1983 Wenonah Advantage

I picked up an older Wenonah Advantage. It weighs 33lbs. It is the original design. What is the weight limit for this boat? I am 6’ 200lbs and will carry 40 lbs of gear on 2 days trips. Will this boat work?

Also the weave is exposed across the entire bottom from use on coastal waters and sand. I am planning on coating all exposed areas with west epoxy, sanding/fairing and polishing. Will that work? I would also like to add floatation to each end. Do you see any problems with adding small sealed area in bow and stern?






I think it will handle the load fine
Years ago, when there was a limited selection of high quality solo tripping canoes, the Advantage was used as a fast solo tripper up in the northern Minnesota/southern Ontario area, and I saw a few that I am sure had at least a 250 lb load.

You can try a simple test. Put the canoe in the water and get in with your intended load. See how far up the sides of the boat the waterline comes. When the bubble sided tumblehome of boats like the Advantage becomes submerged to or beyond the widest part, secondary stability drops off very quickly.

As long as you never intend to apply polyester gel coat to the hull, it is fine to cover the dry areas with epoxy. Using a foam roller and tipping out with a disposable foam brush probably is the fastest. If the canoe is going to be stored outside or you anticipate car topping it for long distances on a regular basis, or any other circumstance in which the hull is likely to see a lot of cumulative UV exposure, you might consider applying a good quality marine varnish over the epoxy. It takes a good bit of UV exposure before epoxy degrades to the point of breakdown, but when it does it goes fast, is ugly, and is hard to remove.

I would think making sealed floatation tanks would be rather tricky and if incorrectly done it could deform the ends of you boat by sucking the hull inward. Why not just get a pair of short, tandem end flotation bags? If you want something that can be left in, you can fashion end float blocks out of minicell foam.


nice boat
brings me back. I never got into flat water trippers but I always admired boats like that from afar.

polyester gel coat ?
why not cover epoxy with poly gel coat ?

Is West epoxy (what number ?) too stiff for a hull coating ? The epoxy is meant to structure wetting thru fabric as a hull composite ?

Polyester resins and gel coats will not cure reliably over epoxy.

I’m pursuing information not arguing a point,

the 1983 Advantage hull specified here is an epoxy layup ? Epoxy foam.

I assume there was a menu of layup choices in 1983. When did polyester rise in use age ?

West, who sells epoxy has an interesting upfront essay:




Is Tuffweave, a polyester fabric, specifically an epoxy foam core hull or was/is Tuffweave also a layup without foam using then polyester resin ?

West, and knowledgeable blogs write no problems with epoxy/polyester if the hull REPAIR is not held underwater at dock. West’s essay does an amusing dance telling us that. You know “did you hear about the 36’ yawl …?”

Does the REPAIR underwater run counter to your canoe layup objection to epoxy/polyester gelcoat practice ?

I’m using West Marine scratch gel coat in small tube repairing a Wenonah Kevlar layup…not seeing chunks fall off. Not yet.

Polyester gelcoat over tuffweave would allow a more inexpensive filing and smoothing of the hull, less drag in use but more work in repair than the more expensive epoxy ‘paint.’

Several blog posts suggest paint it with epoxy and move on (slowly)

Epoxy gelcoats are a level of expense higher aimed at exotic uses from its advertising. Is epoxy gelcoat harder to finish into a smooth surfaced hull than polyester gelcoat ?

I had read the West article

– Last Updated: Aug-03-14 3:04 PM EST –

I have also talked to their technical advisers regarding application of polyester gel coats over West epoxy.

Most gel coats are a polyester material. Most epoxy manufacturers advise against applying any polyester resin or gel over their epoxy.

Yes, I am aware of some folks who have applied polyester gel coat over thoroughly cured epoxy and got it to cure. I am also aware of some who tried, had the polyester resin or gel fail to cure, and wound up with a horrible mess that was very difficult to remove.

I have in fact used polyester gel coat repair kits to fill in chips and scratches to which epoxy had been applied and had it work OK. It happened to be West System epoxy. I don't know if West epoxy is more compatible with polyester resins or if I just got lucky. The conventional wisdom has long been to avoid putting polyester resin over epoxy. Here is an except from "The Epoxy Book" published by System Three and available on-line:

"Caution must be observed when using epoxy resins along with polyester resins. Observe the general rule that epoxy resins may be applied over cured polyesters that have been dewaxed and well sanded but polyesters should never be used over cured epoxy resins. Unreacted amine in the epoxy inhibits the peroxide catalyst in the polyester causing an incomplete cure at the interface. Sanding does not get rid of unreacted amine. The result is a poor bond even though the surface appears cured. Debonding will be the inevitable result."

Some manufacturers, including System Three, manufacture a "tie coat" resin (SB-112 in the case of System Three) that will bond mechanically to cured epoxy resin, over which polyester can then be applied.

Most large scale boat manufacturers use a vinylester resin since it is cheaper than epoxy and nearly as strong. I have also been told that vinylester resins will often wet out multiple layers of fabric more easily in a vacuum bagged or infused hull. Although vinylester resins are cheaper than epoxy, they have a limited shelf life and are difficult to use to mix up small batches. For the home repair person, the cost benefit of vinylester resins is negated by these factors, as well as the toxicity of the methyl ethyl ketone peroxidase that is used as a catalyst.

I am pretty sure that Wenonah uses vinylester resins. The polyester cloth used in Wenonah Tuf-weave layups is an interior layer. The exterior of the hull is fiberglass. Polyester cloth does not need to "cure" so there is no catalyst involved that will be affected by unreacted epoxy amines.

proceed with information…
a 1983 Wenonah is either epoxy foam core or polyester fiberglass with polyester gelcoat ? The owner should investigate and ask Wenonah with the serial number.

What does the industry finish coat epoxy foam with ?

I’ll inspect the gel on Kevlar on my Solstice. I was unaware of the potential. Gel is gelcoat and the tube was at West’s…

Yes, results appear highly variable with ‘authority’ tending to sell product then hedge on advice.

More: http://www.resinnavigator.com/html/benefits.htm