@rsevenic had brought up a topic in another thread that I didn’t want to derail more than I might have already sidetracked it.
A concern I’ve heard sometimes, and that @rsevenic asked, is about the foot clearance space on kayaks with foredeck hatches. The examples I have on hand at the Store are P&H and Stellar kayaks so I’m using those for measurements.
I’ll start with the larger of the deck boxes. P&H has modular deck boxes on their Volan, Virgo, Scorpio, Delphin and Leo models. This will be the case on new models in the future. Their Cetus and Aries models have a laminated box which has a short version on the Cetus LV & Aries 150 and a longer box on the other models
A shallower deck box is used on the Stellar kayaks having a interior depth of 2.5" protruding downward into the cockpit space 3" with a 5" x 8" footprint. Shown here on a Stellar S16 in Advantage construction.
I hope that the 7 photos are worth 7000 words of googling
In case it helps, I can add that I have a Cetus MV and I am 6 ft tall and have size 11.5-12.5 feet, depending upon the shoe maker. My Cetus has the bulkhead at the default position, and the laminate deck box is the 12 inch version.
While sitting in the kayak my feet are well ahead of the deck box, so I do not feel the deck box with my feet while paddling. My feet can move side to side without interference.
What is the fascination with whiskey hatches? I have had several kayaks from a variety of makers(Tide Race ,P&H, Valley , Eddyline and Stellar ), and the whiskey hatch is always in the way. The Tide Race was the worst, at locking your legs in position and allowing little movement. Also the whiskey hatch takes up valuable room under the deck, for pump and paddle-float storage. Only thing I want on my deck, is a backup paddle and the GoPro. Also they add a couple pounds to the overall weight.
I’m not a huge fan of the whiskey hatches either as I don’t think they are large enough to add much utility beyond storing a granola bar. That said the whiskey hatch on my Tiderace XCeed S is not at all in the way, I have to go “find” it in order to hit it - I have “medium” sized feet, US women’s 9, UK 40. But I could do without the extra weight and complexity for something I never use.
The P&H ones store a 20 oz. Plastic water bottle and a few cliff bars along side it. I use mine more than the day hatch. With the hatch cover off it makes a ginormous cup holder but that sounds more like your Margaritaville FL Keys paddling experience than NY.
I like mine. It is another option for storage. Very handy, I also use mine more than my day hatch. It is good for things like wind meter, GPS, gloves, sunglasses to fit over my normal sunglasses when the sun is low and in front, small quick dry handkerchief/towel, etc. It doesn’t get in my way, and I do not notice the weight. If I were getting another kayak, and that was an option, I would get it again.
Just to add that all of the above mentioned items and more fit in my deck box all at once, in case anyone was thinking there was only one of those items inside it. It actually carries quite a bit.
A bit of a ‘luddite’ here. I’m not into the ‘newer’ hatches.
I did like it when the day hatch came on seen (taking over the place the chimp pumps used to be). Liked when the larger round hatches (10") appeared (I first encountered with NDK).
Never was a real fan of the ovals - though can’t get away from them any more.
I use the space under the deck for either a pump or sponge (not a whiskey fan).
I agree! Despite my age, I am still flexible enough to access the day hatch behind the cockpit. If that were not the case, I would try to find a fore-cockpit whiskey hatch shallow enough for my particular needs. I rather like the name ‘whiskey hatch’ even though I don’t drink whiskey - nor any alcohol while paddling.
I had an Xplore S from the pre Nelo days. The whiskey hatch on the Xplore was wide and deep. You basically had an alley on each side of the hatch, for my legs to squeeze through. Once my legs where in place, there was no wiggle room. I was locked in to one spot. Hopefully Nelo was wise enough to correct that.
Also had a Valley Sirona RM that the hatch was it the way. It was simply bigger than required. It added extra weight and eliminated an under deck pump storage.
Never has issues with the P&H whiskey hatch being in the way.
While looking for a surf kayak recently, I eliminated kayaks with whiskey hatches. I ended up with a Valley Gemini SP, over a TideRace Xcite and a CD Karla LV.
None of my kayaks have hatches accessible from the cockpit. I’ve never missed having them. My snacks or lunch are in a dry bag clipped behind my seat or in a “Stasher” brand silicone reusable bag under the chart clipped to the deck lines in front of the cockpit. Water is in a bladder on the back of my pfd.
I suppose if I was surfing the bag under my chart might be at risk, but if you’re surfing you should probably keep a clean deck anyway.
My experience so far - the fore hatch/deck pod/ wiskey hatch is fairly new to me. 15 years with an Arctic Tern so no extra hatchs (but a ton of room behind & beside the seat). in Spring 2020 I bought a P&H Delphin 150 looking for something more playful. The 150 has the whiskey hatch but no day hatch. The whiskey hatch is good for keys & phone in a dry bag & not much more. The dry bag is required as that hatch is NOT sealed from inside the hull. It pod is quite shallow & the fore deck is pretty high so I don’t notice it while entering or paddling. In some ways I’d prefer to be able to store a pump there and have a small day hatch.
Speaking of day hatches. I also now have a NDK Explorer LV with a day hatch but no whiskey hatch. I wouldn’t want anything protruding into the cockpit in that kayak as tight as it is for me at 5’ 8". On the other hand, the day hatch is huge. I think that I could ultralight camp just out of that space.
I can’t speak to the Rockpool or other brands that have foredeck hatches. Everyone comes up with a system that works for them. That said, the convenience of having quick access gear in front of you without having to twist, duck and reach deep into the day hatch to get that must have while chop is slipping over the day hatch rim will make you spoiled. Or at least it has me.
I think I detailed clearances enough.
The Stellar has a small drain hole in the bottom that I tape over on my boat. The P&H (Kajaksport) boxes tend to be quite dry. Earlier creations were not as it as part of the deck moulding. Having it a modular separately mfg. part has helped in that regard.
An observation in the Store on clients contrasting the Virgo LV & MV (No day hatch) vs. all the other models is “Why don’t those have a 4th hatch?” Damned if you do …………
Personally I like my Seals deck bag. Not to big but holds a lot. Mount it far enough forward and it’s never in the way even with a far forward stroke. I have a small dry bay I can put inside it if I need to.
In surf I’d just skip the deck bag. I doubt if my deck was 13" or less I’d want any protrution. Guess each person has to try each hull.
My wife’s Arrow Play MV PE has a whisky hatch with a typical rubber hatch cover on the deck and waterproof bag below. It’s essentially there if you want to use it and unobtrusive if you don’t. I have several boats with deck boxes and haven’t had clearance/comfort issues with any of them.