Does anyone have any experience with those foam outriggers (as available through Cabelas)? I am wondering if the foam would come off if you are using a motor. I also wonder if one of the sponsons his the water while you are moving if it will “grab” and turn you to the side. Is that a potential advantage to getting those molded plastic sponsons?
You’ve seen at least some of the
problems with sponsons and motors. Most of us don’t think sponsons are the answer to a canoe’s supposed instability. If sponsons were really adviseable for safety, then you would be well advised to look at a jon boat suitable for motor drive instead.
I haven’t seen any problems with it because I’ve never used my outboard on my canoe, that’s why I am asking the question. Have you or anyone else had experience with this?
Also, I already have a canoe and an outboard and don’t have space for a jon boat right now even if I wanted to get one. Best case scenario is not always the reality.
Let’s start over by discussing what
sort of canoe you have. I did find a chapter in Bill Riviere’s “Pole, Paddle, and Portage” in which he notes that a typical double-ended canoe will require mounting the outboard motor to one side or another of the stern, on a bracket. He says that a 3 hp motor on a 16 foot canoe is quite effective, while a 17 to 18 footer can handle a 5 hp motor. Todays motors are sometimes lighter (Bill wrote in the 60s). Riviere says that the offset bracket mounting causes the resting canoe to tip to that side to an extent worrisome to some. He specifically cites foam sponsons as a cure. A picture of a canoe so rigged shows that the front ends of the sponsons are slanted upward to that they will not “catch”. If your Cabella sponson options are not shaped that way, they could be carved. Or, you could check out Spring Creek, a major supplier of sponsons and things. They might have some outboard-related gadgets as well.
My main concern would be that your outboard motor is small and light enough to bracket mount without a bothersome degree of tipping. If it does tip a lot, then sponsons are one possible answer.
The canoe is a 16’ Bell and the motor is an old 3 hp Evinrude. I don’t know what you call the plastic trim around the lip of the canoe (coaming?) but if the mount goes under this I wonder whether the plastic would hold up and not crack. Thanks for the replies.
I guess my main concern is tipping (obviously horrible with a running outboard) followed closely by my concern that the plastic as mentioned before would break.
An outboard mount should …
…attach to the gunwales (that rail around the perimeter of the hull), NOT to the hull itself. As already suggested, contact someone who makes these things. Old Town should have them too, and theirs are surely time-tested and reliable.
Mounts typically bridge across both
gunwales (that plastic lip) near the stern where the boat is narrow. This bridging keeps the motor bracket from putting enough torque on either gunwale to damage it. I haven’t checked, but I would bet that Pirgagis.com has motor mounts on their online catalog.
What about the sponson bracket? Do I risk damaging the gunwale if that torques it too much?
Check out the method of attachment
I know nothing about sponsons, and have never even seen any, except for the “built-in” foam sponsons on a Sportspal canoe. Look at the diagrams on the websites of companies that sell sponsons. A rugged mount should be a one-piece unit that bridges across the width of the boat, attaching to the gunwale on both sides. As long as the attachment framework mounts to both sides of the boat, you should be fine. What that will do, is prevent any twisting action from being imparted to the hull material or the gunwale on just one side. Instead, there will be a direct downward push on one gunwale, and an upward lift on the opposite gunwale. Up-down forces on the two gunwales will not hurt your boat. If this isn’t clear from the pictures you see, you can email them with a question. Still, I think any major brand, like Spring Creek, will have this pretty-well figured out, sso that damaging the boat isn’t an issue.
Years ago, when I was first getting my wife used to going out in a canoe (usually to fish) I installed a pair of fiberglass covered styrofoam outriggers on my canoe. They would normally ride a few inches off the water and would only engage if the boat was tipped about 5 to 10 degrees. You could not capsize the boat with these attached and they never caused any trouble when used in conjunction with the small 3 hp motor which I also used with this boat. Once my wife became comfortable that the canoe was not inherintly unstable we quit using the “trainer wheels”.