I recently purchased a new Fish n Dive kayak for the lake and river fishing here in Oregon. Yes I realize its not the hottest performer but my interests were the storage and stability factor and that it can easily support the weight of a trolling motor and battery as well as all the normal stuff that I like to drag along on a fishing trip. This includes some future overnight camping trips.
I have investigated all the forums and found that a milkcrate mounting system seemed to be widely used and quite practical. The crate can not only can hold a motor but store the battery, mount some rod holders and be a catch all for tackle or usual kayak stuff.
I purchased the 13 x 19 x 11 inches high version in a grey color. While it’s a bit pricey compared to ripping one off behind the local market, it is very high quality and strong. I think about $17 + shipping.
I knew the crate would need need to be stiffened up a bit as my fiends had already completed a similar version. In order to bolt hardware thru the crate sides, a trip to the local home improvement center was in order. I picked up a selection if 1/8 inch thick aluminum flat stock and angle. I have described the steps with pics below to show the sequence of events.
Tools needed: Drill, various bits, 10-24 tap with handle, pop rivits & tool.
Materials needed: Various strips of 1/8 thick aluminum, one aluminum rectangle tube, 4 turnbuckles, 8 eyestraps, assorted nuts & bolts, 2 inch pvc pipe section, and some other assorted stuff as shown.
Inside showing locknuts and inner aluminum plate. The inside and outside really stiffens the side to ensure there is no flexing when the turnbuckles are snugged up.
The FnD has a recess in the well for a bucket so I wantwed to make the crate level with the waterline. Yep…Gary had the best answer of adding a length of 2 inch diameter PVC pipe. It is held in place with giant tir-wraps and allow the crate to sit perfectly level.
Next came installing the actual motor mount beam. I stopped by the local metal scrap place and picked up a piece of 1 ½ x 3 inch aluminum rectangle tube with 1/8 wall thickness. $1.75 a pound it cost me about 7 dollars. You will notice that I had caps welded on the ends which is not necessary but I got it done for free at work. (Nothing like a good work G-Job to add a finishing touch) This tube was cut to 29 ½ inches long.
To secure the rectangle I sorta went wild but wanted to ensure it was secure and solid. I think I overdid it a bit but I am happy that it is very solid and with little weight. The front aluminum piece shown here is 11 ½ x 2 x 1/8 thick. The top 6 machine screws are tapped (10-24) into the rectangle. The lower 6 screws were thru bolted thru the crate and into another angle on the inside of the crate and locknuts installed. See next photo.
Heres the inside showing the other angle. This one is 11 ½ x 2 with a ¾ inch angle that is flush with the bottom of the rectangle. 4 machine screws are tapped into the bottom of the tube which really ties it all together. And if that’s not enough metal, one more ¾ x ¾ angle is bolted to the top of the crate on each side and also into the tube. This is probably not needed but what the heck, I was on a roll drilling and screwing….
Instead of using the existing eyestraps at deck level, I installed new straps in the well directly below the eyestraps mounted on the crate. This keeps all the hardware neatly tucked in close to the crate. These were installed with pop rivits. If you look real… I mean really close, you will see “quicklinks” in the eyestraps that accept the lower turnbuckle eyes.
So here it is installed.. And when turnbuckles are snugged up this thing is like a rock with absolutely no flexing. I have plastic Cabelas rod holders on the outside and a plastic eye strap on each side to secure the rod leashes when rods are in these holders.
This view shows that the starboard (that’s right for the non boaters) and the foreward turnbuckle that goes straight up to the tube rather than the crate. This really locks everything down. I also added a strap to secure the motor wire. Ok, so now I take absolutely no credit for the battery hold down method. I actually copied the designers (Gary & Beckie) method. A 3/8 threaded rod (called allthread) which goes thru holes in the crate and aluminum side pieces. A wingnut secures it in place and allows quick removal. A length of pvc pipe over the allthread holds the battery secure. Now this battery is a lead acid, Group 24, trolling motor batery. These are very reasonable in price but try not to tip over your yak!
Here we go… Motor on, battery in, crate secured. The test drive of 3 hours on Triangle lake, here in Oregon proved that this was a good design and filled all my needs. It’s not the cheapest or the easiest but if you have some basic mechanical skills and like to waste time that could be used for catching fish, it may be worth using some of the ideas. It also may work for other yaks but with the tubbie FnD it really works great.
Oh… one more important note ! I am a fresh water yaker. After building and living aboard a trimaran for years, I realize that aluminum and saltwater do not play well together. Additional thought and surface protection will be required for you ocean yakers.