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  Lighter, Stronger, Better
  Posted by: CEWilson on Mar-14-14 10:18 AM (EST)

-- Last Updated: Mar-14-14 12:28 PM EST --

Forgetting about gear, let's assume a 150 lb paddler with a 20 lb solo boat. Total burden 170 lbs. The difference between a 20 and 40 lb boat, total burden 190 lbs is 20 lbs, is about 10%, not a significant number to explain the horror stories above.

Conformation bias, "what seemed to happen to me will happen to you." is a frustrating part of humanity. Yeah, you'll need to tie lighter boats to a tree so they don't move in the wind, but they load on cars more easily, accelerate more quickly and portage with less pain. You still need to fit hull to burden, remembering the paddler is usually the most significant number in the calculation unless chosen to ferry ice, blender and generator to a Margarita party.

Two layer sidewall boats like GREs, Hornbecks, Northstars, Savages and Wenonahs are lightest and most fragile. Three layer sidewalls units like Coldens, Hemlocks, Placids and Swifts, are more rugged but weigh more. Four layer sidewalls like Souris River weigh even more and withstand more abuse too. All in all, free lunches are very rare. More is usually stronger and heavier.

That said, one can cheat a little through method and design. Bagged construction, GRE, Wenonah, lowers weight compared to hand lamination. Infusion manufacturing lowers weight and strengthens construction even more, currently available from Colden, Northstar, Nova Craft, Savage and Swift.

Foam cores reduce weight in tandems; don't seem to make much difference in solo hulls. Composite, integral, rail systems are the final silver bullet, saving another 20% in weight, currently available from Colden, Placid and Swift.

Hull performance on the water is another discussion that focuses on design perimeters not construction, and surely includes response to the action describes by the word "heel" a nautical term for paddler induced, momentary hull roll, not "edged" which is most often used by dessert chefs to describe something done to cakes with icing in a pastry bag.

So it goes.

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