I'd like to get some viewpoints comparing the durability/practicality of fiberglass and aluminum canoes for Alaska waters. I ask this because I am currently in Florida, attending to a sick parent, where there is a Grumman dealership nearby. I may return with one.
I am comparing a Grumman Sportboat http://www.marathonboat.com/square-15.asp and a Gheenoe. http://www.gheenoe.net/fifteenfour.html The Grumman is, of course, aluminum, and the Gheenoe is fiberglass. The Gheenoe is 1" longer and 1" wider than the Grumman, and the Grumman is 2 lbs heavier; very comparable in dimensions, but the Grumman is wider at the stern. Not sure if that matters. The Gheenoe has a larger capacity (225lbs more), and has a higher HP rating (10HO It's also less than HALF the price of the Grumman ($1330 less). The Gheenoes come with a gelcoat cam pattern in brown or olive were the Grumman only comes in solid green. (Not sure if that's an issue; I'm still trying to decide which of the three is best for duck hunting in AK.)
I am very familiar with the Gheenoes, having owned one as a youngster in Florida. They're tough...by Florida standards. The thing I like about them is their rock solid stability. I'm afraid to buy one and bring it up here because a.)They're fiberglass and very few people run any kind of fiberglass boat up here-of any size-aluminum seems to be king, and b.)no one in Alaska has a Gheenoe (that I know of) and I wonder if there is a reason for that.
I know that the aluminum will be more durable over the years an in the harsher environment, but is is THAT MUCH more durable? (THIRTEEN HUNDRED DOLLARS more durable?? I could buy an outboard or pay for the shipping with that difference in price.)
With the Gheenoe being fiberglass, I could stash a quart of resin and hardener and a sq yrd of structural roven cloth in a storage compartment, and, if I ever did crack the hull, pull up on a bank someplace, make the repair, and keep going. I'd probably loose a day waiting for the resin to harden, but wouldn't have to call out the helicopter, either.
My primary use for this boat will be waterfowl hunting, followed by fishing/camping. I would also consider using it for float hunting, but, at 120 lbs, it can't be portaged.
I had my heart set on aluminum because I see it as, essentially, a "forever boat" but now I'm not sure which is the better value. What do you guys think?