Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A Rock and a Hard Place

Picture of canoe skid plate in place.
Illus. used with permission.

I’m very fastidious about my boats and gear, or try to be. Yet, no matter how careful I am with Ibi, she seems to find rocks on her own. It’s almost like the rocks come to her.

I had two bumps on the stem that took the gel coat off, so it’s nothing serious or structural at all. Yesterday, after giving Ibi a good cleaning, I filled the voids in the stem with West System Epoxy and sanding filler. It’s probably the smallest batch of putty I’ve ever mixed. But, it brings me back to a recommendation Gus Bianchi had made during the Florida Keys Challenge. He had just gotten a new boat before the event, and ran a continuous strip of KeelEazy the full length of the keel. KeelEazy is a PVC tape with its own adhesive that is bonded to the boat with a heat gun or hair dryer. It is supposed to eliminate problems with light groundings or dragging the boat onto the beach.

Having previously painted the bottom after the Gulf Coast trip left me with a number of oyster shell scrapes, I emailed them to asked if the KeelEazy could be applied over the paint without removal, or if I’d have to sand it all off. They said the paint was fine as long as I thoroughly cleaned the surface with rubbing alcohol.

Looking at the bottom, I have no scrapes on the keel line, just on the stem and end of the keel next to the rudder. They sell 2 and 3-inch tape in several colors, and a canoe skid plate kit that is made up of a 2” X 22” strip that is then covered by a 3” piece the same length for both ends. It is supposed to protect as well as an epoxy skid plate without the disadvantage of added weight. The stem and forward area on Ibi would need more than 22-inches, so I bought the tape by the foot to adopt the idea, but with a longer section forward. I placed an order this morning. Thanks, Gus.

If you wish to see if it might work for you, here’s the site link for KeelEazy. There are also You Tube videos on doing the installation.

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