Skid Plate Removal

I have a Swift Osprey which I love. Actually my second through the years. The first had no skid plates, this one does and the performance impact is noticeable. Any suggestions on how to reduce or remove these ugly pieces of kevlar. I know sanding kevlar is a challenge. Thanks.

this is what I do.
Place masking tape on the hull around the plate and use it to protect the plate while you sand a “feathered edge” on the plates. After sanding I like to paint the skid plate the same as the boat.

I recently had to replace a 20 year old cracked/brittle skidplate on our first canoe, a Mad River Explorer.

A little work with a grinder and a coarse sanding disk removed the bulk of the old plate.

This does take some skill to just grind the plate and not the boat - it does work well and is quick.

feathering edges
On installation I use a wallpaper seam roller to feather the edges of my skidplates. The wet plates are covered with a layer of plastic for a suave smooooth finish. I then roll them out.

In your case I would use a combination of grinding and then apply a putty of 'poxy, cabosil and microballoons to the edges. You should be able to fair them out to a fine edge.

Ah, Kevlar felt skid plates. So easy to
apply, and then mediocre results in every respect. Don’t slide easily, can’t take a hard shot, cause drag when paddling, nice and heavy. What great results, all for application convenience.

It’s not hard to apply skid plates using 3 to 5 layers of glass, carbon, even Kevlar for the first and biggest layer, if you’re neurotic. A light, strong, easy-sliding, and low drag result. An idea whose time will come.

Oh, and when sanding Kevlar, try flame.
Sand a ways, and when you would like to get the fuzz down before finishing, use a propane torch with fairly rapid, slanting, strokes to heat the fuzz down to little buttons. These can be easier to sand off without creating more fuzz.

Try this on a small area. I have used flame on Nylon and on CAP (Polyester), but I’m not sure whether I have used it on Kevlar. I expect Kevlar to be a bit more heat-resistant.

Swift Osprey skid plates–Why?
I too recently purchased a Swift Osprey and was surprised to see the skid plates when it was delivered. I was very disappointed for a variety of reasons. My least favorite aspect is the gurgling sound made when the boat is underway. I like a quiet boat, and it’s not quiet. I contacted Swift and they said that the skid plates were necessary to cover slits made in the hull when it was removed from the form. Given the shape of the hull, this seems like an unlikely justification, but I could be wrong. I too have been tempted to modify the plates, but I doubt I would try to take them all of the way off. Seems too dangerous in terms of possible damage to the boat. I like the idea of feathering the edges mentioned in several of the posts. I may give that a try. I assume, a matching paint will be needed to cover up the edges ground down.

Bought a demo Bluewater Chippewa
and it also had (relatively thin) Kevlar skid plates. I can’t hear them, but because they are contrary to my religious beliefs, I don’t like them there. Eventually I will feather the edges, and apply a mixture of epoxy and graphite powder to smooth them out and fair the edges.

I am pretty confident that Swift is BSing you about the cracks. They thought they were doing you a service with the skid plates, and they just want you to be happy.

Skid Plate Removal
Thanks for all the great suggestions. My first osprey did not have plates but when I originally spoke with Stephen at Swift years ago they mentioned the slits in the mold and the aesthetic need for plates. I didnt order the boat at that time and finall y got one minus the plates. Sold it, missed it and bought an available one with plates. Its still my favorite boat despite the shortcomings and the gurgling. Not quite as fast as my Merlin II,

but the sendary stability and playfulness are a hoot.

Anyway I will try faring them down and ignore the rest. This site is always a gret for the community help thats out there. Thanks.


– Last Updated: Feb-16-05 9:18 AM EST –

The Osprey and the Shearwater (and perhaps some other Swift models) are made using a two-part mold. This is due to the pronounced tumblehome of the hull design. Swift puts the skid plates on the stems as a matter of routine – to cover the seam marks left from the two-part mold. Basically it’s a quick and easy way to get past a manufacturing problem – it saves them from having to mess around blending the seams and gel-coat to a feather edge. When dealing with Swift you have to specifically request that they leave off the skids (gurgle, gurgle) if you don’t want them.

Sure wish . . .
. . . I had known that ahead of time. Thanks for the info. I’m still hoping to feather the edges to reduce that gurgle.