Friday, September 9, 2016

Deckline Mods to my Sixteen Foot Baidarka to Facilitate Fishing

After going out fishing in my 16 foot baidarka I decided to make some mods to the decklines to make it a better fishing boat.  The mods were not extensive but addressed two particular aspect of the existing rigging that could be improved.  One mod improved the ability to stow paddles on the foredeck.  The other mod improved my ability to get out of the boat quickly after landing on the beach. Let's go to the pictures.
 This photo shows a new addition, a longish piece of wood on the left (port) side of the boat. This used to be a feature on Unangan kayaks.  The piece of wood protects the skin from chafing by the fishing line when fisherman pulls in a fish.  Chafing of the skin is probably not as big a deal with a synthetic fabric skin as it is with a sea lion skin, but I thought it might be a good idea to have this feature in any case.
 Deck toggles, the two rectangular piece of wood on either side of the kayak are used to tighten up the deck lines that hold spare paddles in place on the deck.  I moved these closer to the front of the cockpit for easier access.
Here's a closeup of another deck toggle roughly in the shape of a little sea creature.  This is meant to keep a paddle from sliding off the deck when the paddle is just laid on the deck instead of being tucked under the deck lines.
One of the problems when landing in surf is the timing of the waves.  Even if you time the waves coming in and come in on the back of a wave and make a smooth beach landing, you have to get out of the kayak quickly because the next wave is coming in and is likely to pull you back into the surf.  This is especially problematic on steep beaches. With the size of this cockpit and with a lap full of fish, jumping out of the kayak is not easy.  I have to hoist myself up onto the back deck so I can step out of the cockpit.  I do this by placing my hands on the gunwales back of the cockpit and raising myself up.  Unfortunately, the deck is sloped an my hands tent to slide off, so I added toggles in back of the cockpit for a better grip.
If you're paying attention, you will also notice that I added another rub guard on the starboard side of the cockpit.  I thought that might also help with getting in and out of the boat.
And finally, I ran another line between the two deck toggles to keep them from sliding off the edge of the gunwales when I'm hoisting myself out of the cockpit.  I tested all this on the ground. I have yet to try it out on the water where it counts.

And finally, I formalized the padding in the cockpit.  Previously I just had a foam pad in the bottom of the boat.  I still only have a foam pad on the bottom of the boat, but now I cut it in half and doubled up on the bottom and tied it to the ribs and I also added a piece of foarm as a backrest.  This should help with sitting for hours while fishing.
More on the water testing is forthcoming. Stay tuned.

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