Wenonah repair

So there is a 16 foot Wenonah canoe for sale. Doesn’t say much else about it other than it needs a couple repairs. I’ve never had or paddled a canoe, but would like to look at one for packing a bit more gear than I bring in the kayak. Like hunting camp for example. This one comes along and looks like it only needs minor repair. A bit more than I wanted to spend on a first canoe, but what the hell, it’s a good boat.
So, the cracks in the picture, my thought would be some resin on the inside and let it be, maybe a small piece of fiberglass cloth also? Probably cracked through the gel coat but I would think keeping it waxed would keep water from seeping into the fiber, if any could make it into such a modern layup. Just looking for thoughts on these cracks. I may have to go spend more than I was planning soon.

What is by the name ? Looks like it could be a Voyager. I’d use GFlex epoxy on those minor repairs IF they are minor.

Should be easy to fix. I wouldn’t hesitate to buy it if the price is good.

The only other picture. It is under $1000 so the cheapest I’ve seen a Wenonah. Looks like a better bet for solo paddling than the typical 17’ Grumman, coleman or sears canoe you normally see when looking at a canoe in this price. I suppose I have to look at it and see.
G flex? I will look into that if I get this thing.

It is a dedicated solo and shouldn’t be mentioned in the same breath as the other 3. If it is what I think it is, expect it to be spooky be when you try it. That passes as soon as your body adapts to the motion and you relax. Voyagers are 17’ .
Wenonah makes different lay ups and the price varies accordingly. If you get the serial number, Wenonah can tell you what it is.
IMO, the only one worth near $1K would be carbon fiber. If Kevlar or TuffWeave , I’d be thinking $500.

Thanks for the information String! Exactly the type of insight I was looking for. I know it’s not anything like the others, but I tend to look for an inexpensive starting point going into something new like canoes, and inexpensive are dominated by aluminum and royalex boats meant for a family. I try not to spend too much before I’ve learned a bit. The guy is asking $600 and showing up with $500 was my plan so maybe about where I need to be to buy this.

Given the damage, after inspection, I’d start at $400 or $450. He may gasp, but who knows? Also, with Aluminum gunnels, it is probably TuffWeave, the cheapest lay up, but it makes a good, tough hull.

I hope it’s close to you. If so I’d look it over closely and lift it up to check the weight and be prepared to pass on it. I agree with string, it looks like maybe a $400 boat.

The scratch in the first pic requires only gelcoat. The second whammy that goes through to the interior wants a small fiberglass patch on the inside for sure and probably the outside too…wax won’t protect the fabric. It’s probably pretty old…the last two digits of the serial number reveal the date of manufacture…the 1980’s I’d guess. I agree with string that it’s probably tuffweave so probably around 50 pounds so not a featherweight. In the last pic you supplied it looks like the aluminum gunwale is bent up by the carry handle…I doubt that can be fixed without total gunwale replacement which is not a small job so assume you’d have to live with it.

Please let us know if you get it.

Might be a Tuff Weave Rendezvous. A great boat but I’d be concerned about the crack in the second picture. That looks like the center rib in a flex-core layup. If that is broken the hull may be compromised. Pictures 1 & 3 are easy to fix as noted.

Thanks for the info guys! I now feel like I know enough to take a look. I want to try a canoe for some adventures, but I don’t want to spend a bunch before I get some paddle time education in a less expensive used boat. Trying to be patient waiting on the right boat. I’m going to email the guy.

Well, I wish I could tell you what model it is from your photos, but I can’t. Might be able to narrow it down a bit.

First, if you can get the hull identification number (HIN) which will be on an aluminum tag attached to the stern of the boat near the gunwale. The last 4 characters of that will tell us the date of manufacture and possibly the model. Also try to get an accurate length overall measurement, because I am fairly certain that “16 feet” is merely an estimate.

Although your photos are limited I think I can say that it is a good canoe and definitely repairable. As string cautioned, if you have never tried paddling a dedicated solo canoe, you might find the experience a little unnerving at first. Your center of gravity will be significantly higher than in a kayak and you will likely be somewhat more loosely connected to the boat. Someone installed what looks to be foam “knee bumpers” below the gunwales of that boat. Those are not stock and that suggests that at least one prior owner knew what they were doing.

The boat is almost certainly of Wenonah’s Tuf-weave proprietary layup since the hull interior is painted. The aluminum gunwales tell us nothing since Wenonah installed them stock in their high end boats. Tuf-weave incorporates polyester fabric and fiberglass. It is not as light as a Kevlar boat, but they are quite strong.

I am assuming that the crack shown in your second photo runs across a rhomboidal-shaped rib that runs down the centerline of the hull interior most of the length of the canoe. If that is so, then rival51 is quite correct and the hull is one of Wenonah’s old “center rib” construction boats. Wenonah stopped using that construction technique sometime between 1995 and 2000 but I do not recall the exact year. That was well before the Voyager came along, so we can be pretty sure that it is not a Voyager, which is a 17’ 6" long boat anyway.

A list of dedicated solo canoes that this might be from that time frame includes the Advantage (16’ 6"), the Solitude (15’ 6"), the Rendezvous (16’ 8"), the Prism (16’ 6"), the Encounter (17’ 0") and the Moccasin (15’ 6") although I am pretty sure it is not a Moccasin.

The cracks can be repaired and I would definitely apply at least a two layer fiberglass patch over that crack crossing the center rib since that rib provides stiffening and structural integrity to the hull bottom. If you are going to patch that you might as well apply an interior patch over the other crack as well. Although you could use G Flex epoxy, there is not much reason to do so. G Flex is formulated to provide enhanced bond strength to plastics and this boat is constructed using vinylester resin that conventional epoxy will bind to as well or better than G Flex will. And conventional epoxy is less viscous than G Flex and wets out cloth more easily than G Flex. Also, G flex epoxy cures to a somewhat butterscotch color where conventional epoxy cures clear, although that is not much of an issue here since you will want to paint over the patches after the repair is complete.

If you have never worked with epoxies or done any fiberglassing it really is not very difficult and you can find advice on exactly how to proceed on this forum. But I would only buy the boat if you are someone else were prepared to carry out the repairs.

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Thanks for the additional information. I happen to have some epoxy and fiberglass cloth at home from some winter touchup on another boat. I’m hoping to see the boat today. Funny thing about canoes, Americans have been using whatever canoe was available to go on adventures for centuries but yet for one person starting out you get warned that a solo isn’t for the faint of heart, and with anything bigger its all the warnings that it’s not really for one person and going to be tough to use in a lot of situations. I’m mostly hoping this is easily repaired, gets me a start into canoes and is lighter than the typical coleman or the like so that I take it out more. Hoping to learn what I want in a canoe from the first one I get. I will update what I find out, even if I don’t buy it!

Americans may have been paddling canoes for centuries, but the dedicated solo canoe is really a relatively new phenomenon. Prior to the 1980s there were very few canoes designed for one person paddling from a central position. Before then, solo paddlers used tandem canoes.

Tandem canoes are generally longer and more importantly significantly wider than a dedicated solo canoe which gives them much greater stability but much less efficiency for the solo paddler. Solo canoes gain efficiency by being narrower and much less full in the ends, since they do not have to accommodate a paddler near the ends. While they are still usually at least a couple or few inches wider than the typical kayak, the higher center of gravity of the paddler often makes them feel much less stable initially. Nothing that most people can’t get used to pretty quickly, but a feeling of instability is a not at all uncommon perception among those who have never paddled a dedicated solo canoe.

Probably a typo but the Rendezvous is 15’ 8" (or at least mine is).

Yes, that was a typo. The Rendezvous is definitely 15’ 8".

When I got my Voyager people told be how spooky it could be. The only time I felt that way was when a wake caught me from the side. Scared me a bit until I realized the boat handled it very well.

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Good posts.
But I would add that small one man canoes have been around for hundreds of years.
Indian made birch bark came in all sizes.
Wood and canvas builders around Maine and Ontario have always had pack canoes and trapper canoes. What is old is new again.

Here is a pdf file of an old owner’s manual that came with Wenonah canoes.

Starting on page 54 is some information that might be helpful regarding gel coat and structural repairs on composite canoes.

If you have some gel coat cracks that are opposite the internal cracks, you can probably fix them up pretty well with a small gel coat repair kit you can buy at most marine stores or on line. The fact that the boat is white will simplify a gel coat repair if it is necessary.

The section on structural repairs using fiberglass and resin describes the process that would be used with vinylester resin. These resins use methylethylketone peroxidase as a catalyst instead of the resin and hardener of most epoxies that have to be mixed in a relatively precise ratio. You could probably get a vinylester resin repair kit from Wenonah and buy the MEK-peroxidase catalyst at an auto supply store (they won’t ship it) but there is absolutely no reason not to use epoxy. It has a longer shelf life and bonds just fine to vinylester boats.

When you prepare the areas to be patched, make sure you sand down until you clearly see the fibers of the fabric. As said in the pdf, you do not need to remove every last bit of paint, but you must sand down to fibers to get a good bond. Then clean the area well, first with water and a detergent soap like Dreft, then rinse and dry, and finally wipe down well with denatured alcohol.

I would probably go along with what is suggested in the manual and apply a three layer fiberglass patch over the crack on the center rib. I would overlap the intact hull by at least 2" and 3" would be better. Apply the first patch and make the next two concentrically smaller by about an inch each. Cut the patches so that the fibers of the weave and warp are aligned in different directions for maximum strength. You can apply all of the patches in the same day.

If the other crack is above the water line and the hull seems to be fairly sound in that area, you could probably get by with just two layers of 'glass there. Let the patches cure well, wash, rinse and dry, then paint them over to protect the epoxy from UV degradation.

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So it is a solitude, serial number SL359C888

So the crack goes through the center rib, and is on the sides. Not sure how well the pictures show, but I’m guessing a fiberglass patch from gunnel to gunnel, probably at least a foot fore and aft of the crack, and then no hard use. It sure is light though!

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