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Outfitting Your Bulkhead (Not Contour Ergo)

Repost from Chase Nobles

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Step one to outfitting a new boat for me is the bulk head.  I'm sure this has been done quite a few times, but I'll give you my take specifically for the Nomad bulkhead.  I've played around with this system a bit with gymnastics floor foam in another boat, but the new 3 inch pieces dagger sends with the boat are perfect.  The idea is to have a solid layer, then a layer with lots of air pockets, and then another layer on top.  This will be firm but give a lot if you peton, saving your ankles.

First, gather all the supplies I need to finish this project:

  • Foam (comes with boat 2x3in pieces, 2x1/2in pieces)
  • Large knife, mine was a 8 inch chefs knife
  • Super 77 3M Spray Glue
  • Work Space with disposable cover (I just used my boat's wrapping)

Second, I start cutting 1inx1in squares out of the non-glued side of the 3in pieces of foam with the knife.  I cut these evenly spaced with about 1/2 inches in between each one. I find it easiest to just outline all the squares with a slit that doesn't go all the way through the piece of foam and then come back and pry the squares out.

On all the spaces in between the squares I made more slits just to give more air pockets.  This foam is really strong and rigid so the more air pockets the better.  After I cut all the slits I went around the sides of the foam piece and put slits that lead to all of the air pockets.  This will give somewhere for the air in the pockets to go if I peton hard enough.

Ideally the slits are thin enough that water can't get inside the piece of foam, but the air could be forced out if it was hit hard enough.  After I do that it's time to start gluing.   I lay everything out on the boat packaging, and prepare the pieces to be glued together.   First pieces I want to glue together are the 1/2 inch pieces on top of the 3in pieces covering all of the square holes.  I give a good coat on top of the 3 inch piece and a good coat on the already adhesive side of the 1/2 inch piece then wait about 30 seconds for the glue to get tacky.  Once the glue is nice and tacky I put the pieces together and set old textbooks on top of them and wait about 20 minutes for the glue to really dry.

Once the glue is decently dry I started taking the bulkhead out of the actual boat.  This can be a pain but with a little elbow grease getting it out doesn't take too long and only requires taking out two bolts.  The cockpit rim bolt has a nut on the bottom that if you have a 7/8th socket and an extension on your ratchet it's pretty easy.  Once I take out the bulk head I extend the adjustable panels all the way out because I'm short and apply glue to the bulk head and the adhesive side of the 3 inch pieces of foam.  I set the old textbooks on top and leave for a couple of hours to allow everything to dry.

At this point you are almost done, but there is one tricky part left getting the bulk head back in the boat.  You have to do it a specific tricky way or you'll never get it in.  The adjusters have to go in pointing into the stern behind the hip pad first and then the cut out groove in the middle of the bulk head has to kind of split the cockpit to get one panel in and then it's real obvious how it goes in.  I took a picture.