In the past several months I have made several minor modifications to the Cabin Skiff and I thought it might be of interest to list them here.  

My local dock is under the control of the Illinois Department of Conservation and they have been working there to do some improvements.  This is good and bad.  The good is when done the channel will be dredged and new courtesy docks added.  The bad news is that when they started they pulled out the old docks.  This was six months ago and since then the only way to get to shore is to pull up on the concrete ramp.  The sound of fiberglass and or wood scraping on concrete is not pleasant. I grit my teeth every time!

After fighting this for a couple of months thinking they would get it fixed I finally decided to add a “keel guard” to protect the hull. These are offered by several companies in various colors and lengths.  Measuring confirmed that a 5’ unit would work just fine and run from the bow eye to the front of the skeg.  I purchased a dark blue one from one of the mail order houses for about $110.  Application was fairly easy and I am pleased with the result. 

In addition to this I also added a 1” x 16” x 1/8” piece of aluminum to the front of the skeg.  I found that on shallower ramps and landings that the skeg would hit before the keel guard.  I attached it with three countersunk wood screws and waterproof sealant.  I plan to keep and eye on it and if it starts to wear appreciably I will replace with a strip if stainless.

Another item I decided to add are chafe guards at the cleats. I have noticed that the Easypoxy paint is somewhat easy to damage and when the ropes pulled tight they scuff against the deck edge (Note scratch! This could be result of my use of automotive primer under paint).  The biggest problem was when using the bow cleats for the anchor rope. I bought some 1/2” diameter aluminum rod and machined an edge flat. Using countersunk screws I attached these to the deck in front of the cleat. It may not look the best but it works.  I thought about painting them but the paint would probably be rubbed off them too.

The top of the instrument panel, glove box area and berth hatch seems to be a catch-all area when cruising.  Things like sunglasses, binoculars, pencils and cameras all seem to get tossed up there. Sitting directly on the wooden top they tend to rattle around and slide off.  I wanted to add some type of a non-skid surface to help hold them in place.  I had a couple of different things in mind but settled on a foam rubber type shelf lining material made for kitchen cabinets and tool box drawers. It is inexpensive and available at WalMart and most hardware stores.
I attached it with wood screws set in plastic caps that snap closed hiding the screw head (common hardware store item).  These not only add to the appearance but create a larger head to hold the lining in place.

The foam material has worked very well.  It cushions anything sitting up there and really grips keeping things form sliding off.  I have left my binoculars on top of the hatch while running on very rough water and they have never slid off.