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Royalex VS Aluminum Canoe! Advice for a Noobie (Read 39067 times)
04/14/10 at 21:15:35

mgalen   Offline
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Macon, Missouri

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I have two canoes available to use in the MR340 and was wondering what advice you all would give on which one to use for a mixed tandem team that is comfortable working together.  Undecided We are looking to finish within 65 hours and want each stroke to count.  Wink

1st - Old town canoe -Charles river
Dimensions: 16’L x 13”D x 36”W
Flat bottom (w/o keel)
Capacity: 900 lb
Weight: 62 lbs
Made of “durable Oltonar/Royalex”

2nd - Grumman aluminum canoe
Dimensions: 18’L x 13”D x 36”W
w/ Standard keel
Capacity: 840 lbs
Weight: 72 lbs
Made of 0.040 gauge aluminum

The Old town is lighter, the Grumman appears to hold a straight line better and it is more “comfortable”.
We are training to finish in 65 hours, so which is the less of two evils.  Roll Eyes

Any thoughts to think over are welcome!  Smiley
 

I am a leaf on the Wind - Watch how I soar!
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Reply #1 - 04/14/10 at 21:27:07

West Hansen   Offline
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He who hesitates is lunch.
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Man, that's a tough one. The royalex should have a faster hull speed, due to it's shape, but the lead sled will last forever and probably have a better resale. You probably can't make a wrong decision here. You can also do some rigging to get the royalex a bit more comfy. Sorry for the wishy washy answer. --West
 

Cognitive Dissonance: when being wrong just isn't an option.
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Reply #2 - 04/14/10 at 21:57:41

mgalen   Offline
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Macon, Missouri

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Thanks west --  
The good thing Is I don't have to buya canoe -- these are already purchased.
Just need to pick which one  Undecided

I will be doing some time trials on a lake --
Will also be tracking my heart rate to see if there is a signifacant difference with time or effort.
 

I am a leaf on the Wind - Watch how I soar!
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Reply #3 - 04/14/10 at 22:02:25

Manitou Paddler   Offline
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If I was gonna sit in a aluminum boat for 60 hours....and most in evil hot sun....I would consider painting the inside with flat grey paint...I have found that even just a metal cross bar can seem like someone shining a car light in your eyes after a while...due to reflection of the sun..........just a thought..........it is wierd the things to consider that dont really come to play on a normal float trip.....but nothing about this race is normal.......... Tongue

Bryan
 

river is as river does
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Reply #4 - 04/15/10 at 06:38:41

yankeeclipper   Offline
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At one time, about 30 yrs ago, the Grumman was the choice for flat water racing before the 18'6" Alumacraft came about. Both the Grumman and the OldTown have the same basic hull shape the Grumman a foot longer so forward speed may be a little better. Your weight difference won't matter and forget about the keel issue. The aluminum boat can be waxed to reduce friction the royalex hull cannot (well it can but it won't help) If the royalex is old it may oilcan. Check the hulls, if there is any depression of the bottom don't use that boat. It will be like throwing an anchor out. If you go with the aluminum tape the thwarts with white duct tape and DON'T paint anything! You'll have enough gear and mud to offset any sun reflection. My choice would be the Grumman, besides it was one of the canoes in the movie Deliverance (bring your bow)
 
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Reply #5 - 04/15/10 at 08:31:43

mgalen   Offline
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Macon, Missouri

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Manitou Paddler - You got use thinking about the crossbar and we are going to get some light colored padding to put around those.
To reduce reflection/heat (on the inside) and for comfort!

Yankeeclipper- Thanks -- that helped confirm some ideas we were tossing around and I like the idea of taping the thwarts.

Last night the wife found Meguiars aluminum polish that a guy used on his aluminum fishing boat and that has sealed the deal.
We have made plans to polish and wax the Grumman to a chrom/mirror like shine.

WARNING -- DO NOT look directly at the canoe!  Cool

here is a pic of the fishing boat after it was polished --



 

I am a leaf on the Wind - Watch how I soar!
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Reply #6 - 04/15/10 at 11:59:26

Los Humungos   Offline
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Sounds like you made your choice and it is a good choice.  If I could do some after the fact weighing in here though, it might help provide more piece of mind.  I have experience paddling in in both of these canoes.  Both the Grumman and the Charles River have nice lines that will not sap off your speed due to hull shape.  That is the good news.  In fact the Charles River is one of the most "classic" hull designs and may be one of the best selling canoe hulls of all time (see http://www.wcha.org/ot_records/models.jpg from the Wooden Canoe Heritage Association's Old Town research project. These are the records for just Old Town. The Charles River was produced by many manufacturers and was a popular model for most of the manufacturers who made the old style wood and canvas canoes. ((Do I score more points for putting in a reference?  Wink Grin))  The Charles River is an old old design (well over 100 years old) that was literally originally derrived from old Native American birchbark canoes.  The Charles River reached its heyday in the 1920's as a wood and canvas canoe produced by the Old Town canoe company.  The sales were so successful with the Charles River, it was kept when operations were shifted from wood and canvas to more modern materials such as royalex.

I paddled a 17' Grumman in the USCA aluminum nationals last year (I have attached a pic, but please ignore my form as it is awful in that pic - we were at the end of a sprint to the finish line).  I was the only person who paddled a Grumman (the rest paddled Alumacrafts).  While the Grumman was not as good of a racing canoe as the Alumacrafts (the Grumman appeared to have more rocker, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but not advantageous in the racing conditions in which the nationals race was held), I was impressed by the way the Grumman performed.  For an aluminum canoe, the Grumman had some glide, but not as much glide as it would have if it was a lighter canoe.  Your 18 footer will have better glide then the 17 footer and it is probably made with less rocker too.  This is good for you.  As far as balance goes, the Grumman was solid as a rock and I was able to put 100% of my power in each stroke.  The 18' Grumman will be a better canoe then the 17' that I trained and raced in last year.  In fact, an 18' Grumman is one of the best aluminum boats made and is one of the few aluminum canoes that I would think would perform better then a Charles River.  The additional length will provide additional displacement and the lines of the canoe will make the canoe glide better.  The added stiffness of the aluminum will also ensure that the maximum power is applied to each stroke.  In my opinion, the Grumman would be the better boat due to the added length (when compared to the Charles River) add stiffness of the aluminum.  The downside is the additional weight, and the inability to outfit (seat tweaking) the canoe due to the canoe being made of aluminum.  One other thing I would be remiss not to add is that THE GRUMMAN WILL HAVE MUCH BETTER PERFORMANCE CAPABILITY WITH A STERN FOOTBRACE.  If you do nothing else to the canoe, it is paramount that you put the rear foot brace in.  You will dramaticly increase your canoe's performance and maximize the efficiency of each paddle stroke by doing this.  

The Charles River is a lighter boat and my knee jerk reaction would be to go with the lighter boat.  In fact, when you do time trial comparisons of each canoe, you may find that your comparisons of the Charles River over shorter distances will show that the Charles River is the faster canoe.  That will make your decision even more perplexing.  As Charlie (Yankee Clipper) points out, royalex sometimes "oilcans" (heck aluminum does too, so you may want to watch it on the other boat as well).  Oilcanning is when the bottom of the boat ripples as the boat travels through the water.  Oilcanning can sap the speed of the canoe.  Also, as a material, royalex flexes in that the boat will tend to twist  longitudnally when you are paddling the boat with power.  Flexing over a period of time will sap your paddling strength.  Finally, while I am not 100% sure on this, I think that the lines of the Grumman are more efficient lines then the Charles River.  Over a long haul, efficiency is key.  

As West points out, either canoe is a good chioce.  They are both good canoes and would both serve you well in the race.  So the good news is that while the decision is hard, either way you make your decision, you will most likely not be disappointed.  

On a side note, I am doing two races this summer in an aluminum canoe as well.   I too chose aluminum over royalex.  Right now, my partner and I are in the process of outfitting our canoe.  I would be glad to share any info with you in terms of our trials and errors in regards to our experience.  The first of the two races is on May 1st. so I will keep you posted (if you would like).

You quiero mas canoe,
Wally "Mastodontico" Werderich
Los Humungos Paddleos.  Be afraid, very very afraid...

P.S. What is that polishing coumpound? It looks like it works great.  
« Last Edit: 04/15/10 at 14:52:44 by Los Humungos »  

Sometimes when you are man, you wear stretchy pants...its for fun... -Nacho   
You do not get guns like these from riding a bike. -Matt Strieb
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Reply #7 - 04/15/10 at 12:14:32

Jennifer Marie   Offline
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Macon, MO

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"My choice would be the Grumman, besides it was one of the canoes in the movie Deliverance (bring your bow)" Yankeeclipper

I am not sure that is a vote of reassurance.  Undecided I have seen previews for that movie (a while ago), and don't they crash, someone dies, then they fight for their lives and more people die. Hmm, I am pretty sure that is not the result mgalend is looking for.  Roll Eyes At least it better not be. LOL But at least the boat survived...I think. Cheesy
 

I think I ate a bug.
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Reply #8 - 04/15/10 at 12:31:25

Los Humungos   Offline
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Jennifer Marie wrote on 04/15/10 at 12:14:32:
"My choice would be the Grumman, besides it was one of the canoes in the movie Deliverance (bring your bow)" Yankeeclipper

I am not sure that, that is a vote of reassurance.  Undecided I have seen previews for that movie (a while ago), and don't they crash, someone dies, then they fight for their lives and more people die. Hmm, I am pretty sure that is not the result mgalend is looking for.  Roll Eyes At least it better not be. LOL But at least the boat survived...I think. Cheesy

[/quote]

Jennifer Marie, you make a good point.  Charlie (Yankee Clipper) is kind of wierd that way though  Wink  On a good note, you are right, the aluminum canoe is the canoe that survives (who really cares about the people).  A beautiful wood and canvas canoe is the canoe that gets trashed in the movie.  Sad  On another good note, to reaffirm the coice of the Grumman, the wood and canvas canoe that was trashed could have very well have been a Charles River.  Cheesy
 

Sometimes when you are man, you wear stretchy pants...its for fun... -Nacho   
You do not get guns like these from riding a bike. -Matt Strieb
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Reply #9 - 04/15/10 at 13:55:47

Bwoods   Offline
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My partner and I are paddling as The Bald Avengers and we are going to be using an aluminum canoe as well. We have a choice between an Osage canoe and a Grumman. We have started training in the Osage because all of my Osage boats are in better condition. I am interested in more advice and tips on how people are outfitting there boats. I will post pictures of our seats that we are making once they are completed but the prototypes we have used so far have made a huge difference in comfort. Thanks to all who have already posted some great tips. I would love to hear more about methods for attaching the foot braces.
 
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Reply #10 - 04/15/10 at 14:11:00

Bill E   Offline
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Jennifer Marie,
I like the idea of both polishing the outside and painting the inside of the canoe.  I will be available to help on the project.  And you wanted tie down locations in the canoe.  I believe J.B. Weld would bond well to the aluminum.
Dad.
 

One More Time.
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Reply #11 - 04/15/10 at 14:43:44

mgalen   Offline
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Quote:
 
Wally "Mastodontico" Werderich Said

Right now, my partner and I are in the process of outfitting our canoe.  I would be glad to share any info with you in terms of our trials and errors in regards to our experience.


I would like to here about it and learn from your trial and error.  Also, "Mastodontico" are you related to StrongBad?
http://www.homestarrunner.com/sbemail.html

The Boat from the picture was polished Meguiar’s Metal polish products. here is the thread
http://www.showcargarage.com/forums/showthread.php?t=178

Quote:
Jennifer Marie Said:

I am not sure that is a vote of reassurance.   I have seen previews for that movie (a while ago), and don't they crash, someone dies, then they fight for their lives and more people die. Hmm, I am pretty sure that is not the result mgalend is looking for.   At least it better not be. LOL But at least the boat survived...I think.  

Jennifer -- think of the stories you could tell!  Well at least if you live that long.
MR340
D
istance
D
eath
R
ace -- Who will survive??    Angry  -- Kind of a catchy title perhaps Scott would get some television offers!
 

I am a leaf on the Wind - Watch how I soar!
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Reply #12 - 04/15/10 at 15:49:08

Los Humungos   Offline
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OK, here are some photos. I apologize in advance as they are not exactly perfect pictures, but I do not have the canoe at my house with access to take pictures.  These are old pictures of the canoe I have that I am preparing for the race this year.

First. the rear foot brace.  If I could start from scratch again on my canoe, I would simply rivet this in.  http://wenonah.com/products/template/product_detail.php?IID=186&SID=3250e172c3d1...  I just installed one of these on another canoe I have and love it.  The brace allows for easy adjustment.  The riviting process should be relatively simple since you are riveting through aluminum.  Just make sure you use epoxy to make sure the rivet hole is water tight when you are done.  If you are nervous about drilling and putting holes and rivets in your canoe, just take it to a metals shop.  For them the job is a sinch.

Below is a picture of the footbrace (not like the one I am talking about above) that was added to our aluminum canoe.  I put it up for the purpose of showing how a foot brace can be riveted in.  

Again, basing my opinion on trial and error, I think that the wenonah footbrace I linked above would be a great way to go.

Oh, one other thing, as you can see in this pic, the inside is painted grey.  Remember though, paint means weight.
 

Boat_2.jpg (42 KB | )
Boat_2.jpg

Sometimes when you are man, you wear stretchy pants...its for fun... -Nacho   
You do not get guns like these from riding a bike. -Matt Strieb
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Reply #13 - 04/15/10 at 15:59:40

Los Humungos   Offline
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OK, that is the rear footbrace.  Do not forget that you will need to make something for the bow paddler to brace his feet on too.  This can be simple.  My suggestion is a foam block.  Last year, I used a "kicker brace"  which is a piece of wood on an aluminum adjustable tube.  The whole "kicker brace" contraption is wedged in the bow.  I do not have any pics, but can take some if anyone wants to see the kicker brace (since it is adjustable, I can and do use it on all of my canoes).  Bottom line though is that you do not anything fancy, just a brace.  In fact in a pinch, I just wedge a life jacket up there.  
 

Sometimes when you are man, you wear stretchy pants...its for fun... -Nacho   
You do not get guns like these from riding a bike. -Matt Strieb
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Reply #14 - 04/15/10 at 16:17:15

Los Humungos   Offline
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Now seats.  99% of aluminum canoes that I am aware of come stock with some kind of "bench seat".  If this is what you are going to go with, that is OK, but if you are racing over a long distance, I would suggest an upgrade.  At the very least, I would suggest some significant padding.

If possible, you should upgrade to some bucket seats (seats that are formed more in the shape of your butt).  Best case scenerio, is you get both the front and rear seats on sliders for maximum adjustability in terms of balance for your boat.  Below is a picture of how the sliders are attached in our aluminum canoe.  You can simply attach aluminum tubes you can buy at the hardware store to L brackets that you can buy at the hardware store that have been riveted into the canoe.  You just attach the tubes th the L brackets with bolts (let me know if you need a picture of this).

In the canoe we raced at the USCA nationals which is pictured above, the front seat was a slider and the rear was a bench.  We went really low brow on attaching the rear seat in the boat.  We just simply drilled a hole through the bench seat and bolted on a bucket seat putting padding over the bolts.  That is why I am sitting so high in the picture.  If you do not live in a perfect world and only have a limited amount of resources that you need to guide in a certain direction, you can go with only making the front seat a slider.  In all honesty, while it is nice to have two sliders, it is more important to have a slider in the front.  Also, the bucket seats can get pricy.  A cost saving idea would be to look into plastic ones.
 

Boat1.jpg (45 KB | )
Boat1.jpg

Sometimes when you are man, you wear stretchy pants...its for fun... -Nacho   
You do not get guns like these from riding a bike. -Matt Strieb
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Reply #15 - 04/15/10 at 16:22:55

Los Humungos   Offline
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That is all I have for now.  If you have some questions, throw them at me.  If you have some advice, throw that at me as well.  I love advice that makes me a better paddler.

Yo quiero mas canoe,
Wally "Mastodontico" Werderich
Los Humungos Paddleos...be afraid, very very afraid!

P.S.  StrongBad and I are good friends.  Unfortunately, I had to stop going to his website as everytime I went there, I ended up peeing in my pants...  That stuff is too funny Mgalen Grin
 

Sometimes when you are man, you wear stretchy pants...its for fun... -Nacho   
You do not get guns like these from riding a bike. -Matt Strieb
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Reply #16 - 04/15/10 at 16:36:50

Bwoods   Offline
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Thanks Wally for all the pictures and good advice. I will discuss these options with my partner and let you know if we have questions. I am sensing some late night work sessions in the garage for our future.
 
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Reply #17 - 04/15/10 at 17:19:12

yankeeclipper   Offline
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You can purchase decent plastic bucket seats from Wenonah for $25.00 Buy the sliding tubes for another $25.00 or make your own. I attaches a sliding tube to two 1/2" aluminum straps and then attached them to the seat tubes so they slide with the seat, just another option. Rivets-use stainless 1/2-3/4" long bolts(round top) w/ nylon lock washers, then you don't have to fill in the rivet hole and they are a lot stronger.
Deliverance stats-three dead, one crippled, one raped, two with lifetime mental scars. By today's standards a PG13
And one broken canoe.
 
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Reply #18 - 04/15/10 at 17:45:19

Jennifer Marie   Offline
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Well Yankee Clipper like I said I saw the preview. How about something like the African Queen since it's a mixed tandem team?  Wink I know the boat in that movie is not a canoe, but it will make me sleep better. LOL.
 

I think I ate a bug.
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Reply #19 - 04/15/10 at 18:53:01

yankeeclipper   Offline
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African Queen-one of my favorites. A side note, during filming everyone got various tropical sicknesses except Bogart who, from what I have read, stayed perpetually pickled during the filming Cheesy
 
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