How to hang kevlar canoe?

Howdy! I was asking a while back about what canoe to get for my clan and we will probably get something in kevlar. I want to hang it from the joists in the garage over the spouse’s (obviously!) car. There are inexpensive hoists available but I think that since our garage is so low, I should be able to just attach a pair of 2" webbing saddles to the joists and poke it in if I have enough room to maneuver.

Either with a hoist or without, is there a better way to orient the boat? Do you go upside down with the gunwales resting on the straps or right side up? I know these canoes aren’t as fragile as they look but I’d rather mess it up in the water than in the garage. :slight_smile:

Any advice? Thanks!

Probably makes no difference, but…

– Last Updated: Jun-19-13 6:02 PM EST –

... putting the canoe upside-down with the gunwales on something solid is the standard method. The idea is that the gunwales are stronger than the hull when it comes to applying load to a small area for extended time. I'd worry about that with plastic and maybe with Royalex, but I'm thinking it won't really matter with any composite boat - I don't think they get permanently deformed by mild stress. A solid surface that the gunwales rest on won't "pinch" the boat like a strap will, but again, I don't think Kevlar will deform over the years so that may make no difference either.

Here's one version of my normal canoe-hanging method. The only difference between the hanging system in the pictures and the ones I normally make is that on the normal setup, the winch works with a single lifting line, and that line splits into the two lines which lift the boat (with the version in the photos, both lifting lines wind onto the winch spool). There's some explanation included with the photos.

By the way, those temporary "sawhorse legs" that attach to the rack and support it after it's lowered down from the ceiling are nice but not at all necessary. I used to lower it down so that each cross piece rested on a 5-gallon bucket. A pair of milk crates or flat-top trash cans would be even better.

Probably doesn’t matter
But my preference would be to hang it upside down so the gunwales support the weight. It is conceivable that a very light layup hung in a hot garage for a long period could sustain some hull deformation.

Thanks guys!

That’s a beautiful system, GBG!

I do have a problem in that clearance is limited–not for me, but the spouse is going to be grazing his head no matter what. I think the cussing will be less if he hits the hull. If I rest it on solid supports on the gunwales, there will be blood when he hits. Perhaps hanging it from more than two straps to distribute the weight would make sense? The joists are only 8’ high so I don’t think we’ll need any machinery to get it up.

We only get a few hot days a year and I’m hoping to have a better spot for it eventually.

Overhead clearance
Overhead clearance might not be a problem for you. I just did some checking, and my garage has no ceiling so the rafter stringers are bare, and they are 8’ 2" to 8’ 3" above the floor. That’s just a little higher than what you say you have, perhaps partly on account of the fact that my garage is 55 years old and 2x4s were a little thicker in those days than they are now (there are two layers of 2x4 above the wall studs and one layer below, so the difference in thickness, multiplied by three, would probably be the difference in overall height, unless they make wall studs longer these days to account for that). On the other hand, if dimensions are “rounded off”, my rafter stringers are “8 feet high” too.

For my two canoes of “normal” dimensions, the bottoms of the gunwale brackets are 6’ 11" off the floor. For my Supernova, which is much deeper than any general-purpose canoe you are likely to find (so it hangs a bit lower), the gunwale brackets are 6’ 8" off the floor, and the stems of that boat (also higher than those of most canoes, which means they hang lower still) are 6’ 4" off the floor. Since my garage has no ceiling, the lifting pulleys are mounted just below the roof on 2x6’s strung between roof rafters, meaning there’s no hardware in the way to prevent me from raising each boat until the bottom of its hull almost touches the rafter stringers (the boats I just measured could all be raised another inch if I wished).

I won’t try to talk you into hanging your boats upside-down, but if you are considering that, I bet if you check your dimensions you’ll find that you have more clearance than you thought. Just remember that for an upside-down canoe, the stems will hang lower than the support brackets.

That’s a good point about clearance that I have completely missed.

I’ve got a little less than 8 feet total height (1955 construction) to the joists, unfinished so totally open above to hang stuff. Spouse is 6 feet so I have almost 24" to work with. So I might be able to flip it and use a trapeze-type thing. If the pointy ends are over the vehicle hoods, maybe nobody will get hurt.

If someone still gets hurt, well, I tried. :stuck_out_tongue:

I have a similar situation
I hang mine right side up so I don’t crack my head on the pointed ends. None are ultra lights.

I use 1/2" rope attached permanently to an eye bolt on one end. The other adjustable end goes through an eye bolt also. Then use an adjustable cam-type thing they sell at Lowes in the rope section to adjust the length of rope and keep it locked in place when it’s up. It is a very simple and inexpensive system. I wish I could tell you the name of the cam-lock thing sold at Lowes. If you send me an email I’ll shoot you a pic.

support it on it’s gunnels …
… question - is there any chance you could have it on wall mounted carrier arms (even arms up high) , or a rollable rack ??

gunwales down
if you hang the canoe right side up, the stem points will hit the ceiling first, limiting how high you can put the boat - that may or may not be significant.

I hang a WW canoe with about 4" of rocker crosswise above my F 150 - bottoms up gives me the most clearance above the truck - if I hung it gunwales up, the stems hit the ceiling first and the center of the boat hangs 4" lower that way - so I hang it gunwales down for maximum clearance - only the ends are lower that way

Thanks for the suggestions, all. I will try to flip it.

Unfortunately we can’t do a wall rack, even if I cleaned out the garage. We’re looking at 18+ foot canoes and I don’t have enough wall space that isn’t interrupted by a door.

I might be able to hang it right side up and stick the stems through the joists if I need the extra clearance but for now I’ll plan on inverting it. We can fine tune it after we get the darn thing.