Graphite vs Kevlar UltraLight

 I have a Wenonah Prism in Kevlar flex core layup which serves my canoeing needs very well.  Unfortunately this 44 pound canoe is harder for me to lift than it was when I purchased it 9 years ago.  The graphite Prism weights 32 lbs. and the ultra light layup weighs 34 lbs.  Any thoughts on the advantages or disadvantages of these two layups?<br />

The initial cost is not a major factor.

If it was me I would get the ultralight
layout. The graphite will be a lot more delicate.

Jack L

I haven’t had the Graphite, but for the money, the UL is dandy. I’ve taken a UL boat all over the BWCA, and it’s plenty tough and light enough.

Some combo of both

– Last Updated: Feb-01-13 12:43 PM EST –

It is interesting that body armor is Kevlar and/or Spectra behind ceramic plates while all top end boats and planes are carbon. But, the cross sections of both are always thicker than acceptable in modern canoes and kayaks.

Best current thin laminate theory has carbon outer layers to resist deformation and provide a stiff hull but Kevlar inner layers to provide tensile strength to support the carbon outer when it deforms close to breaking point.

The two hull options listed are hardly lightweight compared to current state of the art infused hulls with integral, synthetic, rails. Several builders offer 15.5-16'+ hulls well under 30 lbs in Carbon/Kevlar hybrid laminates.

How these boats get heavier over time. :slight_smile:

which other brands other then swift ?
If you like the prism, the solo boats of swift are different is their paddling.

the shadow of placid. can be the look of it get close. not sure never seen one over here. Not sure how fast they can start producing that model after the fire. hopefully soon.

any others that do a fast tripper sub 30 pouds?

Synthetic rails?
Are synthetic rails on lightweight solo canoes as durable as aluminum rails? I know one person who had synthetic rails crack shortly after they bought their canoe. The manufacturer replaced the rails but they went most of one summer without their canoe while this was being done.

Rail durability

– Last Updated: Jan-31-13 11:15 AM EST –

The perfect rail for durability would be a stainless steel and spherical. Everything else is on a durability continuum which is just one rail system characteristic. One piece aluminum extrusions do not capture the laminate nearly as integral synthetics. Aluminum rails also tend to flatten shear and create hog in canoes.

I have seen synthetic rail boats that have exited roof racks at road speed without damage to the rail system; end over end flips that have bent aluminum rails beyond utility or repair and shattered wood systems.

There is variation in synthetic rails. A local builder came up with a rain gutter system compatible with hand lamination; ingenious in concept it was built too lightly in it's first iteration. They got it right pretty quickly.

Savage and Crozier install synthetic rails after the hull is infused. Colden, Placid and Swift infuse their symthetic rail systems with the hull. The weight savings are pretty heroic, roughly 15% of total hull weight.

A useful analogy might be fishing nets. Cabela's lists aluminum framed nets from $60-$170, mostly $70+/-. WalMart must under cut that range. Nomad makes smaller trout oriented nets with infused frames; lighter and elegant, running $115-$230. We get to make our own choices.


– Last Updated: Jan-31-13 11:17 AM EST –

Colden, Hornbeck, Placid, Savage River and Swift all offer synthetic rail construction. There are others working on it, witness recent entries in MCCR.

Savage has hull shapes nearer to the Prism, but Colden, Hornbeck and Placid also have long & fast Swede form tourers. Placid's Rapid is a better choice than Shadow, which is significantly narrower/ faster/ more challenging to keep upright.

thanks for the info
To bad that only placid and swift make it sometimes to Europe. So I did not know the other brands.

Whether it is more delicate depends on
what Wenonah does with the carbon. With proper use of carbon cloth, the canoe should be stiffer and stronger than their ultralite, at the same or less weight.

The one way that carbon is vulnerable, in replacing other “outside” cloth layers, is that it wears through faster than other cloths. On that note, Wenonah has been resolutely irrational in using Kevlar as an outside layer. I don’t know if they’ve ever corrected that practice.

We have three J boats, and three tandems
Wenonahs and Dillers.

Some of are ultralight Kevlar and some are carbon, and as far as I am concerned the carbon is more delicate.

I can only assume that the solos are similar.

Jack L

It must depend on what layup Wenonah
uses. I will state categorically that if they keep the same reinforcement inside the hull, using Kevlar, and only replace some outside Kevlar with layers of carbon of equivalent weight, you will get a stiffer canoe that is harder to break and easier to repair. That has always been the experience of whitewater boat builders.

Now, certain kinds of blows to the outside of a CC/KK hull may cause local compression cracks, just as they do on my SS/KK whitewater boats. But such cracks are easily and quickly repaired. I hate to repair local damage to the outside of an all Kevlar hull. The Kevlar often scrunches and delaminates rather than breaking, so it has to be laboriously cut out. Sanding is more difficult. Then one has to decide what repair cloth to use.

Kevlar is an outstanding cloth for the inside of hulls, but always a disappointment for the outside layers. Back in the 80s, the Boatbuilders Manual presented clear data showing that an SS/KK layup was the best at withstanding damage. KKKK was far behind. I’ve never seen test data that contradicted that result.

And I will state "Categorically"
that of the boats I have: the carbon are more delicate !

Jack L

Weigh it
Have you weighed your canoe lately. It just might be that the kevlar has been exposed to and wicked water into the fabric.

So, they could have done the “carbon”
boats correctly, but they didn’t.

different usage
I think WeNoNah intends their carbon boats for marathon competition, which uses sprint kayak/Canoeing, Italian based construction guidelines;“If you aren’t in first place, why finish?” Those boats use minimal fabris to contain weight.

Hulls for recreational use tend to have more fabric in the laminate, the Germanic construction concept “Can’t win if you don’t finish.”

Savage River offers another inner blanket for those intending a long life for their canoes.

Yeah, the first guy to run the marathon
died at the finish.

g2d must be busy this weekend.
According to him, the idea that exposed Kevlar absorbs water is a myth, and I believe him. The idea is, in a properly made boat the fabric is fully saturated with resin, and thus, there is no unoccupied volume within it. In fact, other stuff I’ve heard would suggest that in a poorly made boat, there is far too much resin, so that not only is the fabric saturated, but there is excess material serving no purpose. It doesn’t make sense to me that there’d be an opposite extreme, where the weave of the fabric has available space within it. The whole idea is to squish resin into the weave during construction, right?

And he was slightly…
…closer to Italian than Germanic.

But he was mostly carbon.

As soon as my personal economy allows it (as well as the Misses), I intend to replace my Wenonah Flexcore Rendezvous with a Savage River Blackwater in their carbon/Kevlar layup. Light, lithe, but sturdy being my hoped-for goal. Here’s hoping it never has to face one-twentieth of the schisty abuse my 1991 S-glass Mad River Explorer’s been subjected to. (Must be the German in me?) Now there’s a composite riparian warrior! (Maybe it’s the Irish in Jim Henry?)