Brit Boat Modifications

Day Hatch?
I would like to have a nice Brit style hatch, but that ould require a fiberglass lip.

I was thinking a 6" screw in gaspachi hatch. I have one on the Mars. Kind of a PITA to unscrew, but very quick, easy, and cheap to install.

My Theory On Boat Modifications…
and, I have done a bit (I shouldn’t admit with seakayaks, ww boats and surf boat)… Always do it incrementally. Change something, try it some before proceding with more. You really have to do in stages to evaluate better and also to not overwhelm yourself with too much tasks/changes at once.


Makes Sense
I will get started with foam hip pads for rolling practice. Chuck gave me some that tie into the seat.

I need some thigh padding. Too much room there!

Almost everyone replaces the stock VCP backband on the Skerrey. Surprised the orginal is still in it.

I really think the bulkhead and replacing the chimp pump are pretty minor. A pretty common modification.

I will give it some long hard thought and give the boat some usage before deciding on the cockpit. That is a pretty major change…but I am glad to know that there is a professional like Patrick that does it, if I decide to go that way…

A day hatch
I want to set up my Nordkapp like my Romany.

good decision

– Last Updated: Sep-17-04 3:55 PM EST –

There are positives to an ocean cockpit. There are very avid fans as well. Ocean cockpits also seem to becoming less common in Brit boats. So, a Valley boat with an ocean cockpit maybe more valuable than one with a keyhole.

The old Valley backband is terrible. It surprises me that the previous owner did not replace it. Everyone I know who owns a Valley boat either had it replaced when they bought the boat or did so shortly thereafter.

The new Valley backband is very nice.

What’s up
with all this emphasis on “outfitting”? In years past you bought a kayak that served your needs, then spent a weekend customizing it to you. Now the emphasis seems to be marketing / corporate driven nonsense. Air / tilt / this gizmo / etc. All crazy crap that is not conducive to performance. The Brits have it right…keep it simple. If you don’t get a perfect fit in a boat, modify it. None of our asses are the same, so no production boat will please everyone. But it’s a simple fix in all cases. I can make almost any boat fit me well. That’s half the fun! Also, what’s up with the size thing? Seems everyone wants huge cockpits. Boats that are deemed too small in this modern market are huge on me, and i have to pad them out! I’m 210 lbs.! I don’t think most sea kayakers relate to a snug fit, which I find more comfortable. These are just my thoughts…I’d like to see kayaks getting back to simplicity, function, and light weight.

I have the original VCP backband,
and don’t have a problem with it. You may also want to try putting something under your thighs. Until I had my seat built up, I stuffed an extra fleece in a small bag and used it as a cushion. An inflatable dry bag or extra paddle float may be something to try too.

Speaking of day hatches, I’d liketo try and learn how to open mine on the water this weekend:)


– Last Updated: Sep-17-04 12:37 PM EST –

Actually, I am over 200# and I am going to need tighten up the fit a lot if I am going to learn to roll.

Forgive me it I get a little crazy with this. It is my first SINK.

The Skerrey Seat Is Very Comfortable
Actually I find the Skerrey seat very comfortable already. I mostly just need to tighten up the fit inside the cockpit.

My seat has always been comfortable.
The problem was the orginal seat angle is rather flat, which is was the reason my legs kept falling asleep. We raised the angle by building it up with foam underneath the seat, so I no longer have that problem. At least i was able to paddle to the cement ship and back without experiencing any numbness/tingling.

bulkhead pattern

Saw your Nordkapp on your webshots page. Looks like we do have the same boat. How do you like the integral skeg?

e-mail me your address and I’m happy to send you a copy of the bulkhead pattern, but be warned, the minicel required some further sanding after I initially cut it out.

I made the template using a flex curve (essentially a bendable ruler that conforms to whatever shape you press it against) it’s available at most art supply stores. I recently had the idea of using aluminum foil instead by cutting off a couple of feet, rolling it up, and then pressing it against the inside of the kayak. I would think it would hold the shape at least as well as the flex curve.

I ordered the hatch from my local kayaksport deal but I haven’t gotten it yet. They’re also available (with the hatch rim) for $35 at Newfound Woodworks.

Take care,


day hatch
303 it very well. It will then open much easier.

I also chose to tether the day hatch on my Aquanaut. I did it just as my Elaho’s day hatch came tethered - with light static line around the perimeter (in the groove) and tied to neighboring perimeter line. Be sure that you have enough line to set the hatch cover on the deck of your spray skirt while you are retrieving items from the hatch.

I was thinking about a flush 6" gaspachi screw in hatch for this location.

Pics that may help (rolling ) outfitting
Well, not yet! I’ll try to take some tomorrow of our new Pintail’s cockpit.

Original owner only made one simple modification: some foam humps about where the masik would be in a Greenland boat. Simple and works like a cross between a masik and more aggressive WW hooks - without being as big or restrictive as either (Kim already has an idea for a slight modification to this! She learns way too fast!). I wish I could do this in my keyhole QCC - but only works in an ocean cockpit!

How much difference does it make? See my thread tittled “First (4) rolls!!!”


Take a look at kajaksport haches at

First, IMO, it would be a shame to ruin the boat by putting a keyhole cockpit in it. There are a lot of advantages to the ocean cockpit and only one to a keyhole, ease of entry and exit. If you really can’t live with it, sell it and buy something else that suits you better (especially since you can do so at a profit). Ocean cockpit Skerray’s are rare and I’m sure you’ll be able to find a good home for it.

Replacing the Chimp pump with a day hatch should be pretty easy, but it depends on the contour of the deck. I replaced pump on my Pintail with a 7.5" VCP hatch (and added a third bulkhead), but it has a flat deck that made it very easy. If you post a photo of your Skerray’s aft deck, I’ll be able to tell you how easy it will be to do. If you email me, I’ll send you written instructions for the job.

Bulkheads are pretty easy. You can make your own bulkhead panel using polyester resin (or epoxy) and fiberglass cloth or mat. You can get all of the supplies at Home Depot. Again, I can send you instructions.

Another - perhaps better - option would be to make a Minicel backrest that filled in the space in front of the existing bulkhead. It would certainly be faster and easier, if not cheaper. It would also be more comfortable than the medieval torture device that VCP calls a back band.

bulkhead too tight?
Hey Brian,

Wanted to ask you a question. The minicell bulkhead that I’ve carved for my Nordkapp fits very snugly. It’s basically watertight without having applied adhesive. Is this too tight? The kayak has already got some spider cracking over the aft bulkhead and I don’t want to create more. My thinking was that a second rear bulkhead would ease the strain on the original bulkhead when sitting on the back deck. I’d kick myself if I made it worse.


I will leave the cockpit alone. If I do not like it,I can sell it. No sense ruining it for the next guy.

But I sure do like the way this boat handles. I guess I could even look to get another one with a keyhole cockpit…

Hey why not post it to classifieds
here and elsewhere and see if some ocean cockipt loving person wants to swap a skerray for a skerray. If you’ve gotten a very good deal you could sweeten the swap and still end up with a good value or maybe they would pay you and you could get a better value.

Yes those day hatches are nice!

Sounds OK to me
I always make Minicel bulkheads a bit oversize. I would still suggest either gluing it in place or at least sealing around it.