Tip for that pesky Necky Manitou hatch

I see a lot of reviews for the Necky Manitou and Manitou Sport complaining about how hard it is to put the neoprene hatch cover on before securing the plastic on in place over it. I came up with a little trick today that helps. This may be old news to a lot of long-time Necky owners, but for the newbies it might come in handy.

When putting the neoprene cover on, it seems like you need a third hand to hold one end in place while you use your two hands to work the cover back on along the sides and down to the other end. That’s where the cross straps that hold the plastic cover in place come in. Slip the neoprene cover over one end (I prefer the wide end first) and close the hatch strap over it. Tug it tight so that it holds that end in place. Now your hands are free to pull the cover down along the sides and work it over the opposite end.

The cover may slip some when it’s wet… like if you’ve had a lot of water washing over the deck… but the strap will still hold the one end in place provided you don’t put undue force on the cover while pulling it. When it’s really wet, you can work the sides along the lip moreso than just pulling them over it like you can when it’s dry.

Either way, that strap can serve well as a third hand.

Inside out and roll
I’ve found that by rolling the cover inside out, hooking the wide end over the lip of the hatch and then unrolling it back toward the narrow end (while keeping steady pressure on the hooked end) it goes pretty well. It took a dozen or so tries using different methods before I got the knack of it…it can still be difficult if wet.

Good tip
Be proud to be one of the select, elite few who can replace a Manitou cover. :slight_smile:

I do something along the lines of the inside out and roll maneuver mentioned above. Steady pressure outward and around. Strangely enough, I find it easiest when wet.

I let my SIL take my boat out once and my husband and another friend had a heck of a time gettiing the hatch closed. They were out on the water trying to secure it without everyone taking a swim. Needless to say most of our stuff gets packed into hubby’s tsunami-it’s just easier to get to.


rough it up!
Sand the outside of the hatch lip. The Manitou’s hatch lip’s overhang is modest (compared to that on my wife’s Santa Cruze) so I worked it over with coarse sand paper. Grabs the neoprene seal much more securely and avoids the “third hand” frustration. The hatch strap idea looks good too.

The story on that lip
Necky went away from the side-to-side tooling that left an ugly seam line down the center of the boats. When the switch was made to top-and-bottom roto tooling that left the seam on the actual boat seam (much nicer) there was some fear that that hatch lip would not “pull” from the tool. As a result the lip is less abrupt on the Manitou 13. Subsequent Manitou’s have more lip as Necky found that they could in fact pull a more pronounced lip easily. One trick that has worked is to apply just a little bit of surf wax to the underside of the lip on one end. It is a great little boat, and though the hatch is not as convenient as some, properly installed it will not pop off or fail.

I guess I’ve been lucky. After my first frustrating time trying to get the cover back on, I came up with a technique that works for me. I start one end and get it on as far as I can without it slipping. Then, straddling the yak, I put one elbow on each side holding it in place while I finish putting the cover on. Took a few times to get the technique down right, but now don’t seem to have a problem.

It’s good to see

– Last Updated: Jul-10-07 2:00 AM EST –

an acknowledgement that the Manitou's neoprene hatch cover is more troublesome than the average hatch cover. It truly is.

Having said that, I agree that the Manitou is an awesome rec kayak overall. It's interesting to read about the different methods people have invented to deal with the hatch issue - wish I had thought of them when I had my Manitou. I'm also glad to hear that Necky has extended the lip on the hatch coaming; hopefully that corrects the problem.