Chafing holes in sprayskirt

Discussion in 'Gear Talk' started by JohnAbercrombie, Oct 8, 2017.

  1. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2011
    Messages:
    1,303
    Location:
    Victoria, BC
    I'm having a problem with holes at the back of my neoprene sprayskirt.

    These seem to be the result of chafing from my towbelt strap/buckle but I'm not sure about that. I've tried re-arranging the towbelt -moving the buckle- but it doesn't seem to have solved the problem.

    The towbelt is a NorthWater 'belly pack' style where the belt and buckle is at the back during normal paddling.

    https://shop.bodyboatblade.com/coll...roducts/north-water-dynamic-water-sea-tow-pro

    It is impressive how much water can get into the cockpit through a couple of 1/2" holes when the conditions are right (or wrong, depending on your point of view!).

    A paddling friend just told me that he's had a similar (cause unknown) problem.

    Have you experienced this?

    Any hints?

    I really like the belly bag towbelt style, and don't want to buy a PFD with a 'rescue belt' built in, if I can avoid it.
     
  2. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

    Joined:
    May 31, 2005
    Messages:
    5,268
    Location:
    Astoria, Oregon, USA
    Without a photo, it is tough to figure out how the holes occur. I would guess that shifting it higher on your torso is not possible ... it must be trapped below a feature on your PFD, or you could reset it higher
     
  3. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2011
    Messages:
    1,303
    Location:
    Victoria, BC
    Some further investigation in the back yard seems to point to a combination of the PFD and towbelt strap pushing down, causing the spraydeck to be rubbing against/touching the thin upper edge of the NDK style hard seat.

    The (homemade) seat back is higher than the stock NDK, so some excess height can be removed without any problem, so that is one avenue I'm pursuing.
    new seat position.JPG
     
  4. AM

    AM Paddler

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2006
    Messages:
    672
    Location:
    Vancouver
    John, I get the same thing happening in all my skirts. It’s definitely an interaction between my tow belt buckle and the skirt. I have used aqua seal to solve the problem, but I also realize that skirts don’t last longer than a couple of years for me before leaks start at the seams and on the deck. I have just resigned myself to replacing the skirt more frequently.

    Cheers,
    Andrew
     
  5. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2011
    Messages:
    1,303
    Location:
    Victoria, BC
    Thanks, Andrew. Once the Aquaseal cures on my latest patching job, I should post a picture of the sprayskirt n question. It's definitely got some battle scars and should be retired.
    The problem is that I really want to try to 'solve' the chafing problem as much as possible before starting to use a new $150 sprayskirt...and wearing holes in it. Silly, really....

    I also need to get in the habit of checking the skirt on trips, even overnighters. I'm pretty sure the skirt was OK when I left home, but after a couple of days paddling we ran into some rough conditions and I was getting (significant) water in the cockpit. I should have checked it the evening before.
    I also have a (nylon) 'emergency' skirt that packs compactly which I often stuff in the boat, but it's no use if I don't check the 'working' skirt regularly.
     
  6. Peter-CKM

    Peter-CKM Paddler

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2011
    Messages:
    447
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    I had chafing on a skirt from a Camalbak Unbottle system I had on my PFD. Fixed with Aquaseal, but in end got a new skirt. I also find I am replacing skirts more often than I would like (every year or two).

    I use a Northwater Regulation Micro Tow and do like having the bag on my lap. Kokatat PFD. Don't have the issues you have with skirt chafing.

    A photo of the area of you with gear on and sitting in kayak to see how tight everything is on the top of your skirt may be helpful. Does seem that it is a mix of skirt, buckle and PFD, so any one of these (or a mixture of all) may be needed to fix this.

    Before replacing gear, can you adjust the position of the buckle so it ends on the side instead of back? Use the strap adjustments to get the buckle away from center back as much as possible? Then put the bag itself not centered on lap but offset to one side or other. Maybe you can find a better position for the buckle to sit - one that won't damage things.
     
  7. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

    Joined:
    May 31, 2005
    Messages:
    5,268
    Location:
    Astoria, Oregon, USA
    John, some thick walled half inch OD rubber tubing slit through one wall and glued in place across the rear edge of that seatback should take care of this. That seatback looks to be at your waistline or lower, and you might not want it any lower, depending on how much support works for you. Half inch thick wall tubing will only raise the contacting edge about three sixteenths of an inch or less. Metric equivs: 13 mm OD tubing; rise in seatback edge: ca. 4 to 5 mm.

    Doubt this would affect exit or entry.
     
  8. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2011
    Messages:
    1,303
    Location:
    Victoria, BC
    Peter, Dave-
    Thanks for the suggestions.
    I'll do some more arranging of the towbelt buckle and the (Triglide?) adjuster.
    The seatback is quite sloping and the top 2" or so doesn't contact my back at all while paddling, so a bit of trimming won't hurt. The split tubing idea is a good one. I've also thought about some dense foam glued over the top edge as well. Definitely those ideas could be useful when I'm paddling a Mariner with the 'bucket' sliding seat, which does have a high (more vertical) back.
    mini-IMGP0018.JPG

    I'll keep y'all posted about the (attempted) remedies! :)
     
  9. mick_allen

    mick_allen Paddler & Moderator

    Joined:
    May 15, 2005
    Messages:
    2,791
    As you have already said, I think it is most likely caused by the bottom of your pfd ham-sandwiching the skirt with the seat top . . . . and if the seat top does not actually aid you in any way, then all it does is impede roll backs and therefore maybe should be removed[or lowered big-time] because it therefore is effectively [to some degree] making your cockpit layback opening smaller - therefore it does not make sense [to me] to keep it relatively high but with a soft/rubberized rim.

    my personal prejudice is that the scenario above seems all wrong: you have a rigid cockpit opening only to make it smaller with a rigid seat back that:
    1) is essentially at the same height as the coaming.
    2) has a coaming rear that begins only a short distance from your back
    3) and your back is further restrained by the rigidity of the seat setup.

    there are conflicts here [to me].
     
  10. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2011
    Messages:
    1,303
    Location:
    Victoria, BC
    Mick-
    Are you referring to the Mariner seat in the red boat?
    That is a sliding seat which the picture shows in the 'enter/exit' position - the neutral (boat balance) paddling position has the seat 6-7" forward from the cockpit. Some Mariner owners cut down those seats, and add a "stop block' on the hull to keep the seat from sliding too far back. It makes layback rolling easier. On that red Express, I fabricated a second (low) seat as an alternative.

    If you have suggestions for improvements, I'd welcome them, as this sprayskirt issue has become vexing!
    I'm not at all interested in a foam seat and foam back block arrangement as I try to use plenty of leg drive to keep the boat moving, and I want a hard, slippery seat. I've also had too many problems with re-entering boats with suspended backbands, so would be loath to use one again.
     
  11. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2011
    Messages:
    1,303
    Location:
    Victoria, BC
    Progress report:
    I have cut down the seats on my Frej boats by an inch or so; it will be difficult for the skirt to contact them. They are now the same height as the standard NDK seat, so provide more than enough support when paddling with good posture. The low and very sloping back on the NDK seat makes layback rolling easy.

    I moved the buckle on the towbelt to the extreme end of its strap, and sewed the strap after removing the Triglide adjuster. This moves the buckle more to the side, and eliminates the Triglide as a suspect for causing abrasion.

    I'll see what happens after paddling the new setup tomorrow.

    mini-DSCN5563.JPG

    mini-DSCN5564.JPG
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2017
  12. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2011
    Messages:
    1,303
    Location:
    Victoria, BC
    I contacted Shawna Franklin at BodyBoatBlade about the possible involvement of the towbelt in the sprayskirt chafing - I was introduced to that towbelt in a BodyBoatBlade class, and bought mine from them. We talked yesterday on the phone. Shawna said that she and Leon Somme both wear those towbelts when paddling and teaching. Her suggestion: Leaving the towbelt strap quite loose and letting the 'belly pack' move around a bit - sometimes at the side - might help. This is similar to the suggestion from Peter-CKM above. I'm definitely going to try this. Tomorrow's scheduled paddle involves towing some (unladen) boats, so I'll get a chance to see how it all works.

    BTW, Shawna also said that perhaps one reason that they haven't noticed towbelt chafing is that they need to regularly replace their sprayskirts due to cuts and scuffs from the many rescue demos they do when teaching.
    My skirt (in the pic above) is slated for permanent retirement once I resolve the chafing issue - the pristine replacement is waiting on the wall hook. :)
     
  13. semdoug

    semdoug Paddler

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2009
    Messages:
    174
    If the buckle is indeed the culprit, you could also try a little chaffing gear. A neoprene sleeve over the buckle should prevent the buckle from rubbing through the skirt.
     
  14. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2011
    Messages:
    1,303
    Location:
    Victoria, BC
    Thanks- good idea!
    That's the next thing on 'the list', though I want to make sure that I don't restrict the quick release on the buckle. It may be tricky to make something that will slide out of the way when I need to release the buckle, but 'stay put' when paddling. Hopefully the looser tension on the belt and the new buckle position will do the trick.