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YAER (Yet Another Explorer Rebuild)

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Algs, I find webbed seats to be far more comfortable then caned seats especially when the crappy cane gives out in the middle of a canoe trip not once but twice and one was brand new. I will never use cane in any of my boats but it's all up to the owner of the boat. Any seats with cane that I pull out of boats just becomes a fire starter, seems appropriate to me!
 
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Algs, I find webbed seats to be far more comfortable then caned seats especially when the crappy cane gives out in the middle of a canoe trip not once but twice and one was brand new. I will never use cane in any of my boats but it's all up to the owner of the boat. Any seats with cane that I pull out of boats just becomes a fire starter, seems appropriate to me!
In fairness, I have only used plastic cane, which I weave just like real cane. It has a bit of give to it. But I agree, nothing that gives out mid-trip is very comfortable.

Curious whether those that have experienced Cane Mutinies have had it happen with cane mat or woven cane seats or both. For some reason, I think the mats rip more readily than the woven ones.
 

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Cane sags too much when wet and you end up sitting on the wood rails. It also always eventually tears. Poly webbing will outlast the wooden frame.

However, my new favorite of all is the woven bootlace seats on my new Nova Craft aramid canoe. They have just a little spring, dry instantly, look better than webbing to me, and seem likely to last much longer than cane.

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ALSG (AKA “A Large Saggy Goiter”?), what did your finished YAER weight?

I know I’ll be in a heavyweight range with OOSOBO. I’m almost getting close enough to done to weigh the one I’m working on. With various coats of paint, beefy truss drops, oversized fishing thwart and assorted gee gaws, I’m gonna guess. . . . .93 lbs.

I’ll need help just putting it on the truck racks for delivery to the reservoir.
 
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ALSG (AKA “A Large Saggy Goiter”?), what did your finished YAER weight?

I know I’ll be in a heavyweight range with OOSOBO. I’m almost getting close enough to done to weigh the one I’m working on. With various coats of paint, beefy truss drops, oversized fishing thwart and assorted gee gaws, I’m gonna guess. . . . .93 lbs.

I’ll need help just putting it on the truck racks for delivery to the reservoir.
INDY (aka It's Not Done Not Yet). Sidetracked with work, skiing and home renovations.
 
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You may have the prettiest RX Explorer in town.

About the new gunwales, while I like the look of plugged gunwale screw holes they are a PITA if the canoe ever needs re-regunwaling. Not as much of a PITA as making a thousand trips from the canoe in the sun porch to the Shopsmith in the basement. I get tired just walking from the shop bench to the far side of the canoe (bless the wheeled shop cart).

A 75% success rate at hitting the original gunwale screw holes is pretty good. The Explorer in my shop had been regunwaled once before I got it. What a mess along the sheerline; figure 70-ish screws, times two, none of them rescrewed through the original hole locations but some awfully close or overlapped.

When I installed the new vinyl gunwales I marked/aimed to redrill for pop rivets between the holes, but the sheerline was such Swiss cheese that I laid 2” glass tape along the sheerline on both inside edges.

Of course 30 years ago I used auto store E-glass tape and auto store poly epoxy. No peel ply, no sanding the rough selvage edge. Fugly then, fuglier now, that will need some attention when I get to refurbishing the inside.
Rebuilding a bare hull Independence and have limited carpentry skills. Am using full length sepele wood and also don't want to drill more holes. I need advice before I go down this rabbit hole of drilling more holes. I am planning to clamp the inner gunwale and mark location, then drill through the existing holes from the outside into the inner gunwale and was hoping to to be able to use the existing holes or at least most of them. Does this sound feasible? By the way I've plugged many teak holes on my sailboat and feel your pain.
 
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Rebuilding a bare hull Independence and have limited carpentry skills. Am using full length sepele wood and also don't want to drill more holes. I need advice before I go down this rabbit hole of drilling more holes. I am planning to clamp the inner gunwale and mark location, then drill through the existing holes from the outside into the inner gunwale and was hoping to to be able to use the existing holes or at least most of them. Does this sound feasible? By the way I've plugged many teak holes on my sailboat and feel your pain.
If you don't drill a single, continuous pilot hole through both gunnels at the same time while they are both clamped on the hull, it's very unlikely the pilot holes will ever line up and create a completely straight shaft for the screw to pass through one gunnel into the other -- even if both pilot holes align with the prior screw hole in the hull. Put another way, the tiniest difference in the angle of the drill in either the vertical or horizontal plane of the drill will cause the shaft of the pilot hole in the inwale to be out of alignment with the shaft of the pilot hole in the outwale.


P.S. I used sapele on my cedar stripper and it's beautiful stuff and good to work with!
 
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“I am planning to clamp the inner gunwale and mark location, then drill through the existing holes from the outside into the inner gunwale and was hoping to to be able to use the existing holes or at least most of them. Does this sound feasible? By the way I've plugged many teak holes on my sailboat and feel your pain”

I think ALSG answered the question, or at least the wood part of the question. He still hasn’t answered the question “What does YAER weigh?”

I will chime in. It is certainly “feasible”, at with the inwale holes until, if necessary, the few holes just at the stems. What type/style deck plates you plan might come into play at the stems as well

A 90 degree drill adapter might get you a couple more space-limited inwale holes further forward (or backward) if desired.


There are tight-space times when a right-angle drill adapter is damn near the only way to go.

My principal concern with trying to exactly hit the old screw holes through the hull is the hitting the old sheerline holes exactly part; if I start putting screws in and something goes ever so slightly misaligned, up or down, front to back, I fear I would drill overlapping Venn diagram holes through the sheerline, with holes overlapped.

With tightened screw “clamping” the inwale/outwale into place those overlapping hull holes might not matter that much. Still, I’d prefer a nice, tight screw hole drilled through virgin sheerline. If I didn’t care about the boat, planned to sell it or flip it, “Who cares, can’t see, just screw ‘em on, but the Indy is a keeper canoe.

A couple of the first derelict canoes I ever rebuilt had already been (poorly) wood-regunwaled once before, with some rudimentary attempt at hitting the old hulls holes. There was a lot of Swiss cheese, and more than a few overlapping holes. T’was a fugly sheerline to work with.

If any of the existing screw holes along the sheerline were factory ill-spaced, or you if opt for different gunwale dimensions or profile, eh, what then?

Factory wood gunwaled RX Yellowstone Solo. There was ¾” of depth of factory gunwale depth to work with, and some of the the drilled holes are only halfway in the sheerline? I want some depth of screw (or pop rivet) purchase at the edge of the sheerline.

PB010021 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

That’s not the only Friday afternoon factory miss-drilled example. And I wish I had Swiss cheese photos of the twice regunwaled old Explorers and Shenandoahs. Or our Independence, which had rotted original wood gunwales, drilled with well centered holes, but the original owner had hull drilled it below the wales for float bag and gear lacing, and there were some too-close-for-comfort holes.

Or other too-close-for-comfort holes. Can’t see it in the photo, but on the inwale side there is an oopsie-spaced gunwale screw hole barely ½” away from that being-epoxy-filled thwart hole. Moving the thwart a couple inches to avoid that intersection was no big deal.

PB120030 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Thwarts can be repositioned a bit fore or aft. But I want the hung seat where it factory located was, or, as often, where I want it, and that gets to be a pre-panned math issue, avoiding too close intersections between gunwale screws and seat hangers. Trying to calculate 6 or 7 inch gunwale screw spacing non-interference with an 8” or 9” seat frame, ARRGGHH, my head exploded calculating the math problem.

PB120034 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Hole spacing matters, especially with hung seats; vertical machine screw gunwale holes too close to horizontal gunwale screws are a no-no. I felt better seeing a highly regarded builder make that epoxy-plugged hole mistake.

But, back to the gunwale screw holes, once I start drilling and putting screws in how can I tell if I’m perfectly aligned with the old hull hole?

That is a serious question. I’d like to know if there is a secret trick to that “Hit the old holes exactly” regunwaling.

While I doubt I’ll ever regunwale another canoe with wood, it could happen. I’ve always chickened out and spaced my new gunwale screw holes between the old holes, plugging the old holes with epoxy, or, on the real Swiss cheese of sheerlines, running a strip of fiberglass tape and epoxy along the inwale side on composite canoes to add some structure to the cheese.
 
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Why is it undesirable to have a vertical hole so close to a horizontal? On the one hand, it is well supported. Perhaps the problem is too much inflexibility at that juncture?
 
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“Why is it undesirable to have a vertical hole so close to a horizontal? On the one hand, it is well supported. Perhaps the problem is too much inflexibility at that juncture?”

I believe that a too close intersection of vertical and horizontal hardware holes weakens the gunwale in that area, and in the case of a pin, or even a hard knock, increases the chances of a broken gunwale. On manufactured canoes with wood gunwales there seems to be care taken to avoid that too-close intersection.

I know exactly how, despite my best calculations and measuring, I managed to end up with those holes barely ½” apart. Hint, only on one side of the canoe.

I had spaced everything out to avoid such proximity and pre-drilled and countersunk the inwale holes, and in doing so I aligned the inwales side-by-side on the bench and marked both pieces for location matching holes before drilling.

Except, once they were drilled, when I picked up one inwale and walked it around to the far side of the canoe for installation I turned it end-to-end 180 degrees. The bow end became the stern end, and my careful hole spacing became catawampus.

Live and learn.
 
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It's a tradeoff, on the one hand poking holes in the gunwhales makes them weaker, but at the same time the more securely tied the inwale is to the outwale the better they can support each other.

@Dagger sent me some pictures of his MR Traveler to help me with thwart spacing on my Traveler rebuild (thanks man!). This is the detail from one of them showing the drillings of the right gunwale.

IMG_6276_gunwale_detail.jpg

There are two things that surprised me about this:
  1. They added an extra screw in front of the front seat drop, apparently to support the seat (but not in the rear?)
  2. They don't seem at all concerned with keeping the gunwale screws away from the bolts, if anything they seem to locate them about one inch apart (both thwarts and the rear seat drop)
Maybe #2 is just happenstance, but #1 looks intentional.

In my rebuild I tried to keep screws/bolts as far away as possible, generally ~3" since the screw spacing was 6.5", but the above makes me wonder.
 
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“They added an extra screw in front of the front seat drop, apparently to support the seat (but not in the rear?)”

“They don't seem at all concerned with keeping the gunwale screws away from the bolts, if anything they seem to locate them about one inch apart (both thwarts and the rear seat drop)”

“Maybe #2 is just happenstance, but #1 looks intentional.”

The doubled gunwale screws at the front certainly do look deliberate, and I have a guess at an answer.

Doubling up the screws at the front of the slider drops would lessen the chance that paddler weight on the seat would begin to pull the inwales away from the hull.

Some of you here may remember CT’er Jsaults (Jim Saulters). Jim was a big guy, probably north of 300lbs. His weight on a wood gunwaled Magic began to pull the inwales free. Jim resolved that by adding additional screws, and by making a extra large seat, something like 20” front to back.

The spacing on the drops for that XL seat allowed Jim to use more gunwale screws, and also allowed him to move his weight fore or aft on the seat to trim the canoe.

The lack of doubled screws at the rear drops for the seat drops is probably explained by the proximity of the rear thwart. That crosspiece is close enough to the rear seat drops to help keep the inwales from pulling together. A lot of Wenonah solo canoes have a rear thwart awfully damn close to the back of the seat.

If gunwale screw spacing in some locations is manufacturer drilled an inch away from seat hardware holes I’ll guess that is acceptable if needed.

On the Independence the ½” separation between one seat machine screw and a thwart screw was to me disconcertingly close, and it was easy enough to plug the hole and move the thwart a couple inches further back.

On one of the canoes I rebuilt I took a thwart out and when I looked inside the hole I could see the threads of the gunwale screw. That thwart had been re-gunwaled once before, and maybe the DIY’er made the same swapping ends oopsie I did on the Indy.
 
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Well, YAER is done and has been out on the rivers with me a couple of times. Here she is before she was outfitted with airbags, cages, straps, D-rings and knee pads.

A7ED9228-BC74-4E26-B912-F27B4AEE29C5_1_105_c.jpeg

1C0CC24F-F09D-4637-A8A7-F910B7E34C81_1_105_c.jpeg


You can see the pictures of the finished outfitting over at Mike's thread about my shop visit, which coincided with a visit from Chip.


At the time of Mike's write up (which I think he posted to the site before I made it home), Mike didn't know that there was a problem with the installation of the D-rings. When we installed them (or to be more specific, when I installed them under the supervision of Mike), we installed them using G-flex. We finished the rest of the outfitting and then went out to a late lunch and came back several hours later and dithered around some more. After the G-flex was set up and seemed solid, we installed my airbags and inflated them about 3/4 of the way, loaded the canoe on my car and I drove home.

The next day, I could see one of the D-rings was mostly detached, holding on only by the forward edge of its vinyl pad. The other D-ring appeared to be lifting only slightly on one edge, but when I touched it, it fell off.

Mike and I surmise there were several things that contributed to the failure. First, the D-ring sits in the deepest part of the V of the Explorer's v-bottom. Second, the D-rings we used had a beefy a strip of webbing running through the middle of the pad that holds the rings but makes the pad quite stiff down the center -- right where the V is at its sharpest. Because of the v-bottom and the stiff webbing, the D-ring didn't want to sit in the bottom of the canoe and probably formed a bridge across the V. Third, the G-flex, while seemingly set up, obviously was not sufficiently cured before we stressed it by inflating the bags and strapping them down to the D-rings.

When I called Mike to complain about the D-rings, imagine my surprise when he told me that he did not expressly or impliedly warranty his work (or more accurately the work he supervised), methods or material. So I've given Mike a very bad review on Angie's List.

Fortunately, despite the fact that Mike did not stand behind his work (or more accurately my work that he supervised) the solution was simple. I scuff sanded the bottom of the D-rings and the hull and reinstalled them. Because I don't have G-flex, I used what was on hand, which was West Six10 Thickened Epoxy, which is a two part epoxy that comes in a tube that fits in a caulk gun and mixes the resin and hardener (which are in separate chambers) within the disposable applicator tube/nozzle. This is a little known but very versatile product. It comes out of the nozzle thick and is suitable for making filets (will not sag) and installing hardware. But the more you work it, the thinner it gets (this is a design feature they call "shear thinning"). When you are done, the nozzle gets tossed, a plug gets installed with separate bits for the two separate chambers, and the stuff can sit indefinitely in the tube just like having a separate can of resin and hardener. Because of its shear thinning properties, it can even wet out fabric if you work it enough but I would not recommend it for that purpose for a whole canoe because of the amount of extra labor that would be involved. Fine for a small piece of fabric being installed for a repair.

Back to the D-rings. I gave those re-installed D-rings a pretty darn good workout this past Sunday. I was paddling a very small creek and had a couple of swims where the air bags and the D-rings were put to the test. They (and the cages Mike and I installed) worked to perfection.

Here's YAER (in the background) on a day when I didn't need the air bags on different western Maryland stream -- Sideling Hill Creek.




C9697D63-31F9-432C-9E2C-C531C22B14A3_1_105_c.jpeg
 

Glenn MacGrady

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A detailed, informative and interesting post, alsg, but you quickly skimmed the surface of this little gem:

I was paddling a very small creek and had a couple of swims where the air bags and the D-rings were put to the test.

Oh, how we need pictures, detailed descriptions and unconvincing excuses for this episode.
 
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A detailed, informative and interesting post, alsg, but you quickly skimmed the surface of this little gem:



Oh, how we need pictures, detailed descriptions and unconvincing excuses for this episode.
Ok, Glenn, ask and you shall receive.

Unfortunately there are no pictures. But a description follows.

This episode was on a section of Catoctin Creek known as "Middle Creek" to the locals and rated at a leisurely Class II+. It is a narrow, twisty creek. I was paddling with three kayakers I know who invited me to join them. They were all in their little play boats (mistake #1 don't paddle with kayakers?) and despite being far more experienced than I, there were there were places where several areas even the yakkers had to line their kayaks.

The long and short of it, however, is that I'm not yet capable of maneuvering a 16 ft. canoe like the Explorer down such a twisty little creek (which in many places isn't as wide as the Explorer is long) while dodging assorted wood, rock gardens and strainers and ducking under the occasional low bridge. There was simply was too little room for my (unforced) errors. I could see where to go, I just couldn't get there in time. A more skilled paddler probably could have.

Within the first mile and a half, I got sideways twice and went for short swims (happily in my drysuit). The first swim was the most memorable: my canoe ended up pinned at the bow and stern, blocking the entire channel. The canoe rolled over downstream and ejected me into about 3 ft of water. The kayaker behind me had no place to eddy out, ran into the Explorer and ended up going for his own swim. The bigger error was that I let go of (and nearly lost) a brand-spanking-new Bending Branches paddle in this swim -- it was rescued by one the yakkers who was downriver. So I guess you could say I had a YAREd Sale?

On my second swim, there was a narrow channel between two boulders and I missed it by that much (if you are a Get Smart fan you'll understand that reference). The canoe pirouetted, around the downriver boulder, rolled and again ejected me, this time into about 2 feet of water. This time I held on to my Bending Branches paddle tightly and managed to grab my stern painter as the canoe bucked over the rock and continued down stream as I rock-hopped and guided it into an eddy. But somehow my spare paddle went AWOL during this swim (despite being tied in) and it was located downstream by the same yakker who recovered the Bending Branches paddle after the first swim!

After that, I decided discretion was the better part of valor, and I took out. The creek runs right along a country road, so I made the walk of shame a mile and a half back to my car. Oddly, none of the cars or pick up trucks who passed me by stopped to offer a ride to the guy in a drysuit, PFD and helmet.

Last note: as I was getting ready to empty the bilge water after I took out and before I started the walk of shame, I noticed there was an inch-and-a-half long fingerling bass swimming in the bottom of the Explorer -- and me without my fishing license!!! If only the DNR had come along and issued me a ticket for fishing without a license that would have made the story complete!!

--Al
 

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The long and short of it, however, is that I'm not yet capable of maneuvering a 16 ft. canoe like the Explorer down such a twisty little creek

Within the first mile and a half, I got sideways twice and went for short swims

On my second swim, there was a narrow channel between two boulders and I missed it by that much

No, an Explorer is not an ideal narrow, twisty creek craft. You're probably lucky the creek was so low that rescuing the canoe and paddles was easy.

You seem to have one solo seat set back from the ideal center of lateral resistance (CLR), I assume to accommodate the portage yoke. My suspicion is that you ended up sideways and missed a slot because you were trying to maneuver mostly with stern strokes. If so, you will need practice moving left and right, without yawing the canoe, by using bow strokes ahead of or at the CLR—in particular, a bow draw, bow cross-draw, bow pry (jam, wedge), drawing sideslip and prying sideslip, perhaps as well as back strokes to stall the canoe's downstream velocity while you back ferry or otherwise maneuver left and right.

If you're ever in the neighborhood of my workshop, I could stand around and supervise your efforts to stick these strokes in a sort of loose, detached, half-assed, and even failing way. No charge. Scotsmen are thrifty but generous.
 
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“You're probably lucky the creek was so low that rescuing the canoe and paddles was easy

Catoctin Creek wasn’t actually low on Sunday. Draining off the surrounding mountains Catoctin is only runnable within a few days of a hard rain. It had rained for the three previous days and the gauge had risen from the seasonal/May average of 1.5 feet to 3.5 feet, well above the recommended minimum of 2.3 feet.


ALSG, unless your long term memory is a lot better than mine it is a good idea to record the gauge level after a trip for future reference. For ease of reference I write the gauge level in the margin of whatever guidebook I am using.

All of the local-to-us USGS gauges are here:


Not just the gauge level; on some small streams lacking better launch and take out points, where it is naught but a bridge crossing and shoulder of road parking, I’ll make margin notes about that as well. “A+, wide pull off shoulder, easy carry” or “D-, long carry through dense brambles and thorns”.

That latter type of launch point reference is sometimes enough to convince me “Oh hell no, now I remember that put in” and choose somewhere else. Especially in the case of a fugly take out; it is one thing to struggle down to the water at a put in when fresh and energetic; it seems worse at the end of a trip when dragging the canoe up a steep bramble covered hillside.

Mike didn't know that there was a problem with the installation of the D-rings. When we installed them (or to be more specific, when I installed them under the supervision of Mike), we installed them using G-flex. We finished the rest of the outfitting and then went out to a late lunch and came back several hours later and dithered around some more. After the G-flex was set up and seemed solid, we installed my airbags and inflated them about 3/4 of the way, loaded the canoe on my car and I drove home.

The next day, I could see one of the D-rings was mostly detached, holding on only by the forward edge of its vinyl pad. The other D-ring appeared to be lifting only slightly on one edge, but when I touched it, it fell off.

Mike and I surmise there were several things that contributed to the failure. First, the D-ring sits in the deepest part of the V of the Explorer's v-bottom. Second, the D-rings we used had a beefy a strip of webbing running through the middle of the pad that holds the rings but makes the pad quite stiff down the center -- right where the V is at its sharpest. Because of the v-bottom and the stiff webbing, the D-ring didn't want to sit in the bottom of the canoe and probably formed a bridge across the V. Third, the G-flex, while seemingly set up, obviously was not sufficiently cured before we stressed it by inflating the bags and strapping them down to the D-rings.


Many mistakes were made. I have installed a couple dozen of those Northwater Double D rings in various canoes, including shallow vee boats. I’ve never had one even start to come loose using G/flex, and figure that they will be there until the canoe wears out.

With the nylon double-D’s (my usual preference) the webbing is thick, sewn across the 4’ long webbing in four places and the ends of the webbing are folded over and sewn hemmed. That webbing is quite stiff, and will lay better laterally across the vee than parallel over it.

But, in the past the canoe has stayed in the shop for another day, and I left it under sandbag weights, removing them occasionally to press the vinyl pad down and returning the sandbags before installing the float bag cage lacing and webbing strap. Coulda shoulda woulda, but didn’t.

The shop supervisor mistakenly thought this would be fine to drive home with after a few hours epoxy cure time, but with the partly deflated bags flapping in the 70mph highway breeze, lacing and webbing pulling against the D-ring pad, no so much.

P4030014 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

The shop supervisor was very wrong. At least the pads didn’t flail loose and epoxy themselves to the float bags. When installing D-rings on a vee it is sometimes better to use a single D-ring pad, and run the webbing across the vee, but that eliminates the double-D advantages of using the D’s as a ladder lock, or for gear straps tensioned in opposite directions.

Having discovered that a 16’ x 35”soloized Explorer leaves some quick maneuverability to be desired on narrow, twisty, fast running creeks and streams I think a more WW appropriate canoe is in your future.

Any recommendations for an intermediate WW canoe for class II/low III? Something that isn’t a heavily rockered banana, and not a unicorn on the used market?

Mohawk XL 13 or 14? Esquif Vertige? Some old Dagger WW solo on which the Royalex (sometimes R-lite) isn’t completely worn through?

Thanks for the review on Angie’s List, it may serve to prevent clueless bumpkins from using my shop, even if the bottom of their old glass canoe is worn see-though thin. Think Tom will ever repair that 30 year old canoe? He did replace a broken machine screw. With a protruding hex head bolt, and then spend the next 10 years complaining about the bolt head scarring up his racks.

When I rebuilt that Explorer for him 20 some years ago I put ball spacers on the thwart bungees. Tom still complains about occasionally falling onto the bungee balls when poling. But Tom’s hurtful balls are still there. That’s why I insisted he buy some bungee cord at BMO.

Of course at the time I rebuilt it as a family three seater, so the widest space between seats and thwarts is mighty tight to use as a poling boat. Jeeze, if only there was some solution to that dilemma.
 
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Glenn MacGrady

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Having discovered that a 16’ x 35”soloized Explorer leaves some quick maneuverability to be desired on narrow, twisty, fast running creeks and streams I think a more WW appropriate canoe is in your future.

My first canoe was a Royalex MR Explorer. With lots of practice and instruction, I learned how to competently negotiate narrow, rocky Sierra Nevada and New England mountain streams up to class 3+ in it.

I don't know alsg other than what he has posted on this site, and perhaps my assumptions about his whitewater experience are wrong. If so, I apologize. However, speaking from my general experience, lots of decent flat water canoeists struggle in even easy whitewater, not only because of the unfamiliar dynamism of currents, but because they are used to paddling stern or from behind the canoe's CLR (pivot point) when solo on flat water. I'm quite serious in saying that those paddlers must develop a suite of bow control strokes to paddle technical whitewater effectively.

Yes, one can "get through" some even big wave rapids using only stern strokes if it's the kind of rapid where all you have to is "line it up" at the top of the rapid and "ride it out". However, if one needs to move left or right quickly in the rapid without yawing the canoe, or if one wants to learn eddy turns, peel outs, back/front ferrying, and surfing, one must become proficient with basic bow stroke techniques—primarily the draw, cross-draw, cross-forward, Duffek, cross-Duffek, and sideslip. (Static and dynamic pries are more difficult and not absolutely necessary.)

Those techniques can be learned in an Explorer, even though it's somewhat hard to reach across for cross strokes because of its width. In fact, I found the Explorer's massive secondary stability to be a virtue in learning these strokes in whitewater because many whitewater maneuvers are best effectuated by extreme heeling close to the rail.

It may be that a dedicated whitewater canoe is in alsg's future if he wishes seriously to pursue whitewater. Getting one right now without whitewater instruction won't necessarily help that much. Of course, I have no idea what the state of whitewater instruction is in these days of kayak dominance. The Washington Canoe Cruisers was a legendary club around the D.C. area last century.
 
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I don't know alsg other than what he has posted on this site, and perhaps my assumptions about his whitewater experience are wrong. If so, I apologize. However, speaking from my general experience, lots of decent flat water canoeists struggle in even easy whitewater, not only because of the unfamiliar dynamism of currents, but because they are used to paddling stern or from behind the canoe's CLR (pivot point) when solo on flat water. I'm quite serious in saying that those paddlers must develop a suite of bow control strokes to paddle technical whitewater effectively.

Glenn,

No apologies necessary. I freely admit I don't have nearly as much whitewater experience as many on this site. Heck, I've only been paddling for about 6 years now. But I do know and use bow draws and bow cross-draws . I also use the drawing sideslip. I don't use pries very much as everything I have read and my own limited experience says they are very weak strokes compared to the draw. Thus I usually draw/cross draw. The bow pry I have experimented with on flat water but I never use it.

In the hands of better paddler I don't doubt the Explorer could have gotten down this creek without incident. But if I am going to paddle more streams like this, I think I'd like a more suitable boat. It's the same principle behind teaching skiing. There's a reason they teach new skiers on shorter shaped skis these days: they turn more easily than long straight skis.

Al
 
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