It's a Great Question

Posted by Kurt Maurer on Aug 23, 2005

Tom, I'm glad you brought this up. When building a boat at home, there are a few things a person should take a good hard look at:

1: Hatch sizes and shapes. Smaller front hatches look cool and are generally easier to make waterproof... but if you can't fit your stuff in 'em, what good are they? The only limitations to any hatch size is keeping clear of the sheer area, bulkheads, etc. A larger hole in the deck will not kill structural integrity -- just look at the cockpit opening! By all means customize your hatches if you have the least inclination to do so, especially when it comes to enlarging the front hatch.

2: Forward bulkhead placement. The forward bulkhead can go practically anywhere; the designer only locates it as a one-size-fits-all kinda thing. The center of bouyancy isn't... it is an organic part of the design calculation, and from it the seating position is determined; then the rear bulkhead is located to go behind the seat (but hey, it can be moved back a little to give you a bit more room there also). But the front bulkhead is a function of how long a set of legs YOU expect to see in YOUR boat.

3: Adjustable footbraces, closely related to the above. If you are installing Yakimas, it is easy to cut them down to save room and weight. Think about it... who really needs 15" of adjustment? Are you really expecting everyone from Tom Thumb to Abraham Lincoln to paddle YOUR kayak?

You can slant bulkheads also. Nigel Dennis slants the rear bulkhead top-aft in order to facilitate draining the cockpit with the yak inverted, but I slant mine top-forward to increase behind-the-seat stowage, yet keep the backband suspension loop fixture easy to reach. I slant my forward bulkhead forward when it serves double duty as my footbrace.

Hey man, it's YOUR boat -- make it fit YOU.

Cheers, Kurt Maurer

In Response to: Re: Hatch Opening Size by Tom Irvine on Aug 23, 2005