07 December 2009

SHOP: bombproof anchor

Occasionally I have to install a stainless steel saddle onto a kayak as an anchor for accessories that need mounting on the deck.
A typical installation requires drilling of the deck, two stainless steel bolts, a couple of washers below deck and some nylock nuts to fasten the saddle securely.
For light loads this installation is perfect: fast and easy.

For and anchor point that requires higher loads this method might not be ideal.
I needed some anchor points for the stays for my sailing mast that could take a higher load.
The typical saddle installation created a stress spot on the deck and some cracking occurred in high winds.

At the Rock and Roll hosted by NSWSKC, Andre Janecky (Hybrid Australia) showed me a more secure way of anchoring the saddle. It requires a bit more drilling and some epoxying but the results are superior to the conventional way.

a stronger saddle mounting on the deck of my Mockpool
Below I have documented the procedure I used to mount the saddle :
(these images are not of the work on the Mockpool)

First, I measured the width of the saddle.

I marked this width on the spot where I wanted my anchor.

I drilled out a slot wide enough to accommodate the saddle’s arch.

and I filed the slot's edges smooth

The saddle is shown here sitting snugly in the slot.

and viewed below deck

Andre showed me that epoxy putty can be used to anchor securely the saddle to the underside of the deck and at the same time create a wider footprint for load distribution.

carbon cloth used for the patch
Andre showed me that epoxy putty can be used to anchor securely the saddle to the underside of the deck and at the same time create a wider footprint for load distribution.
I preferred to use a patch of composite fabric and epoxy. The results are similar: one is cheaper but messier, the putty a bit easier to use.
This view inside the front hatch shows the laminate of carbon cloth with resin and some very thick epoxy glue (resin with microfiber filler) to seal and secure the saddle.
I tinted the glue with pigment to match the deck’s color so the drilled slot would not be as visible.

the job does not look pretty but it is no visible inside the small front hatch opening


  1. So why is it? I spent decades sticking needles into people and threading catheters up into their hearts. Hell, I even did biopsies where I snipped pieces of their heart tissue off for testing. So why is it that I find it so hard to put even the tiniest drill holes into one of my boats?

  2. Silbs, could it be that you are more familiar with "drilling holes" into human bodies than fiberglass?
    Believe me, I was rather worried the first time I took a surgical tool, I mean a drill, to my kayak.
    Surprisingly it didn't hurt a bit.
    In the worse case scenario any hole that I messed up could have been easily fixed with a bit of resin and gelcoat.
    I don't think that the same can be said about messing up a human body :-)
    Go ahead, make holes in that kayak if needed: it's liberating

  3. If you dont want to use steel, I have basically done the same thing in the past using https://whitworths.com.au/main_itemdetail.asp?item=75242&search123=slug&intAbsolutePage=1

    18 years of constant (high) tension from doubled 8? mm shock cord with no ill-effects :)

    1. Wonderful alternative to steel, worth noting. These days I use recessed anchors: http://gnarlydognews.blogspot.com.au/2010/02/shop-recessed-deck-anchor.html


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