Bell Black Gold Layup

-- Last Updated: Dec-11-08 12:10 PM EST --

Does anyone know how many layers of fabric or the construction method on a Rob Roy 15? How do you think one would hold up for week long trips in stump and rock filled water from from flat lakes to class I or II rivers? I weigh 275lbs.

Few if any
will be willing to share the layup schedule. The bottom line is the BG layup just doesn’t get any tougher.

layup yes, weight, maybe not
you’re at the max of the preferred load range.

the boat will carry 280 or even a little more, but the boat was also designed to carry a paddler of say 150 to 200 plus gear.

heavier folks tend to have a higher center of gravity than a lighter person with gear in the bilge.

you put yourself and 75 pounds of gear, food and water and you could be looking at trouble on rougher waters

strong lay-up
The black/gold lay-up is very strong. If you drop down onto a sharp rock with a full load you might be able to damage it but otherwise you’ll have a hard time hurting the boat. I’ve bumped rocks pretty hard many many times with my black/gold Merlin II and late this year it took two direct straight ahead hits with barely-submerged objects that brought the boat to a dead stop and didn’t hurt it a bit…even when I was wondering whether I’d see damage or water trickling in.

My total load is right around 275 with the dog which the Merlin II (and Rob Roy I think) will handle just fine but unless you pack very lightly you run the risk of overloading the boat; I’m not sure of rated max load for a Rob Roy offhand but I’d guess that it’s 300 pounds or less.

Bells Black Gold used to be an outer of 5.7ox carbon, a carbon bottom and a carbon center diamond, followed by a kev bottom, a Kev center diamond and two layers of 5.5oz Kevlar. It’s a fantastic layup, and is also used, with some variation by Placid boats.

275 plus 50 lbs gear will depend a lot on your stick skills and balance.

whoever mentioned that the manufacturers weren’t likely to share exact layup specs was dead on - the technology to make boats (outside of swift and placid) is pretty old tech, but the exact compositions are fairly closely held.

I can say that since Charlie’s days with Bell, the composition has changed a bit. There is more fabric in the hulls now than there ever was, also in the stems.

That said, what it sounds to me is that the trip you’re taking is better suited to a boat that isn’t $2800.00 plus.

I “forgot” a few partials; trying to describe the laminate without getting too specific.

The concept is a half carbon, half Kev skittle, with the carbon on the outside to maximize compression resistance, and the Kev on the inside, where it’s tensile strength comes into play sooner.

Reg is correct about precise details; not really available.

There you go again Charlie!
Getting all technical on us.

What exactly is a “skittle”, outside of a heavily marketed candy?


Hard on the outside, soft on the inside.

I wasn’t worried about the exact layup, just trying to get a feel for how durable the Rob roy would be

when hitting an occassional rock or stump. I currently have a Pamlico 135t set up solo and a Pungo 140, I just always liked the look of the Rob roy.

Thanks for the info.

I have lost two Bell black/gold Canoes off roof racks at road speed. The NorthStar required two small patches over stress cracks and exterior gel work. The WildFire needed sanding: 120 through 1500 and buff.

Someday I’ll write a book about potential tie down failures, but re the NorthStar, best to tie the front down rather than the back if you’re only going to tie one end down. [Who’d a thunk?]

We had a local paddler loose a RapidFire off her Toyota truck, again, at road speed west of Saranac Lake. Sanded, buffed, no other damage.

Black/Gold is tough!

No need for a book Charlie
but how about a detailed description around a campfire? Self-depreciating stories are always best told with friends as an audience.