Nanaimo and Follow up

What a nice trip. Our final 16 kn day was in some of the hardest rain I have ever experienced. Kinda fun really.

The boat is awesome. I’m a convert; being able to paddle an inflatable 16 kn (32 km) in an easy day is quite a treat.

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Valdez

A nice easy day over to blackberry point on Valdez island; not too much wind and a little heat from the sun! What a treat. Just as Evan puts out his gear to dry in the sun, we get walloped by a hailstorm and are sent running like headless chickens. Always fun.

A visit from the local squatter (been living here for 40 years), Crazy Pete, is very pleasant and chatty. Get filled in on the social and political goings on of the squatting community of Valdez Island, a sordid tale.

Tomorrow we finish up with a 16 kn jaunt over to departure bay.

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Day three

A fun day of paddling; flying along with a big tail wind, surfing from wave to wave. Eleven knots distance done in three and a half hours paddling (with a 20 kn wind building to 30). The boat behaved herself exceptionally well. A joy to surf, and handled the rough following sea well.

A big thank you as well to Shiro Ose of Grandstream kayaks in Japan, for the Raven paddling pants he gave me awhile back. I have been living in them for the duration if the trip. Paddling, cooking, hiking and wading all while dry and warm. Feels great to be comfortable in the near freezing rain and gale force winds!

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Taking the ‘naut out for another spin

Leaving February 14th for Duke point from Swartz bay. Early morning ferry to the Gulf Islands drops us off into a tumultuous day of tailwind-crosswind-tailwind! The marine forecast was almost bang on.

The boat surprised me completely; I first found her slightly squirrley (with a heavy following sea and tailwind). But once I had settled down into the boat I completely forgot I was in an inflatable. Tracked well, forgiving and stable…. Tough conditions for any boat let alone an inflatable, but the ‘naut continues to win me over.

Tomorrow brings 45 knot winds and rain. We will hunker down on provost island and get some reading done

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New Boat

Its always fun to drop a new boat into the market. Immediately the phone rings off the hook and we scramble to meet the immediate demand from dealers looking for a demo boat.I’m sure many of you have seen the rumor mill:

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Its a completely inflatable kayak with performance levels similar to the venerable Kahuna.

Initially I was sceptical of the whole inflateable program; I am not a fan of the bulgy whale vessels calling themselves kayaks that never leave the shoreline. These boats seemed a regression in our design evolution…..

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But I slowly came around as Doug modified and tweaked his design. He found subtle beauty in the inflated chambers of the aironaut, creating the look of a whales baleen where normally a puffer fish sits.

I really decided to like this boat once I paddled it. I know I work at FC and this is going to sound rehearsed: but I was blown away (haha). Completely staggered that the boat felt like, well, a Feathercraft. There are no real concessions given, no backward steps in design, this is a boat I will be proud to make.

Paddling it one does notice that you sit a little high, the inflated floor keeping the water line around your butt-cheek level, and therefore projecting more kayak into the wind. But that is the only slightly negative remark I can come up with.

How can you dislike a boat that takes a few minutes to pump up?

And 20 pounds? More like 19.

I’m going for a trip to the Exumas in march and seriously considering taking the Aironaut despite the 200km+ distance I would like to put in. I think it would account for itself very well.

Straight from our website:

Length – 4.5m  (14’ 9”)   Beam – 66cm  (26”)
Cockpit – 75 x 41cm (29.5 x 16”)   Weight – 9kg (20 lbs)
Inflation Time – 6 min

The design has curved hull and side panels with refined bow and stern ends. There is lots of room for paddler and gear, AND it is light and fast on the water. With no frame, assembly is only inflation time. You are on the water in no time.

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The typical inflatable kayak has two or more large, round air chambers on each side. It has a flat floor and stubby ends, leaving little room for either paddler or gear, and paddling performance is not great.

The Aironaut brings real paddling performance to the world of inflatables.

The Aironaut is made from high quality, technical fabrics made in the U.S. The deck and side panels are a 210 denier urethane coated nylon. The hull is a 420 denier high tenacity urethane coated nylon. Urethane fabrics have a longer life, are of superior quality, and lighter in weight than PVC. For safety, each of the three air chambers have a pressure relief valve, releasing pressure over 5 pounds per square inch. Included: a sea sock for limiting water in the boat, and minimizing abrasion to the inside floor; a spray skirt, inflatable seat and seat back, removable thigh straps for bracing, a double action inflation pump, repair kit, carrying bag, an inflatable paddle float, and a detachable skeg. When the skeg is connected, the boat tracks straight. Without the skeg, the kayak turns on a dime and excels on rivers. Deck Colours – Red or Blue