Wenonah Ultralight Kevlar Durability

I am in process of purchasing a Wenonah Voyager and am wondering about the durability of the Ultralight Kevlar (skincoat) structure (36 lbs.). I am planning to special order factory-installed internal skid plates, which will certainly help the stems.

This will be my first Wenonah (presently own Bell and Souris River). I looked at a used Voyager UL that we pretty beat up (plenty of exposed kevlar), which has me a bit worried. I paddle rock-infested waters and portage extensively (BWCAW/Quetico). I want a light boat, but also want to avoid having to make repairs frequently.

Will the Ultralight be sufficient or should I add a gel coat to the Ultralight structure (43 lbs.) or opt for Flex-Core structure (46 lbs.)? The gel coat would negate most of the weight-saving advantage of the UL structure and I have heard that Flex-Core may be too soft (flexes too much); plus 46 lbs is awfully heavy for a solo.

Looking for all you Wenonah experts to guide me!


My 2 cents

– Last Updated: Mar-18-07 9:00 PM EST –

Gelcoat is hard and kevlar is flexible. A bump to the hull will likely create a spider crack in the gelcoat. Soon they are all over. Your best bet is to roll on a couple of coats of smooth Durabak below the waterline.

If you wnat it done professionally, find a dealer for the hot spray process:

But do it at your own risk :))

Rock infested?
I have seen many Wenonah ultralights in the upper stretches of the Sussquahanna at the general Clinton Regatta. ( admitadly they were running light and fast as they passed me) that stretch can be pretty rocky if the water is down. Many keep coming back each year, so if they were too fragile we would just be racing Aluminum up there.

Save the wieght and go ultralight!

I am no expert
I have an ultralight layup and I think I would have been happier with the flex core. There is nothing wrong with it, I just think after the weight was added for the gel-coat (to help protect my investment) I wasn’t savign all that much for the price. Plus the Flex core is smoth on the inside, I have the ribs.


Around 1,500 miles in Ontario
in my Wenonah Odyssee in Kev/ultralite core with skin coat. Never needed skid plates, still don’t. The stuff has taken many serious hits, and took 'em fine. The ends are slightly fuzzy, but many, many miles left on it. My Advantage is the same lay-up and has been just as durable. Hey, most of the rental boats i’ve seen up there are this lay-up also.

After a lot of discussion and over my dealer’s objections, I ordered my kev lite with skid plates. Several days later, my dealer called me to say that he had discussed (unofficially) my skid plates with one of his techie friends at Wenonah. They agreed that the skid plates should be added when there was enough scuffing on the bow to warrant them.

I’m glad I didn’t get the skid plates!

“Ultralight” and “Durability” are not
consistent with one another. “Light” and durable, sometimes, but not “Ultralight.” For Wenonah, I would move up to Flexcore, and for Bell, I would go to their Blackgold. Even so, those hulls require more care than, say, Wenonah’s Tuffweave.

But y’all knew that.

You did or did not get the skid plates?
Thanks. It was difficult to tell whether you did or did not get the skid plates.

Skin coat is fine
I am almost the same camp as Stickman . Both my Advantage and Voyageur are in Ultra Light lay up . The Advantage is 12 years old and still going strong after many week long and longer trips in the ADKs, Temagami, and BWCA . It has taken several head on hits and beached on top of rocks in shallow water with lots of scratches, but no structural damage . For this reason I got my Voyageur 3 years ago in the same lay up and have had no issues.