Canoe Full Spray cover safety

I recently purchased a Mad River Guide with a full spray cover that has a sewn in tunnel that comes up on the paddlers torso and has a draw string closure. This looks great for rain/weather protection, but if you capsize, it probably would be difficult to exit. Has anyone had any experience with a full spray cover with tunnel and have any advice? I was thinking of removing the tunnel and make a cut to have a two piece cover with a gap for the paddler.

full cover

– Last Updated: Mar-08-06 1:13 AM EST –

I had one of Dan Cooke's covers on a Wenonah Voyager. I'm pretty sure he used velcro on the tunnel instead of a drawstring. It seemed like it would be a lot easier to undo if you ever needed to.

I had a home made two-piece cover on a Swift Osprey that had an opening for the paddler. The cover extended to someplace around the thwarts on both ends. I put a wood lip on the cockpit end of the cover to help keep water from running into the boat. It looks like I have one picture of it:

Thanks to c2g, who sent pictures…
…and advice, my wife & daughter-in-law sewed up wind covers like those pictured in the link. Had the open padler area, since I don’t do rough water or rain and didn’t need a skirt. I attached the edges of the covers themselves with velcro patches, about 6 on each quarter. Only problem was the adhesive, which didn’t hold on 3 of the patches. The covers stay in place even with the few defective patches. Otherwise works fine for cutting windage.

c2g suggestion
Didn’t think about stabilizing the cover if I made it a two piece system and adding a thwart is a good suggestion. I think we met at Raystown two years ago and a padled a couple of your Wenonahs.

attaching it to the hull
the cover you made for your Osprey, how is it attached to the hull? I like the Cooke covers, but am afraid to put snaps on my hull.

After the first snap, the rest will be
easy. I hesitated to add snaps to my kevlar canoe but now I am happy that I can use a canoe cover. You only drill a 1/8" hole so if you really hate them, drill them out and fill in the holes. I use my canoe for tripping so after going on a few trips with no way of securing bungy cords, etc.;, I decided that it’s silly not to modify the canoe. After I modified it so that I have a means of tying things down, the snaps weren’t such a big stretch.

attachment to the hull
I used some small brass knobs that I got from Lee Valley. I attached them through the hull with screws with washers under the screw heads. The cord that you can see around the edge of the cover hooks under the knobs. You can pull it pretty tight. It isn’t as spiffy as the Cooke covers, but I think it only cost about $70.

As far as putting snaps on the hull is concerned, I agree with Yaknot that it wasn’t that big of a deal once I started, and the Cooke covers are an excellent design and are very well made.

The Cooke Cover uses both velcro and a cord lock. The velcro overlaps about 12 to 18 in. with a pull strap. The rest is cord lock adjusted. Very easy to get out of. Even if you do not use the spray skirt, the cover is worth it’s weight in gold in the wind.