Nova Craft Bob Special Question

I measured a 2006 Royalex Bob Special today and was surprised that from end to end it was 14’8" (advertised 15"), width 36" at the thwart (advertised 35") and depth 12" in the center (advertised 13"). Have changes been made since 2006 or is this the shrinking Royalex story. I have an inquiry in to Nova Craft but I wanted to see if anyone here knows. Thanks, Joe

BTW the 2006 was new, still in the wrapper. J

If it was sitting on the floor, the
bottom was probably flattened out some and that would reduce the center depth some.

If they’re gunwale width measurements are from the top edges of the hull, rather than the outer edges of the gunwales, that could account for their published width being narrower than your measured width, if you measured from outside edge to outside edge.

I thought about that.
And the stems are somewhat recurved which may account for some of the length difference. Just wondering if other Bob owners had similar measurments. Thanks, Joe

I think it would be very unusual for a Royalex boat to be exactly the same dimensions as a composite boat of the same “design”. Some are WAY off, and some are reasonably close, but I believe an exact match would be pretty unusual.

As far as the maximum width goes, it could be as simple as the type of gunwales. Royalex boats commonly have vinyl gunwales while composite boats are typically wood or aluminum. Vinyl gunwales are a lot more bulky than the other two materials. I tried out a Blue Steel Supernova with wood gunwales this year, and the first difference I noticed as compared to my Royalex Supernova was how “tiny” the wood gunwales looked in comparison to the vinyl gunwales on my boat. The handling of the Blue Steel version was much nicer too, telling me that the two hulls were NOT exactly the same.

Aluminum gunwales
This Bob is actually Royalex Lite with aluminum gunwales. When you measure Royalex to Royalex it’s just about 35". The shallow arch makes a nice stiff boat, zero oilcanning.

Just so you know, Jeff, a boat can
be quite arched, and generally stiff, and still oilcan. We have an old Moore Voyageur, heavy FG layup, and a bottom arched enough that it almost can’t be called “shallow,” and unless there are keel supports from the longitudinal internal keel strip to the three gunwales, it oil cans quite a bit.

Whether Royalex boats with arched bottoms are inclined to oil can depends on how heavy and thick the Royalex is. Usually builders know enough to choose the right weight of Royalex. NovaCraft should be just fine in that department.

There’s Royalite and then there’s
stiffer Royalite. The Nova Craft Royalite is stiffer and less flexy than others I’ve seen. I paddled the Royalite Bob a good bit at a demo day and I was impressed. Pretty fast, turns good, pretty stable. IMHO though, it’s too wide to be truly happy as a solo unless you’re carrying so much you have to have a tandem. However, for you and Lori I think the Nova Craft Bob would be an excellent pocket tripper.

I had the Nova Craft Pal and paddled it on rocky/ledge rivers like the Maury and James and Terri and I took 3rd place in the Tye River Race which is rocky as any stream anywhere and the Royalite held up really well.


– Last Updated: Mar-01-09 5:04 PM EST –

for the input. I got the Bob to replace my Camper which wasn't getting much use. I thought it would be a great boat for me and Lori to tandem and also, it's a really nice solo for Canadian style paddling. Nova Craft does make a beautiful canoe and of course the folks at Appomattox River Company were great to work with.