Updated 2021 for Seawave 2
Grappling to get the boat out of the muddy Medway river at Yalding one time put a light scrape on the hull. It reminded me that, along with fitting PRVs to the sidetubes, another winter job was to fit a protective strake under the bow where most scraping occurs. Better to get the protection in early while the boat is newish.
A 70 x 15cm Hypalon off-cut (close enough to Nitrilon) was 14 quid on ebay and once trimmed left enough for another strake or two. I had some Polymarine two-part adhesive (below) and glued the strip to the boat’s curved form with the floor inflated, even if that meant working the roller to press it all together was less effective. I then slathered some Seam Seal around the nose of the strake to protect it from unpeeling (less runny Aquaseal would have been better but a Seam Seal tube was open. More on glues here).
2021 Update A strake is a good idea but actually got hardly worn, so on Seawave 2 I just stuck on some Gorilla tape, maybe two layers, in the same place. Easily renewed/removed.
While the boat was filling the hallway and causing a hazard to domestic navigation I also bodged up a better system for the all-important footrest. A bit of inner tube now counter-tensions the footrest from the bow to keep it in position. It means the thing is now fully adjustable across a wide range of positions, can easily be fine-tuned from the water, removes in seconds for boat cleaning/drying and needed no extra fittings glued to the boat. Once great thing about the Seawave is the multitude of attachment points on the floor and sides.
2021 Update On Seawave 2 I just passed an adjustable sling through the tube and clipped it to the sides (left). Much simpler.
While on the river my aged Mk1 Alpacka U-seat base went flat, split right in the U. This seat is part of a lighter and comfier system I brought over from my Amigo – an improvement on the one-piece Seawave seats. It’s currently unfixed to the boat and the thin nylon must have ripped while yanking it into position on the river after getting back in. Again, I’m trying to avoid gluing extra D-rings to the hull – they’d limit seat base adjustment options anyway.
Better then to attach the seat base to the base of the backrest with a couple of zip ties. The whole backrest/seat base can then slide forward and back off the backrest side straps and it all unclips from the boat in less than 3.7 seconds. I glued up the punctured U-seat but it won’t last, so I’ve ordered MkII Alpacka seats (left) from Packrafting Store: €70 delivered for a pair. From Alpacka US the seats cost $25 but their auto-calculated international postage is nuts, let alone tax and VAT issues. These seats have the U filled in like a webbed foot: stronger and less floppy for just ~12g extra weight.
2021 Update. I’m using the same system on Seawave 2; a non-U packraft seatbase and a used backrest off a Bic SoT with a piece of stiff plastic board slotted inside.
I’ve also ditched my old my SoT thigh straps (left). Nicely padded and effective though they were, the brass spring connectors and padding made them feel heavy and bulky at ~720g.
Instead I got some non-padded Anfibio packrafting straps (they’re different now). With my biners they come in at 270g. The delta-straps dangling off the sides are a clever idea, designed to give a more direct pull when rolling a packraft for example. Can’t see myself doing that in any of my boats. Whether you’re rolling or just paddling, in rough water the more direct connection with the boat the better. I’m a big fan of these light but effective straps now. No need for paddling.