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Kayak sprayskirt -Randy

Submitted by JohnAbercrombie on Fri, 06/28/2019 - 22:22

Randy said:

I need cockpit covers and skirts for a Guillemot "L" and a Petrel. I have tried Snapdragon, Skirtfit and Seals for a custom build and gotten zero replies from anyone. All that seems available are standard skirts for waist sizes and no idea what size cockpit they will cover as they are all for factory boats. 

Looking for any suggestions on what would fit or where to go to get a custom fit.

Thank  you,

Randy

JohnAbercrombie

Fri, 06/28/2019 - 22:28

Randy-

Did you phone Snapdragon?

I've found them usually helpful by phone.

In the past I've mailed them a paper pattern of the cockpit rim or hatch rim if I needed a specific size, and that seemed to work well.

Reed in the UK (chillcheater.com) would be another place to try. They have been OK by email for me in the past.

 

BTW, once I found a  cockpit shape that I liked (NDK Romany for me), I standardized my builds to use that shape - makes getting skirts easier, and also allows me to use the same skirt on several boats.

John, if you moved this to a new post, thank you. If you did not, thank you to whoever did. I am still not able to sign in anywhere except at the bottom of an existing thread ?

I did read something about sending in a paper pattern so I will try that next.  (It will be a big piece of paper for the "L" - 19"x40") I have thought about having to have seperate skirts for different kayaks. Making a "universal" openings sounds like a good idea. The opening on the Guillemot "L" is way to big so I guess the skirt will go with the boat someday. 

Now I need to find a shape I like - - means building more kayaks :)

To further my education concerning cockpit covers - 

To date we have limited our kayaking to the lake in front of our house but yesterday we made our maiden voyage with a custom built 4-kayak trailer which greatly broadens our horizons so two questions -

1) Is there a difference between a cockpit cover and a cockpit cover that will withstand 60-65 mile an hour winds on a trailer ?

2) Trying to tighten, and tie at the same time, tie down ropes is a pain. In my mind I am seeing some sort of bracket attached to the tie down ropes similar to the tie downs used by heavy equipment haulers (scaled down for our use of course :) where both ends are attached then an over-the-center handle pulled that tightenes the rope. Pygmy kayaks use a similar device on their deck opening covers but it isn't quite substantial enough for a safety rope. In my webb searches I have yet to find anything. Does anyone have a lead on where to look ?
Thank you

I have one of those standard sized covers...keeps blowing off when I'm driving at speed on the highway. I've tried tightening the bungee cord holding it in place but still have the problem that it is oversized and the extra material billows in the wind, acts like a drag chute, and gets pulled off. My solution to fix this issue is going to be to use some scissors, do some cutting and  fire up an old sewing machine I have and stitching up the cover so that it is tightly fitting. Next time I need a cover I'll go to the local fabric store, buy some material and make my own custom fitted cover. I have done this before, it's easy.

JohnAbercrombie

Sat, 06/29/2019 - 15:47

Randy said:

Trying to tighten, and tie at the same time, tie down ropes is a pain.

Suggestions:

Add good tie-down points to the 4 corners of your vehicle.

Learn the trucker's hitch.

Use light line for your tie-downs - 1/4" diameter maximum

Use two ties at each end of the boat.

Use a good rack with kayak cradles. Use kayak webbing straps to strap the boat to the rack and cradles.

AVOID ratcheting devices. If you do use them (like the ones that come with the Thule Hullivator) be very cautious not to over-tighten.

It is possible to damage a boat by over-enthusiastic tightening.

JohnAbercrombie

Sat, 06/29/2019 - 15:51

Randy- I should have made my suggestions more specific for your trailer setup.

Perhaps a picture of your trailer with the boats tied down would help get better suggestions than mine.

Cheers

John

PS-Yes, it was me that started the new thread for you.

Doesn't this page:

http://www.kayakforum.com/KBBS/forum/1

get you a 'Add New Forum Topic' button?

Randy:

Just in case you haven't tried a standard size, I use a Seals 1.4 skirt and cockpit cover on my petrel. Cockpit size built to Nick's plans. 

I've never had a problem with seals cockpit covers coming off any boats. I do always put tie-down strap over the strap that hooks cover to bungee on kayak deck. 

JayBabina

Sat, 06/29/2019 - 19:46

I know they exist and I understand rain, leaves etc. but I have been paddling and traveling for over 30 yrs with my kayaks and never used a cover. Is it mostly to save on wind resistance? I never noticed any major problem with my open cockpits. If it rains, I sponge it out and go paddling.

Also, I have switched from all neoprene skirts to the nylon tunnel with a velcro band and a neoprene skirt bottom. All those tunnels shrink. I have been the same waist size for years. The nylon outer fabric shrinks. I got tired of squeezing into tunnels that fit a year ago. You're right about making the cockpit a standard size to avoid all the problems with skirt size. NDK Explorer has been around a while with no changes and continues with popularity (a good size to copy)

JohnAbercrombie

Sat, 06/29/2019 - 21:34

'Up here' (PNW/BC/AK) it can rain quite steadily, and it's not useful to get extra weight (rain water) in the boat if it's on the roof.

So I use a cockpit cover if there is any chance of rain.

A cover also makes it possible to store some (light) stuff in the cockpit while travelling - PFD, perhaps a foam paddle float or even a paddle.

Without a cover, things can get sucked out of the cockpit.

Also, in a non-bulkhead boat the float bags can get sucked back into the cockpit at highway speeds, without a cockpit cover.

When kayak camping, I usually leave gear overnight in the cockpit, and the cover helps to keep the rain (and critters) out.

"So I use a cockpit cover if there is any chance of rain.

A cover also makes it possible to store some (light) stuff in the cockpit while travelling - PFD, perhaps a foam paddle float or even a paddle.

Without a cover, things can get sucked out of the cockpit."

Took the words right out of my mouth John :) A cover also  keeps the vermin out during storage and the backrest from flailing about in the wind. I just need some assurance that whatever cover I buy will withstand reasonable transportation.

As far as my tiedown problem, I will get some trailer photo's posted today - - providing it stops raining long enough to take them :(

Thank you Scott, moved the 1.2 cover to the top of my possibles list for the Petrel. Not sure I will be able to cover the cockpit on the "L" as it is a large opening and I can see having the same "billowing" problem Pruden17 mentions above.

JohnAbercrombie

Sun, 06/30/2019 - 13:26

 Not sure I will be able to cover the cockpit on the "L" as it is a large opening and I can see having the same "billowing" problem Pruden17 mentions above.

If making your own cover, try to use a reasonably heavy coated cloth and 1/4" (or doubled 3/16") shock cord around the perimeter, to reduce billowing and snapping and hold the cover on the cockpit rim. Leave long ends after the knot in the shock cord so they can be tied to a deck line.

(You do have deck lines, right? :) )

Thick wood coaming rims and the rims on rotomolded boats don't 'grab' skirts and covers as securely as a thinner glass rim, so keep that in mind.

If the cover is coming off in the wind, your sprayskirt may do the same if a wave dumps on it.

A home-made cover could have a pocket added for a stiffener bar or panel, if necessary - like the 'implosion bar' in fabric sprayskirts.

"If the cover is coming off in the wind, your sprayskirt may do the same if a wave dumps on it."

I don't have covers yet, I am here to find out if there are brands that are better at staying put than other brands.

I am tempted to make my own covers but I would have to have a shoe repair shop do the sewing as my wife's machine probably would not handle the material. I do have to visit the shoe shop for adjusting the length of my straps going around the boats once I have lengths finalized.

Enclosed several photo's of the trailer. My cradles and cradle straps are working fine, no problem. I have drop down stands at each end of the trailer as it easily tips in either direction - very light weight. There is a ring welded in the top of each stand that was intended to be used to attach tie down ropes to each boat. Due to my poor planning they ended up to close to the ends of the boats to be of any use. I am contemplating welding some tubing in a triangular shape to each stand to move the ring away from the boats, probably gain about a foot on each end then they may be useable. 

Presently, for tie downs, I installed a ring in the vertical trailer posts. I attach a line to the front of one boat then back through this ring then to the other boat. I do this on each end, sort of a "reverse tie down." This works but it is difficult to tighten / loosen them.

I am fairly good with a hacksaw and welder so feel free to tell me what I shoulda or coulda done.

Thank you,

I saved 6 photo's, only the 4th one is here ?? I will try again.

Yeeaahh, I got it. Guess I am spoiled using the biplane forum, just drag and drop, no thinking required :)

 

JohnAbercrombie

Sun, 06/30/2019 - 16:42

I am tempted to make my own covers but I would have to have a shoe repair shop do the sewing as my wife's machine probably would not handle the material. I do have to visit the shoe shop for adjusting the length of my straps going around the boats once I have lengths finalized.

Most (older) 'mechanical' sewing machines can sew outdoor fabrics and webbing without much problem. The limiting factor is how thick the material under the presser foot can be, before releasing the top thread tension. I've sewn a lot of webbing and pack (Cordura) material on my Pfaff 1222. Something like a tarp or a cockpit cover would be no problem at all. I sew webbing with my machine, and if I'm concerned about durability I back it up with some stitches with a sail needle and twine or the SpeedyStitcher...but that hardly ever happens.

For domestic harmony, I recommend getting your own sewing machine! You can find something for free or very cheap on CL or as a giveaway from relatives or friends. I think I paid $100 for my Pfaff (one of the best machines ever made) with a sewing cabinet and machine lift, and that would be on the expensive end.

If you visit hammockforum, you'll find a big community of people who consider a sewing machine to be a natural addition to the table saw and welder, in the power tool group! Lots of info there on what older machines to buy and how to tune them up. Search on 'sewing machine' or 'thread injector'.. :)

JohnAbercrombie

Sun, 06/30/2019 - 16:48

That trailer looks pretty slick! Nice work!

Stabilizing the front ends of the boats (which you have done to some extent) would be the only thing I'd focus on - otherwise it looks excellent.

 

Commercial tie-down straps have spring-loaded buckles with pads to protect the hull/deck - and they are pretty cheap. They need a soak in fresh water and a bit of lubrication if they get salty and corroded, but otherwise they last well. Easier to tension than a Fastex, and stronger, too. LevelSix, MEC, NRS and probably REI would be sources.

 

strap

John VanBuren

Tue, 07/02/2019 - 17:30

Of course, there is always the original method of sewing - needle, and thread. It does not actually take as much time as you imagine. 

 

John VB

Looking at the distance between your cradles, which is quite big, I wouldn't bother with tie downs at all. I have carried four boats on a roof rack with a big (6 foot) distance between the bars, and never used a tie down, even at motorway speeds of 130kmh (80mph) over a distance of a couple of thousand km

Tie downs are vital when the cradles/bars are close together, and the wind force can exert a huge leverage on the boats, but I wouldn't bother with your excellent trailer

Justin

Justin, you are probably correct in that tie downs are not necessary for the boats. They are however, necessary for my peace of mind :)

My son loaned me a couple motorcycle style velcro tie downs, 2"x36" We used then yesterday and they worked just fine so they may be the answer to my attachment crisis.

Also, my sweetie informed me that my brother-in-law owns a commercial sewing machine so getting the straps "length" customized may be easy along with building 'in-transit' cockpit covers that will stay attached in gale force winds. 

Guess I need to check first and see if he has gotten over my marrying his sister yet .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  40 years ago .  .  .  .  

JohnAbercrombie

Wed, 07/03/2019 - 11:00

Also, my sweetie informed me that my brother-in-law owns a commercial sewing machine so getting the straps "length" customized may be easy along with building 'in-transit' cockpit covers that will stay attached in gale force winds. 

Most commercial machines (especially older ones) are not for the faint of heart.

The usual commercial machine power setup is a fractional horsepower electric motor running continuously @3450RPM with a clutch to connect to the belt and sewing machine.

Pressing on the treadle engages the clutch. The general feeling is that it's an OFF-ON switch, not an 'accelerator'. 

'Zero to sixty' in 2 seconds....

Been there, done that!

A solid older domestic machine will do most jobs OK, and be easier, unless you have a lot of sewing experience.

Plus, 'tuning them up' is a lot of fun.

Even if you aren't interested in a lot of MYOG or DIY sewing, it's very handy to be able to do small mods and repairs yourself if you do much camping and have a collection of camping gear and outdoor clothing. There are quite a few suppliers with websites that specialize in selling fabric,thread and hardware for outdoors gear...no need to rely on the local fabric store.

 

Thanks John,

If the commercial machine is used my brother-in-law will be at the controls as he has done a fair amount of sewing with it. But, your suggestion of having my own machine is a good one. I am sure Jane could teach me enough to get started and I have no problem throwing away the first 10 tries to get an acceptable one, been doing it all my life :)