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Thread: Canal Kayaking

  1. #1
    Widdler Caddy83's Avatar
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    Ola,

    Just want some advice really. I have wanted to do Kayaking for yeeeeeaars, but seeing as it can become quite expensive, i've never quite got past the whole "aw i wanna do that".

    Recently, however, i came across an advert on gumtree for two fibreglass Kayaks with paddles for £30. Score . I contacted the seller and low and behold, i now have two 80's style fibreglass Kayaks (well 3 now but i haven't collected the 3rd yet).

    I know, you all think i'm barmey, but my housemates are quite talented in repairs of all things and we're both doing quite a bit of research too so we're not going in completley blind. When i do something i do it properly, no short cuts.

    So before i even think of doing anything with them, firstly i'm going to have to take them to the canal at the end of our road to see if they're water tight and see what exactly needs repairing and strengthening. Then i was was thinking of joining a club (using their equipment and kayaks) just to get to grips with the whole idea and what needs done.

    Now, one of my house mates has told me that there will be a possiblity of some "all knowing" giant heads who will try to convince me that these Kayaks are dated and dangerous because of their age. When i feel comfortable enough to even go out in these Kayaks, i'll only be using Canals (with the relevant licensing ofcourse) not white water kayaking or even river travel. I'm more thinking canal tour holdidays if you know what i mean, pottering along at a nice easy going speed on flat water with my 20yr old lichfield tent

    I have ordered my buoyancy aids, and looking at all other necessary saftey equipment, but am i really in that much trouble?

    I have to stress though that i am on minimum wage and affording a modern, even a considered cheap Polyethylene junior Kayak is £300+ is just not going to happen. I'm happy with these little beasts and am willing to work on them within my budget and even more so that i feel like i've actually done and got something i've worked hard for and not just a production line toy. So anyone who has any past experience with their fibreglass oldies, repair etc, i'd much appreciate the your experience and know how.

    Thanks for reading

  2. #2
    Ultra King Peter Clinch's Avatar
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    For paddling down a canal what you have ought to be fine. They might be dated, but that doesn't mean "bad".

    Note that fibreglass is actually considered superior to plastic in a lot of touring environments (my sea kayak is glass, I much prefer it to any plastic sea boat I've yet tried). Plastic is tougher and at least these days is cheaper to make, but someone's already made yours and you shouldn't be bouncing off rocks. And if you do have holes etc. one of the good things aboutfibreglass is it's relatively easy to patch. Even I've done it, and I'm far from gifted with my hands.

    A bit of instruction will get your actual paddle strokes much more efficient and better in control, and will help with handy things like getting in and out without flipping it.

    Pete.

  3. #3
    ‹bermensch
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    Just watch out for shopping trolleys when you do Eskimo Rolls!

  4. #4
    Widdler Caddy83's Avatar
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    Thanks Pete much obliged.

  5. #5
    Widdler Caddy83's Avatar
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    Eskimo Rolls?! Crikey! Poor Eskimos, you shouldn't roll them, thats not very nice. Though if it was Swiss rolls, i'd be game

    I'm assuming thats when you overbalance or lost balance and end up on the wrond side of the surface? When riding the paths, i have seen an absundance of bicycles and trolleys in some parts. That does worry me somewhat. I don't want snagging on one of them.

  6. #6
    Ultra King Peter Clinch's Avatar
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    "Eskimo roll" is getting yourself back up from a capsize. Various flavours: in quiet water a Palawta roll is the easiest and most effective but it still needs a bit of instruction and practice. You local club should be able to get you up to speed, usually in a nice warm swimming pool!

    Pete.

  7. #7
    Ultra King Peter Clinch's Avatar
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    These sound like the sort of flat-water kayaks I used to use on the local waterways in the Netherlands. They may have a spraydeck but you don't roll, you just fall out. You need thigh braces to get anough grip for rolling.

    If they have a v-shaped hull they can be quite tippy!

    Roos

  8. #8
    Super Moderator captain paranoia's Avatar
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    > If they have a v-shaped hull they can be quite tippy!

    I went on a canoeing course at Calshot many years ago, with school. We tried a V-shaped, two seat thing in the sea. We never managed to get away from the shore, as we kept capsizing. 'Quite tippy' doesn't come close...

    We had more success flying BATs...

  9. #9
    Widdler Caddy83's Avatar
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    There are stickers on them calling one a Comanche and one a Snipe. Whether that means anything i don't know lol.

  10. #10
    Ultra King
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    Try not to take a gulp of canal water you really wouldn't like a dose of Weils disease.

  11. #11
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    Blimey, that takes me back! I had an Apache in the 80's which was from the same range of canoes. The snipe was a very early slalom canoe, so turns quite easily but hard work to hold in a straight line. I think the Comanche was more aimed at recreational touring. They were generally well made and pretty robust.

    If there are any leaks the fibreglass is very easy to repair. The only risk is that its been penetrated by water and then experienced repeated frost, which could weaken it a lot. However, this will be pretty obvious. Even if it is the case, the boat won't kill you, it'll just leak/crack and you'll end up pulling into the side to bail out.

    I wouldn't take a boat of that construction and age far out to sea tho'...

    If you do much paddling you, in theory you need a licence to go on canals (in practice I never had a licence checked on rivers/canals in 10+ years kayaking). This is included in British Canoe Union membership, or you can get from britishwaterways board.

  12. #12
    Mini Goon
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    I find the most awkward thing with kayaking canals is finding enough places where the bank is low enough to get out of the boat dry near to a parking place.

    There is plenty of reasonable second hand gear about and it will be cheaper if you can get a spray-deck with the boat and possible a paddle as well you could save some £sas these are expensive new. If you have a local club (the BCU has listings) go and join. You will get local knowledge on convenient places to paddle and people often offer their surplus kit for sale via club notice board before www.ukriversguidebook.co.uk private sales& ebay, plus you get to try different types of boat out to see what suits. Also lots of free help with your skills as its often difficult to tell what you are not doing perfectly.

    Safety: be very careful of anything that you can get snagged on under water like tree roots, over-hanging trees, mooring lines, scaffoldingfor bank or bridge repairs,.... You can ware a plastic helmet to protect against head-butting sunkenshopping trolleys etc. Apart from that its pretty safe. Learning to Eskimo roll needs help and is not that hard if you have a good teacher.

    Comanche (red one)and Snipe (yellow boat) are just the model names they are "general purpose" kayaks that would be fine in a channel and probably faster therefore easier to paddle in a straight line than modern short plastic boats.

    Kayaking is a great sportthat I hope you get to enjoy, good luck.

  13. #13
    Widdler Caddy83's Avatar
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    Wow. Thanks guys. All your info is much appreciated. I can't wait to start

    I went and collected the 3rd one today. Another fibreglass kayak, seems younger. Its called a Nemesis Thorstein....... i can't find anything about it online though. A little heavier, but feels solid. It has a sticker on the back with what i can only assume is a serial number and some wording about Cumbria.

  14. #14
    Mini Goon
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    Quote Originally Posted by Caddy83 View Post
    assume is a serial number and some wording about Cumbria.
    maybe a waterways licence

  15. #15
    ‹bermensch Montgomery Wick's Avatar
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    I also did the school canoe canal thing, and spent many happy hours inhaling fumes in the sports shed as we pasted on wet strips of fibreglass to patch up the cracks.

    A canoe wouldn't suit my current lifestyle, but I always enjoyed messing about on water. I keep looking at Alpackarafts and thinking of the cool things I could do with one.

  16. #16
    Widdler Caddy83's Avatar
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    Are the licenses normally small and black?

  17. #17
    Mini Goon
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    I'm really looking forward to following this thread, it looks like you are going to receive/give a lot of fun for £30.

  18. #18
    Widdler Caddy83's Avatar
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    I'm hoping that's not Sarcasm lol. I'm really looking forward to it. I'm booking a lesson with Brookbank on July 7th in Marple. Yesterday, I T-Cut the nemesis because that's the one that needs the less work. Im currently watching some marine paint too on eBay. My life jackets came yesterday as well, 2 decathlon ones and 1 Martrek??? I am truly excited about this as its given me something to do :^D

  19. #19
    Initiate The Doctor's Avatar
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    £30 for 3 boats that's a bloody good bargain even if they are a bit old

    Really good advice all round. Deffo worth joining a club to get advice on basic safety technique etc.. Before long you'll be aspiring to own a sea kayak and planning multi day trips....and skint.

    Only extra advice I can pass on is due to the age of the boats, carefully run your hand around the insides of the boats especially where your heels rest and around the coaming as some of the fibreglass may have delaminated and there may be a nasty splinters or spikes, which you can sand off and paint some resin on to smooth it out.

    Also get some buoyancy inside either big lumps of polystyrene or some airbags Brookbank or Ewetsuits.com sell em

  20. #20
    Mini Goon
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    No sarcasm Caddy, onlya genuine smile on my face for you. If you get to the point where you want to paddle and camp I have an old (read blackened &battered) TrangiaI will gladly donate to you and your mates.

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