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Old 17-07-2011, 08:12   #1
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Canoe as a Tender / Dinghy ?

Done a search through the dinghy threads and haven't seen this discussed. There seem to be those who've used kayaks and various rowboats; so has anyone used a canoe for their tender? I like the idea of light weight and decent capacity (2 adults, 2 kids and groceries); now trying to weigh the pro's and con's. I really don't want an inflateable, so please no suggestions for that - alternative to the canoe now narrowed down to either Watertender 9.4 or Sportyak 245. Canoes I'm looking at: Esquif.com - Les meilleurs canots d'Amérique!
canoe with Sportspal & Radisson: canoe with our canoes

Any concern with thin aluminum boats corroding in a saltwater environment?
Any concern with hanging a canoe from davits (on its side so it doesn't fill with water)?
Other considerations gladly accepted. TIA
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Old 17-07-2011, 08:19   #2
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Re: Canoe as a tender/dinghy?

I cant see why not Not my choice but may work for you The big positive for inflatable is they are so stable and dont beat you boat to death when tied along side
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Old 17-07-2011, 08:28   #3
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Re: Canoe as a tender/dinghy?

I used to have a friend who used a canoe as a tender. He had a Columbia 45 and the beam was more than the length of the canoe which is why it worked.He kept it on davits on the stern and it was very easy to launch and stow. Saw a guy in Key West who was anchored out on a semi-perminant basis who had a canoe set up as a trymaran using two halfs of a styrofoam surfboard as amas and two 2x4s as akas and a windsurfer sail for propulsion. He would sail from his boat (with the dog) to the dock and back with lots a space and cargo capacity with the greatist of ease.
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Old 17-07-2011, 08:50   #4
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Re: Canoe as a tender/dinghy?

neighbor in sd uses a canoe for his tender-- works great-- more roomy than my kayak--he can pack in his gf and foods..LOL
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Old 17-07-2011, 08:51   #5
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Re: Canoe as a tender/dinghy?

I’d definitelyopt for the Watertender

KL Industries :: Boats, Outdoor and Underwater Lighting, Ice Fishing Products, Hunting Products, Paddle Boats, Fishing Boats, Sportyaks, Jon Boats, and Dinghies worldwide!

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Old 17-07-2011, 08:54   #6
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Re: Canoe as a tender/dinghy?

I've done quite a bit of canoeing, but do not use one as a tender myself. My perceptions:

Advantage:

Good load carrying capacity.
Much more efficient to paddle a canoe than row most tenders.
Easier to drag or carry back into water when beached

Disadvantages:

Big to put on deck or hang from davits.
No built in fenders - will bang against boat and docks.
Much easier to tip over than an inflatable.
Difficult to swim or snorkel from for above two reasons.


For me, that I can't store it on deck and can't snorkel/swim from it are the reasons I wouldn't get one. Sponsons or something resembling them such as the long inflatable fenders might overcome some of the disadvantages mentioned.

Also note that royalex and other ABS type plastics do not do well with constant sun exposure.

As far as a craft that is easy to paddle,(or small outboard) carries a load and is easy to get in and out of, it's hard to beat a canoe. There's a reason they were the craft of choice for native americans and voyageurs.
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Old 17-07-2011, 12:00   #7
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Re: Canoe as a tender/dinghy?

Landing in surf.

If that's never going to be an issue (and it's not also your lifeboat) then it sounds like a great idea. Might be concerned if the side davits arrangement interferes with view from helm.
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Old 17-07-2011, 12:05   #8
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Re: Canoe as a tender/dinghy?

I appreciate the responses. I'm not too familiar with the various plastics used in canoes, but was under the impression that Royalex/ite were laminates with UV-resistant outer skins (vinyl/R-84) - are they no good for constant exposure? What about fibreglass, polyethylene or polypropylene? Others? Is it possible/practical to glue closed-cell foam sponsons onto any of these plastics?

What about the Sportspal/Radisson canoes? They're aluminum, so not too worried about the sun degrading the important part; I would like to hear how they stand up to salt? They also have built-in sponsons, so less banging alongside and more stable.

I was going to stick with a square-transom model, so I could possibly mount a boarding ladder - shouldn't be so hard getting back on board at the stern, yes/no?

We've got a little more than 14-foot beam, though it's about 8-foot across at the transom, so any dinghy's going to overhang a bit - what's the recommended limit on dinghy length?

Gord - got any reasons for choosing the WT? At twice the weight and half the carrying capacity, I'd like to have the arguments in favour. Granted it's more stable, and easier to board from the boat or the water. On a day to day basis though, it's gotta be harder to row and pull up on the beach.

On an additional note, the Sportspal can be had with a sail kit: canoes by Sportspal & Radisson: the best canoe are our canoes
Does this make it any more attractive? If anyone has any experience with this, I'm interested in hearing the good, bad and ugly? Thanks.
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Old 17-07-2011, 12:35   #9
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Re: Canoe as a tender/dinghy?

I'm not as familiar with the chemistry of ABS plastic as many, (GORD has given some great info. on that previously) but here's some practical observations:

I've had to trash our program royalex canoes after 8 years in the sun, not because of wear from use, but due to degrading from sunlight. In contrast, I know of one summer camp that has aluminum canoes that are 40 years old and still in good condition.

The plastic canoes will take more of a beating than aluminum which is why they are favored by white water paddlers and many rental programs. White water canoes however, may spend most of their days hanging from the rafters of a garage, not in the sun. Kevlar is lighter than either plastic or aluminum, but does not take the beating plastic will. For the cost, the appeal comes to those who must portage their canoes on their backs. It's not what I would choose for a canoe tender.

Royalex is a stiffer plastic. Canoes can be built with more performance lines, tend to weigh less and flex less than comparable poly boats. Poly boats are usually less expensive. There's also a difference between linear and cross linked polyethlene.
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Old 18-07-2011, 12:03   #10
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Re: Canoe as a Tender / Dinghy ?

The Hawains used outrigger canoes for centuries even crossing oceans. A typical whitewater canoe without outrigger would be difficult to cross the surf. Aluminum is doable, but I would add zincs just like on the big boat. Metals have a short life in salt water. The plastics even if the sun degrades will likely last longer, you can cover them when not in use.
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Old 18-07-2011, 13:02   #11
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Re: Canoe as a Tender / Dinghy ?

Something with a tee keel and no tumblehome would be desirable in my opinion; better tracking and drier.

I've been seeing quite a number of these around. They look like fun but not tender material:
Western canoeing & kayaking
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Old 18-07-2011, 13:16   #12
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Re: Canoe as a Tender / Dinghy ?

Wouldn't seriously consider a canoe. Canoes aren't very stable, and I've heard their past occupants have the highest drowning rate for small boats.
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Old 18-07-2011, 13:29   #13
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Re: Canoe as a Tender / Dinghy ?

I like Cap'n Bill's idea of an outrigger. I wonder if there are any outriggers that you can easily mount/demount and keep in the canoe when not in use?
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Old 18-07-2011, 13:32   #14
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Re: Canoe as a Tender / Dinghy ?

I have canoed for 35 years. Everything from fishing to extended (weeks) canoe camping, running rivers and pond's and lakes and a good deal of whitewater. Canoe's are big and bulky and difficult to store on a boat. They're not nearly as stable as a kayak or inflatable dinghy. Once they start to roll and take on water, they become exponentially less stable. Once they are swamped, they are swamped. Almost all have positive flotation, however this only means that it will not sink to the bottom, however it doesn't float ON the water either. It floats just at the top of the water. You can't sit it one when it's swamped. Your stuff doesn't really stay in it either, unless it's lashed down. You, your canoe and your stuff will be floating. You will then get to simulanteously swim and drag your swamped canoe to wherever it is you're going. Getting a canoe unswamped in water over your head with two strong swimmers is extremely difficult.

I wouldn't suggest it as a viable dinghy/tender. There's probably a reason why you see SO FEW strapped to boats.
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Old 18-07-2011, 13:51   #15
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Re: Canoe as a Tender / Dinghy ?

It all depends on how you're going to use a tender, whether you're cruising or just going out to a mooring. I think if you're going to cruise the Bahamas or the Caribbean a canoe would really limit you. Just think of the thousand and one ways you'd use a dink and then try to imagine doing it in a canoe. For example, we do a lot of exploring in our dink, sometimes going for miles and miles. For safety we usually go with another boat or two. I don't think a canoe would fit in. We lug a lot of stuff, water, fuel, batteries (yes I replaced the house batteries using the inflatable). I don't think a canoe would be stable enough for the transfer from tender to mothership. Your dink is your car, a canoe would be a bicycle.

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