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Thread: Fitting out an Open Canoe - Notes from Scottish Canoe Exhibition - 29 October 2005

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    Default Fitting out an Open Canoe - Notes from Scottish Canoe Exhibition - 29 October 2005

    Notes from Scottish Canoe Exhibition - 29 October 2005

    Fitting out an Open Canoe, given by by Claire Knifton http://cknifton.co.uk

    Her canoe is a Wynona Prospector-15 - the best in her opinion, wouldn't swap it [it was kitted for one]

    Bow/stern Loops: Drill clear through the hull, at least 50mm (2") from any edge and use 8-11mm loop. These are needed for carrying, broach recovery, etc. without the clearance many loops will pull out, as do fastened-in bow/stern pieces

    Swin Tails: add a 2m doubled tape (lark's foot knot) to the bow/stern loops for swimmers to hang onto (i.e. when you go and get them). Otherwise they grab your gunwhale making the boat un-steerable and possibly tipping you in! (and they are easier than painters to hold)

    Swim line: A light weight floating line, stowed in a throw bag, one each end, with a 0.5m clean end lying out for grabbing as you take a swim(i.e. self recovery). The other (bag) end is clipped to the bow/stern loop and the bag is also strapped down. The line colour should be your unique emergency colour [so you grab the right one]. The length should be sufficient for 75% of river width, so you can swim to shore, stand up and swing boat back to shore before the boat, still in main stream, drags the line out of your hands. The line is sized for convenient handling (6-8mm) rather than use as a recovery rope.

    Keep the boat clean: Don't have loose bits of tat hanging around as trip and entanglement hazards. It is not good for ease of trimming either. Clean (wash out) the grit and bits from the boat suitably often as airbags will get holes from the entrapped grit.

    Lashing points: If you use P-clips, don't fasten them to the side of the gunwhale. It might be easy to do but they pull out easily. Fasten them under the gunwhale so that the fastening has a side pull. [or see http://www.songofthepaddle.co.uk/for...hread.php?t=11]

    Protect airbags: Protect airbags from the sun - because the heating effect can cause them to pop.
    Use a piece of carrimat between the airbag and the tie downs as this provides protection from both sun and spikes (and dogs paws).
    Fully lash/tie in your airbags. They can easily squeeze out under full water flow if not fully lashed in. (The cooling water reduces the internal pressure and they are pneumatically compressible as well!)
    Claire uses a large airbag reaching all the way to the 'front' seat, and then has a large D-ring on the floor to shorten the airbag when paddling double (letting some air out).
    A lorry inner tube can always be used as a cheap alternative, though harder to pump up.
    Protect the underside of the airbag from grit.
    When trying to lash the front of the airbag into the bow, use a nice simple tie-wrap to reach through the bow tie hole, through that awkward to reach front airbag fastening, and out the other side. Cheap and easy!

    An easy sail clamp: The sail mast is formed from a split poling pole. The part with the button is the mast. The one with the hole (for the button) is boom. The mast clamp is two pieces of wood (30-35mm wide, 15-20mm thick, length = seat depth + 20mm + 40mm). These clamp over/under the seat with coach bolt & wing nuts, and have a mast hole through. A simple foot plate can be used if needed. It can even be bonded in.
    The sail is arab dhow style, the mast goes up a sleeve on one edge, with the boom being at an angle more like a Y, up at a diagonal. The boom fits in a sleeve and with a tension string using the pole's button hole. The last corner of the sail has the control string ('sheet') for the sail. [you hold this ]

    Kneeling thwarts: make sure they are at the right height. You should be able to get your feet out easily for simple tumbles in rapids. Make sure the twart is not so strong that you can't break out of it if the water flow collapses the bottom of the boat onto your foot. Entrapment is a possibility.

    Hip blocks: if you find you are of slight build relative to the boat & gear, then add a hip block at the end of your seat/thwart to allow some lean/pressure, especially for ends of kneelers. The block can have a wedge angle on it for comfort.

    Packing & pack leash: Use a large rucksac/drybag to hold all those smaller drybags and bits. It keeps the kit together and is easier to move around for trim.
    For the leash use a 3x long piece of line and then do endless slip knots. This gives a nice grippy lanyard effect, with the ability to quickly extend the line when needed. A single carabiner at the end allows easy clipping to the boat. Most recommend that gear should not be tied hard into the boat, but on a short lead so the boat can be emptied and righted independantly of the gear. [the gear can be tied together for stability, just not to the boat]
    The same 3x method can be used for the lining bridle, it gives lots of attachment points when linked under the boat between thwart attachment points.

    Paddle Carry: When in a group, it is easy to thread a paddle shaft through each bow/stern loop and have two persons at each end. This lightens the load greatly and you can carry much further. It is more efficient.

    Philip Oakley

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    Philip

    Great post, once again with your permission I would like to copy it over to the main site. (Hints and Tips section this time)
    John

    I started at the bottom and I like it here

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    No Problems.
    P.

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    Some good ideas here from Claire, but I would like to make the following observations for folk to consider...........

    Quote Originally Posted by philipoakley
    Notes from Scottish Canoe Exhibition - 29 October 2005
    Quote Originally Posted by philipoakley

    Fitting out an Open Canoe, given by by Claire Knifton http://cknifton.co.uk

    Swim line: A light weight floating line, stowed in a throw bag, one each end, with a 0.5m clean end lying out for grabbing as you take a swim(i.e. self recovery). The other (bag) end is clipped to the bow/stern loop and the bag is also strapped down. The line colour should be your unique emergency colour [so you grab the right one]. The length should be sufficient for 75% of river width, so you can swim to shore, stand up and swing boat back to shore before the boat, still in main stream, drags the line out of your hands. The line is sized for convenient handling (6-8mm) rather than use as a recovery rope.


    I would disagree with the choice of rope here. The most likely time for you canoe to get pinned is when there is noboby in it as it goes down a rapid. Assuming the swim line works, you are then on the bank with a line to the pinned boat. It it is a piece of string kind of a rope it may not be upto the job of hauling the boat off the pin. You will then be faced with one of the most potentially serious problems to face an open boater.....how to get a line out to a pinned boat. Might be very easy, might be highly danerous. if your swim line is suitable for Z pulls etc you already have that rope in place.

    Protect airbags: Protect airbags from the sun - because the heating effect can cause them to pop.


    This is not an issue when paddling, just keep an eye on them and deflate a little as required.


    A lorry inner tube can always be used as a cheap alternative, though harder to pump up.
    A garage pump makes inflation easy.


    Protect the underside of the airbag from grit.
    You cannot protect it from grit: grit will get in there. You need to remove the air bag fairly often, let everything dry out and brush/hoover the grit.

    When trying to lash the front of the airbag into the bow, use a nice simple tie-wrap to reach through the bow tie hole, through that awkward to reach front airbag fastening, and out the other side. Cheap and easy!

    The wisdom from the States on this is that the air bag eyelets should not be used at all. Your rope lashing should form a cage in conjunction with 2 or 3 D rings, and the bag be allowed to rotate freely within the cage if the water pressure dictates.


    [U]Kneeling thwarts[/u]: make sure they are at the right height. You should be able to get your feet out easily for simple tumbles in rapids. Make sure the twart is not so strong that you can't break out of it if the water flow collapses the bottom of the boat onto your foot. Entrapment is a possibility.
    I once made a releasing kneeling thwart for this reason, but I've never seen one so weak that I would be able to break it in the circumstanes described. Would such a thwart be strong enough to do the job?


    Most recommend that gear should not be tied hard into the boat, but on a short lead so the boat can be emptied and righted independantly of the gear. [the gear can be tied together for stability, just not to the boat]


    But not on WW!! And only of use if there is someone else there to rescue you.


    As you can see, there are many ways to skin a cat. What ever you decide for your boat, make sure you understand the reasons for your choice and any cons associated with it.
    Last edited by MagiKelly; 5th-January-2006 at 06:04 PM. Reason: Sorting quote tags

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    Default Fitting out

    Hi,

    Three points,

    1) Air bags will be trashed if they are not fastened in well (as will the boat). As I travel around I see numerous airbags lashed in with the lines at least 8'' apart and no strap from bow loop to hull D ring, when the owners get these boats flipped in the future they are going to be sorry people. I would no be too worried by zip tying the point into the bow/stern but it will be an utter pain to cut when you want remove the bag. At work I use fastex buckles quick and easy, they are not the cheap buckles though, in my boats I use nothing. 4-5'' (I use 3'' on my MR Guide)space between the lines max and then strapped bow loop to hull D ring, with parallel lines clove hitched to stop the bag popping out from between the cross deck lines and finshed off at the hull. You do not need to be on grade 3+ to fold a boat or to pop an airbag out.

    2) I agree about the swim lines. If you are going to add more line to your boat make sure it is useful line and it is clean (no loops or knots in the free end). Throw lines or something similar to store the loose rope.

    3) Ref the thwart strength. If there is a possibility of an incident where I am likely to be pinned in the boat because of the thwart then I would be carrying my recovery kit and in there is always my trusty gerber saw. On some of the really woody rivers in flood I carry it clipped to my buoyancy aid tooked inside. To have the thwart weak enough to break in an incident the thwart would not be strong enough to work, taking into account the flexing of the hull, bending of the bolts etc. Take the risk, carry a saw.

    All the best

    Paul B

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    Paul, you are spot on re the state of some folks air bag fixing. I call it optimistic air bagging.

    I think the reason it is suggested that you do not use the eyelets when fitting bag is that a) folk are tempted to be over reliant on them (even to the exclusion af all other forms of lashing) and b) the force of water in a pin will quickly rotate a bag anyway, and the eyelet will not be strong enough to hold it. Better to build a cage and let the bag 'float' within it. Also means that by undoing one knot you can unlace to end section of the cage to remove the bag for that all important cleaning.

    Keep those ideas coming folks!

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    My long reply just disapeared while writing.

    I don't want to write that again so here is a sort summery:

    Painters/swim lines: absolutly useless if smaller than 10mm. 6mm would cut my hands to shreds bringing in a swampt boat. when it is cold even 10mm is hard to use. round section is better than the flat type.

    end loops: If you can use the end loops to carry the canoe then they are way too big and dangerous. should only have enough clearance to clip a crab to. I was always taught if its big enough to get a hand in the hand can by cut off when the boat twists in the water.

    Air bag cage: the only point my airbags are fasted to the canoe is with a cable tie at the end. the bags are held in place by the cage and single anchor stap. Factory fitted cage clips are always too far appart and not enough lashing is used. I add extra line to the cage using different patterns to get full coverage. I always use roll mat on top of the air bags (that reminds me, the ocoee has had these used for somthing else and need new mats)

    Canoeing costs money. But after spending so much much on canoe and kit thowlines, paddles dry suits etc. it seems perverse to go cheap on floatation and use car tyres or inflateable animals.
    Your rig looks so much better with the right gear. It says a lot about you how your canoe looks.

    strap everything in the canoe, tight. I use anchor points glued to the hull and strap things down tight with luggage straps. If you add a quick release buckle then moving things for trim is quick and easy. For when the straps fail (never have) I also have a leash but this is tucked out of sight so it can not cause a hazard or snag.
    Last edited by Rogue; 5th-January-2006 at 07:55 PM.
    Rogue

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    Are you saying that tying air bags in on all three corners (bow/stern and both gunwales), and laced across the top is insufficient? My Endless River air bags are tied in to P-clips under the gunwales and end decks. I had not really thought about the pressure of air/water affecting them so badly I must admit. Are glued down D-rings really stronger? What else can you attach your cage to?

    Matto
    Matto

    Ours was the marsh country, down by the river, within, as the river wound, twenty miles of the sea.


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    Default D rings

    Hi,

    If D rings are fitted correctly they are bomb proof for a direct pull. To remove one just get a blade and peel from the edge and it come off. As usual thorough prep and cleanliness is the order of the day. Also using the right glue for the job helps.

    P clips can and do fail, but if you do not want to drill your hull then you do not have loads of options.

    Paul

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    Quote Originally Posted by Matto
    Are you saying that tying air bags in on all three corners (bow/stern and both gunwales), and laced across the top is insufficient? My Endless River air bags are tied in to P-clips under the gunwales and end decks. I had not really thought about the pressure of air/water affecting them so badly I must admit. Are glued down D-rings really stronger? What else can you attach your cage to?

    Matto
    I use clips on the gunwales for the lashing, plus keeper straps between the decks and glued in D-rings in both boats. My lacing density is quite close together. The idea is that the keeper strap stops the bag from being popped out of the boat (through the lashing) by the water pressure forced in underneath it. I use the front reinforcing hole on the bag to locate it, and the rear ones are just kinda leashed through, not specifically tied in.

    Probably not that critical on a touring boat (although that said I still use that arrangement).


    (not the best picture, as some of the fixing is in behind that extra thwart, plus the sail kit's pad-eyes are in the way too. Since then I've also now tied the lashing 'cage' to the hull too, not just the gunwales ...).


    ... but pretty much essential on a WW boat.


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    Question Alternative to air bag

    Has anyone had any experience using the foam wedge alternatives to the airbags. On the face it of they appear to address some of the problems encountered with airbags, more robust, no puncture problems, lashing tabs, etc. I can see that they may not be as buoyant as an airbag of the same capacity, particularly the foam chip variety as opposed to the solid block as they could take up some water ???

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    Default foam wedge bouyancy

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve P
    Has anyone had any experience using the foam wedge alternatives to the airbags. On the face it of they appear to address some of the problems encountered with airbags, more robust, no puncture problems, lashing tabs, etc. I can see that they may not be as buoyant as an airbag of the same capacity, particularly the foam chip variety as opposed to the solid block as they could take up some water ???
    My club (Monkland Canoe Club) has used them on its three canadians. They are good for club boats in that they need very little maintenance. The ones used are not as large as air bags so wouldn't provide as much flotation as a big air bag, but then we aren't expecting to use them in that way.
    They are probably 500mm long (one each end), laced over the top with a hold down strap, though the D-ring has de-bonded as the pull was not quite square. Any bigger and they would use up too much space for a club boat.
    One thought is that using an initial foam wedge bouyancy means you can then have a simple 'cube' air bag, plus if the airbag goes you still have bouyancy.
    The blocks are in a sewn 'bag' and reach to just below the gunwhale. one option could be a block which extends above the gunwhale to help water run off when powering through waves if that is your thing.

    Don't use a styrofoam block unless protected from all those bits flaking off!!

    Philip

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    Default solid bags

    Hi

    As Phil has said, high use/abuse situations they are great, cuts down on maintenance time which is important in comercial situations.

    cons are, they are not a brilliant fit so they get water sloshing behind them and they are heavier and more expensive although not a great lot. Expense is outweighed against maintenance many times in the commercial sector.

    There are solid versions and bean bag type versions available, try to lookat both. Personally I would choose traditional air bags.

    Paul.

    Horses for courses.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tenboats1
    Some good ideas here from Claire, but I would like to make the following observations for folk to consider...........
    If I could clarify the points..

    I would disagree with the choice of rope here. The most likely time for you canoe to get pinned is when there is noboby in it as it goes down a rapid. Assuming the swim line works, you are then on the bank with a line to the pinned boat. <snip.
    Claire's point was that the swim line (as described) was for those times where you are swimming, the boat is floating off downstream [definitly not designed for the pinned case ], where you are swinging the boat to shore in relatively easy water after the incident.

    This is not an issue when paddling, just keep an eye on them and deflate a little as required.
    We all forget these little checks at the most inappropriate moments . From an equipment 'safety' perspective, if we can pre-arrange not to have a potential problem that is better. It may not be for everyone.
    A garage pump makes inflation easy.
    definately
    You cannot protect it from grit: grit will get in there. You need to remove the air bag fairly often, let everything dry out and brush/hoover the grit.
    True, Claire was, I think, effectively suggesting a piece of thin foam to reduce the effect of the grit, but that may be nore difficult to clean itself!
    The wisdom from the States on this is that the air bag eyelets should not be used at all. Your rope lashing should form a cage in conjunction with 2 or 3 D rings, and the bag be allowed to rotate freely within the cage if the water pressure dictates.
    A worthwhile point.
    .. one so weak that I would be able to break it in the circumstanes described. Would such a thwart be strong enough to do the job?
    My idea is (a) don't over design for strength, (b) of a multi part thwart (4 or 5 narrow bars) - making it easier to do any cutting etc.
    [luggage on a leash]But not on WW!! And only of use if there is someone else there to rescue you.
    We probably need to clarify the grade/competence/style-of-trip breakpoint here. My though is that:
    for compact expeditions , where the normal imperative is to avoid risk, the leash would be better than strapped in luggage.
    For those under instruction (bigger group, low grade water, but reasonably chance of mishap ) no leash - let others recover it and have the boat empty.
    For 'hard' White water (level of 'putting it on' / 'having a go' is high, reasonably chance of mishap ) then strapped in is necessary.

    As you can see, there are many ways to skin a cat. What ever you decide for your boat, make sure you understand the reasons for your choice and any cons associated with it.
    Definately ! ! !
    Apologies for anything mis-said

    Philip

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rogue
    Painters/swim lines: <snip> round section is better than the flat type.
    the flat type was for a short tail for rescuing a swimmer and would be the same style as used on kayak tails. Point agreed for personal swim line or painter.

    end loops: If you can use the end loops to carry the canoe then they are way too big and dangerous. should only have enough clearance to clip a crab to. I was always taught if its big enough to get a hand in the hand can by cut off when the boat twists in the water.
    The loop should only be big enough to get the paddle handle through. It is the paddle handle that is used, in pairs, for the lifting. This was from my club's practice, especially when 'children' are present.
    And anyway most canoes are too heavy to be lifted by only two people from a Manual Handling regulation / duty of care perspective, so anything we can do to help more people help in the lifting the better..

    Canoeing costs money. - It says a lot about you how your canoe looks.
    This depends on ones 'weltenshauung' [world view] Are we talking function or fashion ? Sometimes it is hard to distinguish the rich fool from the hard working expert, or the incompetent rag-bag from the authentic 'frontiersman'.
    I would dearly [cheaply?] love to get a load of stuff, but for the moment I'm stuck with what I have and ingenuity. And a lots of knowledge sharing .

    Philip

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    Quote Originally Posted by philipoakley
    If I could clarify the points..


    Claire's point was that the swim line (as described) was for those times where you are swimming, the boat is floating off downstream [definitly not designed for the pinned case ], where you are swinging the boat to shore in relatively easy water after the incident.

    My point was that even when using swim lines purely as swim lines, they may as well be adiquate for pulling the baot off too, as they are already in place in the event of a pin. Also, have you tried holding a swamped open boat with a swim line? The thicker the better if you don't want to cheese wire your fingers.

    Decent swim lines serve as swim line, hauling ropes and tracking and lining ropes. Can't see any merit in having thin bits of string.


    We all forget these little checks at the most inappropriate moments . From an equipment 'safety' perspective, if we can pre-arrange not to have a potential problem that is better. It may not be for everyone.

    my air bags are right in front of me, all day. If I can see them I will see a problem. If they are hidden under foam I may not.

    True, Claire was, I think, effectively suggesting a piece of thin foam to reduce the effect of the grit, but that may be nore difficult to clean itself!

    foam on top, foam underneath and up the sides maybe??? For the grit to become embeded in. No thanks.

    We probably need to clarify the grade/competence/style-of-trip breakpoint here. My though is that:
    for compact expeditions , where the normal imperative is to avoid risk, the leash would be better than strapped in luggage.
    For those under instruction (bigger group, low grade water, but reasonably chance of mishap ) no leash - let others recover it and have the boat empty.
    For 'hard' White water (level of 'putting it on' / 'having a go' is high, reasonably chance of mishap ) then strapped in is necessary.


    Philip
    Okay, but I'm still not going anywhere near a canoe with gear on lines when on a river!

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    Default "multi-part thwarts"

    Just been looking at Bil Mason's Path of the Paddle.
    The picture on page 20 of 'A very Stable, Rough Water position', show that his 'seat' has multiple laths, which he is kneeking back on.
    The seat comprises about 7 laths of, I guess, 2cm lath and it looks as if his weight is slightly bowing them.
    A thwart made like this would probably compare well with a single rigid bar for the situation of accidental entrapment.

    P.

  18. #18

    Thumbs up help for those of us new to all this?

    Brilliant and vital discussion boys and girls ... but

    i wondered if (like Mr.Monkey Pork to whom i bow in homage for his wonderfully clear pics ) people could clarify what their talking about with a/some pictures.

    i realise this may be a phaff to do but it would turn a really helpful discussion into something absolutely wonderful and unmissable!!!

    cheers to all contributed

    simon

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    Ropes - for holding the boat and for rescuing someone.

    Thwarts and seats - bars running across the boat for siting on, sleeping on, kneeling under/against etc and if they may trap you when the boat capsizes.

    Mainly above is for White water.

    That help ?

    Nick

  20. #20

    Default Buoyancy - much cheapness

    Hello!

    I am probably about to show my ignorance of all things canoeing, but I had an idea about buoyancy packs for my Old Town Guide 147 recently, which I thought I'd share with you all. Cash always a bit tight round here...

    1) Get a group of friends and order a polypin of real ale from a small brewer.
    2) Drink the beer. Get drunk to a varying degree depending on how many mates assist in the drinking.
    3) Flush out the polypin bag. You will see it is a square, air/watertight thick polythene cube.
    4) Affix hook eyes to gunwales of canoe.
    5) Lash partially inflated polypin into space behind rear seat using paracord (10,000lb breaking strain)
    6) position tap to top of space.
    7) Inflate polypin almost to maximum (You don't want it too big)
    8) Hey presto! A cheap bit of buoyancy for your canoe, AND a night on the beer to boot!

    You can repeat this process (I'm not sounding like a drunk am I?) and obtain extra buoyancy to fit under seats or to lash to thwarts etc.

    I'd love to post a picture, but I can barely type.

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    Polypin floatation, now that is my kind of thinking!

    I know of one watersports centre who use the bags from boxes of wine as kayak floatation bags.

    Its kinda recycling therefore good for the environment too



    Jay
    It was like that when I got here...

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    I have laced my airbags into a Bob Special with no bow-strap. Have capsized it with no problems and no movement in position of bags. But this was on flat water.

    On my Coleman, which has seen ww, I have also laced in airbags but have also laced a lattis down to the keel tube. The pressure of water on rivers, is far greater, than flat water. I have had no problems with this setup either.

    TGB
    Last edited by TGB; 14th-October-2007 at 10:03 PM. Reason: Bit more info
    May the gentleness of morning, greet your silent passage through endless waters...

    May all your winds be gentle. And for ww - May it rain the night before.

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    Default Lashing airbags

    I'm sure it's been said before but i didn't see it in this thread, so it's worth reiterating for anyone new to whitewater; do not use bungee to make your airbag cage.
    A few years ago on the Upper Wye my friends boat was pinned in the bottom of the river, the boat was probably about two feet below the surface but the airbags were at the surface!
    The airbag cage was very sound looking and used lots of thick bungee so prior to the canoe getting stuck none of us would have questioned its ability to do the job, but once down on the bottom of the river there was a lot of air in them airbags that only wanted to come up!

  24. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Booker View Post
    Hi,

    If D rings are fitted correctly they are bomb proof for a direct pull. To remove one just get a blade and peel from the edge and it come off. As usual thorough prep and cleanliness is the order of the day. Also using the right glue for the job helps.

    P clips can and do fail, but if you do not want to drill your hull then you do not have loads of options.

    Paul
    New to this game, where can you get the D rings from & how do you fix them to the canoe ? sorry if this sounds dumb.
    Who's pluckin the banjo here ?

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Nr Rochester in Kent
    Posts
    3,778

    Default

    www.endlessriver.co.uk sell them, as do www.aiguillealpine.co.uk and various others. If your boat is Royalex then Vynabond sticks great. Anything else then I would go with Riverbond from Endless River.
    Matto

    Ours was the marsh country, down by the river, within, as the river wound, twenty miles of the sea.


  26. #26
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Peak District
    Posts
    431

    Default D Rings

    Hi,

    As Matt has replied. But any of the major shops should be able to supply you.

    Paul.

  27. #27

    Default Fibreglass

    Any suggestions for fibreglass?

  28. #28
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    North Yorkshire
    Posts
    41

    Default

    Just want to say thanks everyone, I know this is an old thread but I've read it with interest, as we embark on fitting the air bags today in the new MRE. I get the gist of what we should be doing and why. I think understanding why is the important bit.

    M

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