Tip: Juice stowage inside Fenn XT.
Saturday, 25 February 2006
Dehydration is generally regarded as a Bad Thing when paddling. So, if a race is likely to be more than an hour long, paddlers take liquid with them - and where to stow it is a subject of considerable debate.
For many, the solution is to tape a bladder to the deck in front of the rudder pedals and to run a pipe back to the seat. Others prefer "Tripper" type PFDs that have a pocket on the back into which the bladder can be fitted. The pipe is run through a series of Velcro straps to the front of the PFD.
Both of these solutions, by adding weight above the centre of gravity of the ski, lessen stability.
This article describes a solution implemented by David Cade who lives in Hout Bay, Cape Town.
David owns a Fenn XT and his stowage solution is simple, elegant and efficient. It does require a small amount of handiwork, as shown in the photographs.
Step one: Install a hatch in the front part of the seat as shown below. A small amount of stringer material must be removed to make room for the juice bladder.
Step two: Attach a plastic saddle to the inside of the ski using stainless steel bolts - David positioned his on the left rail of the cockpit. In the photo you can see an identical saddle showing how the bladder is attached with a snap connector.
Step three: Drill a hole in the hatch cover for the juice pipe. David constructed a connector out of clear plastic positioned through a rubber grommet and sealed with Marine sealant. The rubber pipe is pushed onto either end of the connector. "It's important to ensure that the hatch cover is properly sealed," said David, "because it's mostly under water."
Step four (optional): Construct a tool to assist you in tightening the hatch cover. "I made the tool for loosening the hatch," said David, "when the hands are old, cold and tired!"
When in use, the bladder hangs down into the bottom of the hull, with the juice in the centre of the ski. This is clearly the optimum position and actually enhances stability. "Not only that," said David, "but the juice is kept cool too!"