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PostPosted: May 13th, 2021, 12:41 pm 
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I'm seeking input, please and thank you.

I'm making a 2 piece partial spray deck for a Bluewater Freedom Tripper 17 (asymetric, very narrow prow) in the hope of it helping to keep some water out of my boat as I descend (pandemic permitting) the Coulonge River this fall.

I have two questions about potential installation methods for at least two of the required loop tie-downs on each side, like the ones used by Northwater in their decks, in the ends of the boat over the flotation tanks.

The loops are basically paracord loops sewn onto vinyl patches, with the loops being pushed from the inside of the hull through holes drilled into it, and the vinyl patches being glued to the inside of the hull around the holes.

I am thinking about perhaps cutting an access hole through the front bulkhead of the flotation tanks, large enough for my hand to fit through and fit those patches inside the flotation tanks, and then epoxy the cutout pieces back into place and paint them.

That way, I can position the loops sufficiently lower than the gunnels to allow enough room for the bungee cord around the spray deck to stretch or contract as required, to snug up to the load in my boat.

Does anyone see any problems with this idea? Better ways of doing it? Cautions about anything?

As an alternative to cutting temporary access holes in the float tanks, I was also considering simply attaching the loops to the exterior of the boat in the areas over the flotation tanks. This would just be vinyl patches with paracord loops on them glued to the outside of the hull. Likely not as strong as they would be if they were on the inside, but possibly strong enough given it would only be likely two on each side of each end, with the remaining patches on the inside of the boat.

Does that seem like it would be a viable option to cutting into the float tanks?

My cunning plan involves making the patches, installing them in holes that I will drill through the hull, except possibly over the float tanks if I glue them to the outsides there, and having bungee cord with plastic hooks on it, strung through webbing loops on the edges of the spray deck. I would then attach the deck by putting the plastic hooks through the loops of paracord sticking through the holes in the hull all around.

So my last question is, does anyone have any suggestions on types and sourcing of appropriate plastic hooks for this purpose?

Thanks for any comments folks, cheers all.

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PostPosted: May 13th, 2021, 2:08 pm 
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I've never owned a boat with flotation tanks in the ends and I have never taken much notice of the size, shape, location details.

Could you post a picture of the tanks in your Freedom Tripper?

My in initial thought after looking at a drawing on the Bluewater/Abitibi site was to move the loops higher at that particular location if it possible to install them above the tank. Next thought was to just forget about the one (or two?) loops in that area and concentrate on getting a good attachment point right at the tip of the bow/stern.

You might want to think about using an alternate attachment method in those one or two spots.

Hopefully Mike McRae will chime in as he has a ton of experience with "homemade" covers and I'm sure he done it on boats with flotation tanks. If nothing else he has some experience cutting into tanks and then resealing them for his "through the tank" grab loops.

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PostPosted: May 13th, 2021, 3:27 pm 
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Unless, the only flotation you have is the built in tanks in the boat, spray decks on the Coulonge in the fall is likely overkill. It will usually be low by then. This time of year, however, is different matter. . . .


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PostPosted: May 13th, 2021, 3:34 pm 
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PeterK, Other than my kit, which admittedly is pretty bouyant, yes, the only flotation that I will have in the boat are those integral float tanks.

Recpedm Here is a pic (hopefully) of one of them"

Image

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PostPosted: May 13th, 2021, 4:24 pm 
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Just install your first loop 1/2" past the floatation tank (the vinyl patch will be 90 degrees and the loop comes out the side of the hull).
It's plenty taut and the placement does not compromise your float tanks.

My very first Northwater install they sent "fish eyes" which was a 1 1/2" diameter pvc with a eyehole for the lacing to thread through. Very cumbersome and not necessary. I never did it again.

All my Northwater skirts now have the "cunning plan" outfitting on them. 3/8" bungee with stainless S-hooks that I closed off on the bungee side.
Works like a charm.
It reduces the time it takes to put your skirt on from 15 minutes down to 2.

edit... you could alway just use a waterproof rivet and a small loop of nylon flat strap on the float tank.


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PostPosted: May 13th, 2021, 6:15 pm 
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Guyfawkes: Those tanks are enough to keep the empty boat up and to satisfy the DOT, but either float bags or a deck would be prudent even if water is low.


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PostPosted: May 14th, 2021, 8:46 am 
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Canoeheadted, 3 questions please: what, exactly, is a waterproof rivet, and where does one get them?

And, do the stainless steel "S" hooks that you use to connect the decks with the anchor loops rub/wear against your canoes?

I was thinking that plastic hooks might be optimal to avoid having metal rubbing against my canoe all the time, but if in your experience that has not been an issue, I would also consider using metal hooks.

Thanks, cheers.

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PostPosted: May 14th, 2021, 9:36 am 
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Hi, guyfawkes041,
I have not used my spray deck very much but quickly got tired of threading the paracord through the deck and canoe attachment points. My system is to put a length of paracord through the loops on the spray deck and to put another length of paracord through the small loops on the canoe and leave both lengths of paracord there permanently. I allowed for some expansion by tying off the canoe paracord near the stern and leaving a few feet extra coiled behind the stern seat. In between each pair of loops on the deck I installed plastic hooks like this:

https://hofmanoutdoorgearsupply.ca/acce ... -hook.html

I'm not sure of their strength but none have broken so far.

The first time I installed the deck on my boat at home, I tightened the paracord so that I could just comfortably connect all the hooks on the deck with the paracord on the canoe.
After that first time, the deck goes on very quickly but likely takes more time than the hooks that Canoeheadted uses. It is easy to adjust the canoe paracord if the load is higher than usual by lengthening the canoe paracord by using some of the extra stored behind the stern seat. I suspect that paracord is stronger than bungee you are thinking of using but I don't know that for sure.
It is also easier to open part of the deck from either the bow or stern by taking off some of the hooks and peeling back the deck.
This system eliminated some of the issues I have seen with the usual weaving method. It saves wear and tear on the small loops on the vinyl patches which I saw friends wearing out by repeated weaving and the resulting friction. In addition, weaving the cord through those small loops with cold fingers is not easy and it takes quite a long time.

R


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PostPosted: May 14th, 2021, 10:01 am 
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guyfawkes041, a waterproof rivet has the plug encased so water can not migrate through the rivet.
They are usually used on "below waterline" applications.

I'm sure you can buy them anywhere but I get my stock from Western Canoe and Kayak (Clipper Canoes).

I used electrical shrink tube on the S-hooks to protect the hull.


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PostPosted: May 14th, 2021, 12:27 pm 
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I think the S hook or plastic hook method for securing a spray deck is a very nice idea for flat water paddling.

However, I would be wary of using such fasteners in moving water. Both present a snagging hazard if you come out of your boat.

This is the one advantage of threading a cord to secure a spray deck: it's clean and snag free to a swimmer. The ladder lock system is another. You could also consider snaps, Cliff Jacobsen style, but I don't know how strong these would be over time or in an upset.


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PostPosted: May 15th, 2021, 12:35 pm 
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Well folks, thank you all. Great info and insights from everyone. I am still a bit undecided as to a couple of aspects of this, but while I chew on those, I've ordered some paracord and Vinyl Tech 2000, to add to the big sheet of vinyl I have for making the glued patches, and the old Sears Hillary tent body that was given to me by another CCR member (thanks Laura) years ago.

This much I have decided, I will not cut into or otherwise disturb the flotation tanks, and I will leave my paddling area open, covering only the rear 5ish feet, and the front 8ish feet of the canoe. If I dump I want to get clear of it fast, and as a newbie to spray decks, that is my comfort level at this time.

I know that an open center may take on water in wave trains, but I expect that it won't be nearly as bad as it would be if I did not have the submarine shaped muzzle of my boat covered at least. I am not hoping for dry, just hoping not to swamp in the bigger stuff. I may make a center piece with tunnel in the fullness of time.

I have also ordered 50' of 5/16" water friendly bungee, as the bungee variation on the Northwater system is what I will build. I like those plastic hooks Ralph, I will definitely look into those.

I accept that the 5/16" bungee will not have the endurance of say 3/8", but the material this deck will be made from is quite light, and 3/8" would be noticeable overkill, I think. I also accept that I may regret that.

I don't expect that I will be using this deck a great deal, and I am questioning the value of adding what appear to be heavy and heavy duty rub strips along the gunnels on the outside of the deck, as it appears that Northwater does. I would be more prone to adding a sacrificial wearing surface to the inside of the deck over the gunnels than on the outside, but maybe Northwater has reinforced both sides??

Thoughts on needing rub strips along the gunnels folks??
Thanks again!

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PostPosted: May 15th, 2021, 2:09 pm 
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Rub strips- they can take wear if you pry off the gunnel, transport your canoe with the skirt on, or sometimes rubbing on branches,boulders, or docks when landing/launching.

I think they could be left off unless you're looking for the bombproof layup (like Northwater).
There is no wear between the gunnel and the skirt. (underside of the rub strip)

... and upon double checking my bungee cord, I see that it's actually 5/16".

As far as snagging anything in an upset, I do understand that there is a small risk but he benefits far outweigh the small risk.

I've been using (not just theorizing about) this attachment system on several boats over 20+ years and have not had a single issue. (In both flat and moving water) Knock on my desk.
The S-hook is closed on the bungee side and only open an 1/8" on the hull loop side.

All this being said, I would order another Cooke skirt for any in the future. No rub strips, it weighs a 2/3 less, and it snaps on.


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PostPosted: May 15th, 2021, 2:55 pm 
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Well, since for this first year at least, I will have the paddling station itself (just aft of carry thwart) open, I'm not worried about either damaging the spray deck by prying off the gunnels, or about getting caught on deck hooks if I dump, because there will be no deck there.

But it's good to know that the rub strips are not essential on top, and not needed underneath the spray deck.

Once more, that's more info than I had before, so thanks again Canoeheadted, cheers.

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PostPosted: May 15th, 2021, 3:22 pm 
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guyfawkes041 wrote:
and I will leave my paddling area open, covering only the rear 5ish feet, and the front 8ish feet of the canoe. If I dump I want to get clear of it fast, and as a newbie to spray decks, that is my comfort level at this time.


From my experience dumping with a full cover (quite a few times!) trouble getting out is rare but when it has happened to me it's not the full cover (with tunnel) but rather getting my feet entangled with the seat which could happen even with a large opening. My issues probably are result of a combination of my footwear (not flexible enough) and the seat being too low to allow for a smooth exit.


guyfawkes041 wrote:
I know that an open center may take on water in wave trains, but I expect that it won't be nearly as bad as it would be if I did not have the submarine shaped muzzle of my boat covered at least. I am not hoping for dry, just hoping not to swamp in the bigger stuff. I may make a center piece with tunnel in the fullness of time.


Without any deck in a large wave train or a big standing wave the bulk of water enters at the bow and stern, I've run lots of big Class II rapids where at the bottom of the rapid my boat has taken on a lot of water but almost nothing hit me in my centre position and much of it entering behind me out of my sight. I've often pulled out to bail and been shocked by how much water was in the boat that I did not see coming in during the run.

FWIW I've given up on spray decks, on long trips my boat is so filled with gear/supplies there is little space left for water and even when the remaining free space fills with water the boat still rides fairly high and is not inclined to roll like an empty boat filled with water. On a day trip with little gear it's time to transform my gear cages into flotation cages with air bags.

I loved my covers when I first had them, it allowed me to run bigger rapids which gave me more experience and over time reduced the need for a cover at all once I became more skilled at avoiding being swamped. That said if I'm pushing my limits by running Class III/IV rapids I sometimes wish I had the cover.

The other times when I wish I had a cover is not in rapids but rather when I find myself doing a long open crossing with high winds. More scary that running a (too) big rapid is getting caught many kilometres from shore in high winds with 1+ metre breaking waves. On a trip last year I got caught in a situation like that, although I was less than kilometre from shore the need to avoid getting sideways to the waves meant it took close to an hour to cover that distance safely, I was able to maintain stability and not take on any water but forward motion was extremely difficult, in that situation a cover would have made things much easier/safer.

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PostPosted: May 15th, 2021, 5:26 pm 
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Recped, thanks for your comments.

I figure that I'm going to have a busy enough time wrangling a skinny 17' tandem, solo, carrying 2+ weeks of consumables, descending the Coulonge, and then the Ottawa, to Ottawa, without shipping any more water than I have to. So it's good to know that in your experience, the center generally runs dry enough if the ends are covered. Great. I may play with the idea of some form of raised edge for the ends of the decked areas; maybe something using pieces of hoola-hoop or pool noodles??? Something to possibly steer water toward the sides and not into the open center.

It's an experiment really, to see how much of a difference it will make in not submarining, but in the longer run I will likely get more use of it in dampening wind effects on northern Saskatchewan lakes. I can remember a few times where the wind and waves had the old adrenalin on full drip. Ha!, I hope to evolve through the my spray deck period as you have, perhaps. But I am looking forward to this first go-round in the fall, pandemic allowing.

I'm not too concerned about entrapment (he said ominously) as a result of the deck, as again, the center of the boat will be open, and I use a strange pedastal/sliding seat thingy that my feet don't go under. I've started measuring and cutting now, and am just awaiting the cooler bits from Amazon.

Anyway thanks again Recped, and everyone else.
Cheers!

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