Reinforcements deal with the internal structure of the canoe–How the canoe canoe structurally holds its shape, how structural components are installed, and spot reinforcement for high-stress areas.
Ribs (standard): A canoe requires reinforcement to make it stiff enough to hold its shape under load. Ribs provide the best combination of durability and lightweight. In my ribbed canoes there are 10-14 ribs across the floor. Each is 3” wide and ½” high. Ribs provide excellent stiffness, and the layup is done in such a way that the floor of the canoe can not “oilcan” or “washboard”– buckling inward between ribs. However, ribs have some give to them, and simply spring back to shape after a strong blow, rather than cracking, gouging or puncturing. They increase the durability of the canoe considerably. Ribs also help keep gear dry, by elevating packs and containers above the floor of the canoe.
Foam-Core: An alternative to ribs, with even lighter weight with good overall strength. Great option for kneeling paddlers. Foam core gives a stiffer feel to the canoe, with a slight weight advantage. It is about 1 pound lighter than our ribbed canoes on our standard 3-layer lightweight canoes, and is required and included for our 2-layer ultralight canoes.
Side Ribs: This option provides a slightly stiffer feel to the canoe. For this option I extend some of the reinforcing ribs from the floor up to the gunwale line. They are required and included for the Ultralight hulls, but are otherwise not necessary. Contact Nighthawk Canoes for more details.
Kevlar Skid Plates: External skid plates are strips of a special EXTREMELY tough kevlar that are attached to the canoe along the stems… the places on the hull that necessarily scrape the bottom as you launch and land your canoe. All Nighthawk canoes have internal reinforcement (up to four extra layers of Kevlar®) to prevent this normal stress from wearing through the hull. External skid plates prevent your finish from being as easily scratched, and add further reinforcement. Skid plates for Nighthawk Canoes are 1″ wide and approx. 30″ long. Extra large skids are up to 6″ wide. At your request, I can also install the skid material internally, where you gain the extra durability without the aesthetic penalty of external skids.