View topic - Nova Craft Tuff Stuff.Royalex replacement?

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PostPosted: January 17th, 2016, 4:09 pm 
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I am interested in hearing more about those who are paddling the composites on ww trips (like a typical grade 2/3 with the odd 4 rapid). We have an old style composite boat that is really sturdy - I just can't envision choosing it over Royalex for a river running trip. How easy are they to fix in the field, are they less likely/equally likely or more likely to get caught on rocks or wrap. Those of you who chose tandem composites over Royalex for whitewater - why did you make this choice?


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PostPosted: January 17th, 2016, 9:22 pm 
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Why doesn't anyone seem to ever suggest cedar/canvas boats for tripping?

Keewaydin use them for all their trips and those trips are the type to inflict maximum wear and tear.

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PostPosted: January 18th, 2016, 6:44 am 
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I would suggest composites are the easiest to repair in the field. I've used glass to repair Royalex on more than one occasion on the banks of a river (and glass does not work well with Royalex). A composite boat will stick to rocks more than a vinyl or plastic boat will. I think that up until perhaps now the number of people paddling composites on white water has been very limited. Most composites out there are designed for flat water and/or have a light layup and the cheaper alternative was always available


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PostPosted: January 18th, 2016, 8:04 am 
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recped wrote:
Why doesn't anyone seem to ever suggest cedar/canvas boats for tripping?

Keewaydin use them for all their trips and those trips are the type to inflict maximum wear and tear.


I've tripped with cedar canvas (a Chestnut Pal 16' and now a Chum 15') for a long time but I don't run anything over class 2. I broke a rib and some plank 2 years ago, and have not repaired it yet. The canvas is still in great shape, so I'll wait.
The nice thing about cedar canvas is that a paddler can learn how to restore his/her own canoe to like new condition at a reasonable cost.
A $1800 Royalex that has crinkles inside or a $2500 composite canoe with fiberglass patches inside are going to loose alot in resale value, and can never be restored to like new condition from what I have seen.


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PostPosted: January 18th, 2016, 10:00 am 
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recped wrote:
Why doesn't anyone seem to ever suggest cedar/canvas boats for tripping?

Keewaydin use them for all their trips and those trips are the type to inflict maximum wear and tear.


Probably because Keewaydin is a kids camp and not full of old duffers. The average age of the canoeist seems to be upward of middle age. When you are prime for carrying the weight of a cedar canvas canoe, in this day and age, you are likely working and don't do many wilderness canoe trips.

There are exceptions; those who have tripped with w/c canvas canoes all their life

Not all cedar canvas canoes are built the same. Mine are lightweight and designed for everyday use and frequent mounting and dismounting from a car. 14 foot is 40 lbs, 15 foot 48.

Its true a wood canvas boat is restorable and the best a composite/Royalex can be is repairable. Nevertheless for me the pluses of composite/Rx outweigh the aesthetics for tripping. For my day boats, the equation is flipped.


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PostPosted: January 18th, 2016, 10:31 am 
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I don't know about Keewaydin, but a lot of camps have some pretty strict limits on not running rapids. If you're carrying around everything above a swift, then the materials in the canoe aren't as big issue.

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PostPosted: January 18th, 2016, 10:54 am 
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I've seen Keewaydin's senior groups run RII stuff. Met a group once that lost a boat running WW.

I'm a solid intermediate level paddler. Have done many thousands of kilometers of back-country trips. The ability of Rx to slip over rocks allows me to up my risk ratio, doing trips I couldn't/wouldn't undertake otherwise.
That and DEET.


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PostPosted: January 18th, 2016, 11:34 am 
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PostPosted: January 18th, 2016, 4:19 pm 
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Yeah, I don't have near Culpeper's skill but I ran Rollway a few decades ago. I don't recall exactly but it was lower water and the Rx-slipping-over-rocks thing probably saved me. I don't even scout it anymore, even in less pushy water, just head straight into the portage down to the lower section.
My Rx boat let me bump my way down Canoe-eater on the Dumoine a few years ago. Probably the last RIII I'll ever run - the boat's still willing but the body isn't.


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PostPosted: January 19th, 2016, 12:56 pm 
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I've paddled a 17-foot wood/canvas Prospector (made by Headwaters) on 3 extended trips--28 days in northern Ontario, 35 days in northern Quebec and 42 days in Nunavik--besides lots of local stuff in Temagami and Lake Superior. The previous owner put in several 21+ day trips in tough conditions with it as well. It is a joy to paddle in big volume whitewater--the bigger water the better. The "true" prospector shape is far superior to any of the copies in composite or Royalex, in terms of its handling, buoyancy and volume. It is deeper and more rockered than the Nova Craft, and also the cedar makes for a livelier ride that's hard to explain.

My canoe still has original canvas, a few broken ribs and some busted sheeting. Easy to patch with ambroid glue, bandanna and pieces of tin. I figure it has another couple summers of heavy use. With adequate skills, it isn't the rapids that damage wood-canvas canoes, it's "parking" on the rocks to scout or beaching at lunch (rub marks) and portaging (punji sticks). It can be pretty tedious in these situations. Keewaydin has perfected the skill of wading and lining--to see some of the stuff their campers do is to be thoroughly impressed. The only damage I've done to my canoe on the water is in steep, shallow rapids north of Superior; maybe the Dog, Agawa and Pukaskwa rivers are best suited to plastic.

Weight is a big deal. My 17-footer weighs about 80 lbs dry. After 35 days on the Great Whale River in northern Quebec it weighed over 95 lbs at the airport scale in Kuujjuaaraapik. You come to appreciate the wonders of a tump line with such a load.


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PostPosted: February 21st, 2016, 1:05 am 
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pblanc wrote:
I have long felt that composite canoes are much tougher than many people give them credit for, and that too many folks considered Royalex to be some type of indestructible wonder material. I have heard many express the opinion that only Royalex or polyethylene boats were suitable for whitewater boats.

Royalex in fact has been rather susceptible to severe abrasion damage when used in shallow, rocky bottom whitewater streams. It is very common for them to erode through into the foam core. I personally know one excellent whitewater boater who was going through four Royalex hulls per year.

Many high-quality whitewater canoes have been made using exterior layers of S fiberglass and interior layers of aramid. I personally have three composite whitewater canoes (two S 'glass/aramid and one S 'glass/Spectra) and I have many friends who own them. They are perhaps more likely to crack upon hard impact than Royalex boats (although I have seen plenty of cracked Royalex boats) but cracks in composite boats are easier to repair, and they are more resistant to abrasion.

I don't know if hybrid Innegra/basalt is going to have any great advantages over aramid for whitewater canoes but I suspect it will fare at least as well although it will probably be a bit heavier.


Yes. Agreed. I'm also interested in knowing what happens when other canoes are tossed from a roof! I have a Hellman durratuff Slocan which has taken some big hits. Clipper has duraflex. Millbrook boats use composite for whitewater designs. And of course Krugers are tougher than royalex.


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