I just bought a new kayak a couple weeks ago. I had it on the water 10 times including some paddling in 2-4 foot waves on Lake Michigan in just the first week. I wasn’t really intending to buy a new kayak, but I was swept away and infatuated by her good looks and her light weight (it weighs 15 lbs less than my old kayak). We had a lot of fun together initially while my old kayak sat in the garage.
As is often the case in whirlwind romances, I have arrived at the point in the relationship where I’m starting to see the flaws in my partner. I’ve noticed some gelcoat cracks in the hull. One was probably impact damage while being moved around and could be easily repaired, but the other crack is right along the rear bulkhead going across the bottom of the hull. I’ve seen these kinds of cracks before, in my old kayak, and I’m not very excited to see it developing in the new boat. Even if I repair these cracks, they will likely just redevelop along the bulkhead again.
The biggest flaw, and the one that has the boat in for warranty repair right now, is a leaking day hatch rim. When I bought the boat, it was missing the cover for the day hatch. I was given a hatch cover for the boat, but it was one of the “lightweight” Kayak Sport covers. It is a lot easier to pop this cover on and off than the typical rubber hatch covers, but I was concerned that the cover was leaking when I noticed that there was water in the day hatch. I ordered a replacement rubber hatch cover, but was dismayed to see that there was still water getting into the hatch. I suspected that water might be leaking in through the pressure equalizing hole that was drilled through the bulkhead since I had done some re-entry and roll and paddle float rescue practice with the boat. However, that would not account for water in the day hatch on the days when I wasn’t practicing rolling and rescues.
I had noticed a bit of wetness along the underside of the rim and began to suspect the hatch rim was leaking, although I couldn’t see anywhere on the exterior of the rim where it looked like it was not firmly attached. I finally took the time to test this theory by putting the kayak on its side and pouring water inside the day hatch until it came up to the level of the bottom of the hatch rim but not high enough to be able to pour out of the hatch opening. It only took a few seconds before I could see water oozing out from between the hatch rim and the deck of the kayak. When I put the hatch cover back on and turned the kayak upside down, water poured out all around the rim. I wondered if the hatch cover was leaking at that point, but when I removed the hatch cover, the area on the outside of the rim that had been covered by the rubber hatch cover was completely dry, so the leaks were all the way around the rim.
The kayak manufacturer has agreed to repair the hatch under warranty, it remains to be seen if the repair will be satisfactory. In the meantime, I’ve gone back to my ex.