WS Cape Horn owners

I have a Wilderness Systems Cape Horn 150 that I bought used. I’ve been practicing wet exits, rescues, etc. and I’ve found that the hatches leak like a sieve. Are there inner hatches for lack of a better term that go under the hard plastic hatches? I’ve haven’t seen any other serious complaints about the hatches leaking so I figure something is different about my boat.

there should be neoprene hatch covers
that go under the hard plastic hatch covers. The neoprene covers don’t keep out that much water either. Your best bet is to contact Snap Dragon Designs and have them create custom hatch covers for you.

In my opinion the hatch covers are a huge design flaw. If it makes you feel better I have never known a Cape Horn that didn’t leak like a sieve.

Before you go buying new neoprene covers you should know that they are rather unpopular. They are difficult to put on just as a spray skirt can be difficult. They are very similar to a cockpit cover. New boats tend to use rubberoid “tupperware” style lids. I would suggest you obtain some appropriate vinyl chair type material and some bungee cord and make some covers.

Neoprene hatch covers worked ok for me
I had a Cape Horn with the neoprene hatch covers. They weren’t the most convenient things, but did keep the hatches dry. Even during capsize and rescue practice, there was not a problem with both the neoprene and plastic covers on. You certainly need something, as the plastic covers are not designed to be water tight.

I disliked the threaded day hatch cover a lot.

Neoprene Covers…
…are indeed standard, and a little difficult to put on, but there are a few tricks we use with my wife’s Cape Horn 15.

Firstly, having three to four hands really helps; two people can do it in seconds! If working alone I find it useful to roll the cover inside-out, hook it over a long side of the hatch lip, then ease it on. Once the cover is in place, leakage is minimal, altho the Cape Horn 15 always has had a reputation for taking a few cupfuls of water aboard.

Re the day hatch - yup, it’s grabby, but keeping a bit of lubricant on the threads helps - try beeswax or a light wipe with a silicone spray.

Finally, you’ve got a real nice boat there -Chris won’t part with hers, despite my persistent offers to build her a custom-fitted VOLKSKAYAK. She likes the stability, seating comfort and lack of windage - days when I’m cranking away to keep the VK from weathcocking are smooth saling for the Cape Horn.

special edition, non-leaky hatch Cape Ho
I have a Cape Horn 170 and although it seems to be a pretty common consensus among Cape Horn owners that the hatches are very leaky, I haven’t noticed it to be any worse than other kayaks with hard plastic and neoprene hatch covers. It’s definitely not a perfect setup and, occasionally, water does get in there but I don’t find it near as bad as everyone makes it out to be.

I find that the neoprene covers go on quite easily.

Maybe I’m just less demanding and easier to please???

it’s not the hatches
I owned a plastic CH170 and i believe the issue is not hatches at all, or at least i KNOW there’s much more to the issue than the hatches. Mine leaked into pretty much all points that the perimeter lines ran through, and out where the front toggle is attached. also the bulkhead leak was ridiculous where the rudder cables ran through. And seat mount bolts weren’t watertight either. I ended up sealing the bow toggle leak with some spray sealant and eventually sold the boat.

Add an Air Bag
Own a Capehorn 140. Yes, it leaks with both the neoprene and hatch cover on it to a degree when practicing or attempting rolls. Use of air bags nowadays removes the issue as a distracter. Great kayak. R. Mark

Good catch … hatches are not always …
… the culprit. Had a plastic Tempest 170 with a leaky day hatch … found that water was getting in from the cockpit through the hole for the skeg cable … always a little water in the cockpit from getting in an out, etc, so when I put the boat on its side while carrying, water could leak in. On another boat, found that a lose deck rigging guide was letting in water. Bulkheads often need to be resealed from time to time as well. Bulkheads and any place where cables and bolts come through the hull are possible sources for water, and should be checked out.