no mention was made by valley regarding the actual material of the VCP covers; my understanding is that they float. But how important is that relative to durability?
I will say that I take care to seal my VCP hatches completely, and they stay dry. But the covers don’t seem to last.
Ordered 3 of the new 41/22 Kajak…
…Sport hatch covers directly through Kajak Sport after contacting them through the contact form on their website. All along the way, their replies to emails have been within 24 hours succint and well written. They said no one in the US has these new hatches to sell, so they would sell them direct to me. I thought the price was very good, even including shipping. So far, my experience dealing directly with Kajak Sport in Finland has been very positive. Refreshing… I’ll report back and let you all know how these work.
If all goes well with these new…
…Kajak Sport hatches, I’ll be selling two, essentially brand new, Valley oval hatch covers. They were purchased last summer and used on one 2-night trip. 303’d before and after the trip. In like new condition.
2 like new Valley oval hatches for sale-
---$55 each to CONUS only. Contact me via email for details on your shipping location, etc. Keeping the third one as a backup for my Nordkapp which has the new style hatch rims and these lids are actually completely airtight on it.
The brand new Valley replacement 41/22 Kajak Sport lids (these may be some of the first in the states as they aren't even available at US dealers yet) are working better than the newer Valley hatches on these old ('95) hatch rims and I trust them much more in heavy conditions as they seem much more secure in this very particular situation (due to mods I made to deck). Part of this issue has been my fault and part of the issue Valley's fault, but the Kajak Sport hatches seemed the best way out of the issue. They definitely fit tighter and are more secure than using the new Valley hatch covers on the old Valley hatch rims. Also note that I had to remove deck material with a rototool to get the new Valley hatches covers to even fit on the old rims. The profile of the old Valley hatch covers was such that they didn't extend as from away from the edges of the hatch rims as the new Valley hatch covers, so Valley had the deck material come closer to the hatch rim on the older boats, as they had to do, to make that secondary seal. However, in a effort to fit the new hatch covers to the old hatch rims [new hatch cover outside edges would just come down on deck material and not even make a proper primary seal on the hatch rim] I had to remove some deck material around the hatch rims so the new hatch covers could even make a proper primary seal. In the process, and not fully understanding the necessity of a close fitting deck to the edge of the hatch cover for that important secondary seal, in part because Valley hadn't responded to multiple efforts to contact them (ahem...), I removed too much deck material and thereby the secondary seal could not be made anymore and the hatches then leaked. I'm not even sure how I could've so precisely trimmed the deck material to create that secondary seal even if I'd properly realized the situation. So...my fault for not knowing and Valley's fault for being so difficult to get ahold of, otherwise I would've known.
The new Kajak lids did leak a bit at the ends with a hose squirting at the ends. However, I noticed that there's a fairly obvious mold joint line at the ends of the oval hatch rims on these older rims (older Valley rims have that fibrous material that can be clearly seen within the hatch rim). Well, I thought that could let water in, so I carefully used a flat sharp chisel and 400 grit sandpaper to smooth these out and retested--much less to zero water intrusion with squirting hose. Will continue to see if I can improve upon this.
Here's another part of this equation in my estimation: The original 'old' style Valley hatches covers that came with this boat were a very soft material (compared to the new hatch covers)--almost foam rubber. Due to this softness, I think they could conform more easily to any mold irregularities than the new Valley hatch covers (harder rubbery feel) and the new Kajak Sport hatch covers I have now, which are 100% natural rubber, if I understand correctly. So I think with these newer, harder materials they have to have a more precisely made hatch rim for them to seal effectively.
In the end it's clear that the Kajak hatch covers seal better and seem to be much more secure than the newly purchased Valley hatch covers I had, in this particular situation.
I hope my experience layed out here can help some other folks with older Valley boats...