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”