|Conversion of Pyranha Spanish Fly OC1 from foam bulkhead to straps.|
I’ve decided to write this article, as I couldn’t find any other information about such a project. This is the one and only strap conversion I have ever attempted and I’m really pleased with the results. Paddling is more secure and rolling is far easier. I owe a lot to the article on outfitting by Sammer Elias at http://www.open-canoe.de/open/canoes/fitting/fitting_guide.h tml, and the Wavesport Z conversion project by Jamie Dors at Playak. For supplies I thoroughly recommend Pennine Outdoor for the webbing, and ACE Supplies for the cam buckles, tri-glides and D-rings. ACE Supplies were kind enough to send the parts as samples rather than full price. The nuts and bolts came from the local DIY shop. If you have any questions I can’t profess to be an expert but will try and help if you if you get in touch.
I decided to convert the boat to straps as I was struggling to keep my bum on the saddle rolling with the thigh hook system-I just couldn’t get it tight enough and when I did it lasted for a session before the foam started floating away. The other consideration was a safety one. With the thigh hooks there is no quick release and it’s near impossible to get your legs free when pushed against the back deck
I am about 5’9 with size 8 (UK) feet. My saddle is about 8 inches high and runs from thwart to thwart. At three points about 2 inches from the base of the saddle I have pushed 1.5 inch diameter plastic pipe through to transfer water from one side to the other.
The straps are self-equalising. One strap runs from the hull about 2 inches in from the end of my knee and vertically from the start of the tumblehome. It should probably be a bit lower so it is level with where the strap crosses my knee but I was worried about the bolt catching on rocks and the hull leaking (as this would be around the water line of the boat). The strap is then passed through a D-ring secured to the saddle and finished with a cam buckle secured with a tri-glide. The strap is passed through the tri-glide as you would a climbing harness to prevent slipping. The other strap is fixed on the hull level with my hips and then is fed into the cam buckle. This strap is fixed vertically in line with where it crosses my thigh and in line with my hips. Hopefully the photos make this a bit clearer. Everything was carefully marked out with tape before I started and I checked and double-checked that I would be able to exit without having to undo the straps.
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The last thing I did was to remove the saddle and glue a strip of sleeping mat along the bottom covering the shaft assembly. This levelled the saddle, fixed it against the thwarts and will hopefully stop the hull wearing along the line of the shaft.