Self-destruction hatch cover

This spring I replaced my 7 yr. old VCP hatch cover. You can see it was taped for a while. It had some other cracks so I left on my wood pile in the garage figuring I would play� with it to see if I could save the rim and glass over the center section (or something like that). Without touching it, this is how it ended up since around March. I never bent it etc. It just self-destructed. I just got back from vacation and it was now in two pieces. When I left it was still in one piece but the cracks got larger. You� really have to hand it to Valley - perfect planned obsolescence.


OK, I know this is a help/ questions /advice area:

Don’t leave VCP hatches on a woodpile unattended for 6 months.

I think those hatches
need to spend the winter in oil. Or a tub of 303!

Same luck here… I think we have spent more on replacement hatches than we paid for the Shenai!

If anyone has some life extending tips for the darn things I would like to know.

My 12 year old Kajaksport hatches
look like new!

made from plastic will degrade when left in the sun.

UV is terrible on any plastic product.

This is why we store plastic kayaks indoors.

And yes, every trip we make does a little damage to our boats.

The best we can do is figure that 3 days in the sun cannot be helped but a month in the sun between trips can be avoided.

Wow, I thought they were pretty durable
I have an 11 year old wilderness Systems kayak with rubber/plastic hatch covers and they still look like new. Do you store the kayak indoors?

VCP Stealth
We have gotten up to 10 years out of VCP covers on the Aquanaut, but when they failed it seemed to just suddenly show up. Go to grab something out of the hatch and all of a sudden there is a big crack.

Valley hatch covers specifically

– Last Updated: Aug-16-13 1:53 PM EST –

I know Jay and many others know this. This is for those questioning how he stores his kayaks, etc.

This has nothing to do specifically with leaving in the sun or any such thing. I have a pair of Dagger Halifax kayaks that are 10 years old now with original Dagger hatch covers. I think my KajakSport Vivianne is 12 or 13 years old with original KajakSport hatch covers. They're all fine. Valley hatch covers need regular replacement given the exact same treatment. And I have enough kayaks just myself - without hearing all the stories from others, to know I don't have a singular unusual experience. It's just the way it is. I've replaced many sets of Valley hatch covers. I've never had to replace any others.
My P&H Sirius was made with front and back Valley hatch covers and a KajakSport day hatch cover. A couple years ago in the fall, I noticed the Valley hatch covers were starting to look ready to go, so I went to other kayaks and stopped using it for a while, and kind of forgot about it. The following spring, (and for those of you wondering, my kayaks are out of the sun and weather, and in addition the hatch covers are stored inside of the hatches) I had to use a whisk broom to clean out some of the remnants of the Valley hatch covers from the hatches. The KajakSport day hatch cover was fine of course, and I'm sure will outlast the new set of Valley covers.
On one kayak I actually stored the Valley hatch covers in the house. It caused 2 separate frustrating days over a number of years where I got to the water and realized I had forgotten to get my hatch covers from the house. All in the name of a long term experiment. Even those eventually crumbled.
I imagine if it keeps them in business, it's not so bad. But it's hard not to gripe given the price, especially when the KajakSport covers are watertight. Even the Dagger covers have always been watertight.
Actually, in my experience, most hatch leak problems of my kayaks and friends' kayaks, if not at the bulkheads, have originated at the rim attachment, and had nothing to do with the lid itself actually sealing against the rim. Naturally there are those that pick their hatch covers up off the ground with sand or dirt or something that prevents that hatch cover to rim seal, or who pound on and abuse the rims to mess up that ability to seal, or mess up that rim to kayak watertight seal. But a clean seal to a properly installed and still intact rim doesn't seem to favor one hatch cover type over another in my experience. So I do not favor Valley hatch covers, and prefer everything else that I have.

Hilarious. Mine didn’t quite get that bad before i switched to SeaLect covers. Glad i did.

The boat in question is 21

– Last Updated: Aug-16-13 4:49 PM EST –

years old and inside when not in use. I figured out the rubber was actually cracking from cold. Its below zero in the boat barn in the winter. Sun and heat? In Maine? You gotta be kidding. It's rarely warm.

Next time we will look for replacement covers elsewhere as others have suggested. The cracks in our Valley covers have always been on the top..almost concentric circles.

And I note winter has arrived..already a trace of snow in the White Mountains.

For winter storage…
I remove the lids from the boat, give ‘em a 303 application and store them in vacuum bags - those bags designed for storing clothing that one removes the air from with a shop vac.

Keeps my lids lookin’ like new albeit a pain in the arse.

no more VCP for me
after replacing 2 large ovals and one small round, all less than 6 years old with same. Wife’s used P&H with KS hatches seeing the same use and wear are like brand new and bone dry. Both boats stored out of sun and with hatch covers off and regularly 303ed. I now have one Sealect oval and will get another as my 2 year old VCP is about to blow as evidenced by stress cracks. When you look at underside of brand new VCP’s all manner of molded-in imperfections are visible. Not so with KS and Sealect as the same or lower selling price.

Another vote for Sealect covers
I won’t waste any more money on Valley’s disposable hatch covers. The Sealect covers are much more durable and easier to install/remove, especially in cooler weather where the Valley covers get really stiff.