Sealing a composite hatch

-- Last Updated: Sep-20-04 1:56 AM EST --

My wife just purchased a kevlar Current Designs Squamish. While the construction is generally excellent, the hatch covers are made of kevlar with a seal in the form of a neoprene strip that is glued to the bottom (non gel coated) surface of the hatch. This seal then is pressed down against the composite deck (gel coated) with three nylon straps. This system works well on the bow, but the stern hatch shape is just slightly different in shape from the rear deck and no matter how you adjust the tension in the straps there is a 1-2mm gap in the middle on both sides. This allows water into the rear compartment during rolls / rescues. I would like to know if someone has any repair / modification advice so I dont have to ship the hatch or boat back to the factory in Wisconsin. Can I just glue another mating strip of neoprene down to the deck portion (gel coated) of the boat? Will glue adhere to this surface and if so what specific type? Or can I just try to replace the seal on the hatch with one that is thicker and may bridge the gap? Any advice is appreciated.
PS Current Designs has acknowledged the problem with this style of rear hatch seal and is sending out new hatches (for me and my local dealer for his other squamish). Thanks for everyones input.

Dealer Support
Very nice composite kayak. Go to your dealer. They are there to help you, support you and fix problems. If your local dealer won’t help get on the phone with Current Designs.

See you on the water,


Current Designs may have fixed your
problem by now, but I wanted to ask whether the leaky hatch fit badly BEFORE tensioning the straps, or only afterward. It is possible that the hatch covers are laid up with a bit too much flex, and the strap tension is warping the hatch cover against the neoprene gasket. You could experiment by placing shims under the straps where they pass over the cover, to see if that causes the gap to close when the straps are tightened.

Dealer support
Since you just purchased it I would first contact the dealer for support. That being said … I would use a known flat item and check the hatch rim for flatness. Second I would check the cover for flatness. Getting a replacement cover is probably not a big deal if it is the culprit. As previously asked … are the straps making it warp? A thicker gasket is a solution if it does not cause the cover to stick up higher than the deck surface. Personally I like neoprene covers under a straped hard cover for total security. Bob

there is a hatch misfit
both before the hatch is tightened against the deck and after the straps are applied there is a gap. The straps lessen but do not eliminate the gap. I suspect the hatch cover is the culprit and I do think that a thicker neoprene seal will likely fix the problem. My dealer has been in touch with current designs and the boat is going back to the dealer in a few days. Hopefully they will fix it.