Sidekick AMA problem

I do spend way too many hours surfing kayaking forums around the world. I’ve recently spent most of that time reading up on sail rigging, sailing techniques and related problems. I have the Sidekicks fitted to my Outback for sailing purposes and I’d read on several forums about a problem with the plastic insert on the stabiliser arms. This plastic insert permits the arms of the Sidekicks to locate and lock into the main bar that is secured to the kayak. These inserts are glued in place, though the inner surface of the Sidekick bars is finished so smoothly that the resultant bond is somewhat inadequate. This can result, especially in colder temperatures, in the plastic insert pulling out from the sidekick outer arms. This generally occurs when they are being removed after a sailing trip, however, I experienced the issue whilst sailing yesterday.

I was about to raise the Sidekicks into their highest position when I noticed the outer arm on one side had moved outboard about half a centimetre whilst the plastic insert still remained locked in place. It was slowly working its way off the insert, so I pushed it back on, monitored the situation and kept on sailing.

Once back ashore it quickly became apparent that the inserts on both arms had worked loose. Having read about the problem I wasn’t overly concerned and set about carrying out a quick repair today.

The standard insert in the correct position (Above)

Loose insert

Insert removed – glue is smooth and has not bonded

There’s little point in attempting to remove the original glue are it’s particularly hard. I roughed up the surface of the old glue on each insert as well as the inside of each Sidekick arm to a depth of about 3”. I found two large stainless steel self tapping screws in my rigging box and drilled a hole about 1” from the end of the Sidekick bar to permit the screw to pass cleanly through. With the insert in position a guide hole for the screw itself was drilled into the insert.

NOTE – Take care to correctly orientate the insert so that the bar achieves it’s three adjustable height settings. This will depend on how you have fitted the fixed bar to your kayak. Take a few minutes to ensure you have the insert correctly positioned before you drill the guide hole into the insert itself.

Inner and outer holes drilled

The insert was then removed, a light coating of Marine Goop (or similar adhesive) was applied to the insert before being re-fitted, taking car to correctly position the two holes correctly. With the any excess glue quickly wiped away the self tapping screw can be fitted.

Glued & screwed

That’s the job completed, takes about thirty minutes, leave them to dry for a day and they’re good to go and the insert is unable to rotate or pull clear of the Sidekick bar.

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