Ves­sel The

Australian Geographic Outdoor - - Top 6 | Canoe Touring Essentials -

NOT ALL ca­noes are cre­ated equal and these days there’s more va­ri­ety than ever. Here’s a break­down on per­for­mance at­tributes of dif­fer­ent craft:

WEIGHT: Ca­noe con­struc­tion varies from heavy and durable ma­te­ri­als such as poly­eth­yl­ene and alu­minium to space age ul­tra­light ma­te­ri­als such as Kevlar, car­bon-fi­bre and In­negra. Es­sen­tially, the lighter the ca­noe, the lighter your wal­let. The lighter a ca­noe, the eas­ier it is to paddle – as well as to han­dle off the wa­ter, so you’ll prob­a­bly use it more of­ten.

STA­BIL­ITY: The width (or beam) of a ca­noe typ­i­cally af­fects its sta­bil­ity. Wider means more sta­ble, but slower through the wa­ter. An­other fac­tor that in­flu­ences sta­bil­ity is the hull shape; a flat-bot­tomed boat may feel sta­ble but it may be sus­cep­ti­ble to cap­siz­ing when con­fronted by waves or boat wash.

SPEED: The length of boat usu­ally con­trib­utes to straight-line speed. In the­ory, a longer boat should be faster.

CA­PAC­ITY: A boat’s ca­pac­ity is dic­tated by its over­all in­ter­nal vol­ume. A short, nar­row boat will have lim­ited ca­pac­ity whereas a long, wide boat ob­vi­ously has more. The height of a ca­noe’s sides (its free­board) also con­trib­utes to ca­pac­ity.

SUIT­ABIL­ITY: Some ca­noes are de­signed to do cer­tain things well which can make them un­suit­able for other pur­suits. If you’re head­ing into mov­ing wa­ter (rapids) then a short boat with high sides that is very ma­noeu­vrable will be most suit­able. An 18-foot fi­bre­glass ca­noe with a flat hull can be dis­as­trous in such con­di­tions. If you’re tak­ing the whole fam­ily on a week­long flat-wa­ter jour­ney, then a long, wide boat with mas­sive ca­pac­ity will be the best choice.

Test­ing sta­bil­ity lev­els of ca­noes can be awe­some fun, plus it en­ables pad­dlers to learn their par­tic­u­lar ca­noe’s tip­ping point and han­dling char­ac­ter­is­tics.

Top and bottom Ca­noes are made from dif­fer­ent ma­te­ri­als, such as Royalex (red ca­noe) and Kevlar (yel­low).

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