Feathercraft and Whitewater?

Over the past while we have been testing a whitewater version of our Baylee inflatables; a whitewater version. We have been putting the boat through its paces in our local rivers (the Lynn creek and Chilliwack canyon/Tamahai rapids) to see just what we have.

These trips have opened up a new side of paddling for some of our staff here (mostly the younger adrenaline junkies), and we have done some truly wacky things with the boat. For example; one trip we biked to the headwaters of a class 2 local river and strapped the bikes to the front of the boat, shot the rapids and rolled up the boat, put it in our backpacks and biked away. I love this kinda stuff. One of our dear friend is convinced he can use a Kiteboarding kite to tow him around. hm.

Its slightly smaller than the BL2, shorter by 20cm (total length 2.0m) and has a skirt attached to the boat. It weighs in at 6.5 lbs without the optional skirt (7.5 with)and when deflated fits in a 20L backpack.

After testing it all last year, we are pretty exited to put it out into the world this spring. There is one at the Seattle Boat Show, have a look if you are there. I’ll be firing up some video and pics from the show on monday.

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FC at the Seattle Boat show

We will be attending the Boat Show in Seattle this friday. If you are in the area, stop by and say hello!

There will be a kayak display (a Kahuna) and an inflatable booth with lots of our new Baylee boats. I think we are bringing 8 of them, and the new whitewater version.  Apparently there are TONS of boat companies hocking their wares, which is always kinda neat to see. The newest and the greatest there for all to see! I love to keep on top of the newest technology.

Obviously we are there to answer any questions you have, but unfortunately there will be no Demo’s available.

Ian and Martin will be there Friday-Monday, and myself and Evan take over from Tuesday-Saturday.

Its being held at the Quest Field Event Center. http://www.seattleboatshow.com/

Its been a very busy week, I hope to have more posts up soon (lots of drafts waiting for the finishing touch!).

Take care of your frame. Because it takes care of you.

We have many people come to our shop from all over the world bringing in their Feathercraft with some sort of ailment that needs to be healed. One of the most consistent themes we see in our repair shop is the dreaded and avoidable Siezed Frame!

Today I wanna touch on the fact that you bought a Collapsible Kayak, and that kayak needs regular collapsing!! If you do not take your boat apart and give its frame a little TLC, you will invariably face one of the following; pocketbook lightning, hours of exasperation or brand new really expensive rigid kayak.

If you intend to keep your boat assembled for a long period of the paddling season (3-5 months and longer) you NEED to lubricate the frame. This cannot be stressed enough. Salt water will get in your boat by some means, and when it evaporates the salt crystals left behind will form a cement in the joints of the frame. I have worked on a seized insert on a keel bar that I swear was stronger than any part of the rest of the frame; the boat had been left together for 2 years. The frame required extensive repairs to the tune of $500. Have I scared you yet?

Removing the Piston from the Cylinder.

The repair kit comes complete with a bottle of BoSheild T-9; this should be applied to all the inserts on the frame and the piston parts of the extension bars.

When applying the T-9 use a pair of rubber gloves instead of a rag so that the lubricant is not absorbed by the applicator. Using gloves allows a little lubricant to go a long ways, a simple drop on each insert is plenty enough.

A drop on a rubber glove goes a long ways.

Should you run out of Bosheild, you can contact FC for more, or visit a bicycle store. They carry Teflon based chain oil, such as Phil’s Tenacious Dry Lube. These will work almost as well as Bosheild. Be sure to use a Dry lube, not a Wet lube (the guys at the bike store will know what that is).

Please lubricate the frame at least once a year to ensure your boat lasts you a long time.

Sizing up a Boat

There is a lot of speculation and opinion surrounding the correct fit of Feathercrafts and the limits of body and footsize, most of the questions surround the Kahuna, Whisper, Khatsalano and K1 kayaks. People are wondering if they’ll feel comfortable or even fit some of our sleeker kayaks.

Some of the basic parameters we must consider are foot size, leg length, waist and thigh size. Two kayakers will be used as models, Dan is 6 feet and 175 lbs with a shoe sixe of 9.5, and Evan is 6 ft 4″ and 215 lbs with a shoe size if 13.

Is there room for your feet?

Foot size has to be considered when looking at a kayak; you have to have room enough to feel comfortable and be able to control the kayak. Deck height is the perameter we will look at first. Deck height was measured 105 and 115 cm from the seat back, 5 cms from the keel bar.

K1 Deck heights at both distances is 28 cms.

Wisper Deck heights; at 105cm = 27cm, at 115cm = 25cm

Kahuna Deck heights; at 105cm = 27cm, at 115cm = 25cm

Khatsalano Deck Heights; at 105cm =21cm, at 115cm = 19cm

One thing to note is that people with longer legs tend to have larger foot sizes, and hull space tends to decrease with distance from the cockpit. Another fact to note is that Feathercraft now uses a pivot foot pedal system which enables you to utilize the full deck height. The sliding foot track system was mounted on the chine bars, which meant that 4 cms of deck space was lost to bar and foot pedals. A boat using these Pivot foot pedals has considerably more foot-room than the same model with slider pedals. See the following pictures.

The new Pivot Pedals allow for better bracing as well as more foot-room.

Evan can comfortably fit every boat except the Khats, whereas Dan has no problem with any of kayaks.

Slider foot pedals. Old school.

People with a foot size larger than a Size 13 will need to change out of their shoes to go paddling; water shoes or neoprene socks allow for a lot more foot room.

Leg Length

All of out boats can be configured to fit people of varying leg-length (I see some forum debates sprining up here! Prove me wrong, I dare you :D). The slider foot pedals can be unbolted and reversed to add 10cm, and the Pivot pedals can be moved to the very ends of the foot track and still operate with full actuation (I see a need for a few measurements here, check back Monday).
There is only one kayak that has a true limit for people with longer legs; the Klondike in the doubles configuration. People over 6′ 2″ might find that their feet hit the seat in front and will have very little rudder actuation as a result. I recommend a K2 for people with very long legs.

Waist and Thigh Sizing

Perhaps the hardest to quantify and measure

……….will finish soon!………

Raven Paddling Pants

A few months ago a good friend of mine, Shiro Ose, gave me a pair of Raven Paddling pants to put through the gauntlet. Shiro is an awesome kayaker/athelete (one of our Japanese dealers) and had input on the design of these pants, and I was very keen to try them out.

They have quickly become one of my favorite pieces of equipment. Here’s why.

They are a breathable fabric akin to Gore-tex (the Japanese equivalent) and have integrated socks. This means that basically from waist down your are waterproof, without sacrificing mobility or comfort at all. This could be the biggest plus for me; I hate the constriction of Drysuits/wetsuits and the impediments they place upon me while I am active. Kayaking often involves impromptu sojourns into other activities (hiking, climbing, ultimate frisbee yadda yadda yadda) and I love being free to explore without feeling like a Michelin Man. These pants are quickly forgotten once worn, they even look good.

They have a band of neoprene across the waist that is secured with Velcro closure, so that even if I submerse my waist, limited water enters the pants.

Protecting the bretheable socks is a priority with me, I worry that I’ll wreck tham in no time…… but slap on a pair of old sneakers and you are good to go. They seem to be holding up musch better that i had anticipated.

The best part of these pants

Obviously these aren’t a replacement for a good dry suit or even a wet one, but are perfect for the times where suits are overkill. I’m not even sure where to get these specific pants, but I do know Kokatat has their Tempest pant, which is a very similar product. I have heard that their sizing is a little wonky (small socks and too large waists), but you should check that out for yourself.

The link: http://www.kokatat.com/product_detail.asp?code=ttp

There are pants with bibs as well, but I have never liked the feel of a bib……..insert joke here.

Fishing with Baylee

We have tendered quite a few questions about the Baylee and its ability to be used as a fishing boat. For obvious reasons there has been quite a bit of curiosity about the boats ability to reel in some fish. It is lighter, faster to row and packs down smaller than a lot of the fishing specific inflatable  boats on the market. All it seemed to need is some compatibility  with fishing gear.

After a lot of input from people who have been interested in our inflatables, and are fisherpeople themselves, we have augmented the frame parts to accept some of the more common rod holders and attachments.

Fishing in a hailstorm. No fish. They didnt like the weather either.

Fishing in a West Coast hail. The fish didnt like the weather.

And the answer to the question of a motorized version is still ‘no’, with the rowing frame and a set of oars the boat travels along at a good clip, and besides, rowing keeps you warm. And in better shape to deal with that 15 lb rainbow you are gonna land. 😀

Boat in a Bag

A few words here on how to best to pack away your kayak into the backpack; both to leave as much space as possible in the pack, and to make packing the bag as hassle-free as possible!

Ok, lets get started.

Pull the frame out of the skin and separate the frame parts into 4 piles; bow section, stern section, mid connectors/extension bars, and lever bars/coaming side arms.

Fold up the bow and stern sections and use a piece of shockcord to cinch them tight. Do the same to the loose lever bars, coaming side arms and bracing bars.

One really important part of putting away your boat is the care invested in rolling up the skin. The skin is by far the most important and expensive part of the kayak, so a little care and thought should be used when  putting it away. DO NOT fold the skin. Prolonged storage in folds can leave creases in the skin that will take a while to stretch out.

With the deck upwards, fold the ends into the cockpit.Have the red webbing straps handy for use in a moment.

Begin rolling the skin up as tight as possible from one end.

Use the two red webbing straps to cinch up the hull tight.

The frame and skin should look like this at this point, ready to pack away:

Open up the bag and place the seat into the bag against the pack-straps so that it will add a little more padding for your back. Place all the cross-ribs and hatch rims in the bag now.

Place the skin in the bag on top of the rims, hatches and seat. Place the bow frame section on one side of the skin, and the stern frame on the other. Place the remaining frame parts on top.

You should have plenty of room left in the bag for a PFD, pump and maybe a gear bag.

With boats that have longer bow and stern sections, a great idea is to protect the exposed frame with your PFD or foam. I have never experienced frame damage after a flight yet (knock on wood), perhaps due to the fact that the boats are so heavy!

Hope this helps.

Our Demo Boats

Hi,
Don’t know if this is the sort of question you want to answer, but I may be visiting Victoria and Vancouver in the summer and was interested in hiring a boat for a day or two. Can you recommend anywhere? Can one hire a feathercraft somewhere to try one out?

We have a large demo fleet which people are more than welcome, no encouraged, to come by and try out! You don’t have to ‘hire’ our boats, you just have to have a real desire to try one out. However, we usually don’t let the boats go out for more than a workday at most (usually people go for 20 mins to 4-5 hours). You could, I’m sure, borrow one two days in a row for local paddling. If you wanted to rent a boat for a couple of days your best bet is to rent one from Ecomarine; they have a large rental fleet  (Feathercrafts are available I think) and have excellent service and well kept boats.

http://www.ecomarine.com/rentals/index.html

Feathercraft are located at the waterside on the far end of Granvillie Island, a location as perfect as it is well hidden! Check out this map to help you on your way.

Khats Foot Bracing

“Could the seasock for the Khats have straps or bungies integrated so the foot can be attached to a forward rib to keep it from bunching up?”

This question is Excellent!

If you were to attach a tab to the end of the seasock you could sew a piece of shockcord to it that could run to a forward rib and limit the amount of bunching you are experiencing by holding the seasock forward. The Khats is a Japanese compact car in terms of legroom and this has been a rather constant issue. If you have some patch-kit repair material left, simply cut out a square and sew half of it to the sea-sock and the other half to a shockcord piece. I could see sewing two tabs on the left and right sides (one each side) to the seasock actually helping a lot more than a single center tab.

Contact the office and have us mail you some shockcord and some sewing patches, or send your seasock to us and we can do the sewing for you, and then tape the stiching so your sock stays waterproof. I’m very interested to see if this works!

Another option is to look into the newer Pivot foot bracing system. Althought this doesn’t directally affect the bunching issue, it does create a more positive bracing sysyem for rolling/power strokes.

Pivot Foot BraceThis system also has less of a issue with catching the seasock after wet exit, it seems to lie flatter against the pedals without rooting around them.

The Pivot system is available for the Khats, but we would need to retrofit your frame by attaching some foot-track to the chine bars forward of the cockpit.

I know the last half of this post got a little sidetracked, but I figure Khats owners deserve a little positive bracing!

Welcome!

I’ve started this blog with the idea that people who use our boats could get a little help with whatever they need. Boat questions, trip ideas or general kayaking info, we’ll get to it all. This all started because I see people asking the same questions over and over again, and I feel that I can answer those questions more in-depth here (during the course of a week at FC, I answer alot of questions) and create a lasting record.

I am involved in all aspects of the creation of your boat. I build them, I test them and I love them.  So I hope I have the information you need.

As such, I need your input. Anything. Everything. Please feel free to post your questions and input here (if I don’t like it because of relevance or other internet strangeness, I can always delete it), and I’ll do my best to help you out.

Thanks!

Vancouver Island, Shushartie Bay area

If you don’t feel comfortable posting here for all the world to comment on (I know I’m scared!) you can email me at feathercraftkayaks@gmail.com. All emails to this address are subject to being used on this blog (just a warning!).