a much better built boat made from a company that is well known for standing behind their products. No glued seems either. Also, I agree with everyone else. The Stars are big heavy pigs.
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Old 07-31-2013   #14
New Castle, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 31
BTW, there is a company that I have just started seeing in the past few months named "Zoic" that has boats that look very similar to the Star boats. Not sure if they are related but they look identical except for the name. Might be worth a look too if you are interested.
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Old 07-31-2013   #15
New Castle, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 31
Sorry, it's spelled "zoik". They look identical to the Stars except for the valve locations.
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Old 08-26-2013   #16
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Missoula, Montana
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 32
Definitely stay away from the Montana river craft. They're suppose to be BEEFED up Star rafts and still get the pinholes. Plus Marley at rubber ducky in Livingston talks a big game about his boats when you're buying one and then blames you for anything that might go wrong. Super douche
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Old 08-26-2013   #17
East MT, WestMT, Both sides of the Yellowstone
Paddling Since: 09
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 1,112
Originally Posted by spider View Post
My buddy bought a brand new Montana river craft (star with more d rings and sold under a misleading name) and it has pin hole leaks in the tubes after 5 years. It was 3800 new. Another friend has a MRC that is like the wonderbug and he likes it a lot but it's super heavy, mostly due to the large amount of extra wear guards that MRC glued all over it. Don't plan on rolling it. We call the pin hole boat the "blue bathtub" due to the ankle deep water it holds in the floor when loaded.

I do all the yearly up keep, 303 and repairs on the bathtub and it rarely sees class 3 or rocks.
Add a blown baffle to the list. I second wavewrangler. Ripping off local clients. I saw 5 MRC's on the Yellowstone saturday plus the one I was rowing. I'm embarrassed to be seen in one but it's a 14' rigged on the trailer and my boats are in the garage. Kind of like riding a moped, lots of fun untill your friends see you on one. I feel bad when people get the proud look of buying and rowing local MRC's, I just smile and tell them I like them since I don't want to ruin their day by talking shit about their overpriced Chinese throwaway star.

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