Mad River ME decks

I just came into a Mad River ME, its been outfitted a few different ways before me. Currently has two cane seats angled for kneeling and padded appropriately as well. I’ll be changing the pads to better fit my height soon. However the gunwales have been changed to vinyl and the decks are…well…hacked to little stubs of what they ought to be. Any ideas where I can find replacements?



“…what they ought to be.” To carry?
For excluding water? Partly enclosing float bags? If the vinyl gunwales are borrowed from later MR whitewater boats (like my MR Synergy), then the part may still be available from MR. Mine don’t exclude much water, don’t enclose much of the float bags, but they have substantial carrying handles.

You can put on a simple plate, made perhaps of FG or some plastic material, screwed down to the vinyl gunwales. But I don’t know how the ends of the gunwales are “finished off” or what that would require for a clean result.

Hacked explained
What I mean by hacked off is that the decks are only maybe 3 inches long and havr been obviously cut. Most I have seen on other mady rivers, the decks are maybe 10 or more inches long, I dont need handles necessarily, my motivation is mostly aesthetic.

Waste Basket
Back in the old days I made some for my WW boats out of small plastic wastebaskets much like the one sitting next to every desk here in my office. About 12 " high with a 8 1/2 x 11 inch opening. Comes with a lip around the top to shead some water. Used to screw thru them into the gunwales and use a flat washer to keep it from being ripped out thru the screws. Of course they may rip out if you have a good swim but they were an easy and cheap fix that didn’t look to bad. BTW do not try picking the boat up by them.

DOH! Just realised that the vinyl end
caps used on the Synergy would probably fit an ME very well. The Synergy canoe (not the SOT) was discontinued about '91, but the end caps Mad River uses on the Outrage are probably the same.

They don’t rivet on very cleanly. Some force and cursing is needed. I say this because the end caps on my Synergy are a bit distorted along the rivet line.

A thought
I was thinking of getting some old town vinyl decks and cutting them in half down the middle, then trimming excess material from the middle and bonding the two pieces together to form a more sightly deck than what I have. I will add pictures tomorrow.

Don’t need decks
I removed the decks from my Millbrook and MR ME’s long ago and replaced them with very short plastic end caps MR used to sell.

Why? I don’t think short decks serve any useful purpose, especially on a bagged canoe, and just add more weight at the place I least want it, the ends. The float bags come up to gunwale level or above, and hence serve the water shedding purpose.

My Millbrook end decks are light, and
help contain the bags, as well as shedding water on occasion. Even on my Big Boy, the bow will plunge into a big wave on occasion. And the end decks help control wind rumpling while traveling at highway speed.

On Royalex boats, the factory end decks are typically heavier, but they are relatively light compared to the weight of the hull.

Yeah, but I was a light weight freak
John Berry’s decks had an upturned lip and he even delivered the ME and other hulls with foam splash guards glued on the bow. I soon destroyed all those things. Had to saw off the decks to replace the gunwales. That’s when I decided they just added weight I didn’t want. ME is a long boat with a lot of swing weight.

I think I left the decks on my Royalex ME, which is one of only two canoes I ever sold, and I still regret it.

One thing I like about my Mike Galt solo FW boats is that they are deckless. He similarly felt decks were useless at best. The argument probably makes more sense in FW.

regarding weight
My desire for decks is nearly 100 percent aesthetic, Adding a couple pounds doesn’t really concern me.

The boat has rope grab handles through the hull at bow and stern, so portability isn’t at stake either. Mostly it’s just me being irked by something and wanting to tinker around with it.

Thanks for all the replies.