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03/29/2023 12:02AM  
I just purchased a Blackhawk Shadow Special SS solo which I got for a song so I snatched it up. It's a fiberglass layup solo ,15'8" about 58 lbs or so with a gelcoat. I've got a kevlar Bell, and a dagger royalex and am familiar with their strengths and capacities. I'm curious about other's experience with a quality fiberglass fabric canoe's toughness. I'd like to use this one on river trips (mostly flat water) . Any ideas on abrasion resistance, or capacity for some class 1-2 rapids?
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03/29/2023 07:44AM  
Fiberglass should be as strong and abrasion resistant as kevlar, a little better for some scrapes because the glass cloth wets through with resin while kevlar just surface bonds to resin (main reason kevlar boats are lighter is due to how much less resin they contain). I used an all glass Sawyer (no foam core) as a whitewater boat and it held up well.
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03/29/2023 10:20AM  
From my experience, the added gelcoat adds significantly to the life of the boat, especially abrasion resistance. I have a 40 year old glass Wenonah that has seen rough use (including rocky whitewater), and it's ready for the next 40 years.
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03/29/2023 12:49PM  
I've owned a few fiberglass Blackhawks over the years (including an SS Special) and as others have said you can just treat it like your Kevlar boat. Blackhawks have a relatively thick gelcoat so they can take a lot of abrasion. I'm not sure what you mean by "capacity" for Class 1/2 but it's basically a lake boat meant for tripping but it's maneuverable enough for many rivers and it has a lot of volume; it's rated to take a 275 pound paddler plus 70 pounds of gear so it's a high volume solo and that should help keep you dry.

03/29/2023 05:09PM  
I once owned a Wenonah Tuffweave Advantage and Jensen 18 both in UL layup. They saw many BW trips with no issues
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03/29/2023 09:20PM  
I’m with Banksiana.

Fiberglass layups are very durable. You can treat fiberglass and Kevlar interchangeably.

If you go banging you fiberglass canoe down a rocky river you will scratch it just like any other canoes. Composite boats do better with abrasion than they do with impacts.
03/30/2023 09:10AM  
I concur with the above noted comments. I had a FG Old Town CJ Solo which I owned for 36 yrs and it held up very well to an equal mix of river (small, rocky rivers) and lake canoeing. What did I replace it with - a Wenonah Wilderness in T-formex at about the same weight which I got used a fair price.
03/30/2023 08:05PM  
Here is a very informative video that I found on another paddling site. Guy designs race cars, and he does a killer job of explaining the technical differences in these layups in terms that even I can understand:

Carbon Fiber vs Kevlar vs Fiberglass
04/01/2023 02:10PM  
Awesome information. Thanks y'all!
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04/01/2023 02:45PM  
Also, Wenonah touts their fiberglass (TufWeave--fiberglass/polyester) layup as their most durable. Other manufacturers may do otherwise.

Wenonah’s Tuf-weave material is an interwoven fabric made of 50% polyester and 50% fiberglass that outperforms either material on its own. The Tuf-weave layup results in our most durable composite canoes. Tuf-weave canoes offer improved impact resistance and are a great compromise between weight, performance and price. Our revamped interior finishing process makes for even more weight savings over previous years' models.
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