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Padded coamings on Polycraft 530 CC

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    Padded coamings on Polycraft 530 CC

    I got some padded coamings on my Polycraft 530cc installed a couple of years ago (photos attached). They're 100mm high and 100mm thick down the back, and are thinner moving forward to maintain access around the T-top canopy (I think 50mm thick at the front. They were installed into the recess in the hull profile, use a high density foam and a plastic backing, and were made by a local upholstery place in Cairns. They attached them with sikaflex and plastic pegs that slot into aligned holes drilled in the boat. They might be called "christmas tree pegs" - can't remember the name. The top of the padded coamings are about 10mm below the gunnel to reduce the amount of weight people put on them when sitting on the gunnel.

    I do a lot of bottom fishing with bait, lures and jigs in 50m to 90m depth and they've been pretty good and made retrieving fish more comfortable than without coamings. I had no hair on my knees prior to installing them as I'd previously have to brace by bending my legs and resting the knees against the side of the boat. The coamings are a big help in rough conditions as they enable us to lean against the side and stay on our feet.

    The coamings on both sides have peeled off down the back and I've had to reglue one side which peeled off about 80cm. The other side has only debonded for about 20cm and isn't an issue. The side which failed is the side I climb in and out of the boat when its on the trailer so it likely debonded due to too much repeated downwards pressure, but I think the flexing of the hull and saltwater probably also contribute. The debonding down the back isn't much of an issue as you lean into the coamings anyway and push them back into place. I still sit on the gunnels but with most of my load on the poly part, not on the coamings.

    The 100mm thickness was the max I was willing to reduce the cockpit width by, but another 50mm thickness would be better to enable us to stand fully upright without having the curl the toes or stand duckfoot. Because the coamings are not quite the ideal thickness, there is a still a bit of extra load on the lower back fighting demersal fish with the gimbal belt due to leaning forwards slightly, compared with a toes-under arrangement on other boats that enables standing perfectly upright.

    If I had my time again I'd consider installing a few of the polycraft side pockets inbetween the gunnel and the padded coaming, and using a thinner padded coaming. This way thick gauge screws could be used to connect the side pockets to the gunnels and coamings, instead of glue, and the side pockets would come in handy for sinkers, bait and lures. Hopefully the side pockets would be strong enough to stand/sit on as well, and the coaming pad could be set slightly lower than the height of the side pocket to prevent it being loaded too much while sitting.

    Hope this helps if anyone is looking to do something similar.

    Cheers,
    Tom.
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