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Old 08-18-2011   #1
 
Basalt, CO Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 23
jackson villain small bulkhead

Hey my name is Ryan and I live in Basalt CO. I purchased a new villain elite small from alpinequest sports in Edwards CO in May. On my 1st day with the new boat I flipped in the last major rapid of castle creek and when I was setting up the bulkhead slid 2-3 inches and my knees popped out. I ended up being unable to roll and lost a brand new AT powerhouse paddle. Bare in mind I boated a ton the year before and only swam once when my paddle broke in the 1st drop of two boofs to freedom in the crystal gorge. When I got home I googled and searched all the forums for any mention of problems with the villain bulkheads. I read a few complaints about the bulkhead being loose but nothing that described my problem. On July 13th I went to hop on the narrows of the crystal river. This is a place I have boated often and feel fairly comfortable in even during high water. I pulled the foot pedals tight seated the rope then applied pressure again to the bulkhead. It flexed and I pulled the rope a little tighter. I dropped in behind my friend had a good line but got flipped at the end of the major drops. As I tried to setup my roll the bulkhead again gave way & I lost almost all contact with the pedals. Despite two attempts I couldn't setup all loose in the boat. As I pulled the spray skirt I knew I was in for the swim of my life. I came up with my paddle in my hand. I tried to swim toward the left as my friend looked for an eddy in front of me. I swallowed some water & realized I might die here. I said fu** the paddle & let it go & swam hard for river left. After getting raked over a shit ton of blast rock I grabbed a hand hold and pulled myself out. I laid there for few seconds catching my breath before scrambling up to the highway. I was immediately picked up by a friend. We whisked down the highway and were able to retrieve my boat and paddle with the help of another kayaker. I drank my booty beer & then called in sick for my job. My gf drove me home and by the time I got home I could barely walk. I made it into bed & was stuck there until the next day. I walked with a limp for almost a week. It is a month later and I still have lumps on my shins. I wasn't sure I ever wanted to boat again. I called jacksons customer service and got no reply. I showed the boat to the people at cks and the kayak shed in hood river both stores said it was defective. Finally I got a return email from Tara at jackson. She stated that some of the villains were assembled with the wrong bulkhead. Yesterday I picked up the newbulkhead in vancouver bc. The new bulkhead is about 2-3 inches longer and my boat finally feels secure and safe.

I would like jackson to contact their dealers and consumers and tell people about this defect and which models and how many boats were affected. Kayaking is dangerous enough without your new boat falling apart internally and almost killing you.
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Old 08-18-2011   #2
gOtTaGokAyAkn'
 
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Ashville North Carolina, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1983
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 274
I've experienced this same problem. I fixed the problem on my last two boats by drilling/skrewing through the band clamps into the skeleton bar for both the seat and the bulkhead pillar. The seat/bulkhead stay exactly where I want them to stay. This upgrade has worked good with really hard pitons and intense combat action. It's not the foam, the band clamps are not stronger than our combat squats. The foam compresses even if it's the right size.
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Old 08-18-2011   #3
 
Jenks, Oklahoma
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,405
Brain,
could you post a photo of how you drilled into the bar.

I have a Villain, no problems yet with the bulkhead sliding but am intrigued by your solution. My concern would be damaging the bar by screwing into it.

Appreciate your feedback.
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Old 08-18-2011   #4
gOtTaGokAyAkn'
 
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Ashville North Carolina, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1983
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 274
No photo of drilling until I drill my next one...I used a 1/8 inch bit and drilled through two layers of the clamp and only one side of the bar...Then I use a thicker maybe 3/16 or 1/4 sheet metal skrew about 3/8 of an inch long. I wouldn't wait until the band clamps fail you; It's only a matter of time & beat-downs...I pre-drilled the bar in an attempt to keep from damaging it. No damage to the bar is apparent yet after 50+ class V days with the modification and lots of beatings.
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Old 08-18-2011   #5
 
Basalt, CO Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 23
My boat had the wrong foam in it and it wasn't a compression thing the whole bulkhead would slide forward. The new parts they sent me seem to have fixed the problem.
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