I have a Royalex canoe that was manufactured in 1993. I bought it used and it had been stored outside in the sun, so some fading of the hull color has occurred. The hull still flexes easily enough, the hull does not appear brittle at all. I hit it with 303 a couple or three times a year. Just wondered how long I could expect a Royalex boat to hold up before it cracks and splits open on me in the middle of a lake?
Depends on how much sun
Other environmental chemicals can hurt it as well. But you are way up North where the sun is week so it may last another decade or more. It will start to crack a little at first so you’ll have time to buy a new one.
The outer vinyl skin intercepts the UV.
The ABS layers are very quickly degraded by UV, but as long as they are protected by the vinyl, they’re OK.
Some of us are of the opinion that ABS gets stiffer and eventually brittle with age. But this happens quite slowly. For lake use, you do not need to worry about it. For whitewater use, I would guess that at about a dozen years old, the ABS may have lost enough ductility to make cracking more likely.
I once saw a rather old ABS Mad River ME slide down a slope and into a tree, splitting right down the stem. The nature of the split made it clear that it was a series of fractures, not a tear, so loss of ductility was clear.
There might be a way to go along the outside, and then the inside, of an ABS hull with a local heat source, heating the ABS to the softness point, and then letting it cool again. This is annealing the plastic. But it would be a very tricky procedure. One might well end up with a lumpy boat.
25 years +
I have an Old Town Acadia that left the factory in 1981. Was bought by a Canoe rental outfit in Maine then went to an outfitter in New Hampshire. When the outfitter went under I got the boat at auction in 2000. Has seen a lot of miles since and is still going strong. Outer skin was fading so I spray painted it last year with one of the new vinyl paints. Also added skid plates to cover wear on bow and stern.
28 year old OT Tripper
Wha Ho, Pilgrim;
Me Tripper is 28 years old an’ still going strong.
I’ve heard of cracking occuring in Royalex due to being exposed to cold temperatures (being stored outside through winters), but I haven’t heard of any reports of cracking due to too much sun.