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 Post subject: Fujita 500 questions
PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2007 8:32 am 
Hello all,

I have just joined this forum after having bought a Fujita 500 last week, and finding this site the only place where there seem to be people knowledgeable about it, and might be helpful enough to answer the stupid questions I come up with.

I read the very positive review in Sea Kayaker, and this was basically the only source other than my own judgement to base my decision upon (in addition to being able to buy one for 1400$ in mint condition, barely used). However, I read, to my horror, after I already purchased the boat that the seems between the hull and the deck are all unsealed. I could not believe this was possible for a 4000$ boat. Has anybody tried to seal it? If so, would you mind sharing any results or advice you may have about it? I heard that the newer (or European) models come with seams sealed...

Also I am somwhat confused about the title EX and some references to expedition model and standard model. i live in Japan, and bought the boat here. The local website only mentions one model, and the previous owner of the boat also didn't know what I was talking about. If there are two models, how do I know which one I have?

Spray-skirt. It was immediately obvious that the standard skirt that comes with it will leak badly, although I have yet to try the boat (this weekend!). Could you recommend any aftermarket skirts that fit (and hopefully available in Japan...)

Rudder: everyone swears on this boat not needing one. Do you all agree...?

Any other advice, tips about this boat would be hugely welcome. I am a beginner at sea kayaking, having done most of my stuff on lakes and slow-moving rivers.

Thank you very much in advance.

Miklos


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2007 8:07 am 
I don't know about your boat but if it was built that way, I would not be too horrified about it. I mean, there may be room for improvement, but they are suposed to work fine just the way they are.

Just like you I'm in Japan and new at this :D Where are you? I'm way up in the north, Misawa-shi, Aomori Ken.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2007 10:15 am 
Brotherhood of the Golden Paddle
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Joined: Tue Apr 26, 2005 12:57 am
Posts: 1225
Location: Anchorage Alaska
Seam sealer for tents should do the trick. Ask Fujita what kind they used. You may also want to check these sites for advice http://members.jcom.home.ne.jp/sun.one/
http://homepage1.nifty.com/faltboat/
When I purchased my KLight, I had to seal the seams on that one.

_________________
Feathercraft Kahuna ( Angela )
Mariner Express ( Miruku Maru ) ( In Storage)
Innova Helios 380
Northwest Sportee (SuperBoat)
Innova Safari
Mariner I
Feathercraft Java
Nautiraid 14
Innova Sunny


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2007 8:07 am 
Devnull and Tsunamichuck,

Thank you for answering!

Devnull: I live in Tochigi-Ken, quite a bit south of you. But I have been looking at the 55 Japanese sea-kayaking routes book, and I picked Matsushima as something I want to paddle in the future. That is about half half way between you and me. Why don't we paddle there together one day?

Tsunamichuck: thanks for the sites. They were interesting, but they seem to be mainly blogs and I didn't find any specific advice about the Fujitas. I just emailed the manufacturer and waiting for the reply to my questions. Still don't know what to do about the seams. I do need them sealed. If they can do it at Fujita, I'll have it done. Otherwise, I'll try to do it myself.

Thanks again, and any Fujita tips are more than welcome in the future, as well.

Miklos


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2007 9:11 am 
One trip you don't want to miss here on the deep north is the Towada lake. The place is magical.

Matsushima bay near Sendai is another must do.

Jodogahama beach higher up the east coast seems very promising.

And once I get my skills up to speed there are cliffs way north, with fishing villages offering safe harbors every few miles.

Come up north, I can always use an excuse to go out :D I'll be happy to assist.


To answer a few of your original questions:

A good seal-all is a cheap tube of transparent silicon sealer. The hardest part by far is to keep it neat; if you are not careful it ends up everywhere. Wash the boat skin with soap and water, dish washing machine detergent works best. If needed, use mineral spirits to thin the silicon.

The expedition model means that it has been reinforced for heavy duty use. What that means varies from one manufacturer to another, but most of the time involves a few of the following; reinforced hulls along the wear points, rudder systems, a spray skirt included with the kit, and more rigging points on the deck, to name a few.

You can always get the rudder later. I'm begging to think that barring a good reason (special deal where the rudder comes for cheap) people should get the rudder later. A much better use for the money is a paddling techniques training video. I'm finding out that it works much better than a rudder in learning to steer the kayak :lol:

Montbell has some very nice spray skirts. If you have a montbell store near by, make sure you get the canoe and kayak catalog. The regular fat catalog does not have a fraction of the stuff they produce. You can then order anything from the catalog for store pickup.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2007 1:29 pm 
Brotherhood of the Golden Paddle
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Joined: Tue Apr 26, 2005 12:57 am
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Location: Anchorage Alaska
[quote="nickjuhassz"]
Tsunamichuck: thanks for the sites. They were interesting, but they seem to be mainly blogs and I didn't find any specific advice about the Fujitas. I just emailed the manufacturer and waiting for the reply to my questions. Still don't know what to do about the seams. I do need them sealed. If they can do it at Fujita, I'll have it done. Otherwise, I'll try to do it myself.

You can ask on those forums. Many more Fujita/Montbell owners in Japan than in the US/Europe.

_________________
Feathercraft Kahuna ( Angela )
Mariner Express ( Miruku Maru ) ( In Storage)
Innova Helios 380
Northwest Sportee (SuperBoat)
Innova Safari
Mariner I
Feathercraft Java
Nautiraid 14
Innova Sunny


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2007 12:56 am 
DevNull,

Thanks for your reply.

Funny you should mention montbell. Ordering a skirt from my local montbell store is exactly what i did. :) The one with a perfect fit was pretty pricey but no regrets.

I also did the seams. I found an urethane based sealant that came with an applicator brush. i managed to avoid the mess completely as it was easy to simply wipe away the excess while still wet. I don't know yet how efficient it is going to be: the test is tomorrow in the Miura penninsula.

I have been to Towada ko, Jodogahama, and Matsushima, as well, but I didnt have my kayak then yet. Looking forward to paddling those spots.

I also decided to get the rudder later if I think I need it.

Thanks for the suggestions, and let's hook up sometime for a nice kayak ride. What kind of boat do you have?

Miklos

Tsunamichuck, thanks for the sites again.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2007 6:58 am 
Brotherhood of the Golden Paddle
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Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2005 4:47 pm
Posts: 1709
Location: Arlington, VA (i.e. Wash DC)
Where on Miura? Hayama? Jogashima?
Watch out if you're in Tokyo Bay-- I hear the Coast Guard gets nasty if you are near the shipping channel.

_________________
Chris T.
~'91 Klepper A2 w/ BSD schooner rig.
'64 Klepper Passat/Tradewind and T12 restoration projects.
Non-folding: '84 Hobie 16; early '90s Old Town Canoe.
Previously owned '04 Pakboat Puffin II and '05 Swift.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2007 7:14 am 
hey chrstjrn,

Thanks for the warning. I will actually just putter around Zushi Bay and kamakura bay, and check out some of the smaller islands nearby. Then, I'll go on down to Odawara Bay, and come back to where I left from. Do you also live in Japan?


Miklos


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2007 12:52 pm 
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Joined: Fri Apr 29, 2005 3:14 pm
Posts: 51
Location: Boulder CO
Hi Miklos!

The earlier Fujitas did not have welded deck seams - current ones are welded. That was probably the reason for the very deep deal you got. Franz on this forum has a newer 500. I've owned an earlier model 480 for nearly 5 years now and paddle regularly year around, based in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Seam sealer: I did seal the deck seams with the Mc Nett sealer from the inside (didn't want a bunch of unsightly goop on the outside) when I bought the boat. I did help but has all but totally flaked off since. This is also my experience with seam sealing mountaineering gear - not a lasting solution. I also bought the Fujita bilge pump with the boat and its an overall better approach to the seepage. You simply rock the seat back a bit at a rest (or even in motion) and the bilge water goes back where it came from. The pump is low volume only and will not empty a swamped boat. You will also need a grommet in the deck behind the cockpit for the exit hose, usually ordered with the boat, but a sail maker could retrofit one easily enough if your boat doesn't have one. The seepage isn't as horrible as it sounds and I enjoy a largely dry ride. I've considered upgrading to the newer hull but currently have decided that what I have works just fine.

The EX refers to kevlar reinforcement in the hull fabric, the threads are patterned like ripstop nylon at about 1/4" intervals in both directions - clearly visible if you have the EX hull.

Sprayskirt: The stock skirt leaves much to be desired. I use either the NRS Monterey breathable skirt or the Brooks neoprene, size large, depending on where I'm paddling. Both fit very well.

Rudder: I don't use one and would only use a rudder for some sort of sail rig. The boat edges securely and well. The Fujita rudder is a bit of a monstrosity and while I've heard rumors of a redesign from the US distributor, I've not seen it. I do use the FeatherCraft skeg on occasion when the Bay winds are unusually large. Some simple modification was required to fit the Fujita.

I think that you will find the boat to be a delight - entirely appropriate for the mostly flatwater paddling that you've indicated and quite up to more demanding conditions should you choose to go there. I'm happy to share what I've learned about the boat as your questions come up.

_________________
larrybluhm
Boulder, CO
Fujita/FoldingCraft 480


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2007 8:22 pm 
Hello Larry,

Thanks for replying!

I took the boat out on the sea yesterday for the first time. The seam sealant I had used worked very well. I don't know how long it will last, but in 4 hours of paddling, sometimes in fair-sized waves, so little water came in that I didn't even notice there was any until I took the boat apart at the end. It also leaves a transparent, non-gloss finish, so AI used it from the outside, as well. It is called Seam Sure seam sealer if you are interested. It even worked on the crappy skirt which I needed to use because my new one is just arriving tomorrow. I also ordered their bilge system. By the way, the original owner didn't sell the boat because of the leaking seams. He also owns a 480, like you, and had to get rid of one of them because he was moving to a smaller place, and chose to keep the 480.

The boat was, indeed, easy to control, and very stable even when waves came from the side. It didn't feel tippy at all. It was only hard to keep it going straight when I had to go parallel to the direction of the waves.

You mentioned you looked into buying the new welded hull. Just out of curiosity, how much does it cost in the US?


also, how long do you take to put the boat together and take it apart? I have an assembly video in which Fujita, himself does it in 9 minutes...I take about 30-35 even though I use all the tricks that he explains. What takes the longest is putting the sub-assemblies into the hull, and also taking them out when they are stuck at the end. centering them along the line is something else I have not quite managed to do.

A final question about paddle length: I know it's a complicated question and personal taste is one of the factors, but what length do you use? I am 178 and mine is 230 cm. It feels a bit too long at times.

Miklos


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 Post subject: Hi Miklos
PostPosted: Sat Jul 28, 2007 2:10 pm 
Hi Miklos.

Congrats on your 500. They are good boats. I have a 2005 modle.

I concur with what Larry wrote (Hi Larry). I have the welded hull seams which are water tight, but the seam between the hull and deck is sewn. So I sealed that seam with PVC cemement -- the stuff plumbers use. It bonds really well with the PVC material. I still get a few drops of H2O in my boat -- but not sure where it's comming from.

It takes me 40 minutes to assemble. To insert the frame I hold the skin with one hand and insert with the other, and the hand that is holding the skin shakes / ruffles the skin, while the other pushes the frame. Of course you don't force it -- if the frame gets hung up. It's kind of a babblebabble.

When centering the frame in the skin, i just make sure the center keel tube is centered in the center keel reinforcement strip on the hull. i have to roll the boat over to see. Use the sponsons to shift the frame one way or the other.

I sometimes use a Feathercraft strap on skeg. It helps with tracking -- but i don't feel it's absolutely necessary.

I don't use a skirt -- unless i'm in big water. I use a Fujita sea sock. The sock works great.

I hope this helps.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2007 6:02 am 
Brotherhood of the Golden Paddle
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Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2005 4:47 pm
Posts: 1709
Location: Arlington, VA (i.e. Wash DC)
nickjuhassz wrote:
hey chrstjrn,

Thanks for the warning. I will actually just putter around Zushi Bay and kamakura bay, and check out some of the smaller islands nearby. Then, I'll go on down to Odawara Bay, and come back to where I left from. Do you also live in Japan?


Miklos


I've moved away from Japan, but I still have family living on Miura Peninsula.

Heading south is very nice, too-- Hayama down and around Jogashima. The surf can build up enough to make it difficult to land, so be careful of that. Circumnavigating Jogashima might me a nice early trip.

_________________
Chris T.
~'91 Klepper A2 w/ BSD schooner rig.
'64 Klepper Passat/Tradewind and T12 restoration projects.
Non-folding: '84 Hobie 16; early '90s Old Town Canoe.
Previously owned '04 Pakboat Puffin II and '05 Swift.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2007 11:40 am 
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Joined: Fri Apr 29, 2005 3:14 pm
Posts: 51
Location: Boulder CO
Hi Miklos!

Glad to hear that the maiden voyage of your Fujita was a big success. You can expect many, many more - its a well made and durable boat.

I never did find out how much a new skin costs. The original plan was to send an eMail to Mike Palmer at Fulita NA with photos of me smiling in the boat in exotic locations, describe how wonderful the boat has been, and then shamelessly beg... There also still seems to be some confusion as to which models have welded deck seams. I was under the impression that Franz's boat (hi Franz!) had them, but his post indicates otherwise. Hmmm...

Best ever assembly time was around 12 minutes, when I decided to see just how fast I could do it. Typically it is more like 20 minutes - I like to make something of a "tea ceremony" out of assembly, purposeful but not rushed. A couple of things aid in inserting and centering the frame halves. First insert the frame half as far as it will easily go and then grab the appropriate hatch rim at 3 o'clock (12 being the bow or stern) and give a shake or two. If the keel is lined up with the reinforcement strip in the hull, the whole assembly will center most every time. Next, go to the very end of the hull and give a shake and a couple of tugs on the skin to smooth out any wrinkles and give the frame somewhere to go and then the frame should slide right into place. I insert the stern frame first since it is lower and gives a bit more clearance to later insert the bow frame. To remove the frames, I do the bow first, grabbing the hatch rim with one hand, and the cockpit rib with the other. Give a tug and it usually slides right out, taking care to ease the frame by the cockpit straps. For the stern frame, again grab the hatch rim and largest rib and pull the frame out as far as the sponson inflation tubes. I then peel back the skin so it is fully clear of the first rib and the frame slides right out. The process does get easier over time and as any seam sealer inside loses its tackiness.

I use a Lendal Kinetic Tour, 4 piece, carbon, 220. I'm considering going to a 210, easy enough since I only have to replace the shaft. I also have a Greenland paddle in my future. Tsunami Chuck let me use his for a bit and I rather liked it.

Happy Paddling!

_________________
larrybluhm
Boulder, CO
Fujita/FoldingCraft 480


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2007 10:05 am 
Thanks for all the replies!

Larry:

12 minutes assembly is impressive. I'd be glad if I could get to 20. What you said about the hull and inserting the sub-assemblies sounds simple, and I did try something-if not exactly-like that, but I'm sure it'll take another while until it gets smooth.

Thanks for the paddle info. Can I ask how tall you are?

Franz
:

Sounds reassuring that not everyone is as fast as Larry here. 40 min is more like what I take :-)

Devnull:

I am going up north from aug 4 for about 4 days. I am planning to do Onmaewan Izushima and Matsushima Bay (13 and 14 in the 55 book if you have it). Do you feel like meeting up?

Anyone:

If you have ever paddled around the Izu penninsula, any tips would be welcome. Planning a 4 day camping trip in Western and Southern Izu, but as camping is forbidden during the summer, I'll have to find a legit campsite that's very close to the shore and willing to accept kayakers. I'll start phoning around soon, but if you know any such places, or have any other input about the area, please let me know.

Thanks,

Miklos


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