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Thread: Fiberglass vs Aluminum

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    Default Fiberglass vs Aluminum

    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?

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    My opinion is based on how much I like my Scott fiberglass canoe (19 feet long x 4 foot wide with 2 foot wide transom), but I'd clearly choose the Gheeno over the Grumman.

    Aluminum boats are noisy and cold and stick to rocks. Fiberglass boats are quiet, warmer, glide off (most) rocks, and like you say you could stash a small repair kit (I do) and though it might not be a pretty patch, you really could repair a hole the size of your fist in a half a day probably. And maybe faster if you got all cavalier-like with the hardener. ;-)

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    Quote Originally Posted by FamilyMan View Post
    I like my Scott fiberglass canoe (19 feet long x 4 foot wide with 2 foot wide transom)
    That's not a canoe, that's a boat.

    Quote Originally Posted by FamilyMan View Post
    maybe faster if you got all cavalier-like with the hardener. ;-)
    I've done that. I almost started a fire once LOL. I actually have a LOT of fiberglass repair experience from my younger years. (20-ish years ago)

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    My 2 cts is the alum. is more durable than the Fib. type as I have run up on rocks many times an it still ticks, a little bent but that is the cost of running rivers, the question you ask is hard to give a correct answer , as you never said what you ae going to do with it like fish an run lakes an slow deep moving water no problem with either one , but if itis going to be use it for hunting rethink what you are doing [19 ft ] an yes it is cold , the sound is noisy but the eng is the bid deal for noise , [ I think ] , when you load / unload it is bad, but running the water you doin,t here the knock
    but paddleing ? when the paddles hit the side it is , most of the canoes are over powered , but it don't matter mutch as the eng pushes from the middle of the canoe not the transom it only sets on the transom

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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    Why not just get the 19' square stern grumman for less money and twice the payload?
    Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

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    I grew up in Grummans, aluminuminum all the way! The sound of one gliding through glacial silt is so soooooothing!
    " Gas boats are bad enough, autos are an invention of the devil, and airplanes are worse." ~Allen Hasselborg

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sid View Post
    as you never said what you ae going to do with it
    I thought I did, maybe further down in the post, which I probably made a bit too lengthy-a pattern with me.

    Primary purpose is duck hunting. Secondary would be fishing and/or recreational going down streams, etc. (Moose Creek in Unit 16 comes to mind.) I would consider using it for hunting, but I'm not an experienced white water canoeist and would only go with a more experienced person/group.

    Another thing I would really like to try is sailing with it. I've seen photos of people day sailing with a Sport Boat. I've never seen it done with a Gheenoe, but the Boy Scout Canoeing Merit Badge Book (I used to be a counselor) has a section dedicated to building a sailing rig for a canoe.

    Rowing would be another option. I hear the Sport boats row better than they paddle. (The Gheenoes paddle just like a canoe.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Amigo Will View Post
    Why not just get the 19' square stern grumman for less money and twice the payload?
    I was thinking that last year or so. I decided that I didn't really want a canoe for this purchase because I wanted something more stable than a canoe, mostly for shooting and then launching and recovering an 80 lb yellow lab. The sq stern grumman canoe is a great thing, but as a canoe, it's just about too heavy to portage, which, to my way of thinking, makes it an unstable boat. Am I wrong?

    Besides, I have a Royalex canoe (Old Town Guide 147) (that I can portage), which has a similar hull design and stability to the Gheenoe (so much so that I'm surprised the Gheen family didn't sue Old Town). I have registration numbers for it (FL), so all I'd have to do is mount the engine. (I have a 4hp 2 stroke Evinrude). It's totally the wrong color for hunting though (red). It's not easily repairable like fiberglass and doesn't have the load cap of the Grummans though.

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    Question FL?

    Quote Originally Posted by FL2AK-Old Town View Post
    I have registration numbers for it (FL), so all I'd have to do is mount the engine.
    I'd check to see if FL #'s work. I know after you're here 30 days you're supposed to convert your car registration to AK #'s, but I don't know if boat #'s are treated the same.

    Oops, I guess I don't know if you've relocated or are visiting; in the latter case I'd imagine FL numbers would work fine.

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    Member GrassLakeRon's Avatar
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    Early 70's sportspal. I can stand up in it. Glides through water like chicken poo through a tin horn....

    Ron
    "Equipped with his five senses, man explores the universe around him and calls the adventure science"

    Edwin Hubble

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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    If you have a Old Town then then I would go with the Gheenoe.
    Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

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    NuCanoe.com. Check it out and watch the videos. Grew up in Maine with a old town trippah, but these NuCanoes are badass, duck blinds and casting bars are options I would recommend. Iam selling them here in ak, but I can get you one there.

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    I would go for the sport boat over the gheenoe. It has a more open lay-out. Less junk glassed into the interior. Otherwise n that, If it were me, I'd decline both and go for a mack-sport 15. They have a REAL foam core. they can be portaged, the are rigid. they are actually made of epoxy resin, not polyester junk. they are light, and the laminate constuction is first-rate.
    http://www.clippercanoes.com/boat_sp...p?model_id=136

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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    That looks better yet Mike.
    Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

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    just a tidbit ,, but Grumman did sell a sail kits for most of there canoe/ sport boats don't know if so under the new ORG. just a IDEA
    for what I have seen of them it is notfor ruff water as the grummans don't have high sides to take the waves

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    Quote Originally Posted by FamilyMan View Post
    I'd check to see if FL #'s work. I know after you're here 30 days you're supposed to convert your car registration to AK #'s, but I don't know if boat #'s are treated the same.

    Oops, I guess I don't know if you've relocated or are visiting; in the latter case I'd imagine FL numbers would work fine.
    I live in Anchorage; I'm in Florida for an extended visit. Boat registrations are treated the same as for a car. I'd have to take my FL registration in and have it transferred. It's only a small hassle-I think.

    Quote Originally Posted by DEMainah View Post
    NuCanoe.com. Check it out and watch the videos. Grew up in Maine with a old town trippah, but these NuCanoes are badass, duck blinds and casting bars are options I would recommend. Iam selling them here in ak, but I can get you one there.
    I've seen those before. There used to be a dealer near my parents' home in Tampa. They're reminiscent of the old Cajun pireau boats from the LA. bayous. In this case, with no provision for an outboard, that pretty much closes the book for me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sid View Post
    just a tidbit ,, but Grumman did sell a sail kits for most of there canoe/ sport boats don't know if so under the new ORG. just a IDEA
    for what I have seen of them it is notfor ruff water as the grummans don't have high sides to take the waves
    They don't make or sell them anymore-at least not as a factory available option. They may still be available in the aftermarket.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FL2AK-Old Town View Post
    I live in Anchorage; I'm in Florida for an extended visit. Boat registrations are treated the same as for a car. I'd have to take my FL registration in and have it transferred. It's only a small hassle-I think.



    I've seen those before. There used to be a dealer near my parents' home in Tampa. They're reminiscent of the old Cajun pireau boats from the LA. bayous. In this case, with no provision for an outboard, that pretty much closes the book for me.
    How big of a motor do you want to run. It will handle a 3 go or trolling motor

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    Quote Originally Posted by GrassLakeRon View Post
    Early 70's sportspal. I can stand up in it. Glides through water like chicken poo through a tin horn....

    Ron
    Those are now made by Michicraft Canoe,(Meyers Boat Co.) a competitor to Grumman (Marathon Boat Co.). I briefly owned a Michicraft 17' double ender. A really good canoe, other than the 85 lb weight. Looking at the current line of Sports Pal boats, I see a couple of things: ,032 metal compared to .050 metal on the Grumman. HALF the carry weight (67 lbs) The only with a wide stern (like the Sport Boat) is only 13' long. The foam in the flooring and sponsons are only rated for a 7 yr service life. So, while I like some of that boat, there are trade offs.

    I wonder if it's better to have a wide or narrow transom, especially for getting my dog in and out of the boat.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DEMainah View Post
    How big of a motor do you want to run. It will handle a 3 go or trolling motor
    I already own a 4HP 2 stroke, so at least that much. As much as I like using a trolling motor for fishing back home in FL, I've been warned against using them in Alaska's streams/rivers and expecting to be able to actually get back upriver.

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