Best method of tethering VCP hatch cover

(A search of this topic turned up nothing in this website’s archives and very little on Google, so here goes…)

Having paddled Greenland boats for a number of years, I decided to go over to the dark side and purchase a British boat. So, today I am the proud new owner of a Valley Avocet RM.

I was a bit more than surprised to see all three of the hatch covers beginning to peel off after only 60 miles on top of the car from the shop to my house. No wonder the shop suggested tethering the hatch covers (@ $30 & $60 each replacement cost, no less!).

So, what’s the best method? Cord? Webbing with Fastex buckles? Something else I’m not thinking of?

Sharing your experience in this matter would be greatly appreciated…


– Last Updated: Sep-26-05 7:26 PM EST –

if there's no tab on those hatch covers on the outside, ... is there one on the inside? if yes, make a small hole in it and run a small guage nylon line through the tab and cement it to the inside of the hull with enough slack to allow for putting the cover aside for packing the kayak.

my NDK has tabs on the outside of the covers and i do the above but tie off the line to one of the running deck lines.

lacking the above tabs, i'd take the covers off when car topping the boat.

My solution
I’ve had an Avocet RM since august and I tethered the hatch covers immediately. The two oval covers have a small tab on on of the sides, with a hole through it already. I just ran some 1/8" rope (from the EMS climbing dept) and tied the other end to the rigging. The day hatch cover (round) has no tab on the outside. It has one (with no hole) on the inside but there is no anchor place for the tether inside the hatch. Can’t “glass” it because it’s poly. What I did was run a piece of the same 1/8" rope around the outside groove of the cover and tied that to the rigging. No only does it secure the cover for transport, but it prevents it from falling on the sand/mud/water when you open the hatch and need both hands for something else.


Make sure to double-seal the covers

– Last Updated: Sep-26-05 7:17 PM EST –

Valley hatch covers have a double seal. The first seal is engaged just pushing the cover on snugly all around, and if you didn't know the trick, you might stop there. But don't.

You engage the second seal by pushing down all around the hatch on the exposed bead of rubber that sits on the deck at that point, forcing it into the recessed deck. That can sometimes be difficult, and is tough on thumbs, but gives a perfect seal. The day hatch does the same thing, but does not require as much force -- it's enough just to insure that the cover is bangled down fully all around, and that does the second seal.

It helps to apply 303 (ultraviolet protectant) to the deck just around the hatches, which makes them a tad slippery and eases the force needed to push in the bead.

All that said, I've found the hatches on my Avocet RM seal pretty snugly even if I get only part of the bead shoved into the recess, say at least half. In fact, they are generally dry even when I don't engage the second seal at all. But when cartopping, I do try to at least seal them 50%.

So, bottom line, I don't tether them, and they've been many hundreds of miles at 70+ mph with no loss or even sign of it. Of course, tethers are good on the water, just in case.


In addition
either vent your bulkheads or do not drive with your hatch covers on. Elevation changes could cause a bulkhead to blow out

Composite VCP come tethered
Valley started tethering the hatches on its composite boats in 2004 - my Aquanaut’s main hatches came tethered. Interestingly, the day hatch was not tethered, so I did as described above as it is the way the Valley day hatch on my Elaho came tehtered.

Valley uses the same hook for its hatch cover tethers as for its toggle keepers.

As David said, Valley hatches tend to be very secure once down. I tether mine so I don’t loose them when I’m loading or emptying the compartments.

I never tethered mine
and never lost one.

I’m not saying it’s a bad idea, just never did.

I learned to carry with me one spare-neoprene set as I saw how they give up when they crack.

I’m working on the second set as the Florida sun cooked my first one in about 5 years.

They also float,
They just float if you drop one, but I used Paracord on the ovals, with caribiner clips to attach to the bungy rigging.

I am considering taking a razor blade to the oval covers to make that “second seal” easier.

It is definately water/air tight though.

I used parachute cord arounf the outside groove of all three hatches, and tied them to the deck rigging. I did it to keep from loosing one – primarily the day hatch – on the water. I’ve never had one blow off on the car.

nice idea
Nice idea, never thought of the parachute cord! Thanks

No problem
If you double seal your covers you shouldn’t have any problems. I would spend time in the boat before tethering the day hatch cover though, I found that the tether was a pain and I much prefer it without. Think about venting the bulkheads, and remember to store the boat with the hatch covers off if you don’t.

What’s the best way to “cement”…
the inside of the cord to the inside of the boat? Is there a particular adhesive to use?

in addition to the above

– Last Updated: Sep-27-05 7:17 PM EST –

Is important for covers to be "double sealed." I found with my RM Avo, the big ovals went on better in one direction than other. Used exterior loop on hatch to tether to deck rigging. Now they only go on the best way. I also rounded the hatch lower edge to make it fit much easier without compromising integrity. Plus regular 303 on hatch and boat rim.

Round day cover has internal tab that got tied to 2 mm line terminated through bulkhead vent hole. I do not 303 its exterior much to provide friction to open/close underway.

Summation. Vent bulkheads, polarize direction of ovals, tie all to boat, 303, double check covers especially before water and drive, paddle frequently and remove covers for storage.

I’ve got a
McNulty SeaHunter that was laid up in 86 , they used valley 7.5 " hatch covers , but with a stainless stel band around the center grove , acting as a oil filter wrench does only way smaller . Dry as a bone and they tether off the lifelines .

Can you please describe exactly how you vented the bulkheads? I have a new Avocet RM too and was thinking about it.



Hatches on board!
Hatches for my Valley Avocet RMs and Skerrays RMXs are removed before cartopping or trailering: (1)reduce heat build up (2) minimize exposure of hatch covers to UV rays (3)prevent accidental loss (4) the boat is a 3 - 4 lbs. easier lift without them (5) prevent suctioning down when heated boat is placed in cold water (6) gotta take the covers off to store them at home or load them at the put in anyway.

I can’t think of one reason to leave them on during transport, actually.

That’s why I keep hatch and cockpit covers on during traveling.

Rain water can add a lot of weight and therefore stress to the boat.

Ok good point
My boats are transported hull up or on edge . . . but I see that if you are transporting the boat in upright position rainwater could be a concern.

kit fron seaward
cheap enough, bomb proof, end of my quest. All they did was get som good marine hardware a great looking bold head cover and some 3/8 inchj strapping together to make an eye, stainless but it looks good and works and is cheap.

4 reasons
> I can’t think of one reason to leave them on during transport, actually.

  1. Laziness
  2. You always know where they are
  3. Keep rain out of hatches in storms
  4. Laziness