Submitted: 09-09-2003 by jmcphoto1
I suspect the problem described below by robertec is created by the poly of the saddle and the poly of the boat hull chaffing, I first experienced this problem with another set of poly saddles (from a company on Long Island that is no longer in business.) creating gray patches on the yellow hull of my Loon 138. I tried solvents and rubbing compounds to remove them to no avail, will try some sandpaper. To remedy the problem I contacted cemented some closed cell foam to the saddles, gray foam appx. 1/8" thick with one smooth surface and one suede like surface (up) and this at least seemed to not make the gray patches worse. The foam did not seem to effect sliding the kayak on, but actually seemed to grip the hull better as they were cinched down. As the fleet grew I acquired a set of Thule Stackers and have the original saddles flanking that to support the hulls of the stacked boats and have not noticed any graying where the hulls contact the saddles on my two shorter yellow boats. (Yes I have a fleet of bananas, better to be seen by the power boaters and jet skiers, easily the most visible color on the water and not in the red/green colorblind range.)
I purchased a set of Land Sharks to haul the Loon and as the gray patches didn't appear to worsen, I did not bother adding the foam pads. I recently purchased another banana and after the first trip did notice the same type of gray blemish. Back to the foam pads, and I did find a better (neater) of attaching the foam. It is a product called Visual Pursuits Galerie Mount, intended for mounting photographs. It is available in camera stores, marketed by BKA should your local store need to order it. It is available in 8X10 and 11X14 sheets in packs of 6, one 11X14 sheet does 2 saddles, and is a ultra thin polyester film on with contact adhesive both sides, covered with a heavy release paper. This also works well for adding padding in the cockpit or under the front deck. Make a cardboard template of the saddle and cut the pads to size with a scissors or exacta knife. Cut the Galerie Mount from the same template, remove the release paper from one side and press it to the smooth side of the foam, if you gently set it in place you an reposition it (same when applying foam to saddle) and once positioned, apply firm pressure for permanent seal. Repeat the same process on the saddles making sure they are clean and free of 303 or the such. I was able to mount the pads on the saddles mounted on the rack on top of my mini van. The whole process takes about 15 to 30 minutes and is much simpler than my instructions may lead you to believe.
The Land Sharks do hold the kayak extremely securely, had the kayak on the rack for a month long trip to Florida, with some warm sunshine without any oil canning at all. I agree with the previous poster ti would be advisable to keep the hull and pads as clean as possible and those with composit hulls may still want to use a soft cloth between the pad and the boat. My brother just purchased a set of Rode Gear Universal Saddles for his Surburban factory rack and we will be padding those this week. These appear to be made by Yakima (store brand?) with wide U-bolts and only $60 for the 4 saddles complete with straps and front and rear tie-downs included. Not much more than the foam blocks and a muchmore secure way to carry a kayak.