Posted by FrankP on Mar 16, 2006

So I've been paddling the NB since October when the weather has been good, or in the pool for practice sessions. I have some more mod ideas in mind that I wanted to run past the experts here and see whether they'll work the way I think they will.

First: I installed the skeg box for the retractable skeg, but I have yet to mount the damn thing in the box. I really like a clean deck and don't particularly feel the need to put all the cabling hardware on the deck so I'm considering a permanent skeg option. Here's the concepts I'm weighing against each other.

a) remove the skeg box completely and put a permanent skeg along the keel, maybe a foot long with a maximum depth of about 2 or 3 inches. This has the added benefit of opening up all that space in my compartment for storage. I would probably put the skeg in essentially in the same location but I'd like to hear any recommendations as to how far back it might need to go. Down side to this is covering the gap in the deck will probably require cutting into the deck and putting some sort of onlay to cover the hole. Also, damage to the skeg will be more likely and require more work to repair.

b) cut the skeg box in half (vertically) and essentially make a retractable skeg that is always deployed. The benefit I see of this is the fact that the skeg can retract if I hit rocks or something. It will not open up as much space inside the compartment but will open some and provide more storage. Same negative as the permanent skeg with regard to the deck. Other concerns might be sheering force since the box wouldn't go all the way between deck and keel, but I doubt there'd be enough force to worry about. Jammed skeg might be a concern though, or not being able to remove/replace the skeg without major work.

The second mod I'm planning is to remove the foot braces, and move the foreward bulkhead back about 6 inches. This is prompted by a couple of things, but will benefit me by reducing weight (in theory) and giving me more storage space. Down side, removing the mounting hardware for the footrails (the posts that CLC sells for "boltless" install) and less adjustability for sharing my boat. I think I can make up for adjustability with foam block style foot braces.

So my question regarding this mod is, any suggestions on removing the footbrace hardware without cutting through the hull? Also, for anyone who's made the bulkhead mod after build, is it worth the effort?