Posted by: salty on Sep-12-12 9:50 AM (EST)
Thick gel-coat is not structural, and you are buying into the "heavy must be stronger" notion that has been pushed on you buy builders who make heavy boats with lower gradw materials. Now I'm not dissing the Valley stuff. It's good, solid work and good old fiberglass is tough stuff. Diolene btw is a polyester and is used to add strength. It bonds well in the lay-up. Kevlar 49 not as well but with the right processes is fine.
Boats like NDK's will take abuse but not necessarily any more than lighter boats built better with better materials and resins. Again, gel-coat is NON-STRUCTURAL, and I would rather have an extra layer of glass, carbon etc, and thin gel-coat or surface coat.
I helped establish Necky's production in Thailand with Cobra Int. Those boats are epoxy post cured and will take abuse!! Amazingly strong and really over-the-top strong. Excellent materials, excellent craftspeople,epoxy post cured, superb adhesives etc. They are done right, dont leak, no issues etc. I suspect Tiderace boats made in the same factory are likewise superb and if they are made the same way dont fool yourself they are way stronger than anything I've seen out of Britain.
That is NOT to say I dont like and respect Brit boats. They are fine, especially Valley and P&H, but folks this stuff is just all about materials and process and cost. The boats Necky made in Thailand are world class. THey sure as hell couldnt make anything good at Old Town, which is why it was outsourced. If it were my company it would all be done in the USA the same way the Thailand boats are made and I'd employ good people who cared. Id charge more, make less margin, sell direct, and probably go broke.......
Touring Kayak Paddles
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