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  You might be surprised at how hard
  Posted by: ezwater on Apr-21-13 6:08 PM (EST)
 

a shot a well-made fiberglass boat can take before breaking. What caused "Kevlar" boats to displace all-FG boats was not resistance to damage, but reduced weight. You just cannot get a 17 foot FG tandem cruiser down into the 40-50 pound range without it being too flexible and too easily broken. But replace some inside FG layers with Kevlar, and Kevlar's strength in tension actually stiffens the boat, while its light weight shaves the boat weight down. Kevlar helps the FG outer layers stand up to blows, and if the FG starts splitting, the Kevlar keeps the cracks from spreading as much, and holds the pieces together.

I owned a 13 foot Mad River Compatriot that was all FG, a thin and flexible layup. It weighed 50 pounds. I used that boat on a lot of easy whitewater, and the only place the hull actually broke was at the front stem, from pitoning rocks. The reason it broke there was, in part, that the hull in the stem can't flex.

We still own a '73 Moore Voyageur, an 18.5'all FG "supercanoe" often used for ww downriver racing. It weighed 85 pounds. We used it tandem on whitewater, including one trip down Chattooga section 3. The only place it broke was under the stern, from thumping hard when going over ledges. It took many other blows, but never broke.

So properly made all FG canoes are not necessarily fragile. But these days, you often can't buy a quality canoe design that is all fiberglass. So it may not be anything you need to worry about.

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