Choosing a Design
Good boats begin with good plans.
As professional boat builders, we understand that starting with a reliable plan solves problems before they happen. If this is your first boat, knowing you are beginning with an accurate mold will give you the confidence to start building. Without having to worry about your mold, you can enjoy all the other learning opportunities that will keep your project going.
Steve Killing, a highly respected Canadian yacht designer, has been involved in all of Bear Mountain plans. Steve has contributed new designs as well as fairing and analyzing our traditional designs. Steve is known for designing boats that perform better than intended and look better than they need to. Combined with his skill as a rower and paddler, we are confident that Bear Mountain plans will produce beautiful, safe boats.
Plans package includes:
- Full-size drawings showing the profile, plan and section shape of the hull.
- Specifications and technical details.
- Full size plans for the mold stations (and carbon paper for tracing onto the mold material).
- Plus extra useful booklets: Building a Bear Mountain Style Canoe, Epoxyworks newsletter , WEST SYSTEM® Technical Manual and Canoeroots Magazine.
- Customer support: Our friendly staff is available by phone or email to answer your building questions.
Choosing a design.
You have no doubt been thinking about building the perfect boat. You know that she will be beautiful as well as serve you well. Use your experience as a paddler/rower to chose a design that will fit your style of getting on the water. The design specifications will give you the necessary information to make a wise choice.
Esthetics will have a big influence on the boat you decide to build. Resist the urge to choose a design just because it stirs up familiar images but is unsuitable for its intended use. On the other hand, you may be a builder first and a paddler second; and there is nothing wrong with building to suit you eye.
Consider the hull shape.
Traditional canoe hull shapes are generally symmetrical; the bow is the same shape as the stern. While this does permits the canoe to be paddled in either direction, the stern does sink as the speed increases.
Asymmetrical hull shapes are most often found on modern craft. The bow will show a fine entry line, a full stern and the widest point of the hull will be aft of the centerline. The long, fine entry will ease the water aside and the full stern will keep the stern from sinking as speeds increase. To achieve the longest possible waterline length, the bow/stern profile is generally plumb.
Our book, KayakCraft has an excellence design chapter that will demystify the complexities of small boat hull design.
Terms to look for when studying boat plans:
Capacity: Safe working load
Displacement: Weight necessary to sink the boat to the design waterline
Weight to immerse: Number of pounds necessary to sink the hull each additional inch past the design waterline.
Prismatic coefficient: Is a measure of how much volume is contained in the ends of the boat in relation to the size of the maximum section. A low number, for example 0.5, indicates the ends of the boat are very fine, while a number hovering around 0.7 would indicate very full ends. A comfortable prismatic target for canoes and kayaks would be from 0.53 to 0.60.
Stability/ Capacity: In the past, manufacturers listed capacity as the amount of weight that can be loaded into the boat with an unspecified amount of freeboard remaining. Loading a boat with cement blocks then counting the blocks after the boat sank did not give us useful information that related to the safe use of the boat.
Steve Killing developed this unique formula to express stability in measurable terms, and capacity as the optimum load a boat can efficiently carry.
Our stability figures are measured at 15 degrees of heel and are related to the height at which the vertical line through the center of buoyancy intersects the hull centerline. For comparison purposes, we have chosen a value of 100 to be midrange; higher values indicate greater stability, lower values indicate less.
|Canoes||Stability Factor||Optimum Capacity (lbs)|
|Marathon 18'6"||49||150 - 250|
|Rob Roy Solo 13'||71*||110-250|
|J.G. Brown 16'||74||280 - 390|
|Canadien 16'||86||280 - 390|
|Hiawatha 15'||88||150 - 390|
|Huron Cruiser 15'9"||92||180 - 450|
|Champlain 16'||92||280 - 450|
|Solo Day Tripper 17'||92||150 - 250|
|Red Bird 17'6"||92||280 - 510|
|Cottage Cruiser 15'6"||97||150 - 450|
|Freedom 17'||98||150 - 510|
|Bob's Special 15'||100||150 - 450|
|Nomad 17'||102||350 - 680|
|Prospector 16'||103||350 - 540|
|Freedom 15'||104||150 - 450|
|Ranger 15'||104||150 - 450|
|Chaa Creek Expedition 19'9"||105||430 - 820|
|Freedom 17'9"||111||400 - 680|
|Kayaks||Stability Factor||Optimum Capacity|
|Venture 14||72*||90 - 200|
|Endeavour 17||100||150 - 260|
|Resolute 16/6||121||130 - 250|
|Reliance 20/8||121||250 - 500|
|True North 19/3||124||300 - 460|
|Small Boats||Stability Factor||Optimum Capacity|
|Stoney Lake Skiff||141||180 - 600|
|Ontario Whitehall||168||160 - 780|
|Rice Lake Skiff||169||180 - 600|
|Requires skill and experience (except the Rob Roy & Venture - see below)|
|Requires skill but the experience will be comfortable|
|Comfortable for most paddlers|
|Very stable and comfortable for all paddlers|
* The stability factor for the Rob Roy and the Venture are deceptive. Both boats are designed for single paddlers seated low in the boat so, even though the stability numbers are low both craft are comfortable and stable.