So, what if it came with the skidplates?

-- Last Updated: May-15-10 2:33 AM EST --

My Prospector was set up by the dealer as a rental boat. It's the heavy RX Nova Craft and they added kev skid plates in anticipation of "rental abuse". Other than that, it was as new when I bought it (they never rented it out and it sat in storage for 2 years - I got it at a good price.

Although I know the boat has taken some good hits on the plates (due to my lack of skill), y''all have convinced me that I might be better off if they were not there. Especially now that I'm a little more, um, less abusive.

So - is it possible and worth trying to remove the felt skid plates? Or should I just live with 'em until I upgrade to a better (read, lighter) boat?

Wear them off.

if you’re poling

– Last Updated: May-15-10 6:34 AM EST –

the bows out of the water anyways. Think I saw some reference to chiseling them off but I sure wouldn't bother. I don't think heavy boats get appreciably affected by plates anyways. Cripe, even my 27 pound Millbrook has them, though not the super thick felt ones.

Facing a similar situation with our
Bluewater Chippewa composite. It was a demo and came with skid plates. They are quite a bit thinner than those typically used on Royalex boats, so they don’t add as much weight and resistance. Rather than trying to remove them, I plan to try smoothing them and beveling the edges, mostly relying on Adalox sandpaper and my random orbit sander. Kevlar fuzz can also be reduced to sandable nubs with a propane torch. The boat has no gelcoat so the skid plates are applied right over the pigmented outer epoxy and cloth, so removal would be time consuming.

Once I get the skid plates smoothed and beveled, I will apply epoxy mixed with graphite powder.

I’ve never removed a thick skid plate from a Royalex canoe. But I’ve learned that use of a low angle hand chisel can neatly separate the vinyl layer from the underlying ABS, so since Kevlar felt skid plates are usually applied to the vinyl top layer, that might mean that the skid plates could be cut down to very near the vinyl, and the remainder removed with the chisel method. Then an S-glass/epoxy cover could be laid over the ABS. (John Sweet of Sweet Composites always recommended removing the vinyl before applying the skid plate, but what does he know?)

All that said, I would recommend leaving your skid plates on, only perhaps beveling the edges for slightly reduced resistance.

Good points, all.
And thanks for all the responses.

What bothers me most about the plates is that they are very rough, they extend well back away from the stems on the bottom, and they have a pronounced ridge along the sides. I imagine that all that adds to drag (maybe not any more than all the scratches I’ve collected, but hey…) front to back and side to side.

I’ll leave them on, but I’m leaning toward the “smooth and bevel” idea. I have a sharp bastard file that should do the trick. I tested it a little and it does leave it smoother - didn’t notice if it leaves any fuzz. So - the kevlar fuzz (if it’s there) singes off easily?

You might also try
a carbide scraper to cut those edges down. The one (with replaceable blades) sold by Lee Valley Tools is great and you get lots of control with the two-handed design.

Oh -
…I need a carbide scraper! Another excuse to buy one! :wink: