One of the most obvious features on the Beaufort made by Skimkayaks is the some 80mm wide, semi-circular groove running centrally fore-to-aft on the deck. Its purpose is to stiffen the kayak all the while keeping the amount of fiber and resin used to a reasonable minimum and thus keeping weight down. Makes sense!
As an added bonus this groove feature also provides a nifty place to stow, items such as a waterpump, water bottle, gps, etc. A nice one!
However there is a little minus from this groove. Not a big one, but there it is: It adds extra challenge in the installation of a deck compass and mast base plate. Like I said, it isn’t really a big minus. If you don’t kayak sail, then the mast base installation point is moot. Also if you don’t use/need a deck compass, other than the bungee cord quick installation type (Silva 58 Kayak or Suunto Orca ), then these “minus” points will not affect you! Win-Win! 😀
Personally I prefer to have a permanently installed deck compass on all of my “long haul” expedition kayaks. Up til now I have predominantly used the Silva 70P (Whisper and Willow). However the groove would require some form of a baseplate/cup, installation set up-custom-modification-geegaag-thing-ama-jiggie to make the installation of the 70P sit nicely , work well and look good. Since I’m unaware of any ready made solution on the markets for said purpose, all this would require some form of extra spurt in my imagination aka brain synapses ! In other words I would have to come up with some DIY solution and then make it. At this time I’m not THAT motivated!
While pondering my conundrum, I remembered another Silva compass model, the 70UNE, (and its non-illuminated version 70 UN). This is more expensive than the previous two models mentioned. It does have an extra bonus that it can be easily removed from its holder (and stolen!) and used as an hand-compass on land. Uptil now the high cost, easy removability (without tools) characteristics have been reason why I have shied away from this model. Also the deck holder of the compass feels a tad “flimsy” in my mind. A careless, tired whack in cold weather with a paddle onto the holder may be enough to break it?.. maybe? Plausible..?
Anyhoo.. at this stage the only available quality option for a semi-permanent deck compass installation for the Skim Kayaks Beaufort would appear to be the Silva 70 UNE. One big nice plus for this model is that it has a red led light for night illumination.. which can be really nice on night paddles! This adds to the “COOL” factor nicely!
After doling out the required amount of cash for a Silva 70 UNE. I went home to see if the compass would actually fit the deck groove? I was lucky I hadn’t paid for nothing. The compass actually fit quite snugly in the groove! As a nice extra extra bonus, the compass holder sat within the groove and thus would be protected from random whacks by paddles,other kayaks or hostile objects ! Nice!!!
Then it was just a matter of some DIY magic. Hopefully the following picture show is self-explanatory. 🙂
Fittings used were Stainless steel M4 x 25 sized bolts, flat head