seats and rudders for strip kayak

Discussion in 'Boat and Accessory Building' started by JimmEh, Jul 5, 2016.

  1. JimmEh

    JimmEh Paddler

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    Nanoose bay, BC
    Hi folks. I recently bought plans for the bear mountain true north and am looking at ideas for outfitting it. I'm hoping some people here have experience with a couple things I have been looking at.

    1. The Sea-lect trucourse rudder kit

    2. Seats. There are so many different options. I was looking at the Necky Active Comfort System 2.0 seat. Can this even be installed in a strip boat? It looks like a nice adjustable seat. Part of the reason I like the true north is the big cockpit. My Storm GT feels cramped and I can't move around enough to sit more than a couple hours max without getting uncomfortable. I find my dad's Atlantis titan even worse.

    These are really the biggest things on my mind right now. Other options and experiences are always worth hearing about! So if you have some good ideas let me know. I know bear mountain recommends the feathercraft rudder and nimbus creature comfort seat, I haven't written those off as options.

    thanks in advance for any advice.
     
  2. eriktheviking

    eriktheviking Paddler

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    I've never done a rudder but have made a seat system from minicell foam, which is pretty common for strip built kayaks. The Necky one you listed seems pretty sophisticated but I've never seen it. The ultimate seat is probably the Redfish seat, which is an option http://www.redfishkayak.com/seats.htm. Many folks build their own from a slab of minicell, and descriptions are available online (e.g. http://www.oneoceankayaks.com/Wshophtm/Shop18.htm ). I have mine adjusted so it is the most comfy kayak seat I've yet tried-- most similar to the one described in Nick Schade's book "The Strip Built Sea Kayak", which I would recommend as a source of ideas to think about for a build.
     
  3. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    I've built only one 'rudder boat' - a Thomasson Panthera. I used a Smart-Track rudder on it and it seems to work well. Stellar sells the rudders and parts and shipped to me in Canada with no fuss.

    I like the SeaLect non-rudder pedals, and I helped a friend install a set of SeaLect 'gas pedal' rudder pedals in her boat. Getting the pedals in the right vertical position is important, since you are driving off the balls of your feet (not the heels like in a surfski or footboard boat) and steering with your toes.

    About comfort in the boat - consider a footboard setup vs the usual footpegs at the sides. I find it more comfortable if I can move my feet around a bit while paddling. This does depend on having enough deck height (vs shoe size) to avoid having your feet jammed into the boat, so it's controlled by the boat design.

    About seats: there are two 'schools of thought' on seats - comfy foam that locks your butt in place, or hard glass/plastic that allows movement. The Redfish and the many commercial seats (Wilderness, Necky) with foam covers/padding are the first type. One of the more common hard seats is the one in the NDK (Romany, Explorer, Pilgrim) boats. Getting your hands on a hard seat is more difficult for the DIY-er - you need to get/make a mold from a known seat (or start from scratch), or buy a seat. Try contacting David Thompson at Alta Kayak on Orcas Island WA, or an NDK dealer.

    I like hard seats- either the NDK or the Mariner glass seats. IMO, it's easier to get good leg drive while paddling with a hard seat.
    From a class with Shawna Franklin: "I want to hear that dry suit squeaking on the seat when you drive with your legs!"

    What feels good in the showroom or on a short tryout paddle (or what works in whitewater or surf) isn't necessarily comfortable after some hours slogging in a sea kayak.

    A 'Happy Bottom' molded foam seat (with side pads attached) is an easy option. CLC sells them. You'd need a back band or back pad (like Redfish) with the HappyBottom.

    A backband is useful to let you know when you are slouching. ("Sit up straight and paddle!!")
    I had problems sitting on the 'separate' backband when doing a 'butt first' entry into the boat. Shawna Franklin and Leon Somme had pulled the backbands from the NDK boats I used in their classes, and I've done the same. (The NDK seat has a sloping back which keeps you from sliding backward.)

    A hinged back hard seat (Mariner Coaster) or full hard seat (other Mariner boats) are other options. Since the Broze brothers closed the Mariner business years ago, this would be a DIY project. Borrowing a seat to 'splash' a mold from it may be the ultimate test of a friendship! :D

    There are even examples of stitch and glue or laminated and carved wood seats out there. Lots (too many??) of options!
     
  4. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    JimmEh,

    Abercrombie covered the bases pretty well. As a less energetic paddler than he, I prefer a custom carved minicell seat. If you have the time, definitely the most comfortable seat, and carving, using a high speed right angle grinder using a sanding pad [60 grit] makes for a quick job with a good finish

    I strongly favor a back band, set low and anchored so it can not interfere with reentry or cause entrapment. High backed seats are just trouble.
     
  5. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    Dave: I'm not very energetic - it's just that I need to use everything I can just to keep up! :D
     
  6. Kayak Jim

    Kayak Jim Paddler

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    I made the seat for my CLC out of multiple layers of closed cell ethafoam (the yellow stuff used for sleeping pads). Centre layers had various diameter cut outs for my sit bones - trial and error. I made a nylon cover with a pouch on the underside so the seat could be ripped from it's velcro and used as a paddle float.
     
  7. JimmEh

    JimmEh Paddler

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    Thanks everyone. I have read about the micro cell seats and everyone seems to love them. I've never had a chance to sit in one. I just like the idea of adjustability on a longer day paddling.
     
  8. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    Not everyone! :yikes: :D
    They are popular; I think the Sterling kayaks mostly come with those. (?)
    Whatever seat you choose, try to get your butt as low in the boat as you can...it makes a difference.
     
  9. Mac50L

    Mac50L Paddler

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    Errrr? Gas pedal should give full foot support so you can use your heels.

    Have a look at -

    http://www.kask.org.nz/rudders/#more-333

    and -

    http://kask.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/R ... ls40V2.pdf

    The SeaLect rudder is a variant of the design first conceived in New Zealand in 1992.