On the Water And In The Woods

Sea kayaking, sailing, and lightweight backpacking in the-Chesapeake Bay, Mid-Atlantic region

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Fitting out the new boat - part 1 - rub protection

Now that the new Kajaksport Vivianne has arrived, I have been working on a number of alterations to make it ready for use. First on the list is a keel rub strip. While I had used dynel fabric and polyester resin for the rub strip on the Pisces with great results for durability, it was not exactly esthetically pleasing.

One member of our kayak club has used non-slip boat deck tape with good results - see here for the thread. There might be some drag from the non-skid, but it goes on easy and looks good. Appears to be durable too. However, I was looking for something a little "slicker" that would blend in better too. Plus, I was looking for some material to protect key areas of the deck that often end up being scratched - like where the spare paddles stay, or under the bungees, or where you put the paddle behind the cockpit coaming when entering or exiting the boat.

I remember hearing about using helicopter edge guard tape, which is a product originally developed to protect the leading edges of helicopter blades from abrasion. I had seen a sample, and it was indeed durable and tenacious. However, the military grade was high cost. Searching about for an alternative I came across a product used to protect racing car body surfaces: ISC Helicopter-OG Surface Guard Tape from www.findtape.com. The tape is supposed to be durable, and is clear. I bought the 2 inch wide tape, 30 foot roll.

Applying the tape was pretty simple, maybe just a little bit harder than doing the non-skid tape. You have to work a bit to perfect your technique of smoothing it out to keep the air bubbles out, but you can lift it back off in a short area and reset it. Two downsides: it's not quite as forgiving on the rounded surfaces of the bow and stern sweeps as non-skid, and the tape holds finger prints amazingly well!

I did the keel, and then also did some key areas on the deck, such as under the paddle parks (see next blog entry to come), under most bungees, and on the deck at the rear of the cockpit coaming where I rest my paddle when getting in or out of the boat.

We will see how the product holds up over time.

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