Building the "Swiss Army Knife" of Small Boats...Wood Duck Double #48: Electric Bilge Pump and Stern Rudder Pedals

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Blog entry by DustyMark posted 08-21-2020 03:32 AM 615 reads 0 times favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 47: Duck Blind Planning Part 48 of Building the "Swiss Army Knife" of Small Boats...Wood Duck Double series Part 49: Duck Blind Frame: Main Body »

Electric Bilge Pump
I struggled over where to locate the electric bilge pump. Normally I mount them behind the stern seat and attach the battery to the aft side of the stern bulkhead in the stern hatch compartment. My initial thought was to mount it behind the solo seat so that I could keep the fish cooler as far back as possible.

Here are the items I typically use for an electric bilge pump installation in a small boat. I was most of the way complete with building a pump system centered around a Pelican dry box and abandoned that for a standard installation. Mounting it behind the solo seat would have made it dangerous to wet exit the kayak from the rear tandem position with the spray deck installed.

I fabricated a bracket to hold the top of the pump from 1/8” thick aluminum scrap. I used footman loops and a 1” tie down strap to hold the body of the pump to the bulkhead. This is quite secure and allows me to remove the pump screen without tools to clean debris. This is a much simpler installation than my original plan.

The through-hull bilge fitting is stainless. I still need to paint it. I also need to install hose clamps.

I mounted the marine switch to some aluminum angle to the middle hip brace cleat. I used 14-gauge wire as recommended for the distance of the wiring run. This system should pump 18 gallons per minute as installed!

After drilling 10 holes through the Pelican box for a free-standing installation, I discovered it didn’t fit in the stern hatch compartment! That change of plans cost me $35…I ended up building a simple plywood box to contain the 12-volt, 5 amp-hour, AGM battery and fuse holder. I routed the wires through the bulkhead directly into the battery box. I’ll back the electric bilge pump system up with a collapsable bailing bucket.

Stern Rudder Controls
I purchased a second set of rudder controls so that I can operate the rudder from any of the three seating positions for super versatility.

This is the setting that is most comfortable for me in the stern position. (The middle seat would obviously be removed if I was paddling from the stern position.) I’m able to comfortably paddle with the middle hip braces installed. I lock my ankles around the brace. This is great since it gives me more of a connection to the boat for bracing. I also like it since the hip brace stiffens up that long run of coaming that is usually unsupported

I routed the stern rudder cables aft and outboard of the front rudder cables. I can switch rudder cables at the rudder head by removing a retaining ring from each clevis pin. I’ll fasten the unused set of cables to the stern hatch cover webbing tab with a small carabiner.

I’ll adjust the new cables tomorrow after the 3M 5200 adhesive caulk has cured.

NOTE: The kayak now weighs 65 pounds. That includes two sets of hip braces, a rudder system with pedals at stern and bow positions, one seat, and the electric bilge pump system. The tandem spray deck weighs another 12 pounds. That’s only 77 pounds for a Lake Superior-capable small tandem kayak. I’m quite happy with these final weights!

The rest of my blind building supplies arrived today, so it’s time to build the blind frame.

-- Mark, Minnesota

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