bell's kevlight lay-up

I’ve never owned one or paddled a Bell in kevlight. How tough is that lay-up? Consider, I’m thinking about the boat as a C1 stock racer, not an expedition or river boat.

Also, how does it stand up to UV rays?


Not…you have to take care of it

– Last Updated: Dec-09-08 11:52 AM EST –

I trashed a Merlin in Kevlite.

That material is made for tripping by gentle people.

I caught the boat on some current and it tipped and folded and was torn by some rocks..The gunwales offer minimal support and when one went the boat folded.

That said, I extracted the boat and found that it did not leak. Though out of shape above the waterline the bottom was fine.

Thankfully as I had another sixty miles to go to civilization. I wasnt in a gentle park either.

don’t want to trip in it
just race, exercise, etc.

i’m very careful with my 22 pound carbon C1

but I found a magic that’s older in kevlight and it looks green and yellowish across the hull.

the wood thwarts also need some varnish, etc.

can i mount a wenonah sliding seat to the hull and expect it won’t break into the substrate?


Can’t aswer about the seat
but I have been paddling a kevlite Magic for 3 years now. It has a ton of usage including 3 one week plus trips in the Boundary Waters. It has held up just fine, though after this years trip I need to add small patches at the stems where the epoxy finally wore through to the fabric. No noticable degradation due to UV that I can tell.


they are all greenish and yellowish

– Last Updated: Dec-09-08 11:53 AM EST –

varnish is for looks..the thwarts are probably ash.

You might check them for dry rot with an ice pick.

Should be fine for what you want.

No idea about the Wenonah seat as I dont paddle many Wenonahs..dont like them.

C.E. Wilson is teh expert on hulls

– Last Updated: Dec-09-08 2:42 PM EST –

but I bet you could mount a pedestal slider with no problem. An interesting bit of info is that Dave Yost told me that a hull with that much of a shoulder should have a bilge-mounted seat to prevent stressing the hull. If you are worried about damaging the foam billet, add strips of Kevlar or glass under the seat's frame.


I’m no expert or builder
… but my eyes tell me the same thing

Consider re-enforcing
under the seat a little. I put a slider in my strip

built canoe and after 4 years of use I am having issues with the glass shearing and pushing the stripes under the pedestal. Admitidly I only used 2 oz inside and 4 oz outside and the wood was thin. I would suggest that you put a glass “footprint” under the pedestal to help spread out the stress.



That would trash any Kevlar boat.
Hydraulics are extremely powerful and any kevlar boat, especially one in an ultralight layup will fold in that scenario. I wouldn’t berate Bell’s durability based on that experience.

All new Bell Ultralights come from the factory with Kevlar felt skidplates under the first layer of cloth. Adds a touch of weight, but for trippers, it’s a great detail. During Dave Kruger’s short time with Bell, he made several changes to the building process which makes them much more pretty, but thing’s like the internal hidden skid plates seems like a no-brainer for those boats.

He also installed a bunch of Wenonah sliders into Magics at the Bell factory. That boat cries for a slider and you should have no problem installing it.

As for stock class racer, it isn’t going to be a fast boat. A Wenonah Advantage, Sawyer DY Special or Shockwave or Clipper Freedom would be better a better choice, but when the price is right, go for it.

It was class one! Caught on pointy rocks, filled.

Rescue was me pulling it off the rock.

yeah, and let’s not forget kevcrystal
I didn’t assume that it was serious WW you were in reading your post. I don’t think a boat meant for use should fold fold that simply, and certainly it wouldn’t trash any boat.

And I agree, kevlight is not up to tripping as most trippers know it.

We should all remember the older iteration we slip into calling kevlight was kevcrystal, a slightly different animal and IMHO not any better.

Many Kevlar boats, not "any."
It is easy to lay up an S-glass/Kevlar boat that is a little lighter than Royalex, and only a little less durable. But the bigger the weight advantage you want, the bigger the durability gap.

If you take the example of decked boats, some composite boats have pretty much equalled the durability of poly boats. My old Phoenix Fiberlastic was hammered mercilessly on eastern and western rivers, and now survives, more durable than poly, which could not have withstood decades of sun exposure so well.

Use Kevlar or polyester, not glass.
Wear and stress on glass might produce fibers and shards which would be irritating to the person on the pedestal. Kevlar is an excellent “inside” cloth.

A "boat meant for use"
I think it’s a pretty strong statement to say that no boat made for use should fold that easily. Many of Wenonah’s canoes, which are every bit as light (and every bit as delicate) as a Bell in KevLight are among the most popular lightweight canoes out there, and there’s no shortage of such boats that are in fine condition after being used really heavily for many years. “Use” does not necessarily mean paddling in fast water with rocks or logs.

Sorry, omitted word
I should have said ‘tripping use’ as the context wasn’t clear enough.

I agree that ultralight boats do have their purpose and can easily be used regularly for years on end. However, I don’t believe they are appropriate trippers, despite that fact that some do use them that way and get away with it scot free.

Oh good. That makes sense now.

Good point.


i figured it was the slowest
of the stock boats.

virtually all of my racing is in a C1 cruiser – savage river

the magic would only be used on rougher coastal water courses along the Gulf of Mexico.

i’m guessing with 1.5 to 2 footers rolling, an advantage probably won’t be that much faster. maybe i’m wrong on that one.

also, it’s the only c1 stock boat i’ve seen for sale in Florida lately.


See the definition, not the jargon.
Merriem-Webster defines Hydraulic as:

1: operated, moved, or effected by means of water

2 a: of or relating to hydraulics b: of or relating to water or other liquid in motion

I in no way implied that there was whitewater involved. Pin your boat against a piling in the Mississippi River, which is the epitome of non-whitewater, and watch it get torn in half. I was using the word for its formal definition, not the whitewater slang for huge and gnarly water feature.

Water is powerful and any pinned boat faces certain doom when the “hydraulics” of water are involved.

moving water equals certain doom?
I just flat out don’t agree with the above post.