Top Tips

Which skeg to choose

We offer a choice of 4 systems: The wire slider is standard, while the following can be fitted as a custom feature:

The hydraulic skeg, the front and rear rope skegs and the combined skeg-rudder system are all made by Kari-Tek.

Skeg or rudder

The skeg can be used to trim the kayak in wind, and it does not get in the way of tow lines or become a danger when undertaking rescues – which we often see with the traditional rudder. For single kayaks we normally favour skeg over rudders because they handle well enough in intermediate to advanced conditions not to require rudders.

For our double kayak, The Triton, or for racing, however, we recommend a rudder when kayaking in conditions above force 4. In this case we suggest the Kari-Tek skeg-rudder system which is a combination of rudder and skeg. It is a hydraulic system that sits in the kayak in the same manor as a skeg, but also operates as a rudder when fully down. The skeg-rudder does not get in the way during rescues and will retract automatically without damage if needed. For further information, please see Kari-Tek.

Foam seat or the high performance fiberglass seat?

Q: I’m looking for a more comfortable seat for my standard Romany, to give me a little more room below deck and put me in a more positive (forward) paddling position. Would you recommend the foam seat or the high performance fiberglass seat?

The new glass seat will allow you to have a better posture in the kayak but some people still want foam seats. I think the only answer is to try them both. My advice would be to try the new glass seat first, this can be unbolted from brackets very easily so its no problem to fit a foam seat if you do not like it.

Which seat to choose

We offer two designs of glass seats and a foam seat.

The High performance glass seat is our standard seat (post 1/3 2009) and comes in two sizes.

You can buy this seat as a retro fit kit, please see Retrofit High performance seat for instructions. The easiest thing for you would be to go through your local shop, although if you want to, you can still deal with us directly.

The Classic glass seat is glassed into position offering no adjustment (old style). If you are ordering a Classic glass seat, please specify the boat that you want it for in your order.

If you want to replace a Classic glass seat, please find instructions here.

Furthermore, we offer a foam seat that you can glue into place yourself, please see Alter foam seat.

The best way to get the kayak that suits your needs, is to try the kayaks. Get in touch with your local Sea Kayaking UK dealer. Most of the shops also offer on-the-water demos and experienced advice.

We would recommend that you demo the kayak before you place an order and preferably in force 3+ winds.

Polishing

Polishing your kayak will fill in small scratches and make your kayak look newer. In reality it is actually removing a small layer of the gel coat making it thinner so do it in moderation. Using a power polisher and a sheep skin buffer, or a rag and a lot of elbow grease work through.

How to store the kayak

  • Always leave boats in storage with hatch covers removed.
  • Always store out of direct sunlight and ideally under cover.
  • Always sponge your kayak dry, as kayaks will absorb water from the inside.
  • Store the kayak upside down.

Do not store the kayak on a wet or damp ground as it could cause osmosis.

How to transport the kayak

  • Remove hatch covers when transporting.
  • Unless the kayak is being carried in a customized rack, we advice fastening the kayak upside down on a padded roof rack.
  • The bow and stern should be tied to the front and rear of the vehicle.

Try and park the car in a shaded area. The surface temperature of dark coloured kayaks can increase as much as 20 degrees more than white surfaces.

Refitting Cockpit Rim

Grind off all the old Gel from the inside of the cockpit.

Wipe clean all the surfaces with Solvent (Acetone etc.)

With the boat upright on stands, place the new rim in position and hold down with masking tape.

Make sure there is sufficient gap underneath the rim for the spraydeck (use pieces of foam underneath rim to get the right gap).

Turn boat upside down.

Fixing Rim: Fill the space between the cockpit rim and deck. We use a mixture of Gelcoat/Pre-Gel/Catalyst or you could use a Methacrylate Adhesive e.g. Plexus MA300 or Adekit A300.

Once filled, check under the rim for any excess material which may have leaked out of any gaps and remove whilst wet.

If using Gel coat, leave to harden overnight. If using glue allow a couple of hours to fully harden.

Renewing the Wire in a Kayak with a Plastic Skeg Box

  • Using an ALLEN KEY, undo the Grub Screw (Anticlockwise) in the Skeg Slider at the side of the boat. Only undo it enough so that it no longer grips the old wire, not all the way out.
  • Undo the two ALLEN Bolts, which hold the Skeg Blade assembly in place and pull down the whole Skeg Blade assembly, then undo the screw, which holds the old wire in place. Pull out the old wire.
  • Locate the fitting on top of the Skeg Box through the Rear Hatch. Using a 13mm Spanner, undo the TOP nut only. Do not undo the lower nut. When it is loose, pull the Nylon Tube out of the fitting. There should be a brass ring stuck to the tube. Do not try to remove this. (This ring forms the waterproof seal).
  • Slide in the new wire from the Skeg Slider end until about 6” project from end of the loose tube at the Skeg Box end. (The softer wire tends to fray, so be patient with it !!!!)
  • Hold the end of the new wire at the Skeg Box end & feed it down the fitting on top of the Skeg Box until the Brass ring touches the top of the fitting. Place the TOP nut back on the fitting & tighten it back on using a 13mm spanner. (Do not tighten it up too much !!!). Push the end of the new wire into the hole in the Blade that you pulled the old wire out of, and tighten up the screw, which holds the wire in place.
  • From the Skeg Slider end, pull the wire until the whole Skeg Assembly is back into the box. Replace the two Allen bolts to hold it in position.

From the Skeg Slider end, pull the new wire through until the blade is back up in the box. Cut the new wire to length, so that the end just touches the front of the inside of the Skeg Slider box. With the blade fully up in the box, slide the Skeg Slider forward, and retighten the grub screw. The skeg should now work !!!!!

Repair a damaged Kari-Tek plastic skeg box

Equipment needed: Allen key set, hand router, acetone, adequate safety equipment, 40 grit sandpaper, wax, gel and hardener, resin and hardener, fibre glass matting, marker pen, masking tape, brushes.

  • Use the Allen key to undo the grub screw located in the skeg operating slider near the cockpit area (this will release the skeg wire from the skeg slider)
  • Turn the kayak over (upside down) and use the Allen key to undo the two Allen key bolts on the front and the back of the skeg cassette. Then pull the skeg cassette out and the wire should follow
  • Inspect the area of where the damage is and mark with a marker pen the length of area which has released
  • With the hand router, carefully router the damaged area alongside the plastic lip of the skeg box (try not to router any of the plastic lip away), also try not to plunge the router in too deep, only about 8mm deep. Use the markers previously drawn as a guide to the length needed to be routered away
  • Clean area up of any dust and grit, then using masking tape, tape area up to stop any splashes of resin or gel to get on to the kayak
  • Mix a little resin with hardener and wet out little bits of fibre glass matting, fill the hole which has been routered out with the wetted out matting
  • Use a brush to stuff it in, but just enough to make sure that there is no air
  • Leave to harden
  • Once hardened, sand down smooth with the 40 grit sand paper, then mix the gel with hardener (also put a little wax in so it’s not sticky afterwards). Brush the gel on top of the repaired area, clean away any drips etc with a cloth dipped in acetone (use gloves etc)

When complete follow steps 1 and 2 in reverse order to re-connect the skeg cassette.

Gel coat repairs and star cracks

Never try to gel coat repair shallow scratches. A thin layer of gel coat isn’t structurally strong enough to prevent itself cracking off. Either deepen the scratch using a small blade or grinder, or leave it. Unless the scratch goes through to the glass matting it won’t harm the boat.

Thin hairline cracks – star cracks – present a bigger problem. These need to be repaired eventually. It’s ok to leave them until the end of the season but much longer than that and water will penetrate the glass fibre matting and cause it to delaminate. These need to be widened using a small blade or grinder and then repaired with gel coat.

Wipe the repair with styrene to re-activate the old gel coat. This provides a chemical bond rather than just a physical one. Apply masking tape around the area. Add the catalyst to the gel coat according to the manufactures advice and mix well. Brush the gel coat over the area, remove the masking tape and leave it to dry thoroughly. Sand the repair flush using a sanding block and working your way through wet and dry paper, from a course grit to a fine one. For best results polish the area. For a bomb proof job, glass a thin layer of matting on the inside of the hull covering the area of star cracks.

How to fix a hole through the glass in the hull

From the inside:

  • Sand the area around the hole. Remove any dust and clean the surface using acetone.
  • Cut out 4 pieces of chopped strand mat that overlap the hole by about 2″ (50 mm) all the way round.
  • Wet them out using resin mixed with catalyst (this makes the resin go hard).
  • Place them over the hole layer by layer. Make sure the edges are pressed down well.
  • Leave to harden.
  • Sand down any rough edges to leave it smooth.

From the outside:

  • Mix gel coat with the colour pigment & catalyst.
  • Fill the hole making sure there are no air bubbles trapped in the gel coat.
  • Fill above the level of the surface.
  • Leave to harden.

Smooth down using wet & dry sand paper.

Retrofit High performance seat

  • Equipment needed: Seat, adjustable plastic side parts and four bolts, backrest, foam seat pad, Allen key set, acetone, tape measure, cloths, spatula, mixing board, heavy weight (small bag of sand), adequate safety equipment, ITW Plexus MA300 glue / methacrylate SS 605 glue.
  • The Romany Excel and Surf range kayaks need additional plastic side parts
  • Make sure that there are no restrictions in cockpit area that will restrict use or retro-fitting of the adjustable seat
  • Place foam seat pad in hull of boat, but do not remove the glue protection layer at this stage as you do not want it to stick in place yet
  • Place the fully assembled seat on top of this pad, and then measure the seat in to place (each boat has different seat placement measurements, so please seek advice on the required measurements). Once in place slide the foam pad forward (which will now be located under the seat) so that the front edge of the pad is about 30 mm in front of the seat. Once all is in place and you are happy with the measurements, mark with the marker pen where the seat pad is located and also where the seat is located (we normally mark where the adjustable plastic bars are which are located on the sides of the seat). Then remove seat and foam pad from hull to leave markings shown
  • With a cloth and some acetone (please wear adequate safety equipment) wipe down area to remove any dirt etc from boat (be careful not to wipe markings away)
  • Peel the glue protection layer off the back of the foam seat pad and then carefully place on hull, aligning to the markings placed earlier
  • Then place the fully assembled seat on top of the pad and align to the markings earlier drawn
  • Mix glue up on mixing board and have at hand a couple of clean spatulas (please wear adequate safety equipment) pull one side of the seat away and smear glue along the adjustable plastic bar on side of seat (the side in contact with the hull of the boat) and repeat on the opposite side. Clean any excess away as soon as possible as it will set in approx 15 minutes. Attach the seat by using 2 bolts on either side of the seat.

Place heavy weight on the seat to keep in place. Once set, remove heavy weight and attach backrest, also fit outsides of seat with adequate foam blocks/wedges supplied