More condensation in cockpit now

-- Last Updated: Nov-07-13 2:39 PM EST --

Lately I've wondered why there has been more water in my cockpit than what I'm accustomed to. Fearing the worst, I ran through the possibilities you might expect: leak from boat damage (though the worst that's happened are some scratches/scuffs that don't go down to the glass), skeg box leak (but all the hatches are still dry), coaming separating from deck (appears to be in good shape). I use an all-neo sprayskirt that fits well.

There's more water inside after a nonstop paddle than what I used to get from launching and taking one or two breaks during the paddle. Maybe between 1 and 2 cups' worth of water?

Then it dawned on me. With winter just around the corner, the air has become much cooler and damper than it was in the dry season, which is summer and early fall in this location.

In Colorado, when I paddled in late fall I'd pick sunny, dry days, with air temps typically in the high 50s to about 60. Water temps were not much different from what the sea temp is here at this time.

The really huge diff is in relative humidity. Like 80 to 95% now, instead of, say 35% like it was in the Rockies on those sunny days. I guess that would account for having about twice the amount of water on the cockpit floor now. It also explains why even wearing a Gore-Tex drysuit has my longjohns a little damp after paddling, unlike in Colorado. It dries out quickly if I take a break, but when I do a nonstop paddle I come out noticing the difference. No, I do not pee in my suit.

The dehumidifier in the garage also needs to be emptied more often.

Has anybody else noticed a similar change?

Is it…
…a supra-tek skirt ???

Possible, but
The possibility of condensation causing that much water, would not have ever occurred to me. I would still be looking for a leak, or at least blame it on the skirt. But what do I know? I’ve been looking for the reason for a little moisture in the day compartment and sometimes the aft compartment on one of my boats and I guess condensation could be the culprit. Yeah, I’ll go with that.

It’s regular neoprene
Fabric face on both sides. SnapDragon brand, same one I’ve had for years.

Condensation in Open Boats Too

– Last Updated: Nov-07-13 5:52 PM EST –

During normal times ("now" is not normal, as I've been waiting for an injury to heal for about two months, and haven't been in a boat much), I paddle and row a lot at night, and at night in the spring and fall when the sky is clear, it's common to end up with a few to several cups of water in the boat. In this case, it's all from the formation of dew inside the hull. Any night that's cold, clear, and calm, when your breath forms foggy clouds that hang in front of your face for a few seconds instead of blowing away, the gunwales and the inside of the boat usually become covered with big droplets of water, and now and then some will coalesce and form a little stream that wipes a clean path to the floor, collecting other droplets along the way. If out for a few hours in such weather, there will be enough water on the floor to be worth bailing.

I’ve found
that even neoprene skirts begin to let in more water over time. I would guess that the material naturally wears and degrades.

I’ve found this phenomenon most noticeable while playboating, which involves a lot of upside-down time. Are you doing a lot of rolling or other paddling involving significant immersion (surf, etc)? If so, then I’d focus on the skirt as the first culprit assuming no other changes.

moisture in kayak
While a check for leaks is a good step to explore, I also suspect leaking through an older neoprene skirt is the cause of the water in the kayak.

Have you started to layer clothes?
A change in clothing causes me to sometimes get folds and creases in my top that allow water to leak into my boat. If I smooth out the skirt more carefully it takes care of the problem.

Visible puffs of breath

– Last Updated: Nov-07-13 10:39 PM EST –

That has been happening, and I do hear a sound like water trickling in the cockpit, just for a moment. At those times I've also felt a sudden coldness on the hip or upper leg. What you say makes perfect sense given the coincident timing of these things. Instead of breath it must be my lower body's sweat forming the trapped vapor.

I checked my coaming just in case, and a bright headlamp does not reveal any gaps, holes, or cracks. Same for the skeg slider area. Hosing off my kayak after each paddle has not resulted in any leaks that I can see, either. However, even though I swab out the rinse water from the cockpit, I may not have gotten all the water out last time, and that could've resulted in a little residual water adding to the "cockpit condensation rain".

Not these couple of times
No rolling or other upside-downism, no real surf (not counting small wakes). The skirt is only 3 years old but it’s been used often. I probably ought to order a replacement, since when the time comes for replacement I’ll want it right away and it’s not a common size.

Yeah, the neoprene does gradually get stretched out.

Oops, you are correct and I am wrong
It IS SupraTex. I just looked at the SnapDragon website and my skirt is made of whatever variant of neoprene makes it SupraTex. Why do you ask?

I noticed that Pilgrim Expedition now has two sizes at SnapDragon: “LV+”, which is what I have, and “LVx”, I guess for newer boats. Did NDK change their coaming dimensions for that boat? Mine was built in 2010.

Put kayak and skirt in water
with skirt opening sealed with duct tape for twice as long as you’d normally paddle. Check for water. Buy new skirt.

I think you’re right
When I go out in winter I don’t usually practice rolls or reentries, and always have a neo sprayskirt on. By the time I take out the inside of my boat and my dry suit are dripping wet.

Water in kayak?
You may have a slow leak that you haven’t found yet.

Place the boat on sawhorses or a trailer and put a couple of inches of water in in.

Then look for leaks.

I would
do a leak test. The proper method is to get some food dye and add it to a gallon of water then pour the mix into each sealed compartment. I used this method when I suspected a boat had a leak and sure enough it did.

Good luck

Supra tex…
…begins to weep and/or leak in about two years, because the neoprene layer in between the cloth is so thin.

…now comes with a longer cockpit opening than the original.