Advice for Bluewater Canoe Owner

-- Last Updated: Jul-16-15 11:21 PM EST --

I have recently purchased a used 18’ Bluewater Kevlar in decent condition. I was hoping someone familiar with these canoes could help me with a few questions.

My first question has to do with what model canoe it is. It came with decals reading “Bluewater,” “Contains Kevlar 49,” and “Jensen Design.” I have no information on the model however. There is limited information available on google. Based on what is available in a Bluewater catalog (now owned by Abiti & co.) I believe I have Saugeen 17’ 6”, Ash Trim, and Infused Kevlar (some of the measurements are slightly different, if these are still the same models offered previously). The last owner believed that it is fiberglass reinforced, and that it was produced pre 2004. I have not found any evidence that this model is a Jensen design however, so I am questioning if the decal is original, or if this is an older unlisted, out of production model. When I look up the HIN, this is a 1989 model, certified in 1991 by Rockwood Outfitters (same address as Bluewater canoes).

My second question revolves around maintenance, while the canoe is in great condition (lightly used and stored indoors) it has some wear and could use some love. In addition I have been using it frequently, in rough terrain and with dogs. There for I would like to develop my maintenance regiment keep it up.
With regards to the gunwales, they are in great condition, but starting to get scraped with rough edges at the bow and stern. I believe they may be varnished with polyurethane or lacquer instead of oil. I planned to start using an oil based protectant. I wanted to clean them up with 100 grit sandpaper, then work in Natural Gunwale Guard with a rag and wet rub with a 220 Scotch-Brite Pad.

There are sever scrapes and scratches through the gel coat down to the Kevlar. The bow and stern are stripped down to the fiberglass edge. They are structurally sound with no dents or chip in the fiberglass however. I planned on making repairs using Fibre Glass-Evercoat Co Polyester Gel Paste with Fibre Glass-Evercoat Co Color Agents to match color. Has anyone used this product before, or used another that they would recommend over it?

The inside Kevlar is in relatively good condition, but there are signs of wear on the floor by the seats. There is a section down the entire length on one side of the floor that is getting white, flakey and pin-holed between the weave. I believe it was left face up in the sun, and with some pooling water for a short period of time. After a good cleaning, I wanted to use a roller or brush to apply a thin lay of epoxy sealant to protect this. I am hoping there are recommendations for a product that should be chemically compatible and possibly a little more UV resistant. Currently I am leaning towards west system epoxy slow hardener fiberglass resin, or a generic UV resistant marine grade clear epoxy resin for fiberglass.
After the epoxy and gel coat repairs, I planned on using 303 Protectant on those surfaces to keep them up between scratch repairs.

If anyone has any recommendations on other products to use, or better methods, please let me know.

Pictures are at this link-

Bluewater catalog-

canoe repair
I have used the Evercoat gelcoat repair kit, or at least an Evercoat kit that contained gel, MEKP hardener, and pigments. It works tolerably well but don’t expect to get an exact color match. Make sure you cover the stuff with waxed paper and squeege the waxed paper down well to exclude air as it cures. To fill in deep scratches might require multiple applications and you often have to wet sand and buff the area after application to get a nice result.

I have used a lot of different “penetrating oils” over the years. The very worst one in terms of its handling properties was Gunwale Guard as sold by Voyegeurs years ago, and now by Harmony. Perhaps I got a bad can, but Mike McCrea who tested a number of wood treatments years back also gave it very low marks.

Watco oils are widely available and work tolerably well as do some of the “Tung Oil finishes” such as that made by Minwax. I like the Watco Teak Oil a bit better than the regular Watco oil.

Some resins will blush white upon water exposure. Before you do anything with the hull interior, wipe it down with a rag damped with acetone. It is possible some of the white will disappear. I have used Clear Coat epoxy by System 3 on the interior of composite canoes. It is a low viscosity epoxy that levels better than conventional epoxies. It is quite possible the West Systems 105 resin with their special 207 hardener would work as well. If you want the interior more UV resistant, cover it with a coat or two of marine varnish when the epoxy has fully cured.

If it says “Jensen Design”, it has not
been in any of their recent catalogs. Their designs since 2000 have all been by Steve Killing. I imagine that back when your boat was made, they were licensing a Jensen designed 18’ cruiser, a rather fast boat. Even with Killing’s modifications, the Saugeen is a pig by comparison.

Can’t speak about that far back, but most Bluewaters have glass outside, Kevlar inside, a rational mix of fiber characteristics. It is possible that, earlier on, they did not know better than to use Kevlar outside.

We own a 2000 Bluewater Chippewa, designer unknown, 16’ 8", 50 pounds, 16 inches deep, a medium speed load carrier. It is glass outside, some nylon in intermediate layers, and Kevlar inside.

RE: canoe repair
Pblanc, Thank you for the advice. This will be the first time I have gotten into repairs of this nature.

For the gelcoat application techniques. Will air distort just the appearance, or other physical properties as well?

Thanks for letting me know about the low remarks of the gunwale guard. I have not found many reviews on the product, and it does seem to be slightly more costly than other oils. Other than teak and tung oils, gunnel lotion mixtures (minerals spirits, distilled vinegar, boiled linseed) keep coming up. Have you ever used a lotion mixture?

With regards to the interior repairs, my main concern is that pinholes are forming between the top weave layer, holding moisture and growing mildew. After a good clean up, do you think a coat of marine varnish should be sufficient to seal this? I am looking at Rust-Oleum Marine Spar Varnish. Also, do marine varnishes harden like the epoxy, or are they always slightly soft and may become tacky over time?

RE: If it says “Jensen Design”, it has
According to the HIN, this boat was manufactured in 1989 by Rockwood Outfitters. It looks very similar to the saugeen at this site…

Also see the google drive link from the first post.

If it is a licensed “Jensen Design” 18’ cruser, would bluewater have sold it under the saugeen name, or a discontinued name? Also would it be similar to the jensen 18 by Wenonah, or did Jensen have different versions for all licensees?

No, there is no chance whatsoever that
it is a Saugeen. Be glad, Jensen would never produce a version of the Saugeen, and Bluewater did so only because there was demand from Canadians who were attached to outdated “classic” designs.

Is there an outside protruding keel on the boat? No? Then it is not a Saugeen. Jensen never, never designed boats with outside keels.

Marine varnishes are not as hard as
epoxy, but they are hard enough, and they will not get tacky with time.

Note that if you use 303 between epoxy or varnishing jobs, you will have to make sure to clean enough to remove all the 303 before the next steps.

There is outside protruding keel.

– Last Updated: May-14-16 11:23 AM EST –

There is no outside protruding keel on the boat.

RE:Advice for Bluewater Canoe Owner
Now that spring has arrived I am beginning to work on the canoe. I am using the following:


Fibre Glass-Evercoat Co Polyester Gel Paste with Red

System Three 1802K16 Clear Satin WR-LPU Urethane Paint Coating

generic cutting coumpound, and polishing compound

303 (30306) Marine Protectant

I have already completed the gunwales. They started out with a varnish coating, worn scratched, with gray on the underside and edges. With them in place I sanded them down to fresh wood and applied the D1. I used a orbital sander with 60 and 150 grit. I pulled out the seats and yoke. It was a little tricky to do the undersides close to the boat wall with out scratching, but I did they best I could. I may go back with a finer grit of paper and try to get them smoother now that they are not as thirsty. I will get a after picture, but I forgot the before picture.

For the inside of the boat, before I use the system 3, I need remove the chalky residue, and mold/dirt from the worn weave. I was informed a nylon brush would be best for this, as it will not fuzz the Kevlar. Does anyone have any recommendations on what soap/solvent to use? Somewhere rubbing alcohol and acetone was mentioned, but I was going to try dawn dish soap first, maybe a mold cleaner too.

For the outside of the boat, I started with a polishing compound to remove some of the gel coat chalkiness. Next I plan on focusing on the side walls where Kevlar is exposed. Fiberglass was used on the bottom of the boat and up part of the sides of the boat. It is just Kevlar from the lower/mid side to the top. As mentioned, I will probably use wax paper, or mylar with the evercoat. While I used red to try to match the color, I’m sure it will be much brighter. It didn’t seem worth is getting three pigments to try to match it. After the gel coat cures, wet sand with 200, 300, 600, grit. Then use the cutting, buffing, and polishing compound to bring back the shine and get out the superficial scratches on the sides. The bottom of the canoe is mostly white and through to the fiberglass in some spots, but should be fine. After this, I am hoping I should be alright for a few years with some 303 and the D1 through out the seasons.

I will try to link some pictures as I complete this, hopefully over the next week or so. Does anyone have anymore advice with my current plan above?

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