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Thread: What buoyancy and how to fit it?

  1. Default What buoyancy and how to fit it?

    Sorry I'm relatively new to open boating, as in done quite a bit but in a club boat. Just about to buy a boat which appears to be sold without buoyancy.
    What are the pros and cons of airbags vs foam blocks, and is it strictly necessary to drill the gunwhales or hull to fit them?
    Thanks all in advance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Surrey
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    21,402

    Default

    Depends what you want to do with it.

    If its just quiet stillwater paddling, don't bother with either.

    If its bigger open water and moderate whitewater, either will work.

    If its mostly whitewater, then I think airbags are far better, and because of this they're what I use (but take the front one out quite often to give more space).


    Drilling the hull and lacing is stronger than any of the P-clips into gunwhale methods. Its a simple job, just scary to start! I use dark lacing so you can barely see it against the hull.


    Taking into account the above, I'd then say;


    Blocks

    Pros: durable, reasonable flotation, don't puncture
    Cons: bulky to store if you take them out, less buoyancy for a given size, tend to sit clear of the bottom of the hull, meaning the canoe will sit deeper if swamped. Bit pricier (though you can make your own)


    Airbags

    Pros: max flotation, bigger ones can be used (and "folded back" if too big on the odd occasion), take up little space when stored, cheaper than blocks.
    Cons: prone to punctures (easily fixed but annoying), less durable generally.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
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    Spalding , Lincs
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    52

    Default

    May I ask if drilling and lacing a fibreglass canoe is ok? (Sorry to but in)

  4. Default

    Thanks very much Mal for a very comprehensive answer, that's really useful. I think I will probably go for the durability of blocks for now, and potentially sell the blocks to buy airbags if I get to higher WW grades in future.
    Can you rrcommend any videos or diagrams on where exactly I should be drilling the hull to lace the blocks please? I found a useful thread here on drilling tips already but I don't want to make unnecessary or wrongly positioned holes!
    Thanks

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Surrey
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    This is for airbags, and goes beyond what you need, but its from a true expert.

    http://www.songofthepaddle.co.uk/for...tting-My-Canoe



    Its not hard though, I simply ran a strip of masking tape along under the gunwhales, and marked on it where I wanted the holes, double checked, checked again and then drilled. I used 5mm cord, I believe my holes drilled were 6mm, but its 7 years ago now. With blocks, you won't need to go as far along the canoe as they're often smaller, but it might be worth adding a few extra loops for the future and for tying other things in.

    I actually did mine whilst the canoe was upside down on the car, as it brought it to a nice working height.

    I probably spent the most time thinking about where I wanted the end grab loops in the stern and prow.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    West Yorkshire
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    3,650

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