A couple of kayak projects

I’ve been spending a lot of time in my kayak or thinking about paddling this year.  It isn’t a replacement for cycling, just another thing that I’m enjoying.

Earlier this summer I bought a used Valley Nordkapp kayak.  I’m really loving this boat (I like the one that I made in my class last spring too, but I like this one even more).  I’ve been taking classes and learning new skills and recently added a few nice toys to the boat recently to help with that.

When I’m practicing rolls and rescues it is nice to be able to get all of the water out of my boat quickly and easily.  In rough conditions it is even nicer to be able to empty the boat while being able to use my paddle for bracing.  I was going to put together my own electric bilge pump setup, but Blue Water Kayaks sells a kit that does the job nicely.  There is a battery pack and pump behind my seat:

The big blue box has the battery and electronics.  It is held to the bulkhead with some bungie cords.  Underneath there is a small 500 gallon per hour pump that can be run off of the battery.  It is glued to a piece of foam which is glued to the floor of my kayak.

The bilge pump sends the water out a hose which runs to the front of my kayak’s cockpit and out through a small port on the top of the kayak:

On the rear bungie line you can see a big black box.  That is a magnetic which turns the switch on and off for the pump.  Getting that switch right is the hard part about building your own electric bilge pump, and it is nice that Blue Water Kayaks does a good job for you.

I carry a second paddle on the front of my kayak.  That paddle can be used if my primary paddle breaks or is lost, or just if I want to use a different style of paddle.  My boat already had bungies for carrying the paddle there, but the end of the paddle was scratching up the boat.  Today I had some unexpected free time and made a holder that the ends of the paddle shaft can sit in, saving the surface of the kayak.

There is nothing special here, they are just tubes of heavy duty pack cloth with some webbing that ties them to the deck lines.  The only innovation that I can offer is the use of a ziptie (any stiff plastic would do) put into the front hem that will keep the tubes open at all times so that I can easily put the paddle away.  If you don’t want to make your own then just get the North Water Paddle Britches which do the same thing in a more stylish way.

Tomorrow I head out for a two day kayak camping trip in south Puget Sound and I look forward to trying out some of this new gear.

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