Staying Dry in a Motorized W500 Kayak

Bob Glandon (duck hunter) travels a good distance in the water to reach his hunting spots. To speed things up he mounted a 15″ outboard motor to his W500.

Since such short-shaft (S) motors are not standard for use with Wavewalk kayaks, at high speed he was still getting some water splashing up and into the boat from the open space between the shaft of the motor and the cockpit.

Engineering is Bob’s background and here is how he solved the problem:

Glandon1-MM
Short-Shaft Motor on W500

Bought two 11x32x1-1/4″ open cell kick-boards at the grocery store (only used one).  A little stiffer than a pool noodle stock.

Glandon3-MM
Seen from below, kick-board tucked under floatation

I stuck one end up above the underside noodle floats and bungied the back to the motor mount with it sticking back to make contact with the motor shaft.

Ran it around in the chop of Lake George, NY, off my dock and didn’t get any water in except some side splashing.
I rode forward slightly but kept the bow up for the wake chop so I’m sure I would have gotten water without the deflector.


Didn’t shape the Decorative fins but could to shape to motor. Foam meets the motor above the swivel point so I can get a tight fit.

Glandon2-MM
Secured splash-blocker… no drilling!

Back shock cord goes up to motor mount. One 6″ forward goes up onto inch clips on deck.  The unused board gives perspective. A 13″ wide would have been a snug fit but the side flanges of the motor mount seal it fairly well.

This provides an additional 16# floatation should you swamp — or slide way back while catching a big fish!
Simple and cheap!
Regards, Bob”

Thanks Bob, a really smart solution!

Note that Wavewalk recommends motorizing with 20-inch shaft motors, so that the head can be tight to the cockpit, the unwanted splash eliminated, and overall performance optimized.

 

Winter Pictures from 2 clients

Despite the warmest and most snow-barren winter on record we still have to wait for spring to get out on the water. Still, I received these photos and comments from 2 very happy upstate New York customers.

Rob Nilson's RigRob Nilson got a W500 because his knee problems made it impossible to fish from ordinary kayaks. He sent me this photo with the following message: "Yes, it's a great boat - this pic was last year at 7th. Lake outside of Inlet,NY. The boat seat is just a little to low. After a while my knees hurt. The chair is perfect & comfortable! Gets a lot of remarks too."
An Invisible Kayak?
An Invisible Kayak?

It took me a few minutes before I could find the W500 in this photo from duck hunter Bob Glandon. His comment on the Wavewalk: “Camo cloth for duck hunting. Worked well– just not my aim. Very solid for shooting from seated position. Had a dozen decoys in the hulls. Very comfy. Just wish my aim was as high quality as the boat!”

2 New Rigging Ideas from Ernie Balch

Ernie and Diane are enthusiastic Wavewalk owners in upstate New York. Below are photos of two modifications they sent in that you may find useful.

The first one is very simple. Just cut a slit in a pool noodle section and slip it over your saddle bracket. Eliminates the hard edge and provides a nice headrest when you want to take a nap.   I immediately implemented this on my own W500. I cut the noodle a little longer than the cockpit is wide to secure it under the gunnels.

Balch Saddle Bracket Cushion

The other mod is this very clever rod-holder system which you can see in both photos. It moves them from their typical location on the rear hulls to being in front of the angler for easier and instant access. The platform can be installed permanently or with j-hooks and wing nuts to allow repositioning and removal when you don’t need them. It also provides a useful work platform to hold other gear. Nice work Ernie!

Balch Rod Holder

 

 

Sonar in a Kayak (Redux)

In 2012 I installed a transducer in my W500 using the excellent method suggested by John Fabina, of Brew City Kayaks, a Wavewalk dealer in Wisconsin.

The system has worked very well but I didn’t like the way it looked.

The materials are very simple; some plastic foam (I used a slice of a large pool noodle), a section from a plastic food container and the ever-reliable duct seal. Note that you must use duct seal and not plumber’s putty.

For an even nicer look I will probably replace the ring from the yoghurt container with something like a slice of PVC pipe. The ring is the perfect moat to hold the 2 tablespoons of water needed to “see” through the hull.

The pictures tell the story.

Transducer Mount Redux433 Transducer Mount Redux434 Transducer Mount Redux435 Transducer Mount Redux436 Transducer Mount Redux437 Transducer Mount Redux438 Transducer Mount Redux439 Transducer Mount Redux440 Transducer Mount Redux441 Transducer Mount Redux442 Transducer Mount Redux443 Transducer Mount Redux444 Transducer Mount Redux445

 

Use Your Noodle(s)

Among the Wavewalk modifications I considered over this extended Northeast winter was an alternative way to install floatation in my W500 kayak. This article explains a new approach that I think many of you may want to implement.

Foam “pool noodles” have proven themselves to be a very good solution in many ways. They are extremely buoyant, virtually rot-proof and highly flexible. And available in a wide variety of colors! Attaching 2 is standard on all W500s and more can be added as an option, either by a dealer, factory direct or by Wavewalk owners themselves.

Installation is typically done in one of two ways, both using bungee cord threaded through the center of the noodle. First is to attach them on the outside of the kayak running along the and just below the gunnel. The other approach is to bungee them to the “ceiling” of the kayak’s underside which is, in fact, the underside of the saddle. This is the method I have used (with 4 noodles) until now.

It is important to remember that the purpose of the floatation is to aid in recovery of a swamped boat and not to increase the load-capacity. As a result, where they are attached is a matter of personal preference, as long as the connections are secure.

As you can see in the pictures, this new approach is remarkably simple. Each noodle is positioned inside the kayak, under the gunnel. The noodles are barely wider than the flared edge of the gunnel so they protrude into the passenger compartment by only about 1/2 inch. 4 noodles (2 per side) will fit easily as the hulls are over 11 feet long and the noodles are each about 5 feet. Fixing them in to the kayak is even easier than the traditional way. For each noodle you simply make 2 holes along the gunnel, each hole just wide enough to accommodate the zip-ties.

The noodles will droop slightly at the unsupported ends which extend into the hulls, but really has no negative effect other than cosmetic. If you want the noodles to stay straight and tight to the top of the hull, just insert a narrow wooden dowel into the noodle prior to installation.

If you want even more floatation you can take 4 additional noodles, cut each into 3 pieces and bundle them together with waterproof twine. Then you extend the dowel so it is halfway in the zip-tied noodle and halfway inside one piece of your noodle bundle. No additional attachment points are needed.

Top view of noodle installation
Top view of noodle installation

 

Side view
Side view
Detail of noodle extended into hull with slight droop
Detail of noodle extended into hull with slight droop. Note that it fits even with flush-mount rod holders (and saddle brackets)
"Bundled" noodle attached, supported by a dowel and hidden in hull
“Bundled” noodle attached, supported by a dowel and hidden in hull. Dark object is connector for Motor Mount.

 

Previous installation of 4 noodles underneath and between the hulls.
Previous installation of 4 noodles underneath and between the hulls.

I believe this approach offers a number of benefits:

  • The noodles are out of the way and almost invisible (a slight exaggeration).
  • They are completely protected from water damage as they are shielded from the rain and in the case of under-saddle installation, from splashing.
  • Any water that may reach them will quickly drip away.
  • They are protected from the wind and rain during transport so there is no stress on the mounting system.
  • Wind resistance while car-topping is reduced because they are inside the kayak.
  • Up to 8 noodles can be installed with almost no impact on internal storage.
  • You now have a comfortable, cushioned handhold whenever you grab the gunnel to lift, load, unload or move the boat.

I was concerned that they might interfere with draining the W500 but, it is not an issue. When the boat is flipped over to empty any water that may have gotten in (rain has been the only time for me) the noodles leave the gunnel channels unobstructed so the water can flow to the 3 drainage holes at each end of the kayak.

Please let me know if you have any questions or suggestions.

No hands method to load and unload a Wavewalk

Late this season Al Arioli purchased a W500. He is working on a plan to add a rowing system for the coming spring such that he will be facing in the direction of travel rather than the traditional method where you are always looking where you’ve been.

In the meantime, Al has devised a method to get his Wavewalk on and off of his Prius (see car-topping story W kayak attached on top of Toyota Prius at the Wavewalk blog) without even touching it!

The system is  effective and low-cost. Just some rope, a few pulleys and some 2 lengths of dowel.

The suspended Wavewalk
The suspended Wavewalk
Detail of pipe slipped between handles
Detail of dowel slipped between handles

 

Close-up of pulley system
Close-up of pulley system

Al just pulls into the garage, slides the dowels under the handles at each end of his W500 and pulls the rope. When its time to head out he just reverses the process.

Simple is best. Thanks Al!

Nice Job Diane!

 

Ernie and Diane Balch recently took delivery on a W500. When they told me they were in the sign (Ernie) and Promotions (Diane) Business in upstate New York I immediately asked if they could make me a decal for my Wavewalk. Here it is (one on each side). 

Wavewalk

Now when people ask “What kind of boat is that?” I can stop spelling it out for them. Perfect!

Thanks Diane. If anyone would like a set for their W500 you can reach Diane at balchsigns.com.

Back Support in a Wavewalk

Once I get out on the water to fish, I want to stay as long as I can. Wavewalk owners agree that our kayaks are far more comfortable than any traditional SIK (Sit-in, or as I call them “Stuck-in”) or SOT (Sit-on-Top, or as I think of them “Soggy-On-Top”) models. This is because you are liberated from the “L-position” they impose. We’ll talk about how a Wavewalk keeps you bone-dry in another article.

Nonetheless, after 4 or 5 hours, it would be wonderful to have a chance to sit back in a comfy chair with full back support and maybe some armrests for your weary casting arm. To this end, many Wavewalkers have discovered that inexpensive plastic lawn chairs (both regular and Adirondack-style) fit perfectly in a W500.

As great as this is, there are a few annoyances as well. First, the chair is bulky to transport. Not a big deal but it is one more thing to stuff into the car. More importantly, once placed in the W500, the legs block access to whatever items are stored in the twin hulls that may be either under or behind the chair.

Below is a simple project that makes it a delight to spend 8 or more continuous hours on the water, as I had the chance to do this past weekend. That allowed me to land more than 30 largemouth bass and 35 pickerel in a single outing. Thank you Wavewalk! Here is a modification that is simple, inexpensive and extraordinarily comfortable

ChairStandingOnGunwale
Inexpensive chair, standing on W500 gunwales

ChairwithLegsinBoat
Same chair, with its feet on the hull floors

ChairinBoat-2
Close-up of legs

Chair-Legless-Bottom
Same chair, legs removed and 2 strips of 1/2 inch foam attached

LeglessChair in Boat
Legless chair at rear of cockpit

Legless-2
Legless chair moved to center of saddle

To my surprise, the legless chair will not move an inch once you are seated. This means that you can relocate yourself at any time just as you can with no chair. And without the legs the chair is easy to transport, easier to put in and remove, and the lack of legs means total access to your gear. And while the Adirondack models have imposing arms, the type of chair pictured allows you complete freedom to paddle while seated in the lap fo luxury.

2 footnotes. First, I don’t bother with the chair unless I expect to be out for more than 4-5 hours as the Wavewalk lets me stand, stretch, change position and lay flat at any time. Second, the paint just sprays on, but it does scrape off fairly easily. I am searching for a $10 yellow version!

This has proven to be one of the best “mods” to my Wavewalk.