Peter Orton's email address

Anyone have Peter Orton’s (VSK) email address? I have an issue with a 1995 Aleut Sea II that I need to ask him about. Last time I tried there was no response.

This boat has the three 16x9 Valley hatches–with the old hatch covers that disentegrated. So, over the last couple of years I bought $225 (3 of 'em) worth of new hatch covers. The leaked horribly in anything but the smallest of waves. This boat was always completely dry with the old hatch covers. Come to find out with a bit of research the new hatch covers (have the new ones on my 2006 Nordkapp) don’t fit well on the old hatch rims…what’s that about? So, work some extra recently and purchase another $225 worth of new hatch rims. Only, when I put the new hatch covers on the new or the old hatch rims, I can’t say I feel a difference. Is installing the new hatch rims going to make this boat watertight again?

Is it going to be worth it to pay another $300 plus to have someone install the new hatch rims?

In the USA were suppose to be handled by GRO…not sure if that is how it is today…but that is how it was set-up and I suspect still is. Peter {and Robin before him} had delegated things on this side of the pond so that he can make kayaks. I would field my questions to Great River outfitters instead of Peter or Jason.

Best Wishes


I have him at: doesn’t work…
…just tried it and it bounced back as ‘aborted delivery’. Must be a bad address. How do you get ahold of Valley? Their website shows a phone number of:

+44 (0) 1159 614 995

Does that work?

My experience running this by an employee (who I won’t name) last year from the Kayak Centre was less than impressive, so I’m not sure I want to try that route again. Not confidence inspiring…

That was awhile ago…
Thanks, though.

Thanks! I’ll…
…try it.

Valley’s web site

– Last Updated: Mar-14-15 8:22 AM EST –

Other than existing it has been mostly out of date for a few years. I knew the story on why as of a couple of years ago. But from the customer side of the fence it only matters that a site works or not.

That said, my husband had a wonderful experience in solving a problem with a boat he picked up used when he finally got directly to Orton, and I think it was a matter of landing on the right email address. His first stop was the folks at Wickford... suffice to say it was not any better than what you seem to have found. But our situation was different than yours, a second round of asking might get you something.

Unfortunately all I recall is that it was the right email address that worked. I just looked around and I can't tell you what that address was.

Another option
Screw the crappy Valley covers and switch to Sealect covers:

They’re much more durable than Valley covers, so it’s likely that you’ll never have to replace one.

I agree, VCP covers suck
way too many VCP covers rotted away prematurely and I had to replace a few on mine and friends’.

SEA-LECT Desigsn is one alternative with now Kajak Sport making rubber ones too that fit VCP rims. KS also makes rims and in my opinion the lids are the very best: easy to install and positively leak proof.

Had pretty good luck with VCP hatch…
…covers over the years. It’s the old floppier ones, not the new harder hatch covers that didnt’ last. My new ones are going to be going on 10 seasons here soon and still going strong. Sure, they’ve regularly sucked up 303…guess it’s what you gotta do. I’m also not out year around in blazing sun or I may have a differnt tale to tell.

Got a long email from Peter Orton this…
…morning. It appears that the core of my issue is the fact that VCP (I mean VSK–still default to VCP…) hatch covers rely alot on that secondary closure where the outer lip, after the hatch is

initially ‘snapped’ over the hatch rim, has to be pushed down all around it’s perimeter. BUT, for that secondary closure to work correctly, the deck has to be constructed so that it essentially touches the edge of the hatch cover perimeter to provide that secondary seal. This is what I got from Peter’s email. After talking and showing the boat to Sterling today (more below), I emailed Peter back, so we’ll see what he has to say, but I’m not holding my breath that much can be done.

When I received the new hatch covers for my Aleut Sea II, they were physically longer and wider than the older floppy style hatch cover. The 1995 deck had been made to fit the old hatch covers and did so well providing an incredible seal that was always left the hatches bone dry. With the new hatch covers being physically larger, there was deck in the way of even letting the new hatch covers snap around the hatch rim, let alone have a secondary seal. So, I dremeled away at the deck a bit so that the new hatch covers could even snap on to the rims, in the process dremeling a bit too much and now there is no secondary seal and it doesn’t take much wave action at all to start getting water in the hatches.

It would be nearly impossible (was at Sterling’s Kayak today as they are a couple miles away to have Sterling look at it) to properly and accurately reconstruct the deck to provide that necessary secondary seal. Sterling thought it could be done, but would be prohibitively expensive. Uggh… Having repaired my Nordkapp numerous times after getting bashed in rocks in the ocean, etc. I have some appreciation for and understanding of fiberglass repair. Sterling’s proposal was to simply purchase the correct size of Sea-Lect (sound familiar…?) hatch cover and call it good. Apparently, (we tried them on the boat) they do not use/need a secondary seal.

So, my question to you Sea-Lect fans is how well do these things work? Are they completely watertight as the VSK hatches are if applied correctly?

Where is the best place to get the best price on three of these hatches? Any measuring tips to make sure I get the right cover?



secondary seal on VCP
I have several sea kayaks that use VCP covers.

On all of them if I want to have a leak proof seal I have to push down the perimeter and run the finger (with decent pressure) all around to create the desired seal.

For more info and video look here:

The SEA-LECT Designs hatch covers I have are early production ones that have a hard lid center with softer rubber edges. They require pressure in the center to pop them on. I have to make sure they are centered or they can leak.

I also have Kajak Sport covers on other kayaks and those are the easiest and most secure one I have ever tried.

If you can get KS I would strongly recommend them.

Disclosure: I was given SEA-LECT Design lids to test and review, the KS just came on my kayaks from factory.

Let’s hear from folks with Kajak Sport…
…hatch covers! Pros and cons? Watertight? Difficult to use, etc…?

From looking at the Kajak Sport website, it appears they make a hatch cover for the oval VSK hatches called the 41/22.

KS work fine
My wife’s '06 P&H boat has its original covers while my Valley of same vintage went through 2 sets of factory covers before I went with Sealects. Her KS covers remain pliable, dry, intact and working very well.

Have a bunch of KS Covers
Pros, they stay dry but aren’t nearly the wrestle to get on and off of the Valley hatches. I can reach out with my paddle and tap down an edge of the KS covers on my boats if I launch with one not totally secured and it’ll stay totally dry if I get wet later.

Cons, they don’t do well if they are not maintained with 303.

Sea-Lect vs KS hatch covers
I bought 2 used kayaks this year, an Impex Montauk with the Sea-Lect Valley-style hatch covers and an NDK Pilgrim, which, I believe, uses hatch covers made by KS.

The worst bit about the Sea-Lect covers is that they are a pain in the butt to put on. If it’s not sunny out or it’s cold outside, I have to push repeatedly on the hatch covers in order to get a full seal. Sun and warm weather makes it easier to get them on with much less effort. You really have to pay attention to make sure you are aligning the hatch covers properly. The day hatch cover is the easiest to take on and off, but you won’t be able to take it off while on the water (or at least with someone to help you). They are very durable though and don’t look like they will require constant maintenance. I sometimes get a bit of water inside during rolling or rescue practice.

The KS hatch covers are a lot easier to put on, no contest. You can take the day hatch off with one hand while you are on the water. They are softer material than the Sea-Lects, so they will need to be maintained more. The kayak is almost 5 years old and the hatches are still in good shape (the prior owner took care of them). I don’t know how water tight they are yet since I haven’t had the kayak long enough to use it for rolling and rescue practice, but from what I understand, the NDK (KS) hatch covers are pretty water tight.

This 41/22 is a new hatch…
…that KS says their US dist. aren’t stocking yet. So, they are working with me to get them shipping directly from Finland. Hope they work…

Kajaksport covers special attention
I think my oldest Kajaksport covers are at 15 years old on a Kajaksport Viviane. I’ve never been very worried about 303 application, didn’t use it at all for the first many years of ownership, and they’re still fine. I have the apples to apples P&H Sirius kayak with two VCP covers and a KS day hatch cover. I’ve replaced the VCP’s twice, and the KS day hatch cover is still the original. One additional thing the 303 is good for is making it easier to get hatch covers on and off of the rims. And I think that is what has driven my irregular use of 303 on them.

I have an '89 VCP Selkie with 2 round hatch covers - latest replacement covers a few years ago, that doesn’t have that extra seal aspect around the edge, and those hatches still stay completely dry. My experience is that deformation of rims due to impacts such as pounding the covers on, or some of the fun, but damage-prone exercises like having some 200+ pound person walking across the top of your kayak out on the water, putting all of their weight on an edge of a rim and then stomping the cover right into the hatch trying to keep their balance, or simply an uneven attachment of the base of the rim to the kayak, are most often the cause of leaks.

The challenge is always a solid, secure, level, able to withstand the rigors of use - attachment of the rim to the kayak. Once you establish the rim, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure - take it easy on those hatch rims. It’s something of a delicate situation maintaining watertightness.

I just noticed a couple of stipulations attached to the KS covers - they’re more flexible, so require more care; they don’t do well if they are not maintained with 303. So far, in my experience, neither of those things are true. I’ve heard VCP covers do better maintained with 303, but I’m still waiting on problems with KS covers. I would expect it to happen eventually, but they have a great track record so far.

special attention…

– Last Updated: Mar-18-15 4:33 PM EST –

I have found that the KS hatches hold up better with 303 a couple of times a year, but it is not at all they get brittle. They develop a weak spot along an inner ring. I have tended to attribute it to uv damage.

Am also curious as to why this new…
…cover was developed as other KS covers appear to have been being used already for Valley oval hatches. There must’ve been a good reason for KS to go to all the work and effort of developing this ‘new’ Valley hatch cover. When I hear back from KS again, (BTW, as opposed to some other companies websites, I have had very quick and helpful responses, given the time zone issues, from KS so far initially using the ‘contact us’ form on their website–refreshing, to say the least) I’ll ask why they have developed this new hatch cover and post back here if it seems to have any relevancy.