DIY No-Sewing Spray Covers

Glenn MacGrady

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Originally posted by Glenn MacGrady

I really don't remember the exact snap spacing. I'll go out and measure it exactly when fortified with spider, wasp, bee, hornet, mouse and bird weapons. I don't think I've moved that canoe from under my porch in 15 years.


When you are sufficiently armed to crawl under the porch I’d be curious about the condition of the Explorer’s screw and snap multi-perforated wood gunwales after 15 years untouched.

So I looked. There were NO snaps under the outwale. Did they disintegrate? No, I now recall I had my MR Explorer re-railed sometime in the 90's.

And how depressing: The wood gunwales on my Explorer, Swift Winisk, Lotus BJX and Millbrook ME are all partially rotted. I should never have gotten canoes with wood, since despite my youthful intentions, I rarely maintain them. Now, I'll probably just chainsaw these canoes and send them to the dump. Bye, bye, many thousands of dollars and great memories.

My granddaughter is now fascinated by the FishFinder and wants me to buy it for $3,000 instead of a composite canoe. The oak utility thwart looks like a great table to affix a tablet computer, smart phone, Barbie throne and, using some cored yoga blocks, a receptacle within which to store crayons and lollipops. Who knew the jilted FreeLunch could have transmogrified into such a complexly outfitted FishFinder. Bravo!
 
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So I looked. There were NO snaps under the outwale. Did they disintegrate? No, I now recall I had my MR Explorer re-railed sometime in the 90's.

And how depressing: The wood gunwales on my Explorer, Swift Winisk, Lotus BJX and Millbrook ME are all partially rotted. I should never have gotten canoes with wood, since despite my youthful intentions, I rarely maintain them. Now, I'll probably just chainsaw these canoes and send them to the dump. Bye, bye, many thousands of dollars and great memories.

Glenn, the memories you will always have. Any functionally repairable canoe deserves a better fate than a chain sawed journey to the dump. Hell, drag them up to the side of the road one at a time with a “FREE” sign before you saw them to pieces.

Depending on local repair shop availability and costs it might be worth having some of them re-railed and selling them.

Eh, maybe not. I just spoke with friends at BMO, and they pointed out that, after 15 years, if the gunwales are shot, the seats and hangers, yoke & thwart ends probably are as well. Estimated cost for BMO to replace all of the brightwork on something like a wood gunwaled Explorer is in the $750 - $800 range. BMO does extraordinarily fine work, but that’s about what or more than the Explorer might fetch when rebuilt.

You might be better off posting/listing them for $100 - $200 as-is for a woodworking boat tinkerer to rehab. Or Dave Curtis at Hemlock might have an interest in rebuilding them for his Used Canoe sales. Maybe in return for a discounted price on one of his used/rebuilt canoes that suits your weight, performance and aesthetic goals.

http://www.hemlockcanoe.com/used--demo-canoes.html

There are some nice used canoes on that list, and different boats come and go all the time.

If the Explorer is a light(er) weight kevlar model I might be interested, although I’d install vinyl gunwales and deck caps, draw it in a couple inches at midships and soloize it. Our soloized VT era RX Explorer rarely leaves the racks, it has to weigh at least 70lbs, and a friend’s similar vintage fiberglass Explorer isn’t much lighter.

FWIW vinyl gunwales are in Covid short supply, the canoe manufacturers are hoarding all they have, even outfitter/repair shops can’t get any. And the price skyrocketed in the past year; a set of Wenonah vinyl gunwales was $95 a year ago. Now $150 a set, and ya can’t get them in any case.

My granddaughter is now fascinated by the FishFinder and wants me to buy it for $3000

For you, $2999; I’ll put two more seats back in and add a custom made yoga block crayon & lollipop holder.

Seriously Glenn, I want to thank you again for passing on the Pathfinder, which was a less than ideal canoe for your performance & aesthetic purposes. The rebuild and outfitting of that canoe was one of the most enjoyable and educational yet.
 
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Whoa there Glenn! I'll take that Swift off your hands, hell, I'll come get it! Serious!

Not the Lotus BJX?

Come on, I want to see you in the BJX. We could do another windy Assateague trip and you could sit ass saturated in the watery bilge again.
 

Glenn MacGrady

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I'm not going to drive over a thousand miles (two round trips) to have some professional fix canoes that I still won't use and probably can't sell for the price of the fixes.

Nor do I know a woodworker in my area. It took two months to find a carpenter to fix my smashed deck for thousands of dollars.

I don't even know of any open canoeists in my area, where there used to be hundreds in local and regional clubs. Rec kayaks have won.

I've also been searching online daily for three months for a tandem for my daughter/granddaughter and have found nothing remotely as good as the three-seated Swift Keewaydin 16 that I passed up for $2,000. Haha, to be brutally honest, I haven't even found any better financial value than the FreeLunch/FishFinder. Most of the stuff is much too heavy plastic, or ridiculously expensive, or older and junkier than what I have.

My 53 lb. expedition Kevlar Swift Winisk, if fixed up and a center seat added, might actually be an acceptable option for my daughter and granddaughter. But at 17-6 with 35" BOA, it's unnecessarily long for their purposes and cumbersome to solo. I don't think all the wood is rotted on my canoes, but just the two or three feet on the longer canoes that have been sticking out into the sun, rain and snow for 30 years from the racks under my back porch. You can see the black BJX and blue Winisk hulls in this picture:

Chainsawing trees.jpg - Click image for larger version  Name:	Chainsawing trees.jpg Views:	0 Size:	290.4 KB ID:	121245

When I have the courage and strength, I'll pull those boats out to look further at the woodwork. Not sure why I'm sticking this issue at the end of this thread, except that folks are asking questions and it was the perceived unavailability of my own canoes to give to my progeny that started the entire FishFinder saga.
 
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When I have the courage and strength, I'll pull those boats out to look further at the woodwork. Not sure why I'm sticking this issue at the end of this thread, except that folks are asking questions and it was the perceived unavailability of my own canoes to give to my progeny that started the entire FishFinder saga.

I can’t speak for anyone else, but I enjoy it when threads drift off-topic; it is how we get to know each other, and often provides valuable insight into other things canoe related. I think of discussions here as a virtual campfire conversation, and those are often most enjoyable when they veer of onto unforeseen areas.

But I will bring it back to the original spraycovered FishFinder topic. I’ve had a change of fishing venue plans. I nixed buying a $60 reservoir permit, for multiple reasons:

You are not allowed get out of the boat anywhere along the shoreline, only at the launch.
The reservoir is the City water supply. No swimming, no wading. No sailing!
You must sign an affidavit that the boat will be used only on the reservoir, nowhere else.

I find paddling the reservoir dull. No beaching the canoe to explore on land, no islands, surrounding lands largely straight-row planted pines. Nothing is duller, and less critter alive, than straight rows of monoculture pine.

I have had reservoir permits there three times in the past. And have paddled there a handful of times. 3 x $60 = $180, divided by 6. . . . eh, that’s a nope. I knew in my heart, despite being minutes from my home, that I would go there twice, say “Well that’s dull as shit” and be 7 trips for $240. Actually I believe those early permits were $100 a year. Yeesh.

But, mostly, the upper Conowingo Pool on the Susquehanna, which starts in MD and ends below the Holtwood Dam in PA, is 40 minutes from my home and is legally fishable with a Maryland license all the way to the dam.

https://news.maryland.gov/dnr/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2017/09/fish3.jpg

There is an archipelago of islands large and small at the north end of Conowingo Pool, and I spent every weekend of my youth, from age 6 to 16, at my family’s camp, boating and paddling and fishing that area. I know, and memorably appreciate every island, cliff face, pothole, hidden grotto, attainment and sneak route. I have been there 1000+ times, and it is still a fascinating area, like nowhere else within a hundred miles.

https://www.bayjournal.com/travel/a-rockin-paddle-at-conowingo-islands/article_ff5022a2-b099-11ea-be4f-cf0ee2dd6229.html

Dull assed don’t-step-out-of-the-boat reservoir, or that special and scenic area where I spent my youth? No brainer.

There is a PA Fish Commission launch on the York County side adjacent to those islands. I have personal, historic reasons for detesting the PA Fish Commission, and the need for a permit to launch a non-motorized canoe. The nearest no permit launch is some dull miles downriver, amongst a long shoreline of homes (docks, jet-skis, powerboats, etc), where I have begrudgingly launched for the last 30 years, paddling past the Fish Commission launch with a one-finger salute. (long story why).

A Fish Commission permit is $12 a year ($22 for 2 years), and is good for any Fish Commission launch or State Park in Pennsylvania. There’s a lot of Pennsylvania water I have not explored, simply because I refused to buy the necessary launch permit.

I guess 30 years is long enough to hold a grudge.

And now, back to the campfire, I’ll wander off topic again. What are the three kayak looking hulls, the two on the middle racks and the one on the bottom right, in that photo?
 

Glenn MacGrady

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What are the three kayak looking hulls, the two on the middle racks and the one on the bottom right, in that photo?

The yellow hull is a Prijon Yukon Expedition seakayak, bought in 2000. It has a trihedral hull \_/ and can run class 4 whitewater, including the Grand Canyon, as well as the ocean and lakes. It's very turny so I put a rudder on it for flatwater. I bought it so that I could run the whitewater sections of rivers connecting lakes. 14.5' long and wider than a traditional touring seakayak, it is capacious for gear. I don't paddle that kind of stuff anymore, so I should dispose of this boat.

The black hull is my first seakayak, a Surge Marine Surge, custom made for me in 1996 by Kerry King in Westport, Maine. 17'-7" long, it's the only one Kerry ever made with all carbon hull, which has a clear gelcoat with gold flecks in it. Deck is Kevlar with yellow gelcoat. It is made by resin infusion and is very strong but weighs only 36 lbs.The Surge has no rudder or skeg and is wind neutral; it will not windcock or leecock. Very fast and low volume, the Surge has won many seakayak races. A keeper forever (or the right price).

The white hull is a Perception Gyra Max decked canoe (C1), bought at Jersey Paddler in 1985. Designed by C1 whitewater world champion Davey Hearn (now the owner of Sweet's Composites), it was the first rotomolded plastic C1 on the market. I learned to roll in it, and its maiden voyage was down the class 4 Rapid River in Maine. My son used to double blade it on lakes like a kayak, but kneeling. Haven't used it in 25 years. Disposable.

Hmmm . . . looking at the uncropped picture, I should have just had these guys spend a few minutes on my canoe rack under the porch.

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The yellow hull is a Prijon Yukon Expedition seakayak, bought in 2000.
I don't paddle that kind of stuff anymore, so I should dispose of this boat.

The white hull is a Perception Gyra Max decked canoe (C1), bought at Jersey Paddler in 1985.
Haven't used it in 25 years. Disposable.

Glenn, at least no one can say you bought and kept any junk. Given your previous chainsaw and landfill comment the word “disposable” has ominous connotations. After 36 years the Gyra Max plastic, depending on totality of UV exposure, may be untrustworthy. The Prijon HTP plastic may still be solid.

We have, over the years, owned close to 50 boats, some of them derelict junkers picked up as freeies to repair. A couple dozen were given or sold for small change to friends, a dozen or so were sold at (below) market price via canoe club posts or Craigslist, and two (three?) that were not worth salvaging were rudimentarily repaired and given to local canoe clubs to be used as “victim” canoes in Safety & Rescue classes; their last day afloat was respectable, being used for pin/Z drag demonstrations.

I have never sawed a boat into pieces and never taken one to the dump. If it came to that I would strip every reusable part and piece first.
 
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