Short Course on Canoes
Two basic dimensional measurements, length and width, most affect a canoe’s performance. Length governs potential speed, while width, particularly at the 4″ waterline, determines stability, the wider hull giving more stability, at the expense of speed. Both of these factors, along with depth, determine maximum load and the wave action the hull can successfully deflect.
Initial stability is encountered when entering or exiting the canoe. Final stability is encountered in a weighted canoe which is heeled over i.e. tipping sideways towards the gunwhales, so that the water may even touch or nearly touch the gunwales.
A Top Quality Canoe should be lightweight and have a rigid bottom for durability & hull efficiency. With its combination of High Density Foam Core, Top Quality Resins and the all important Vacuum Form manufacturing process, a Langford Canoe will most certainly retain all of these important performance features well beyond any hand laid canoe. Guaranteed!
DON’T BE CHEATED
…canoes are expensive. The lighter the canoe, the more expensive. Many canoe companies state weights which are inaccurate. In some cases the canoes are 5-15 lbs. heavier than indicated! Make sure you’re getting what you pay for.
is the shape of the hull bottom from bow to stern.
A straight line keeps the canoe on track, but restricts turning. “Rocker” is the upward curvature of the keel line towards the ends, which allows for ease in pivoting, thereby enhancing the canoe’s maneuverability, at the expense of tracking and speed. Thus, a Straight Keel Line or Slight Rocker is best for big lakes and calm rivers, while a Moderate Rocker gives the best “all round performance”, speed and tracking balanced with turning ability, for those narrow, more challenging streams – a superbly versatile canoe. Heavy Rocker is best suited for white water canoeing where quick turning is imperative.
Compare Hull Shapes
Typical for bargain hulls. Poor surface to volume ratio. Steady if level on flat water but poor response when leaned or on waves.
Common to sophisticated hulls. Performs very well due to good surface to volume ratio. Excellent response if leaned or on waves.
Handles like an arch but is less efficient due to less favourable surface to volume ratio. Rides deeper than an arch and may snag on rocks.
Very rare. Seen only on hulls for flatwater racing. Very fast due to excellent surface to volume ratio. Tricky to balance in all conditions.
“…a keel determines how well a canoe tracks”.
In fact, it is the total hull design which determines this fact, and Langford’s canoes do not have keels because our integral hull design is smooth and efficient, with the added bonus of not having a keel to “foul” on obstacles underwater. Most Langford Canoes boast shallow arch hull design, ensuring good tracking ability, seaworthiness, stability, and ease of handling, based on the rocker accorded each model. Keels are seen today on canoes to add strength, so the hull will not flex. These are older or less efficient designs.
A Symmetrical Canoe has identically shaped halves, the widest point being at the centre.
This makes for predictable behaviour, such as maneuvering in small rivers and streams. Normally, initial stability is better in symmetrical canoes, and these models lend themselves to fishing, photography, and active occupants, such as children, and lake travel especially when loaded (when loaded equally a Symmetrical Langford will outpace most competitors Asymmetrical canoes) An Asymmetrical Canoe has its widest point aft of centre. This provides a longer, narrower bow and a shorter, more blunted stern. If built properly this should mean easier and faster acceleration, greater glide and tracking ability, and comparable stability depending on load. Asymmetrical designs contrary to what most sales literature suggests reach load limits quickly and are more prone to the adverse effects created by weight. Always test paddle and choose carefully, do not fall victim to tainted or vested interest based descriptions of function or base decisions on measurements alone.
ABOVE THE WATERLINE
The sides of a canoe can vary above the waterline, from flared, to straight, to tumblehome (where the side actually curves back inwards before it reaches the gunwale). Flared sides keep water from rolling into the canoe as it travels through waves. Tumblehome allows paddlers better access to the water as the paddle can be positioned parallel to the keel line for an efficient paddle stroke. Many canoes combine these two shapes.
This is the amount of weight a canoe will carry and still have (depending on design) 4-6″ of freeboard at the centre. Other measurements of performance, such as safe load capacity, are subjective, and depend on the canoe’s design, the experience level of the paddler, his/her judgement, and weather conditions. Remember too that should you take on water due to weather conditions, load is increased rapidly by an unknown amount. Always err on the side of caution when loading a canoe. In addition to the weight the paddler should pay attention to the shape of the hull of their canoe. The shape of a Langford has been refined to best balance the many competing expectations of different types of paddlers. The sweeping lines in our Prospectors and more importantly the Spray Rail found on most Langford models affords a measurably higher degree of safety in rough water, thus allowing a Langford to safely operate in conditions where other canoes with “similar” capacities should not. And there are many other small features that help to better the function of canoes when weighed down with large loads. Please Note; most companies fail or purposefully negate to mention the odraft their hulls carry. Langford builds the safest shallow-draft, and high freeboard hulls possible, given the constraints of weight, price-point and material. Our true tripping and family canoes have been enjoyed by generations of paddlers for 7 decades.
All of Langford’s Vac-Fusion; Kevlar, Ultra-lite, and Full Carbon canoes contain model specific computer designed HD Cores, that form integral skeletons. As with our sister companies in the power boating world (Boston Whaler, Campion, Doral) we are able to create ever lighter and more durable canoes.
The bench mark setting materials and methods employed by Langford Canoe offer both unrivaled structural damage resistance and a integral flotation component. Thanks to annual evolution of the HD Core, that is based directly on use, there is no safer canoe on the market.
Quick adoption of trickle-down processes from other industries, and the use of top tier materials was what allowed Langford to invent the lightweight class of Kevlar tripping canoe and allows our company to continue providing the benchmark for comparison based function and durability.
The right canoe for you is the one which provides the best performance in the type of activity you do the most on the water!