With this year's WaterTribe Everglades Challenge looming, I wanted to rethink my hydration system. I normally have a four litre MSR Dromedary lying in the bilge between my legs, with the drinking hose threaded up under my spray shirt and then under and out of clothing and PFD. While this means the mouth piece is in the general vicinity of my lips, it's been a pain in the rear when disembarking from the cockpit for a pit stop, or even wet exiting.
I figured, while off the coast of home paddling North Carolina, or even in the EC's large water expanses of Pine Island Sound, Florida, from a safety perspective it was not the smartest of drinking systems.
Where to relocate the hose and water bag was a first issue. Since my seat is a pod seat (see awful top photo from two ECs ago) and effectively a third bulkhead (the for'ad end of my "day hatch"), I can't have the waterbag behind my seat like many folks. And I'm not comfortable having a water bag in the day hatch--if need be, I can't change over the bag to a new one, as these hatches can't be opened and closed on the water. (My boat's designer/builder, Grahame Sisson, was the first to "invent" the day hatch, and he made all three hatches so secure, you can't open or close them on the water, which was his absolute intention--safety first.)
I started searching for an alternative cockpit-driven option, which, of course, would invariably necessitate drilling a(nother) hole in my dear boat.
The first decent piece of online advice I found was the renowned Ocker, GnarleyDog, who has a blog entry devoted to solving my dilemma. And true to DownUnder form, he answered a couple of my queries in rapid cyber-time.
Then EC2010 entry PaddlePeddler (aka Paul Shaw) chimed in via FaceBook with another solution: screwing in a Hobie Mirage shockcord end screw (to the left), to take the drinking hose. But this would have necessitated drilling a 7/8" hole, which is heck of a "hole."
The solution is still not absolutely confirmed, but sometime this week, SandyBottom, Floatsome and I will have it sussed, and we'll be happy to share our results.