2005 Puffin, Swift 14

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michelled
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2005 Puffin, Swift 14

Post by michelled »

Hi everyone - looking for some advice here. I have the chance to buy either or both of 2 pakboats, both 2005: a 12' puffin or a 14' swift. asking price is $500 each. I'm trying them out on Friday. Never paddled a pakboat kayak, but excited about the opportunity to try them.

I am 5'5", 115 lbs so a pretty small paddler. I paddle mainly in quiet waters, with the hope to get more adventurous in the next few years. No overnight trips (yet). A folding kayak will help me get out more since I don't have the capacity to get a hardshell to and from the water. I prefer longer, narrower boats (12-14') with a chine and relatively good tracking, which leads me to believe I'll prefer the Swift based on threads on this forum. I'm not concerned about assembly and prefer a deck vs. SOT.

I *could* spend the money on a new Quest 150, but at 3x the price, I'm inclined to try this used boat for a couple years to see how well I like it and then upgrade. And it seems like people on this board liked the swifts from 2005-2006 (been reading threads from that time).

My question: would thoughts do y'all have about a 2005 boat in good condition with new airbags? Are there substantive design differences from then to now? I see the deck is different and includes ties, which is convenient, but not necessarily structural.

Thanks for your thoughts.
Last edited by michelled on Sun Jul 12, 2020 8:57 am, edited 1 time in total.

idc
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Re: 2005 Puffin, Swift 14

Post by idc »

Looks like a good deal to me. I have the 12' (a secondhand version) and like it. But I would have opted for the longer boat if it were available.
I hope you get the boat that suits you at a price that suits too! (And secondhand is a great way to give an unloved boat a second chance.)
Let us know what you do and how you get on with it. All the best,
Ian

michelled
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Re: 2005 Puffin, Swift 14

Post by michelled »

Thanks! Fingers crossed, on my way now.

Jeremiah
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Re: 2005 Puffin, Swift 14

Post by Jeremiah »

Hi and welcome to the forum.

I have a Swift so I can pass on some (hopefully useful) information. The cockpit is very small for a folding kayak but given your size and weight you should be well suited to it. I would say that the Swift doesn't have well defined chines from the frame structure (like Feathercrafts for example) but the large air bladders or sponsons provide good secondary stability (the initial stability is a little twitchy but you get use to it). I would say the Swift tracks well.

You may have already tried it by the time you read this. If so I'd be interested on your impressions of it. Good luck in your search!

michelled
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Re: 2005 Puffin, Swift 14

Post by michelled »

So ... I splurged and bought both boats so I can bring a friend along! The swift tracks better, but both were workable. The seats aren't holding air, so I'll need to replace both and get footrests but I'm on my way. Thanks for responding today. Glad there's community and support here.

JohnSand
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Re: 2005 Puffin, Swift 14

Post by JohnSand »

Cool! Keep us posted.

michelled
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Re: 2005 Puffin, Swift 14

Post by michelled »

It's been a cool-ish spring in the DC area, but warmed up yesterday so I took my Swift out for an inaugural (new-to-me) paddle. The boat was more difficult to assemble than I had anticipated in terms of strength needed to fit the frame together. Definitely will take some practice over a hardshell boat, and luckily I can leave it assembled in my basement and tie it down on top of the car to get to the water. Looking forward to more paddling soon!

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Re: 2005 Puffin, Swift 14

Post by Jeremiah »

I'm glad you were able to get out on the water! Yesterday was beautiful. I'd like to ask where you launched from. I live in northern Virginia and so far the governor is only allowing fishing and exercise on sandy, tidal beaches.
I'm also curious about your first paddling impressions of the Swift.
As far as the assembly, I found the Swift to be a little tedious at times (getting the long poles out of their sleeves for example) but not difficult. Things should get easier over time.

Jake
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Re: 2005 Puffin, Swift 14

Post by Jake »

The first few assembly sessions for almost any skin-on-frame folder can be difficult and, as Jeremiah said, just a bit tedious. And for some folder owners (me!) the process of assembling their boats can be permanently tedious. I recently sold a Feathercraft Kurrent to a sixty year old woman of small stature who told me that it was her intention to never disassemble her kayak. She was aware from experience with a previously owned K-Light that the keel extension bar would eventually freeze up requiring it to be cut out before the boat could be disassembled. I suggested that she order a spare keel extension bar from FC if it did happen that the boat had to be taken apart for some unexpected reason. After some consideration, I think the lady has a valid point: if the boat is never going to be transported anywhere except atop a vehicle roof rack, what’s wrong with just leaving it permanently intact? It will still be a light weight, lovely paddling skin-on-frame kayak. Nice😊.

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KerryOnKayaks
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Re: 2005 Puffin, Swift 14

Post by KerryOnKayaks »

Michelle,

I just saw your post about the Swifts and wish I had seen it earlier. I bought a pair of Swift 14's two years ago, very cheap and in what looked like perfect condition, while I was visiting family 600 miles from home. Even set one up in the sellers' yard and it seemed perfect. Did not find out until I got home and tried to set them up for paddling that not just the seats but also the sponson tubes would not hold air for more than an hour just sitting and even less with any pressure. Removed a sponson to submerge in the bathtub to find leaks and discovered that the entire fabric leaked tiny bubble everywhere!! I tested seats too with same result. Some research led me to the unfortunate fact that Pakboat had gotten one shipment from China of sponsons and seats made of defective material where the vinyl coating inside delaminated from the fabric. When they discovered it they offered free replacements to owners of the defective boats. I believe this was back in 2007 and the serial numbers on yours should indicate the date they were made.

I knew that the people I bought mine from had gotten them as a wedding gift and hardly used them -- so they apparently either never registered them for warranty or perhaps even knew about the problem or did not care. I contacted Elv at Pakboat (with whom I have done business with their kayaks and parts for years) only to find that they could not replace the 4 sponson assemblies or the two seats since they no longer use those designs and all their components are made in Asia so there is no custom work. Their current components are not similar enough to retrofit.

I tried several things including buying a liquid latex that you pour into the inflated tubes or seats and swirl around to recoat the interior. That worked for one of the seats but I suspect it is only temporary since the material will continue to degrade and separate. I could see how bad the leaks were because the liquid oozed through hundreds of tiny holes and entire areas of the inflated tubes and seats when I poured it it and before it had hardened.

So I ended up ordered materials and valves to make my own sponsons and will have to try to retrofit some other kind of seat into them. I got distracted with other projects so none of the parts are done yet. I thought the boats were a great deal for $300 each and the skins and frames are like new. But I already have over $250 invested in material and many hours spent and yet to go to try to get them functional.

If you search on this forum you will find some of our discussions on this. You can check with Pakboat using the serial number to see if yours were part of the recall -- maybe you will luck out and they are not OR the former owner got some or all of the defective pieces replaced. Let me know how it goes.
Current:
Feathercraft Wisper
Pakboat Quest 135
Pakboat Puffin 12
Pakboat Swift 14
Greenland SOF
P & H Easky 15LV
Curtis Lady Bug solo canoe
Previous:
Feathercraft Kahuna
Feathercraft K-1 Expedition
Pakboat XT-15

michelled
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Re: 2005 Puffin, Swift 14

Post by michelled »

KerryOnKayaks wrote:
Thu Jun 25, 2020 1:02 pm
Michelle,

I bought a pair of Swift 14's two years ago, very cheap and in what looked like perfect condition, while I was visiting family 600 miles from home. Even set one up in the sellers' yard and it seemed perfect. Did not find out until I got home and tried to set them up for paddling that not just the seats but also the sponson tubes would not hold air for more than an hour just sitting and even less with any pressure. Removed a sponson to submerge in the bathtub to find leaks and discovered that the entire fabric leaked tiny bubble everywhere!! I tested seats too with same result.

You can check with Pakboat using the serial number to see if yours were part of the recall -- maybe you will luck out and they are not OR the former owner got some or all of the defective pieces replaced. Let me know how it goes.
KerryOnKayaks, I got lucky! The seller had already replaced the sponsons. I ordered replacement seats so I'm good to go.

michelled
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Re: 2005 Puffin, Swift 14

Post by michelled »

Hi Jeremiah,
Jeremiah wrote:
Sun May 24, 2020 12:16 pm
I'm glad you were able to get out on the water! Yesterday was beautiful. I'd like to ask where you launched from. I live in northern Virginia and so far the governor is only allowing fishing and exercise on sandy, tidal beaches.
I'm also curious about your first paddling impressions of the Swift.
As far as the assembly, I found the Swift to be a little tedious at times (getting the long poles out of their sleeves for example) but not difficult. Things should get easier over time.
I've been out twice this year - once at Pohick Bay in VA near Mason Neck (they've opened the boat launch, but no rentals), and once from Bladensburg Waterfront Park (in MD on the Anacostia River).

It's been a little tricky getting used to the Swift - it's "tippier" than hardshell kayaks I've paddled and I feel higher out of the water. (See my other post with questions about inflations). The seat moves around more than I would like, even after I deflated it a little. I am going to keep practicing to see if I can get more comfortable with the seat and the paddling. Advice welcome!

Michelle

Jeremiah
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Re: 2005 Puffin, Swift 14

Post by Jeremiah »

Hi Michelle,
Thankfully everything has opened up for getting out on the water in your kayak or paddle board. I'm very familiar with Pohick Bay although I typically go a little further down the road to Mason Neck Sate Park (a little less power boat traffic).

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KerryOnKayaks
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Re: 2005 Puffin, Swift 14

Post by KerryOnKayaks »

Michelle,

You might be a little light in weight for the boat. Next time you go out grab 4 to 6 empty 2 liter soda bottles with caps and fill them up when you get to the launch site. Place half in the stern and half in the bow under the deck. Sinking the kayak a little deeper might make it a bit more stable. Having the seat inflated too much can also make your center of gravity too high and add to the sense of tippiness.

But it also wouldn't hurt to experiment near shore in shallow water with leaning the boat from side to side to get a feel for the fact that they are actually pretty hard to capsize due to the sponson tubes. Often the sense of instability is just that the hard chined hull of a folder will tend to feel wobbly especially if you are used to hard shell boats, but once you push it you realize that it is not as prone to dumping you as you fear. Once you can relax in the boat with that sense of security it will often feel less tippy and you will be less reactive in trying to compensate, which will in turn make it feel more stable.
Current:
Feathercraft Wisper
Pakboat Quest 135
Pakboat Puffin 12
Pakboat Swift 14
Greenland SOF
P & H Easky 15LV
Curtis Lady Bug solo canoe
Previous:
Feathercraft Kahuna
Feathercraft K-1 Expedition
Pakboat XT-15

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KerryOnKayaks
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Re: 2005 Puffin, Swift 14

Post by KerryOnKayaks »

Michelle, How did you get replacement seats for the Swifts? I talked to Alv at Pakboat a couple of years ago and he told me that the inflatable strap-in seats for those and the earlier Puffins were no longer available. The newer seats that they had in stock were all the sling type that have to be clipped to the frames. If you have a source for those inflatable seats that will fit in Swifts I could certainly use a couple to get these two I am refurbishing set up.
Current:
Feathercraft Wisper
Pakboat Quest 135
Pakboat Puffin 12
Pakboat Swift 14
Greenland SOF
P & H Easky 15LV
Curtis Lady Bug solo canoe
Previous:
Feathercraft Kahuna
Feathercraft K-1 Expedition
Pakboat XT-15

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