After a few months of testing the skipper seat mod (and being pretty happy with the
results) I decided to polish off a few rough edges and make the prototype more of a
The first thing I had to do was beef-up the 25mm aluminium crossbar under the seat.
After 6 trips out and over 40 hours in the saddle, the original 1mm gauge ally tube
was showing a bit of distortion and one ding where the seat-base had dug into it.
So rather than suffering a catastrophic failure due to metal fatigue, I upgraded
to 25mm x 1.6mm gauge tubing. Although it doesn't really show in this photo,
it's much beefier than the original 1.0mm tube.
The next step was to find a more permanent and secure way of attaching the crossbar
to the seat base. The original cable-tie method worked pretty well, but occasionally
one or more of the cable-ties would have 'popped' by the end of a day on the water.
My preferred method was to machine a 25mm diameter semi-circular slot across the seat
base to recess the crossbar and make it more stable and easier to secure. However I
couldn't find a simple way to do this. A router was no good and to manually cut and
file the slot would've been a long and painful process. I did check with a couple of
machine shops, but it wasn't worth their while to set up their gear to do a one-off
job like this.
So, it was onto plan-B. I decided to use a couple of 25mm mounting clips and saddles
to fasten the crossbar to the seat-base. Similar to the cable-tie method, but far more
robust. One clip at each side of the seat-base to locate and attach the crossbar and
one saddle to ensure the tube won't pop-out when pedaling.
The first step was to affix the mounting clips to the outside of the seat-base. I used
two 25mm x 4mm stainless screws with 10mm washers and nyloc nuts for each clip, with
a few dabs of PVC adhesive to give a bit of extra strength.
The trickiest part of the operation was to make sure the alignment of the clips and crossbar
was spot-on. It was the old adage of "measure twice, cut once", or words to that effect.
The crossbar was then inserted into the mounting clips, aligned and a couple of strips
of PVC electrical tape applied, under the mounting saddles, to provide a bit of extra
'grip'. The saddles were then attached with slightly beefier 40mm x 5mm stainless screws,
20mm washers and nyloc nuts. The screws were inserted through the top of the seat - the
screw heads protrude by about 4mm, but when the seat pad is attached, they can't be felt.
I also added sections of 25mm PVC tube (actually a 25mm joiner cut in half) over the ends
of the crossbar to help locate the seat assembly in the hull-mounting clips and prevent
any lateral movement of the seat. I used these, rather than closed end-caps, for a couple
1. To prevent the chance of corrosion (if water gets trapped inside the crossbar)
2. The open ends are perfect for inserting fingers and popping the crossbar out when
the seat needs to be removed.
They are currently just attached via a tight push-fit, but will either glue or pop-rivet
them into place.
The finished crossbar - feels much more robust and durable than the old cable-tie version.
I also performed a couple of other minor upgrades to the seat. The first was to replace the
original screws that hold the seat base and back together. Out went the (extremely wimpy)
self-tappers and in went two 316 stainless 30mm x 5mm screws, with 25mm washers and nylocs.
I also replaced the old hooks on the rear bungee with Hobie #2101 shockcord snap hooks. These
are much easier and quicker to attach to the rear-well eyelets.
That's it for now. I still have to test these latest 'upgrades' on the water, but I'd say it's
95% complete and a version update to "V0.9" seems appropriate!