I called Wenonah customer service. The fellow I spoke with was very personable and knowledgeable. The discussion naturally zigged and zagged a bit. At first, he said to avoid the foam if you can. Then, he pointed out that the footbraces are on the foam. We talked about how the seats are attached to the foam core hull, and how much force that exerts. By the end of our chat, he seemed to suggest that the placement probably would not matter.
So, that is about how I expected it would go. Evidently, there are pros and cons to the placement. Most everyone does not expect that the force exerted will cause damage at any location. I think much stress could ensue in big wind and wave swamping conditions with possibly multiple reentry tries, assisted rescues, and the like. To a point, I will see it for myself this summer in warm water when I practice swamp and reentry.
Some may see this question as too detailed or persnickety. For me at least, this has been very worthwhile, especially considering a failure of the tie down points could either be life-threatening or damaging to an expensive canoe.
Here is my summary of what I have learned from this thread, including new things I would not have otherwise thought about or known to ask about:
1) It is probably best to avoid areas of foam, but it probably won’t matter;
2) Kevlar is better than fiberglass for this application;
3) There is a technique to cutting kevlar (and presumably fiberglass) with scissors;
4) Oval not rectangular patches probably work and look better (doh!);
5) Put down one or two layer kevlar/fiberglass patch(es) before not after epoxying down the strap (this is counterintuitive to me and I am still processing it);
6) Four attachment points per pack in a diamond hitch, snugged down, sounds about right;
7) I can avoid putting one air bag attachment point in the center of the hull by using a strap split into a “y” coming off two attachment points. I’ve see that in outfitting on whitewater boats, and it makes sense for my purposes here. (Otherwise, whitewater outfitting solutions have not proved optimal at all for me on composite lake tripping boats).
Happy and safe paddling to all. Dave
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