Borealis XL seat mods and toggle handle advice

Discussion in 'Boat and Accessory Building' started by Nonprophet, May 26, 2017.

  1. Nonprophet

    Nonprophet New Member

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    First post here, looking forward to sharing and learning!

    I recently purchased a used Pygmy Borealis XL. Love the way it tracks and its light weight. Not too crazy about the seat, which is a Harmony-branded seat pad glued to the hull, and the standard Pygmy plastic backrest with foam. Because I didn't build it, I'm not sure what the manual recommends for how/where to install the seat back band. It seems too far forward to me (about a 2 1/4" gap between back of seat band and front of the aft cockpit coaming) and he put two screws on each side so that the seat band can't be easily raised to stow gear in the hull behind the seat. Assuming that I decide to keep the stock plastic backband with padding, are there any guidelines for how far fore or aft it is installed? I'm a big guy at 6'3" 270lbs, so I need all the room I can get..... ;) I'm seriously considering a CLC Creature Comfort Seat or a Redfish seat, anyone else have any other aftermarket seat recommendations for wood kayaks? I've seen several videos on how to make your own out of minicell foam, but the convex carbide carving discs they use are $70 ea.........

    Does anyone have a copy of a Pygmy build manual where it spells out how/where to mount the back band?

    As for the toggle handles, the guy I bought the Borealis from didn't install any. My Borealis is quite light and easily carried, but we have a lot of reservoirs here in Oregon that close their gates in the Fall, and I'm a year round kayaker who uses a kayak cart to get access to the water in the off season and I really need at least a fore toggle handle to pull the yak on a cart. I've seen several different types of handles on wooden kayaks, and wondered what the best way to add the toggle handles would be. The builder of my boat suggested drilling the hull for 1/2" dowel rod (he recommended oak), epoxying that in place, cut the dowel off flush with the hull, then drill out the center of the dowel and feed the line attaching the toggle handle. Any other suggestions on how best to do this?

    Many thanks!

    NP
     
  2. mick_allen

    mick_allen Paddler & Moderator

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    quick reply here: what is the length of yr ckpt - as that boat seems to have quite a high ckpt rear, I'd want a large gap betw the backband back[3-4in, 75-100mm] and coaming so that rearward leans are more possible, but of course it depends on where your cg is [where from your back is your cg], where the boats CB is longitudinally, and how the ckpt is 'centred' in the design of those - short one, yer screwed and would have to put in a larger/longer ckpt [but simple to do if you've made the boat]. Might be best to ask pygmy on that location with respect to the ckpt placement.

    for toggle holes - putting in tubes or dowels just makes an obvious hole even more obvious, so the simplest and least obtrusive is and endpour and drilling through that. Another option I haven't tried is a top hole into an endpour, drill out, and then glue in a single togglerope. If the rope/webbing end is frayed out a bit, it shoudl be fine, easy to restrain and maybe more aesthetic.
     
  3. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    Once there's an endpour, my preference is to epoxy a SS U-bolt into oversize holes in the end of the deck. (Put the nuts on the U-bolt and then cut off the excess thread.)
    A U-bolt can serve as an excellent anchor for both an end toggle and the perimeter safety line. It's also a good 'locking point' if you want to chain/padlock your kayak to slow down thieves.
    Here's an example on a Mariner kayak.

    Here's one on my Bjorn Thomasson designed Frej.
     
  4. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    NONPROPHET,

    Not a fan of backrests at all, and the old version of Pygmy's backrest was awful. Can you post a photo of what you have?

    On the toggles: does the boat have end Pours? If so, just bore a hole, coat it with epoxy, and thread a line through there.
     
  5. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    Yes.

    Like this NDK one:
     
  6. mick_allen

    mick_allen Paddler & Moderator

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    the OP uses the words backrest and back band interchangeably, so I just read back band , but ditto on a back-REST - chuck it and go for the lower back band: you get the support, but not the interference with layback as the backband swivels down as you lean back.

    and I think that one-sided toggle handle is just for paddlers who make left hand turns?
     
  7. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    :D

    The single line on that NDK kayak is a safety feature; it prevents getting fingers in a loop and having them injured if the boat rolls.
    Most folks think of toggles as carrying handles, but they have an important function if a swimmer is trying to hold on to the end of the boat.
     
  8. mick_allen

    mick_allen Paddler & Moderator

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    you'd think they'd do it like you do with your slightly doubled lines so that the line-coulplet could at least hang symmetrically. . . .
     
  9. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    I stitch together the two parts with waxed polyester sail twine, using a palm and needle- not really feasible in a production shop. There are probably spliced solutions that would look even better, if one had the skill.
    That NDK toggle does work well in practice; I think it's quite elegant. And, it's easy to maintain and replace the line when necessary.

    Any solution that avoids an open rope loop large enough to trap a finger is OK in my book. I learned this from Leon and Shawna at BodyBoatBlade and it made sense to me, immediately.
    I don't like plain rope loops or strap handles bolted to the deck even though the chances of a mishap are so very small.

    I've found it pretty well impossible to contrive a good toggle that hangs down to the water on the stern of my rudder boat, without tangling in the over-stern rudder mechanism.

    I wonder if the OP is going to return; he posted the same query on a couple of sites. It's always fun to chat, nonetheless. :D
     
  10. mick_allen

    mick_allen Paddler & Moderator

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    I sorta think the reverse as there are so many loops and potential trappers that I think the grab loop is of minor concern - in relation to all the other loops we have in and around ourselves and our boats: our sleeves, our watches, our neck openings, even our coamings, any loose fabric, our pfds [ exposed bottom, arms, neck, pockets] , our skirts, our hat straps, our leashes, our perimeter lines - and even those side toggles in a windowshade scenario. Hold onto a perimeter line in a windowshade and yr arms broken. Once I was almost 'broken' in half by my skirt getting caught - it was quite funny, but my eyes opened up a bit then - and subsequently I've been caught by my skirt several times [practice situations, nothing serious - except once when my coaming settled down because of sitting on it and then leaning back hard when in and then it trapped the rear of my skirt - very difficult getting out].

    Plus the boats that go in the most onerous of situations - WW - have fixed grab loops anyway.
     
  11. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    Worst entrapment hazard I have encountered was a seat back (Eddyline stock installation) that folded forward, jamming you against the cockpit coming, when in extremis. Ripped out that sucker and every other forward folding seat back, backband, etc., and replaced them with low profile back bands FIRMLY anchored with strong, short bungies, clipped to bolt-on eyes underdecks aft of rear coaming. No issues since, five or six different boats, 20 years.
     
  12. Nonprophet

    Nonprophet New Member

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    It's actually a backband......here's some pics:
     
  13. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    Hunh. Installation error may account for your discomfort. Most back bands operate off a center pivot, each side, adjustable fore and aft a bit. The center pivot allows it to conform to whatever angle your backside presents. A center pivot allows the entrapment I mentioned. Hence, the bungie anchors to prevent that. I searched the Pygmy site for an installation photo or diagram. No luck. NRS has a diagram for theirs, which you might check out.

    Beautiful job on the boat.
     
  14. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    Here's some info on the backband from an old Pygmy Coho manual:
     
  15. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    John, his is not as tall as the one pictured in the diagrams you show. And, his is anchored with two bolts -- it cannot rotate to conform to the lower back. He needs an NRS backband or similar, I think.
     
  16. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    Dave:
    That's the point, I think. The OP's version could be modified or rebuilt to be more similar to the Pygmy version (single bolt attachment on each side, with restraining string). Pygmy actually has refined that design with a 'mod' which has an adjustment to the 'height string' via a jam cleat above deck.
    https://www.pygmyboats.com/PDF/Adjustab ... kstrap.pdf


    The advantage of the Pygmy style -also used by Seaward and Seda IIRC- is that it's easy to 'flip up' the backband to access the aft compartment to stow gear or check on the flotation bag. The OP's Borealis doesn't have bulkheads or hatches, from what I can see (and read).

    Or, if DIY isn't desired, go with a commercial backband as you suggest- I liked the one with the ratchets by Immersion Research:
    https://www.immersionresearch.com/store ... backbands/

    I notice that IR now sells replacement ratchets - the old ones had a mix of metals and failed after a few years around salt water.
     
  17. Nonprophet

    Nonprophet New Member

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    I'm going to remove one screw from each side and see how much difference that makes. I also switched out the foam pieces with a Thermarest lumbar support cushion which I think I'll like better than the foam.

    Thanks for the compliment on the boat, though I did not build it. It was built by one of Pygmy's master builders, and he made a few special edition versions where he wrapped the whole boat in veneer--for my boat he used beautiful figured sapele.

    Bret
     
  18. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    Nonprophet wrote: I 'm going to remove one screw from each side and see how much difference that makes. I also switched out the foam pieces with a Thermarest lumbar support cushion which I think I'll like better than the foam.

    That might work, although you want it to pivot along its centerline, not higher or lower. Remember that unless anchored to prevent rotation forward on entry, the backband is an entrapment hazard non pareil. OK to do quick tests, but definitely something to rectify before embarking on a day trip. See previous remarks.
     
  19. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    Dave:
    I'm finding this hard to visualize with a Pygmy style hard band.
    Can you explain (or sketch) what happened?
    How did the seat back 'fold forward'?
    Was that Eddyline a seat with the back attached to it with a fabric 'hinge'?
     
  20. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    This is not a Pygmy back band problem, necessarily. I never used those things.

    No photos or diagrams, unfortunately.

    Eddyline, for 20 years or so, had tall seatbacks (aka back rests) anchored at the bottom of the back rest to a hard fiberglass seat, using flexible plastic "hinges." Other manufacturers used similar systems. These were restrained from going backwards by a length of 4 - 6 mm cord, cleated on the side of one of the vertical panels outside the paddler's hips.

    The problem was that the back rests stood an inch or two above the coaming rim and had no restraints against the seat back from being pushed aggressively forward. So, on entry into the cockpit from the afterdeck, if you slid your butt over the coaming, it would swipe the seat back forward and down, sometimes jamming the top of the seat back hard into the small of your back or into your butt, low, as the front of your tummy was firmly jammed into the forward part of the coaming, feet pushed forward of the footpedals.

    This left you with no purchase by your feet to push back and reverse the entry, and your mid-torso wedged, hard, between the trapped seat back and the coaming rim.

    This happened to me twice during self rescue practices, and to others once or twice, also. In all cases, spotters assisted the trapped paddlers out of the jam.

    I cut some of the seat backs down to prevent the jam, and others were replaced by back bands which likewise did not stand tall enough to cause the problem. I also hooked a pair of short bungie anchors between the top edge of the seat back / back band and eye bolts set under the after deck for each boat. Access to the rear of the cockpit for packing was pretty easy, and the bungies also restrained cockpit loads so gear could not move forward during a capsize/recovery.