Bell Owners, BlackGold and KevLight

Hello, I have a few questions regarding these two materials. I was thinking about it while out on my Royalex boat yesterday. How careful are you with your boats while out on the water…and especially when launching it, or getting out of the boat. I bumped into quite a few submerged rocks yesterday, and have to admit that when I launch my boat I kinda put 1 foot in and shove off with the bottom scraping on gravel and sand. When I get back or go on shore I build up speed and run my boat aground leaning back to bet the bow as high upon the bank as possible. Can you do that with those two composite materials? I’m entertaining getting a Merlin2 just for touring lakes,covering distance, etc. While out yesterday I kept thinking “would I have to change my whole style of canoeing” if I were to get the boat I’m entertaining as a long distance solo boat? Just curious to hear from others who own boats made of these materials and what your experiences and procedures are.

Depends on how you want
your boat to look. Better to launch and land parallel to shore in water just deep enough to float. Yes, you will get your feet wet, but this is a water sport. The BG will take it, but you will wear the stems and bottom which will eventually require repair. Much easier to launch and land correctly.

When landing, placing the bow on the shore with stern floating is the most unstable situation you can get into. May be OK with your Pack because it’s short.

Treat your new boat with respect commensurate with it’s price and it will last as long as you want to keep it with minimal maintenance.

Composite boats actually wear less
than Royalex, because their exteriors are hard resin usually mixed with fiberglass. The soft vinyl on a Royalex boat will scratch, and scrape off on rocks, and eventually will scrape off, revealing the UV sensitive ABS.

Royalex boats are somewhat soft when new, and pick up dents going down through the vinyl and into the outer ABS layer. The ABS hardens noticeably after a couple of years, though the vinyl layer remains soft.

Once Royalex is dented, deeply scratched, worn down to the ABS, etc., the repair options are not wonderful. When I wore the vinyl off my Royalex WW boat under the pedestal where I sit, I had to skim off the vinyl and put on a two layer patch of S-glass and epoxy. That patch is much harder than the vinyl, and the scratches on it are very shallow and superficial.

I must admit that I am more careful beaching my newer composite boats that have no gelcoat wear layer at all. But they all have exterior glass layers and do not scratch easily. Scratches in gelcoat or in uncoated glass layers are fairly easy to fill and smooth, especially if you are only concerned about smoothness and functional strength and not about invisible color matching.

I always float the boat and dont run

– Last Updated: Apr-04-10 7:31 PM EST –

it up on shore. I have carbon fiber/kevlar and kevlar/fiberglass boats.

No UL boats any more with foam stiffening. If you damage the foam they can be tough to fix. Also they are fragile on the sides.

I also have thirteen thousand dollars of wood and dacron boats. They are an investment but to be enjoyed.

While life is rough on my boats its cause I am in them every day the water is soft and cause I do some extremely remote tripping with portaging. And I have learned that its a wise investment to try and get a tough boat as my life can depend on it if my electronic PLB fails. And to treat that boat with as much respect as I can. Sometimes accidents do happen though.

And the bottoms do get scratches. "Jeezus" rocks are alive and well and invisible in the North on lakes.

Also your boat was not designed to hold a load while bridged one end on shore and one end on the water. Its quite unstable too.

Stick with the Pack. While my response may seem snitty and uppity if you get an UL layup with a skin coat and use your normal entry procedures, soon enough you will have a fuzzball of Kevlar that you cannot really fix. If you can change your habits go with the new boat!

Some folk just find old practices hard to change.

"Its quite unstable too."
Ahhh Yes…

Reminds me of one of my scout trips to the BWCA. Like most BWCA campsites the landing was not conducive to running up on to shore. There was a rocky approach to an embankment about a foot higher than the water. One of the boys and his dad were out fishing. When they came in the dad dutifully stopped the boat about 3 feet from shore and told his son to get out and steady the canoe. The kid got out and proceeded to pull the bow up on to the embankment. Needless to say he learned not to do that maneuver again. :slight_smile: