Canadian Canoe Routes

Is gel coat worth 12#?
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Author:  flyrod [ February 25th, 2008, 10:14 am ]
Post subject:  Is gel coat worth 12#?

This is the canoe, Wenonah Prospector 15' ... 2f312d07f8

It's red, at least I think it is, so it will already out-perform all not red canoes of similar design and lay-up.
I was talked out of a Bob's based on keel, hull bottom shape & construction.

I have two options. These are not my prices, my prices are close enough to each other to make the decision based on weight and durability.

Kevlar® Flex-core: 48 lbs. (21.6 kg)

Colored (Gel-coat) finish
All-silver aluminum trim
Curved Hung Web Seats
Ash yoke

Kevlar® Ultra-light: 36 lbs. (16.2 kg)

Natural (skin-coat) finish
All-silver aluminum trim
Curved Hung Web Seats
Ash yoke

Just how much protection is that extra 12# going to be?

90% of my current paddling is flat water, with the intention of being able to take this through Class I-II action in the near future.

I'll be adding weight in kneeling pads, and portage yoke and painters. +5# I'm guessing once all is added.

Author:  frozentripper [ February 25th, 2008, 11:25 am ]
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The gelcoat is more scratch-resistant because it's thicker, and enters into the difference in weight as much as the construction method.... flex-core construction has more material throughout the hull, eliminating the need for side ribs. The ultralite construction includes side ribs because the hull in that area is thin and would flex too much without the ribs.

Flexcore is the more strongly built hull and should stand up better to rocks, gravel, rapids, logs, beaver dams and anything else stressing the hull.

Ultralite will most likely need to be babied more and dragging and riding over beaver dams might not be an option. Running rapids might be too risky.

Flexcore leans more towards rougher tripping needs, although it probably isn't as strong as other brands' expedition canoes.

Ultralite is for those that need the lightest gear for performance, racing, and faster portaging.

Author:  pknoerr [ February 25th, 2008, 11:31 am ]
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I have canoes with gelcoat and one without. They aren't the same canoe, and they don't really get used the same.... but here are my thoughts...

Gel coated boats are definitely more durable to abrasion. That's what I find is the biggest advantage of the gel coat. Paddling dark tannin colored waters with dark sharp igneous rocks. It doesn't take much of a rub while paddling to put a pretty good gouge in the skin coat boat (especially loaded in a foam cored skin boat). With a gel coated boat, especially a white one, is just fill the gouge with white gel coat repair (one little tiny tube), cover it with duct tape to keep it dry, and toss it back on the water.

The gelcoat also helps in impact, but it's not always as big a difference, as you sometimes chunk chips out of the gelcoat (and they look ugly on colored gelcoat boats).

Only you know how much flatwater/whitewater you are going to run...


Author:  canoetripper [ February 25th, 2008, 11:47 am ]
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I've paddled an ultra-light ( no gelcoat and with graphite ribs ) bob special from nova craft for over 15 yrs. Rammed beaver dams , teetered on a log etc and with two big canoers. No hull damage. It has even survived my cutting a tree down on to it. Have added some extra fiberglass cloth as skid plates. I doubt many would put their canoe through the abuse I have.
I have painted it with a quality 2 part boat paint. Doubt that added much weight.
Repairs are easy. Sand out the paint, repair with fiberglass cloth, repaint and repair is almost invisible. From the inside the fiberglass cloth resin from Can Tire is almost identical to the original color of the kevlar.
Everyone who has paddled it solo or tandem has liked it .

Author:  frozentripper [ February 25th, 2008, 12:06 pm ]
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NovaCraft's and Wenonah's ultralite construction methods might be different enough to make the NC canoe more durable. IIRC, the Bob's is heavier than the ultralite Wenonah so they may be building more material into it to make it more durable. Just guessing here.

Author:  canoetripper [ February 25th, 2008, 12:13 pm ]
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The NC ultralight's now are built with a gelcoat. Hence the extra weight. One could probably order one without gelcoat. Surface of mine is a good deal rougher than a gelcoat finish. Even after many coats of paint.

Author:  littleredcanoe [ February 25th, 2008, 12:31 pm ]
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Yes sometimes gel coat is worth it. its an extra layer of protection against punctures and abrasions. I drop one end of my solo too often, embarrasingly when I am unloading it.

I would not dream of taking an ultra light construction into the boreal forest where you have to drag over rocks and sometimes trees.

However the two Prospectors you are comparing are not only different because of the weight of the gel coat but because they have a different construction entirely. The Ultralight is good for flatwater..dont run it into a rock at speed in whitewater. I have been there and done that. There is no cushioning on the bottom and the flat panel just broke apart in many perpendicular fractures. The Flex core is designed to somewhat absorb impact.

Ultra light is fine if you are going to mostly be tripping in park like situations with relatively maintained portages. I have an UL layup on one flatwater solo. Its a pleasure in Algonquin. I wouldn't dream of taking it to the Albany ...

So first look at the construction..then look at whether or not you need gel coat, which is not a structural does not add strength.

Author:  Battenkiller [ February 25th, 2008, 12:40 pm ]
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I don't look at a gel coat as giving any kind of "early warning" for real damage. If you are in an impact hard enough to severely damage the hull the gel coat will do little to reduce the damage.

Aside from abrasion protection and U.V. protection, I don't like gel coats at all. A significant impact leaves big chips as PK says or a nasty "spider" crack around which the gel coat will have to be removed in order to repair it properly. Small scratches are easy to fix, but I have many of these on the bottom of my skin-coat canoe (38#) and they aren't hurting anything. Sure they look bad, but only when it's sitting on the roof rack where it doesn't belong.

Go light. You aren't a spring chicken any more than I am.

A Prospector, eh? I thought a guy named "Flyrod" would find true happiness in a stabler casting platform like the Bob's.

Author:  flyrod [ February 25th, 2008, 2:17 pm ]
Post subject: 

If you are in an impact hard enough to severely damage the hull the gel coat will do little to reduce the damage.

What if I am in an impact hard enough to severely damage the gel coat but not the hull? Then where do I stand on gelcoat?

Battenkiller wrote:
A Prospector, eh? I thought a guy named "Flyrod" would find true happiness in a stabler casting platform like the Bob's.

Since I dislocated my shoulder I tend to troll more. When I do cast, it's usually short flips more than overhand casts.
These are the pros/cons I bought into when deciding.
Bob's: keel, low secondary stability due to high primary, negligable rocker, shallower.
And I'm getting treated well with respect to price & service & extras from a shop I trust that has lots of Bob's to sell me if they wanted a quick sale from someone they'd never see again.
I like Wenonas. I've paddled a few. They have a crappy concept for yokes and consider 2" rocker makes something a river boat, but I like what I've seen for my tripping expectations. I think I'll try their clamp on pads.

I like what I hear from the scope of the overall lay-up differences. Thanks.

Would anyone here who actually has canoes in both basic lay-ups pick the bare skin coat (bare, not painted) instead of the gel coat for dragging over beaver dams and pointy rocks?

Author:  littleredcanoe [ February 25th, 2008, 2:42 pm ]
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My SO got my gel coated solo stuck in a sweeper,,the boat bent in a Z. There were two major gel coat cracks...after taking the aluminum rails off the hull popped back into shape. Of course the gel coat was still cracked..just chipped out the pieces , put in some auto body filler and paint. That gives you abrasion resistance too.

After ten years there was no way to match the gel coat anyway.

Author:  pknoerr [ February 25th, 2008, 3:56 pm ]
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Yep, the white boat in my Avatar was wrapped by a prior owner. It had two chine cracks. They were routed out, and filled to the weave with new gel coat. I've since had some minor cracking in the repair. I bought some $8.00 single tube gelcoat repair at West Marine. It's been in there for 6 years now of bashing the canoe on rocky shallow rivers. You'd have to get up within 2 feet of the boat to see the repair... and I never even bothered to sand it smooth. If given the choice, I'd buy a white canoe everytime.

I'd rather paddle canoes than spend time fixing them.


Author:  Monster [ February 25th, 2008, 4:11 pm ]
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I own both, my 17' 3" prospector is the ultra lite layup and my 20' 3" Mckenzie has the gel coat.

I would say that if your a bit lazy, get the gel coat because even minor swells will crunch the hull of your canoe against barnacles while unloading, more often encountered big waves are worse.

Anyway Fly, there is only one all important factor that should lean you towards getting the gel coat... photographic aesthetics.

P.S. nice canoe, but far too small for good fishing.

Author:  flyrod [ March 6th, 2008, 5:52 pm ]
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The money's on the table, the deal is done. I picked the heavier & more durable option. Many thanks for all your input! It's not too small for fishing! The Argosy is smaller and I've fished lots in it!

Author:  flyrod [ April 28th, 2008, 6:14 pm ]
Post subject: 

Here it is. Just one camp night on it, but it was a great night. Clear for stars, meterorite, fish and of course there are already more scratches than I'm going to worry about. 1 scratch is a shame. Bunches of them are inevitable.

Oooh, Lewis & Clarke Special Edition! They printed those stickers especially for this batch of canoes they were making anyway.

Wenonah yokes suck ass.

Is there a sight more full joyfull anticipation than a cartopped canoe?

Thanks again for all your input. Mrs is going to be plenty peeved to learn all those saved rental dollars are paying for canoe trip gasoline now that I have my own canoe. Next week in Temagami. Three weeks after that APP. After that, well $30/day on rentals makes for a lot of gasoline!

Author:  Canoeheadted [ April 28th, 2008, 11:47 pm ]
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Woo Hoo! Congrats Flyrod and Mrs.F.

Scratches are OK, as long as you're in the boat.

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