Being just over six months away from the big day, we are inundated with lists of things to be done, supplies and equipment to be purchased, and loose ends to be tied. We try to tackle a couple of things each week, so that we can see progress toard our goal and keep the feelings of being overwhelmed (an expected but intense emotion when on the brink of any major life change) at bay.
Kayak racks were certainly not at the top of the list of things to be done, but they had earned a spot as stowing them was a real pain in the rear. We bought our kayaks the summer we purchased The Red Thread. We found a damn good deal on craigslist and paid about ~$400 for a pair of 10-foot Islander Encore kayaks. Until now, we’ve kept the kayaks on the top of the cabin, tied down with ropes. They were stable, but the process of tying them down was annoying, as we had to loop rope around them several times in multiple directions to ensure stability (it doesn’t sound like much, but it took about 10+ minutes). Because getting them on and off the boat was such a production, we sometimes chose not to use them all (are we lazy…maybe?). They also blocked our hatches, something that is of little consequence in winter but is less than desirable during summer months.
We spent some time shopping around for premade kayak racks, and there are surprisingly few options. Inspired our neighbors at Elliott Bay Marina, we decided to build our own! With a few measurements and a hand drawn diagram in tow, we set off to Fisheries. It didn’t take long to assemble our new racks, and we are really happy with the final product! Each rack consists of two stainless steel bars that are mounted to a stanchion. Bimini straps loop through two top caps, which hold either end of the kayak snuggly to the lifelines and connect at the inner base of each stanchion. We haven’t been able to get out sailing to see how the jib sheets interact with our new racks, but there aren’t any extraneous pieces of metal on which the lines might catch. We will keep a close eye but don’t expect problems.
All-in-all, we spent around $200 (two boat bucks – check out our parts and supplies list below), a bit less than we would have had to pay for the standards racks, and we created a customized product that will keep our kayaks secure and will make it much easier for us to launch our little boats.
Parts & supplies (to build two sets of kayak racks)*
- 4 12″ stainless steel straight bars
- 4 60° stainless steel rail fittings
- 4 top caps
- 4 bimini top straps
*All bars and fittings were 1″.