Members Survey, 1996 [28]

Thanks again to everyone for the great response to our survey.

The following table details the kayak profile of the club. There are also some charts detailing how we are in 96.

Generally, the survey showed that most members were happy with their boats – the members that stated that they would not buy the same boat again often just wanted a change, or a craft that matched their improving skill levels.

One thing is conclusive – Arctic Raider owners are the wealthy elite -ALL bought their boats new, as compared with the thrifty Greenlander paddlers, who like to sniff out a good second hand bargain.

There will be more controversial analysis in the next newsletter.

Kayak Survey Results
Model Number Bought new Bought used Self built Rating Would buy again
Dog Good Excellent
Mirage 18 15 3     9 9 16
Puffin 11 8 2     8 3 11
Arctic Raider 11 11       4 7 11
Pittarak 11 9 2     4 5 7
Greenlander 10 1 8 1   5 5 7
Skerray 3 2 1     2 1 3
Osprey 2 2       1 1 2
Spectrum 2 2       2   2
Seafarer 6 3 3     6   2
Tasman 19 3 3     1 2    
Estuary/plus 4 3 1     4   2
Seamaster 2 2       1 1  
Mermaid 2 2       1 1 2
Rosco 1 1       1   1
Blue Marlin 1 1       1    
Physegar 1 1         1  
Southern Aurora 1 1       1    
Chinook 1   1       1 1
Kakadu 1 1       1    
Pintail 1 1         1 1
Apostle 1 1         1  
Southern Dungbeetle 2     2     2 2
S.W. Greenland Ply 1     1   1   1
Own Design 1     1     1  
Totals 97 70 21 5 1 54 39  


Build Problems
Hatches Rudders Bulkheads
32 15 13


Why we do it
Social Adventure Fitness
21% 46% 33%


Members’ Self Rating
Novice Competent Expert
28% 68% 4%


Years Paddling
< 2 3-10 > 10
25% 55% 20%


Secretary/Treasurer’s Report [28]

By Arunas Pilka

Its that time of the year again, i.e. time to pay club membership fees. The clubs financial year runs from the 1st of September to 31st August each year and so apart from the people who joined the club within the last three months everyone’s membership is now due.

Enclosed with this magazine is a renewal form and a stamped self addressed envelope. The reason for the renewal form is so that I can check the address details etc. for each member. Speaking of which I have changed all the seven digit Sydney phone numbers to eight digits by adding a nine at the start, if in any particular case this is incorrect let me know. Also a number of Sydney numbers were only six digits, I imagine these will also be changing but I don’t know to what so could you please make sure that your contact numbers on the renewal form are correct.

I have included in this magazine the Club’s financial statement for last financial year (no you haven’t – please see Hall of Shame -Ed). You will note that the Club’s position has improved over last year. This is for two main reasons, firstly we have moved to the print post system for sending out the magazine, this almost halves the cost of postage for mailing a magazine. Secondly the cost of printing the magazine has fallen to zero (apart from photo reproduction).

This is through the kind donation of photocopying services by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Pty Ltd, of whom Chris Souter is a senior partner and the Canberra branch manager; many thanks Chris.

While on the subject of photocopying, the Club is the proud owner of it’s own photocopier. Given Chris’s generosity and the fact that the task of reproducing 200 magazines has out grown our little copier the issue of whether we should sell it needs to be discussed. If you have any strong views on the subject make them known to a member of the committee.

I have been contacted by the organisers of a Sea kayaking Symposium in New Zealand who are inviting members of our club to attend, they have promised to send leaflets which if they arrive in time will be included with this magazine, if not they will go out in a separate mailing.

The idea of the club organising a symposium in Australia has been kicked around for a while so I would be very interested in the comments of anyone from the club who does attend.

Andrew Stephenson has come across a producer of dried vegetables in South Australia. Seeing as a few of us are heading for Torres Strait shortly I decided to check them out and have ordered some for our trip. They offer a much larger variety than available at supermarkets and their prices seem reasonable. I will let you know how they turn out in a later edition but if anyone wants to give them a try in the meantime the details are: Milburn Produce Pty Ltd, Berri SA, Ph: (085) 823-232, Fax: (085) 823-946.

Happy paddling.

South Coast News [28]

By Dave Winkworth

Rock’n’Roll Weekend

Hello Everyone,

Let’s start by mentioning our upcoming Rock ‘n Roll & AGM Weekend at Honeymoon Bay. The dates you need to reserve are Sat, Sun 30th November and 1st December. We’ve put in an advance order for fine weather for this weekend – remember last year?

This year for the Rock ‘n Roll Weekend we will have a relaxed program of instruction and training/assistance for paddlers. The usual eskimo roll assistance will be available – so if your roll is a bit shaky and unreliable or just plain non-existent, resolve to develop a bomb-proof roll this summer …starting At the Rock ‘n Roll Weekend. Perhaps it’s time to work on your weak-side roll? For paddlers wishing to improve surf skills, there will be plenty of help available too. Just ask!

Our AGM will be held on the Saturday afternoon fairly late….. so bring your folding chair and come and sit in on the meeting. If you would like to help out by nominating for one of the executive (love that word!) Positions… please…just speak up!

On the Saturday evening, please join us for some house wine and nibblies at the main tent and listen to the talk and slide show presentation by two guys who have recently completed an amazing voyage by sea kayaks in Patagonia. It will be worth coming along just for this!!

On Sunday morning there will probably be a group paddle out to the cliffs of Point Perpendicular for the early risers and plenty more help and instruction in all facets of sea kayaking.

There will be quite a few of us in camp on the Friday night so come in then if you can. If you don’t like the hard ground you can always find accommodation in Currarong a few ks along the road. Oh yes, bring all the drinking water you’ll need to Honeymoon Bay too.

How to get there?….Follow the signs from Nowra to Currarong but turn right a few ks before Currarong onto a wide dirt road – this road is then signposted at the various turnoffs onto the Jervis Bay shore, including Honeymoon Bay.

Now, we will be contacting the major sea kayaking retailers in NSW to see if they have any new boats to show off (why would they miss this opportunity?) to club members…so there may be a chance to paddle some new and interesting boats on the weekend. Got any surplus kayaking or camping gear? Bring it along and display it for sale or swap. Pretty cheap advertising eh?

Rangers will come round and collect camping fees. Fires are not allowed. Also, please don’t use trees to string up clotheslines and the like. That’s about all on the Rock ‘n Roll Weekend. Please give me a call if you have any questions. Look forward to seeing you all there.

South Coast News

‘Found an interesting article in the Sydney Morning Herald recently on those darling little creatures…ticks.

If you’re doing any coastal kayaking/camping between now and early next year…then these animals are the enemy! Your first aid kit should include tweezers and possibly some antihistamines if you react badly to bites. Regular full body inspections should be also part of your day if camping in coastal scrub. Depending on your paddling partner, this can sometimes be good fun!

Well now, why all the fuss? Simply because we have been alerted to increases in tick-borne illnesses such as Lyme disease and Spotted Fever. Many people are apparently unaware that they have been bitten and if they become ill their symptoms are often misdiagnosed. The diseases carried by ticks are debilitating and sometimes fatal. Be aware! For those who like to pour Trangia fuel all over the little biters the message is DON’T! Applying alcohol, metio or patrol only makes them release more venom.

Lindsay Smith of the Southern Ocean Seabird Study Association is back home after a recent operation in hospital and mending well.

While on the subject of SOSSA, I’m on the lookout for groups (flocks?) of Sooty Oystercatchers. They are an endangered species and are probably more likely to be seen by sea kayakers than anyone else because their nesting areas are offshore islands, isolated rocky shores and headlands. Actually you won’t see them in big groups – more likely two’s and fours. They are all black with a long bright orange beak. If you see any in your sea kayaking travels, I’d appreciate a call. Thanks.

It’s whale time again! They are heading south to the Antarctic coast at this time of the year. The peak months for sightings are October and November. This year, a prominent cetacean organisation from good ol’ USA is coming to Eden because the local whale watching boat crews have succeeded in convincing everyone that the whales are actually feeding in Twofold Bay which is apparently something not often observed. So, if you’re keen to paddle with whales in the next 2 months, the far south coast may be your best chance.

A few weeks ago while guiding a school sea kayaking expedition we watched a huge (aren’t they all?) humpback clear the water in a spectacular leap. Quite a sight…from a safe distance!

As our paddling waters are about to warm up I include a graph of survival expectancy during immersion which is I suppose at the wrong end of summer. No matter really as the important thing is that all paddlers are aware of potential danger they face if they come out of their boat on the open sea and can’t get back in for whatever reason. I have a little (slightly coarse) saying for trainee paddlers which applies to wind and sea changes, failed rolls or re-entries or just about any other major problem at sea: “When shit happens, it happens fast!” Resolve to improve and develop your skills this summer!

Sea Kayakers who paddle the coast of the Nadgee Wilderness in the far south of our state will know that there has been until now, access for vehicles to Newtons Beach at the northern end of the Nadgee Wilderness. Actually, the northern section has not been classified a wilderness area because of the vehicle access to the Newtons Beach camping area. Paddlers I know have tended to skip this spot to camp at other beaches off limits to 4WD’s. Well, last week the NSW Government announced that the northern section of Nadgee Nature Reserve would be declared wilderness and vehicle access closed off. The reason behind this move we are told is to make the catchment of the Merrica River a totally undisturbed catchment. Merrica River flows into Disaster Bay near the town of Wonboyn.

Wonboyn residents lobbied long and hard against this move saying that supplying Newtons Beach campers with provisions was the lifeblood of the village. I believe that many of the “Newtons” campers will now stay in Wonboyn itself and that the town will not die as has been predicted. Also, the extension of the wilderness area may attract more walkers and sea kayakers to the area so, if you’re planning a trip down this way please support the local store at the start and finish of your trip by buying your fuel/ice creams/beer etc there and make a point of telling them that you’re there because of the extension of the wilderness.

Soon you’ll be able to camp at Newtons without listening to ghetto blasters and generators. On the down side the beach does have a steep dumping shore break at times. Please register with NPWS at Merimbula.

See you at the Rock ‘n Roll/AGM weekend.

President’s Report [28]

By Dirk Stuber (ghost written by Mark Pearson!)

As this club year draws to a close it is time for an appraisal of the last twelve months.

Firstly, I would like to express gratitude for the unstinting efforts of the Executive, whose efforts have resulted in a very successful season. Gary Edmund has proven a very capable trip convenor, while Mark Pearson and Jim Croft have worked tirelessly to produce and dispatch some very substantial magazines. Arunas Pilka has also proven to be an extremely efficient Secretary/Treasurer, and I congratulate him for his quiet dedication to the successful administration of the club’s everyday affairs. Arunas’s report in this issue shows the club to be in a very healthy financial position, with membership now at record levels and still growing. Enclosed with this magazine are membership renewal forms and stamped self addressed envelopes.

I would also like to mention Chris Soutter’s (and his employer, Deloitte, Touche, Tomatsu) generous donation of photocopying services, which is also much appreciated, and has helped us keep membership fees at the 1992 level. Thanks also to Vice President David ‘the Pillar’ Winkworth for his efforts, particularly with the organisation of the two highly successful Rock’n’Roll weekends this year.

I am glad to report that club trips throughout the year were well attended. I would stress that all members are encouraged to conceive and organise an event. Not only does this relieve some of the organisational burden from the Trip Convenor and Executive, it also results in a greater variety of paddles and locations – which may tempt more of our busy Sydney members to come along more regularly.

And finally, after three very rewarding years on the executive, I have decided to step down from the Executive – I hope for a well attended AGM at the upcoming Rock ‘n Roll weekend at Jervis Bay, with a new generation of members coming forward to fill mine and any other vacant positions.

Happy gauntleting.

Oz versus North America [28]

How Does The Australian Sea Kayaking Scene Compare?

By Norm Sanders

We in the Antipodes often feel that we lag behind the rest of the world when it comes to new developments. This attitude even has a name: “The cultural cringe.”

When I set out recently to revisit the country of my birth, one of my goals was to assess how the kayaking scene in Australia compared with the North American situation.

I was surprised to find that the differences were so great that the North Americans seem to be participating in an entirely different sport. Sea kayaking in Australia is just that — punching out through surf on open beaches and meeting the ocean head on.

With the exception of the Tsunami Rangers, Roger Schumann, the Brozes and a handful of others, the North Americans do their paddling in sheltered waters behind breakwaters. These breakwaters vary in size from harbour protection structures to the chain of offshore islands which runs from Seattle to Alaska. Paddling inside these barriers is more like kayaking on a big lake. Enjoyable to be sure, but is it SEA kayaking?

North American kayak design reflects this calm-water approach to paddling. Hatches are huge and not particularly watertight. Why should they be if the only water on deck comes in the form of rain? In addition, many designs have no bulkheads! Flotation is in the form of foam in the ends and blow-up buoyancy bags.

I first learned about this situation in Southern California’s King Harbor when I rented a Dagger Seeker. I asked the instructor-owner of the kayak outfit if I could do a roll. He said, “Sure. But wait a minute. I’ll get the rest of the guys to watch this. They’ve never seen a roll before.”

Overwhelmed by the audience, dulled by jet lag and losing my grip in the un-padded cockpit, I blew it. “Never mind,” I thought, “I’ll just do a re-entry and roll.” As soon as I popped the spray deck, I knew something was wrong. If I had looked when I climbed into the Seeker, I would have noticed the lack of bulkheads — but I naturally assumed that ALL kayaks had bulkheads.

Needless to say, the Seeker filled with water and behaved like a soggy log. We managed to drag it out on the dock and get it emptied. This was my first inkling that kayaking in North America simply isn’t the immersion sport that it is in Australia where several dunkings per day are the norm.

As I travelled further north on my odyssey the water got colder and the idea of total immersion became less and less appealing, but the water was WARM in California. Maybe the scarcity of good instructors kept paddlers from exploring their limits.

When I got to the San Juans I got another insight into the different attitudes. I went paddling in a borrowed Tyee One (a pleasant, early fibreglass design) with a group of long-time kayakers. I climbed into my wet boots, heavy poly top, bathers and paddling jacket and slid into the placid water. My companions simply put on rubber boots and set off in their street clothes which consisted of heavy, water resistant coats and jeans. No spray decks either.

In Alaska, I found the kayakers wore more conventional (to me) paddling gear, but still favoured the knee-length rubber boots. When I later met Chris Cunningham, editor of Sea Kayaker Magazine, I asked him what happens if these boot-wearers capsize. “They die,” was his matter of fact reply.

Fortunately, North American paddlers rarely get dumped in their benign waters. This is at first surprising because many of the people I met had minimal bracing skills and absolutely no knowledge of, or interest in, rolling.

The reason that they generally stay right side up is that most of the North American kayaks are very stable, beamier than many of the Aussie designs. Of course, this stability leads to a lack of manoeuvrability which accounts for the almost universal use of the rudders so abhorred by the cognoscenti in Australia.

Rudder dependency is an epidemic in North America. Even experienced Alaskan touring kayakers who I paddled with had the disease. I suppose that rudders, like automatic transmissions, allow people to operate their machines with a lower degree of skill — which is advantageous for manufacturers and dealers eager to sell kayaks. However, once the rudder habit gets the hooks in, it’s hard to kick. This is in spite of the well known 10 percent drag penalty of rudders plus the obvious difficulties caused by equipment malfunction.

There is a certain irony in the fact that some North American manufacturers call their appendages “surfing rudders.” Very few of their craft would ever encounter surf, which is a good thing. Rudders in the surf are at least useless, if not dangerous when they catch during a broach.

The major exception to the rudder rule is the Mariner Kayak line. Cam and Matt Broze of Seattle have developed a range of kayaks which respond to technique rather than rudders and feel right. (Although bulkheads aren’t standard even on the Mariner kayaks.)

The sweetheart of the Mariner fleet is the little Coaster. Only thirteen and a half feet long (4.5m), the Coaster proves once again that small is beautiful. I have always felt that most sea kayaks are sized to accommodate gear for expeditions which they will never make. The Coaster is a popular fun boat, easy to turn without a rudder, good in the surf, and attractive to women.

The number of woman paddlers in North America was a pleasant surprise. Women in kayaks are as scarce as hen’s teeth in Australia. In North America, they seem to outnumber the men. I first found this situation in California, where there were flotillas of female-powered sit-on-tops.

Fascinated, I asked the women what they found so attractive about kayaking. The consensus was that it was a nice way to be on the water. The SOT’s were easy to paddle and felt safe. The sea was warm and the air balmy.

Further north, the women paddled normal kayaks, but they were still numerous. Sea kayaking In Australia is considered the province of the Iron Men. In North America, the waves are smaller and there is less emphasis on testosterone.

I coveted a Coaster, but was repelled by the price — US$1987.00. This converts into $2,600 in Australian currency, plus about $1000 freight. The equivalent Australian kayak (the slightly larger Inuit Classic) sells for about half the price, even without the freight. The Coaster‘s US pricetag is actually on the low side for North American fibreglass kayaks. Plastic boats, on the other hand, are considerably cheaper and more on a par with Australian prices.

So who wins, the Aussies or the North Americans? Neither. It’s like comparing apples and oranges. I’d say the Aussies win on the basis of technique and equipment for sea kayaking, but the North Americans have developed kayaks and attitudes which well suit their own sheltered waters. In addition, the North American approach seems to attract far more women to the sport — something for macho (but lonely) Aussie males to think about.

The Old Sea Dog’s Gear Locker [28]

The OSD has shaken off his jet lag and emptied out his bag of goodies from the US. The haul was pretty small, really. He picked up some camping and bushwalking gear from REI, but wasn’t tempted to buy anything in the kayaking line. Turns out that the kayaking equipment is cheaper and better here in OZ. They are so backward in the US that they think that olives are what you put in martinis! (The OSD says he could have financed his whole trip if only he had taken a few hundred of the little beauties to trade with the locals.)

The niftiest things he found were (1) “Hefty” brand sealable plastic bags with slide closures, (2) Mariner Kayaks, (3) a new pouring spout for Sigg bottles produced by Trangia.

The OSD carried his faithful Trangia at all times, impressing the North Americans almost as much as olive cleats. MSR is the Trangia distributor in the US, with the result that few Trangias are to be seen in the shops. REI doesn’t stock the whole stove, only burners.

The OSD found fuel for the Trangia plentiful in the form of HEET, a methanol-alcohol mix sold in automotive stores as a gas tank moisture absorber. Drug stores (chemists) also stock isopropyl alcohol, but care must be taken to get 100 percent alcohol rather than the common 70 percent variety (mixed with water.) While in your local drug store, you can pick up a Magellan GPS for $US200. The OSD didn’t do this. Try as he might, he couldn’t think of any reason to buy this glittering gadget just to find his way from Eden to Nadgee.

Warning to air travelling kayakers in Canada

The OSD was asked at the Vancouver check-in if he had a stove in his luggage. The truthful OSD said he did. The airline lady wanted to confiscate the stove. She said she had already snapped up several that day. The quick thinking OSD replied that his stove was not one of those nasty petrol burning, fume dispensing MSR’s, but a benign Trangia which consumed water soluble alcohol. The OSD had previously taken the precaution of washing out the stove and Sigg bottle thoroughly. They smelled clean as the driven snow and the OSD was allowed to keep his beloved cooking gear.

The OSD found air travel in the US less stove conscious and far cheaper. He booked all his flights after he arrived in North America and was able to get deals like Seattle to Anchorage for $US96. The secret was to ask for “Flight Specific” bookings with Alaska Airlines. With no noise curfews, airlines fly day and night to keep their expensive equipment earning dollars. Flight Specific bookings are verified reservations at unpopular times like 2 AM. But, hey, to save a couple of hundred bucks….

The OSD had been toying with the idea of buying a folding kayak for his trip and was very glad he didn’t. Everywhere he went he found he could borrow or rent a kayak. He did carry his Alan Wilson folding paddle. Even that wasn’t necessary as the rental paddles he encountered were generally Werner Little Dippers.

The OSD had the opportunity to try a number of Yank kayaks. In general, he found them pretty ordinary. The exception was Mariner Kayaks, which have invented the term “Niftiness Quotient” as a guide to quality. Mariner gives itself a very high NQ, and the OSD agrees.

The OSD dropped in to see Mariners Cam and Matt Broze on Seattle’s Lake Union and paddled almost everything in their shop, including a Khatsalano.

The OSD’s Niftiness List of Kayaks paddled in the US:

Note: All the fibreglass boats sell for about $A2,600 or more!

  1. Mariner Coaster – surf/fun boat
  2. Mariner MAX – general purpose (The OSD liked them both)
  3. Mariner II – fast cruiser
  4. Mariner Express – general purpose
  5. Cadence LP (Rented in Alaska, Used on four day, 80 km paddle around Douglas Island, near Juneau. Comfortable, roomy, easy to roll, reasonably fast)
  6. Sealution (Plastic boat, borrowed in California. Responsive, easy to roll)
  7. Dagger Seeker (PB, rented in California. Fun to paddle, hard to roll.)
  8. Tyee One (1950’s design fibreglass, borrowed in San Juan Islands. Pleasant, stable, basic kayak.)
  9. Prijon Seayak (PB, rented in Alaska, paddled for a week in Prince William Sound. Slow, not much storage space.)
  10. Aquaterra Chinook (PB, borrowed in California. Better than swimming, but only just.)
  11. Khatsalano (Folder, very expensive. Fast, but unstable. Seat wobbled from side to side. Not a fun paddle.)

The OSD went on two paddling trips. He accompanied Richard Larson to Prince William Sound and later paddled solo around the Juneau area further south. The PWS trip was fairly complicated logistically. (See accompanying article.)

The OSD’s Juneau trip was much easier to organise. He merely rented a Cadence LP for $US35 per day (including paddle, spray deck, PFD and dry bags) from the Juneau Outdoor Center. The OSD paddled away from town and was in the wilderness within a few hours — Eagles, seals, leaping salmon, humpback whales, but no bergs, bears, bugs or bogs. (He did, however get stranded on a sand bank for 6 hours, waiting for the tide to come in. The tidal range is 5 meters!).

The Douglas Island circumnavigation or nearby Admiralty Island (Beware the big brown bears) are good options for paddlers not wishing to tackle the expense and logistics of Prince William Sound or face the traffic jams and expense of Glacier Bay. There are LOTS of other glaciers in the area for those who are determined to paddle in the ice. (Which, the OSD admits, is kind of fun.) A tour boat in Juneau will take kayaks and kayakers to Tracy Arm for $US175.20 per person round trip.

One bit of gear which the OSD found very useful on his trip was the Internet. Through this electronic marvel he was able to stay in contact with OZ. He often visited the NSWSKC home page, a wondrous collection of information put together by techno-nerd (meant in the nicest possible way) and ace paddler Jim Croft. Not only does it contain a plethora of stuff about the club, it also has lots of general interest sea kayaking items. Inspired, The OSD got himself on the Net as soon as he got home. His address is: Talk about gear! 28,800 bauds per second modems with V.32bis Data Modes and V.42 (LAP-M) Error Correction….Oh well, muses the OSD. There was probably a time when stretching a seal skin over a wooden framework was considered a great technological step forward which caused much headshaking and clucking of tongues. Still, he remembers with fondness the simpler days of the recent past when technological argument revolved around the relative merits of non-offset paddle blades versus offset.

Happy paddling.

Installing Hatches the Right Way [28]

By Dave Winkworth

Sea Kayaking (I’m talking about open sea paddling) is a bit like flying in a plane — you can’t just get out whenever you feel like it! You have to go home or ashore first.

So, your equipment had better work each time every time. This means that your hatches should all be watertight. Many boats these days are fitted with Valley or VCP hatches and, to a lesser extent Henderson equipment.

I’ve seen lots of boats both “home fitted out” and commercially made with leaking Henderson and Valley hatches, sometimes almost brand new. The purpose of this article is to suggest a method of positively sealing these hatch rims and to show buyers of new boats what to look for.

Before manufacturers jump on me, I must say that quality boats are being made and hatch rims well sealed in these. Unfortunately there are still commercially made boats with pathetic attempts at hatch Rim installation and water sealing just to get the product out the door. Buyers, vote with your feet and go for quality!

Problems with leakage can occur around the hatch lid when it is not fitted properly. This is easily fixed — put it on right!

Water leakage around the base of the rim is more serious. The best way to fix it is to take it off and fit it again! If your hatch rim has been fitted from under the deck, you have a problem! They can be hard to seal long-term.

OK, Valley and Henderson rims are made from plastic. Glass fibrer resin will not adhere long-term to this plastic where there is any flexing or manual pressure involved. By this I mean the forcing of gear into the hatches and the pushing-twisting etc to remove/replace hatch lids. If resin/glass is your only sealant, your hatches will eventually leak. This also applies to Q cells which is a glass fibre filler and various commercially made bonding agents which set hard when cured. A flexible sealant is needed in conjunction with glass fibre and resin.

I have seen hatches secured from under the deck with glass fibre only where the rim could be rotated 25 mm each way. Needless to say, this one leaked!

The very best sealant I have seen is Sikaflex. Nothing else even comes close. This sealant is a purpose designed marine sealant/adhesive for below-the-waterline use. You can get it in black or white, tube or cartridge. It can be a bit messy to use, clean up with turps, metho or acetone and store opened cartridge in the fridge. You can get it at Ships Chandlers and marine dealers. Resins will stick to it unlike silicone sealants. It is the best. Again,…it is the best. Do not use silicone sealants.


  1. All areas of contact for the Sikaflex sealant and the glass fibre with both the boat and the hatch rim should be sanded thoroughly. I use a really rough grit paper and remove all trace of the shiny plastic surface of the hatch rim which will be contacted by the sealant and the resin. If installing rim ON TOP of the deck with bolts, roughen the gel coat area which will be under the rim too. When sanding, go around the rim and deck – not in and out!
  2. If fitting rim on top of deck, squeeze a generous bead of sealant around the sanded gel coat area with a loop around each bolt hole. When bolting down sealant will squeeze out and can be wiped off (although a bit messy) or left until dry (about a day) and cut with a sharp cutter.
  3. If fitting rim from under the deck, you will need some clamps or short pieces of wood to keep rim in place until dry for glassing. For under deck fitting, squeeze sealant onto top of flange generously and lift rim into place through the deck. Secure until dry. Sealant should be visible between rim and deck hole all round. At the edge of the flange under the deck, use your finger to smear sealant flat in preparation for glassing.
  4. When dry, clamps etc can be removed. Now, turn boat upside down on some trestles so; that you can get underneath it. Have a small mirror handy and possibly a torch if your work area is not well lit. Cut some small pieces of glass fibre – 225 gsm or 3OO gsm are fine – the 225 if there are tight corners for the fibre to go around. The pieces should be about double the width of the flange to adequately contact the boat material,
  5. Mix resin and go to work, checking for pieces that have not wetted nut completely with the mirror. If you expect anyone to be sitting on your hatch rim – ie if your hatch is in the “day hatch” area, I’d use 2 layers of glass. When cured, give the underside a good sand to remove dags which could’ puncture your new drybags.

If you’ve done it right and there are no leaking bulkheads etc, you should he rewarded with a hiss of air on a warm day. To avoid this pressure build-up, I’ve heard of paddlers drilling small pinholes in each bulkhead near the top. It’s up to you.

I wish to state categorically that I have received no kickback from Sikaflex Australia.