Beaufort: Deck Compass installation

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! ūüėÄ

Here the Suunto Orca, hanging.. not very functional. Some people use this compass alng one side or the other of the groove, but those spaces are already reserved fro spare paddle and mast.. More about those later.
Here the Suunto Orca, hanging.. not very functional. Some people use this compass along one side or the other of the groove, but on my kayak those spaces are already reserved fro spare paddle and mast.. More about those later.

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. ūüôā

Due to the mast installation fore of the forward hatch the only place left for compass installation was just aft of the forward hatch. One should take in consideration the space needed to remove and close the hatch cover!
Due to the mast installation fore of the forward hatch the only place left for compass installation was just aft of the forward hatch. One should take in consideration the space needed to remove and close the hatch cover!
Once the location of the compass was decided, the required holes were marked and drilled. BEFORE marking and drilling cover the area involved with masking tape, keeps the area clean, scrtach free and also keeps the drilled holes neat!
Once the location of the compass was decided, the required holes were marked and drilled. BEFORE marking and drilling cover the area involved with masking tape, keeps the area clean, scratch free and also keeps the drilled holes neat!
Due to the concave surface the compass holder needs a baseplate for it to work. here I used a scrap piece of 2mm carbon fiber. One cannot deny the "cool" factor
Due to the concave surface the compass holder needs a baseplate for it to work. here I used a scrap piece of 2mm carbon fiber “plate”. One cannot deny the “cool” factor
Here the compass holder setting on top of the CF-plate. Don't worry, the compass holder comes with the compass! Also here is the glaring challenge evident. The gap between the concave and flat surfaces, The problemati area is basicly where the thru deck screws go!
Here the compass holder setting on top of the CF-plate. Don’t worry, the compass holder comes with the compass! Also here is the glaring challenge evident. The gap between the concave and flat surfaces, The problematic area is basicly where the thru deck screws go!
Under the deck, the same problem exists. If there nuts were to be tightened taut against the bottom of the deck "as is" the washers would probably do some drastic "cracking" accompanied damage..
Under the deck, the same problem exists. If there nuts were to be tightened taut against the bottom of the deck “as is” the washers would probably do some drastic “cracking” accompanied damage..
Topside, I decided to use Sugru to make a seal/gasket/semi hard point between the CF-plate and deck. Lucky I had white Sugru! At this stage it is good to point out that all metal fasteneres used are stainless steel (SS) and as an extra precautinary I put all of them in a plastic bag which I waved moved about near the compass to see if they give any interference.. this time none did!
Topside, I decided to use Sugru to make a seal/gasket/semi hard point between the CF-plate and deck. Lucky I had white Sugru! At this stage it is good to point out that all metal fasteners used are stainless steel (SS) and as an precautionary measure, BEFORE installation I put all of them in a plastic bag which I waved / moved about near the compass to see if they gave any interference.. this time none did!

Fittings used were Stainless steel M4 x 25 sized bolts, flat head

I rolled small snakes of the Sugru and wrapped them around the preinstalled screws. Making sure to pack some "extra" stuff on the inside.
I rolled small “snakes” of the Sugru and wrapped them around the pre-installed screws. Making sure to pack some “extra” stuff on the inside.
After the Sugru wrapping, Ipressed the whole assembly in its place. Gently pressed in down. Noting that the Sugru blobs spread more or less evenly. After this Iwaited 24 hours to let the Sugru harden.
After the Sugru wrapping, I pressed the whole assembly in its place. Gently pressing it down evenly. Noting that the Sugru blobs spread more or less evenly. After this I waited 24 hours BEFORE doing ANYTHING ELSE!  To let the Sugru harden.
rubber gasket washers under the stanless stell washers. Incase the topside gaskest seep/leak then these should be a secondary backup againste water ingress! IF this fails I'll just go to the good ole faithful Sika-Flex polyuretahne sealant!
After waiting for 24 hours, I did the final tightening. The idea behind the waiti was that the once hardened Sugru ‘seals’ would atleast¬† be tight.¬† Under the deck I used 3mm rubber gasket washers under the stainless stell washers. Incase the topside gaskets seep/leak then this should be a secondary backup against water ingress! IF this fails I’ll just go to the good ole faithful Sika-Flex polyuretahne sealant blob solution! Also note that I use the “hat” nuts, hopefully they minimize the cutting/damaging¬† fabrics, stuff sack, etc that are being packed/unpacked. Sloppily cut bolt ends have been known to cause similar damage…
Compass installed!
Compass installed!
Compass installed on the deck of the Beaufort. Fit is snug. The installation hardly interferes with deck bungee fittings. Actually the bungees ensure that the compass will not become dislodged by "accident"
Compass installed on the deck of the Beaufort. Fit is snug. The installation hardly interferes with deck bungee fittings. Actually the bungees ensure that the compass will not become dislodged by “accident”

Making a mast base plate adapter for the Beaufort

Beaufort - side view
Beaufort – side view

At the writing of this article, I have installed SeaDog sails on three different kayaks. Each installation has been different due to differing circumstances. Each installation, while requiring some extra work, has been reasonably easy and straight forward. In this article I will concentrate on making an adapter for the mast baseplate on a Skimkayaks Beaufort.

Vortex and Whisper with Instaled with SeaDog Sails
Vortex and Whisper installed with SeaDog sails
Mast baseplate on the Guillemot expedition single
The deck of “Whisper”, a Guillemot expedition single has a very large radii curve. So I screwed the mast base-plate “as is”, with only a thin 4mm EPDM foam strip between the deck and base-plate. Thus far it has been enough. deck is strong and no water ingress has been observed.

 

The Deck of the Vortex has a slight ridge, which more or less requires an adapter, if the baseplate is to be installed on the centerline. Here I fashioned a clunky looking adapter from a scrap piece of HDPE. A quick and dirty solution which has worked thus far. To ensure against water ingress I put a blob of (Black)SikaFlex polyurethane based sealant/adhesive between the adapter and deck when installing the whole set.
The deck of the  Tiderace Vortex has a slight ridge, which more or less requires an adapter, if the base-plate is to be installed on the centerline of the deck. Here I fashioned a clunky looking adapter from a scrap piece of  white HDPE. A quick and dirty solution which has worked thus far. To ensure against water ingress I put a blob of (Black )SikaFlex polyurethane based sealant/adhesive between the adapter and deck when installing the whole set. The purpose of the sikaflex sealant is to seal, rather than attach The two m4 SS thru-bolts do the job of attaching.  Also under the deck I made the opposite shape from a similar sized HDPE block. Thus hoping that mast pressure will be spread out on an larger area.. somewhat anyways.. SO far All seems to be working nicely.

The Beaufort however, with its negative groove (or gutter)  running down the center of the deck is the most demanding installation thus far. The negative groove will require an adapter  for the mast base plate.  The flat bottom of the plate needs to be mated with the bottom of the groove. Otherwise this may cause pressure ridges onto the deck groove which may later cause cracking. Also the mast base plate needs to be slightly higher to allow  enough counterclockwise rotation of the mast attachment piece!

Mast baseplate sitting at the intended location on the deck of the Beaufort... See the problem? mating a flat bottom against a concave surface..
Mast base-plate sitting at the intended location on the deck of the Beaufort… See the problem? mating a flat bottom against a concave surface..

 

I had some balsa/WesternRedCedar scrap blocks leftover, which I decided to use in thie project. Initially I made two test prototypes which are in their very rough form here. Mast balse plate to give idea of shape
I had some balsa/Western Red Cedar scrap blocks leftover, which I decided to use in this project. Initially I made two test prototypes which are in their very rough form here. Orange mast base plate to give idea of shape.
20160216_144737
After a rough pencilled in outline, some imagination, the actual shaping of the balsa/WRC pieces was fairly easy and quick work with a carving knife and a sanding block.
After rough shaping the topside of the adapter block I still needed to shape the mating surface, ie. bottom surface of the adapter.
After rough shaping the topside of the adapter block I still needed to shape the mating surface, ie. bottom surface of the adapter.
In order to get te best fit with minimal effort, I used the deck gunnel as a shaping form , by putting 120 grit sandpaper on it and sanding the adapter block bottom to the corresponding shape.
In order to get te best fit with minimal effort, I used the deck groove/gutter as a shaping form , by putting 150 grit sandpaper on it and sanding the adapter block bottom to the corresponding shape.
After Sanding the block sits nicely in the groove.
After sanding, the block sits nicely in the groove.
While I was at it, I made prototype#3, more of a teardrop shape. No practical purpose, more aesthetic if anything.
While I was at it, I made prototype #3, more of a teardrop shape. No practical purpose, more aesthetic if anything.
After the final shaping of the balsa/WRC plugs, I vacuum bagged them. 1 layer CarbonFiber + 1 layer of carbon/glassfiber combo in epoxy. Being prototype work the workmanship is a bit rough. Operative term being here "quick and dirty. Later several layers of varnish to close the pinholes visible in this picture.
After the final shaping of the balsa/WRC plugs, I vacuum bagged them. 1 layer CarbonFiber + 1 layer of carbon/glassfiber combo in epoxy. Being prototype work the workmanship is a bit rough. Operative term being here “quick and dirty… Later several layers of varnish, to close the pinholes visible in this picture.
The undersides of prototype #1 and #3. The grooves purpose is to let water run pass under the adapter down the groove and not cause a "dam" onto the deck.. yes..I know it might be splitting hairs... ;)
The undersides of prototype #1 and #3. The grooves purpose is to let water run pass under the adapter down the deckgroove and not cause a “dam” onto the deck.. yes..I know it might be splitting hairs… ūüėČ
Prototype#1 setting on deck prior ot installation.. Looks ok.
Prototype#1 setting on deck prior to installation.. Looks ok.
Prototype #3 looks good on the deck. I think this is the one I will go with!
Prototype #3 looks good on the deck. I think this is the one I will go with!

More about the actual installation process of the mast will follow…

New Kayak: Skim Kayaks Beaufort

The Beaufort makes for a very nicely shaped overall balanced looking kayak
The Beaufort is a very nicely shaped overall balanced looking kayak

So… Long story short. I was helping a friend pick a kayak for his upcoming expedition along the Finnish coast summer 2016. He got his kayak.. and so did I! I really had no real need for a new kayak.. seriously! ūüėČ But it is a NICE kayak!¬† So what the hell, there went my retirement emergency funds! My fleet had space for a shortish sea kayak that had a very nice speed-to-agility ratio…

A view form the side
Side view

Skim kayaks is a Finnish base company that has several seakayak  models to offer.  The Beaufort doesnt have very much visibility on the web, probably due to the smallish manufacturing numbers..? Who knows? A couple German paddlers, Eike Köhler and his friend Basti have used the Beaufort on long sea expeditions; Gothenburg to Helsinki and more recently a trip along the Norwegian Coast. So the Beaufort cannot be all that bad?

The Beaufort has some rocker. just enuff to be reasonably agile, while edging, yet tracks straight
The Beaufort has some rocker. just enuff to be reasonably agile, while edging, yet tracks straight

At the writing of this, I have logged less that 50 kms with it, so I will not dwell too much about how it goes on the water, suffice to say; If I’m confident that enough to paddle the finnish coast in one, it can’t be bad? For now I will do a short review on the initial impressions.

Deck layout on the Beaufort is very functional. large oval deck hatches. Extra bonuses are the paddle attachement and the towline cam-cleat.
Deck layout on the Beaufort is very functional. large oval deck hatches. Extra bonuses are the paddle attachment and the towline cam-cleat.

These are the spec’s , as copied off the manufacturers website:

"Length: 513 cm
Width: 53.1 cm
Hullshape: Shallow/medium V, Strong chines
Cockpit depth front: (inner) 32 cm
Seat depth: 20,5 cm
Volume:
Forward: 88 liters
Cockpit: 147 liters
Day hatch aft: 71 liters
Day hatch bow: 5.2 liters
Aft: 47 liters
Total: 358,2 liters
Optimal paddler weight: 70-100 kilos
Material:
TR: glass fiber/diolen/polyester
RH: Hull: vacuum infused Kevlar, directional glass and Carbon sandwich/vinylester Deck: Kelar reinforced glass/vinylester
CL: hull: infused carbon fiber sandwich/ vinylester, deck: vacuum infused carbon fiber sandwich/vinylester
Hatches: 44/26 cm
Dayhatch aft: 20 cm
Dayhatch bow: 15 cm
Manufactured in: Finland"

We ordered our kayaks thru North-West Import, located in Espoo, Finland. The service was top-notch. The icing on the cake was that we were able request certain modifications made for our kayaks! This was something new and pretty darn cool to boot!¬† I requested that my Rockhopper version would have a Kevlar rubstrip installed along the keel. This is serviced offered at an extra fee of 150‚ā¨. Also I really liked the KajakSport Flexjoint-footpads on the footrests.¬† I Don’t recall how much they cost.. but they are quite nice! Time will tell how long lasting they will be. Initially I thought these were .. umm yuppy posh extra luxury items that no real seakayaker would use !… but after trying them out.. oh well, I guess I’m getting old or sumthing.

underneath. A layer of extra carbon to give the kevlar some Oomph! Nice Kajaksport footrests- WITH the REALLY nice Flex-Joint pads.
underneath. A layer of extra carbon to give the kevlar some Oomph! Nice Kajaksport footrests- WITH the REALLY nice Flex-Joint pads.

Being a short Hobbit sized paddler I wanted the forward bulkhead moved back some –¬† to minimize extra space in the cockpit and maximize “dry space” up front.

The aft edge of the seat had slots for straps incase I want to have my thermos strapped down.
The aft edge of the seat has slots for straps in case …I want to have my thermos/whatever strapped down.

Normally the cockpit aft bulkhead is installed slanted and right up-to the lip of the cockpit. This is to facilitate easyish emptying of kayak in case of wet exit, rescue situations. Personally I prefer to have some extra space behind the seat for an anorak, waterbag, thermos etc. So I requested that the aft bulkhead was to be installed vertical and approx. 40mm more aft of its standard located.

Since it is my intention to use a sail on the Beaufort whenever possible, my last request was to add an reinforcing layer of Fiberglass under the deck for about 350mm just forward of the fore-hatch.

Initially my intention was to buy the “Traditional” layup version but I envisioned that I may wander off to more rockier waters in the future, so I ordered the Kevlar re-inforced “Rockhopper”¬† (RH) version.

Finishing quality was good-to-excellent. It is comparable with more expensive british made kayaks. finishing of the interior was smooth and clean. The only minor flaw that I found was a tiny blob of dried adhesive along the cockpit rim, under the lip. A small annoyance that would probably caused the spray deck edge to wear thru on the long run. However a couple gentle swipes on the offending blob with 320 grit sandpaper smoothed things out.

All hatch lips were installed smoothly flush to the deck. Kayaksport hard rings with the soft/hard variety of hatch lids. No fault there! All installations were neat and clean.

Among the immediately visible peculiarities on the Beaufort are: The reverse slanted stern, a largish semi-circle groove along the center-line of the deck, a paddle attachment, and the cam-cleat attachment point for possible tow-line.

A standard kajaSport skeg.
A standard KajakSport skeg.

My immediate guess for the reasoning of the stern shape would be to increase waterline length and thus possibly increase speed?  I cannot say whether this actually works but for a kayak thats overall length is a modest 513 cms , she does paddle very easily  at a rates 7.5-8.5 km/h even with a load  of 20 kgs! So there might be something to it? I will get back to this later when I have more experience on the matter.

The kajaksport KS-selfrescue grips for paddle, test fitting for my spare GP paddle. It fits!
The kajaksport KS-selfrescue grips for paddle, test fitting for my spare GP paddle. It fits!

The paddle “park” , or attachment point (not sure what its called?) was another quirky looking standard option. At first I was going to go without it, but then I decided it may be useful on extra uber long crossings. If need be I could use it to make an out-rigger, for a lunch break or sumthing. Not sure if the manufacturer had that in mind when designing it or how they feel about my idea of its possible use.. but thats what I thought.

One possible way of having the rescue towline installed on the aft deck/towline cam-cleat. hitch thingy.
One possible way of having the rescue towline installed on the aft deck/towline cam-cleat. hitch thingy.

Being a short hobbit sized paddler I quickly found that having a belt towline on while paddling got to be a little stuffy. There really isnt much space between the lower edge of my PFD and the spray skirt. Wearing a belt pack-towline would very quickly wear a hole thru my neoprene spray skirt.. which is a no-no to my budget. The installed cam-cleat with re-inforcing bar on the aft deck were features that I’m hoping would ease matters a tad.

The final immediately visible oddity on the Beaufort is the  half-circle groove along the center of the deck running front-to-back.

Testing out a possible location for a deck compass. The odd looking "groove" on the deck serves to make the hull more rigid, but also gives a possibilty to install a compass or stow a water bottle to offer a low profile.
Testing out a possible location for a deck compass. The odd looking “groove” on the deck serves to make the hull more rigid, but also gives a possibilty to install a compass or stow a water bottle to offer a low profile.

The grooves purpose is to make the deck more rigid. as an extra bonus it offers a nice spot to stow stuff like water bottle, water pump etc. Also it makes the installation of a compass and kayak sail slightly more challenging, but more about those at a later post.

my 204 cm spare GP paddle fits just on the fore deck! I might have to come up with a different design for my sparepaddle...
my 204 cm spare GP paddle fits just on the fore deck! I might have to come up with a different design for my spare paddle, when used in conjunction with a sail.

SO initial impression on the Beaufort is that it is a very well made kayak, that has several promising features that I eagerly await to test out properly on a long, very loooong trip! Sofar, Very good!

More to follow…

First Outing with the Beaufort