Outfitting a MR Freedom Solo

My ex used to ask me “Why doyou always have to change everything you buy?” “Well Dear, BECAUSE I CAN!”

I’m planning on installing some lash points along the inwale line, probably using plastic fairleads (“inchworms” to you landlubbers). Question is, does anyone know what the configuration of MR vinyl gunwales is on the inside? Sort of looks like a box-like extrusion surrounded by the vinyl.

Has anyone added accessories by drilling UP into the box and using SS self-tappers? Or SS rivits? This method will mount the fairleads in an upside-down configuration, which appears to be OK.

If no good advice is forthcoming I may have to resort to glued-on daisy chains, which is really not so bad.


PS: Good news is that I have already CAD’ed up a foot rest and will sew up a Mowhawk-ish web solo thwart for installation this Saturday.

I was drilling holes in my Explorer last night. The inwale seems to be a U channel, open end down. If that’s the case in yours you will find no metal underneath to attatch your inchworms.

I pop rivited stainless inchworms to the inwale sides years back to tie in flotation. Those have held up well but these days I’d just drill the hull under the gunnels.

Inch worms

– Last Updated: Mar-15-06 2:52 PM EST –

Wha Ho, Pilgrim.

Ah's dun dat to me Guide many years ago. Plastic inch worms attached wit SS steel screws to de underside o' de gunnels. Can't remember if ah's drilled through de aloominioom channel inside or not but ah's be 50% purty soor ah's did (meanin' ah fergit). Ah's has ta take a looksee an' git back ta ye on dat. Give me a couple o' days ta git home ta look.

Fat Elmo

Hey Jim
What do you hang from all those inchworms? I’m always trying to fasten my gear low in the boat, even my water bottle. What am I missing out on with no inchworms? Heck, I might need to upgrade my outfitting.

Congrats on your new boat.

Mik, Mike, and Brian:
The wwebbing loops are good ideas. My initial inchworm idea was to make the installation as unobtrusive as possible. I tried to find a phone # on the MR site today, but was unsuccessful. The pop-riviting solution may be the best way to go though.

MAd Mike: I make holes in my webbing creations with a 25 watt soldering iron. It leaves a hole that cannot unravel.

Brian: I just like having easy clip-ins for my pelican box tether, my first aid kit and whatever. I just ordered a 7 gal and a 3.5 gal pail from McMaster Carr Supply with screw-on waterproof lids. When I modify them with webbing handles, I will be able to stabilize them by tying off to webbing loops or failreads. My first exclaimation upon entering my new boat was “Hey - there’s no place to tie stuff off!”


Interesting terminology
Fairheads,inch worms,eyes traps,and pad eyes. with holes measured by fair lead widths.

yes I use them for just what you said Jim. I tie in things like dry boxes, water bottles, and anything I don’t want drifting downstrean without the boat.

But Mike is correct as can be seen in the Mad River catalog, The vinyl gunwales only have an aluminum “L” channel inside that you won’t hit buy drilling up from the bottom.


I pulled the sternplate off of my Explorer tonight and found the inwales exactly as Mike described, an upside down L with the verticle next to the hull.

So apparently I poprivited my stainless inchworms to the vinyl box!

The inchworms have been there for years, holding center flotation down, water bottles and cameras in and recently my 12’ x 1.125" t 6061 aluminum pole tensioned to match the curve of the gunnel.

That’s got to be some serious vinyl!

could you please provide a product number for those pails with the screw on and off lids you are speaking of. I couldnt find a 7gal one. I might be looking at the wrong buckets on that huge site, man they have everything!!

Thanks for the link NT
Yep. Exactly as was described. Mike, the forces applied to padeyes/fairleads/inchworms are probably small, except if a large dry bag tied to one goes downstream from the boat during a swim.

I am toying with an idea: In the tradition of perimeter grab lines on touring kayaks, I might mount a series of p/f/i’s under the rail, diagonally, and string a piece of polyester line through each one, anchored firmly at the thwart and the end cap.

Sort of like this:


The line would be easy to clip into at any point, and a hard pull would be distributed along the line of p/f/i’s rather than concentrated on one.

I’m obsessing over this.


just drill the hull
0.25" holes every 6" along under the gunnel. Less weight, better holding power.

If I only knew then what I know now.

Stock #s are

40015T65 and 40015T67

I believe that 40015T66 is a 5 gal size.

If you think that the web site is daunting, the catalog is even moreso. Sometimes I have to do a website search just to locate a page #. And I order from them regularly for work.



Did exactly what you describe to my MR Explorer. Put nylon inchworms/strap eyes attached to the underside of the gunnal then ran a 3/16" lanyard the length of the boat on each side. I left the lines slightly slack but not loose to allow clipping gear with a 'beener.

That config also allowed lacing “x” style by threading “around” the strap-eye and “over” the lanyard making it easy to add and remove the lacing.

Disclaimer: Never dumped that boat so no real life test of the strength of the set-up.

Still Obsesing
Yet another change in the wind. Now I am leaning toward using flat nylon cable clamps attached with brass-insert “wellnuts” which expand into a drilled hole. Disadvantage is that the holes have to be 3/8" to accomodate my favorite screw size (10-32) but the advantages are that I need only drill one hole per location, the insert is brass, and the fixture is removable if needed. Of course, I will have to individually flame the clamps to remove the razor-sharp edges, but that I can do while watching TV.


Drilling the hull…not me
I agree that it is a good and practical way to lace in bags for a boat that will be full time WW. But your boat is new, you may want to sell it someday and I myself would not buy that type of boat with holes that needed to be laced so I think it would devalue the craft.

The pad eyes will work for what you want and if I were doing the job and wanted to strengthen the install I would rough sand the flats of the pad eye and rough the area under the gunwale and apply a single drop of crazy glue just before. pulling the pop rivit up tight at each hole. I think that would do it.

I have 24 pad eyes for bags in the Wildfire and it only takes seconds to lace or unlace them. They are inside under the gunwales and are actully a good selling point. No holes in the boat.

Selling a boat!?
You guys sell boats!?

Over thinking this through, or what?
This is my favorite subject lately to obsess about. My main thinking revolves around the merits of having overly strong attachment components on the gunwale part of the system. In a swamped boat, the pressure exerted will be large, especially if another component of the system happens to fail, like one of the D-rings on the hull.

As an aside, the only thing I’m sure of is that I much prefer detachable (with those plastic buckles) webbing cross straps running from gunwale to gunwale, as opposed to lacing rope.

Stainless steel, aluminum or plastic? If I use stainless steel fittings and ss rivets, won’t that risk pulling the rivet through the vinyl or aluminum gunwale, doing permanent damage? So, plastic fittings, and aluminum rivets, are probably cheaper and better.

Padeyes or nylon cable clamps? The cable clamps should be plenty strong and hold, unless some of the other components carrying the load happen to fail and as a result the cable clamps start bearing the whole load. Again, if I really prefer for the components to fail rather than risking a pullout of the gunwale, then why not just use the cable clamps? As you point out, Jsaults, it also has the advantage of requiring one hole per fitting, rather than two. I think this is an important consideration for whitewater especially, because every hole has to weaken the gunwale some.

Rope running through the padeyes/cable clamps like a lanyard, along the underside of the gunwale, and attaching the cross straps to the lanyard? This seems like too weak a link. All the force will be exerted on the rope where it is tied to the fittings, one on each end.

Riveting a 4” long folded piece of 1” webbing to the undersides of the gunwale? After a season or two of exposure to the elements, and flapping around in the highway breeze, I expect that the webbing will need replacing. I really do not want to have to drill out those rivets anytime this decade. If I do ever have to drill them out, I hope they won’t be stainless steel (another reason to prefer aluminum rivets).

Cable clamp with cable tie attached, then cross webbing attached to cable ties? I like this idea, but it won’t look great. I’m even thinking of using lightweight ones, expecting them to fail first. Come to think of it, maybe the best answer is stainless steel fittings with thin cable ties. When the cable ties start to wear out from flapping around etc., just clip and replace. If they prove not strong enough, just move up one size. Hmmm, how can I find stainless steel cable clamps or equivalent? This is getting out of hand.

For the cross strap attachment to the gunwale fittings, carabiners or stitched loops on the webbing? Carabiners are clanging metal and have some entrapment potential. Stitching is tedious and time-consuming.

I’d use these but I can’t conceive of a good system for detachable webbing straps: http://www.bosunsupplies.com/products2.cfm?product=TieDown

Here are some aluminum rivets that have tiny o rings to seal out moisture (not kidding):


These guys also sell strap eyes, black plastic nylon, 10 for $4.50, the best price I’ve found on the web: http://www.sit-on-topkayaking.com/Store/StoreParts.html#strapeyes

If these were half sized or quarter sized, they might work as stainless steel cable clamp eqivalents: http://www.bosunsupplies.com/products2.cfm?product=S3840

I could go on, but I’ll spare you the rest.

Yes but only to each other

– Last Updated: Mar-16-06 7:37 PM EST –

I bought 3 last year, sold 6 in the past 4 years but I feel confedent that I don't need to buy any more.....unless the price is right.
I still think I might like a Swift Osprey but not a brand new one.

A few ideas/suggestions

– Last Updated: Mar-16-06 8:50 PM EST –

Try peel rivets for riveting into vinyl without aluminum backing:


Bulb rivets also work:


(by the way, mcmaster.com is a great place to find all kinds of wild stuff...)

Also, I found these for use with our backbands - you can drill out a gunwale rivet, insert the tab between the gunwale and the hull and replace the rivet:


This shot shows installation on aluminum gunwales, but it also works with vinyl (I can send photos if you'd like):


webbing loops
I used a cheapo webbing, 3 years ago and there are no problems at all. I use my stuf hard.

What about this?
I know all you guys have a lot more experience at this than me so just tell me to sit down and shut up if this is stupid. I have been pondering the same thing for my canoes and have gotten some good advice here on pnet for sure. I am thinking about doing this. If you put pad eyes on the gunwale you have two holes, webbing strap w/rivet one hole. Whatever you do other then glueing a daisy chain or d rings under the gunwale there is going to be holes. What about using 2 or 3mm cord or parachute cord, drill a hole in the gunwale (or under the gunwale if you prefer)just big enough to get the doubled cord through with the help of a smaller pulling cord. Figure out the length of loop you want and cut the cord, double it over pull the loop in from the outside leaving enough cord on the outwale to tie a figure eight knot or the knot of your choice to keep the cord from pulling in. Inside the hull tie another knot to keep it from pulling out. You could even leave enough room between the inside knot and the inwale to run another length of cord along the length of the inside of the gunwale. It seems to me that anything that you do will result in a hole somewhere. These individual points would not be dependent on the others for strenght, easy to do, easy to replace, no clanking either, and relatively water tight if the hole is tight enough. What do you think about that idea?