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PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2006 8:55 pm 
Hello,

I am fairly new to this forum, although I have been snooping around for quite some time.

I have just purchased and received a brand new Wayland Harpoon I single folding kayak, and wanted to share some of my experiences.

I have been involved in canoeing and kayaking for about ten years. The foray into folding boats started recently, when I acquired a double Folbot Pisces. It is a good boat, and it generated further interest both in folding boats and in kayaks. I then decided to get a single-seat wood-framed touring boat suitable for small lakes, rivers, and large open water, like Lake Superior.

Why a wood-framed boat? The main reason is because I like things made out of wood, and prefer wood to metal or plastic, whenever possible. All other reasons, such as supposed ease of assembly and field repairs, for example, did not weigh in as much. I just wanted a boat with frame made out of wood. Hull material was not really an issue for me either. My Pisces has a vinyl hull, and has faired well over the years. All the information that I have looked through made me believe that hypalon and vinyl have very similar wear and aging characteristics, if properly looked after.

Once I made up my mind on what I wanted, I started looking around to see what is available, and examine my pockets. There are not that many types of boats of the kind that I was looking for available, either new or used. There are excellent affordable aluminum-framed boats, but they were not what I was looking for. What I found out is that wood-frame boats from most of the mainstream manufacturers are out of reach for me financially, either new or used in good shape. I started looking around further, and noticed the mention of Wayland on folding-kayaks.org.

The company attracted my interest. Way back when I lived in Russia, polish camping and rec. equipment was considered desirable top-of-the-line. I checked out their e-bay auctions -- most had positive feedback. I snooped around faltbooot.de, and too noticed that Wayland boats and replacement hulls for Kleppers that Wayland was manufacturing were generally positive reviews. I then snooped around some of the polish web sites, and also read mostly positive things about the company and their boats. I then exchanged e-mails and telephoned Wayland (they do speak English). E-mails were usually answered in a timely manner, and the couple of the phone calls were answered in the courteous manner.

All of this built up enough of my confidence that, after discussing the matter with my wife, I decided to give one of Wayland's boats a try.

The company e-mailed me the final quote on the kayak, shipping and a couple of extras that I have ordered. They added what appeared to be reasonable shipping charges, and promised that the kayak would be delivered within two weeks of receiving the payment.

Making the payment is where some trust had to come in. Wayland does not accept credit cards. All the transactions are performed using bank wire transfers. The wire transfer to Poland can take up to 3 days. Sure enough, after three days, they confirmed the receipt of the payment. The total was about $1650 for the boat, spray skirt, a couple of custom-fitted packing bags, carry harness and shipping.

Shipping the kayak was the next step. This is where some delays crept in. For whatever reason, they were not able to ship they kayak right away. To their credit, they stayed in constant communication with me, keeping me abreast as to what is going on. After about a week, the kayak left the factory and was delivered to the shipper. The shipping company, Polamer, handles airfreight to US, but, apparently, operates on "as-filled" basis. They also do not assign tracking numbers until the package enters US. The kayak sat at the shipper for another week or so before it was airlifted to Chicago. Once in Chicago, I was able to get status updates from Polamer fairly regularly. It took the package about 9 days to actually enter the country. Once in the country, the tracking number that was assigned to the package was a UPS tracking number 8-). Four days after the package was assigned a tracking number, it showed up on my doorstep. The delivery took a total of about four and a half weeks between the receipt of the payment and the delivery, just within US credit card shipping laws. All this time Wayland maintained regular communications with me.

The box I found on my doorstep was a somewhat large cardboard box, probably larger than I anticipated, heavy, with "Caution, Glass" stickers in Polish and English. It was also a little bit chewed up. I took some pictures, just in case, and proceeded to unpack it.

Inside was a single duffel bag made of what looks like heavy-duty corduroy-type material with orange shoulder and compression straps, made of the same material. And a ton of crimpled Polish newspapers used as packing material. I extracted the case, moved it to the family room, and unzipped it.

The parts inside were neatly stacked, and did not appear to be damaged. Every single part, with the exception of the hull, was separately wrapped in thick layers of plastic. It took me some time to extract all the parts. None of them appeared to be damaged.

The wood parts are very well finished, covered in heavy layers of varnish. Ribs are reinforced with aluminum alloy overlays in a number of areas. All in all, all wooden parts appear to be very well made.

Most of the metal components, including the snap-locks, are made out of aluminum alloy. They are reasonably well finished, but do have an occasional rough edge. Overall fit and finish of all parts appeared good.

All of the items that I have ordered were included. The repair kit had in it the patch material, but lacked the adhesive. I suspect that this may be due to air shipping regulations.

Two other items were in the case: the manual and the warranty card. The warranty card, is, well, a warranty card. The manual is written using English. That is about as much as can be said about it, although it does contain some useful pictures that came in handy.

The hull impressed me a lot. I do not really know of any other boat that I can reasonably compare it with (that is, I have not seen a lot of folding boats). The bottom part, made of hypalon, is glued neatly, and has protection strips already in place. No loose pieces or glue. Bow part is reinforced and well shaped. Stern part has an aluminum casting molded and bolted to the hull. The top part is made of some sort of synthetic material that resembles canvas. No single part of it is wasted. It is covered all over with little and not-so-little pockets, zippered, rubber-banded and velcroed. There are bottle-holders on both sides of the cockpit 8-). Right behind the cockpit there is a built-in zippered storage bag that sits on top of the rear access hatch. Deck line is all over, with tons of D-rings sewn in. Inside the hull are the inflatable sponsoons that run the full length of the hull. The sponsoons appear to be replaceable. They are not built-in or glued to the hull. They sit inside a nylon-like pouch that is sewn in to the area where the top fabric meets hypalon. Sponsoons themselves are made out of transparent PVC. Sponsoon tubes do not have valves on them. Instead, old-fashioned plugs are used. The plugs are not tethered, so I do not know how soon I'll loose them. I have ordered a set of twist-valves from NRS to take care of this issue.

I assembled the kayak in the family room. Initial assembly took about an hour and a half. Most, but not all, parts are labeled. Front and rear gunwales are different, but are not labeled as such. I had to go back a few times to correct some of the errors. Unfortunately, the manual was not always helpful in figuring out what goes where. Klepper assembly pictures from this site were a bit more helpful, and I was able to put the boat together.

Frame pieces assemble with relative ease. I did not have to resort to the use of any tools, or custom-fit any of the parts. Most of the boat, with the exception of the adjustable seat and the seat-back, assembles using built-in fasteners. All in all, there are seven loose parts -- three screws for the seat, two plugs for sponsoons, and two sliding tubes that make up longeron connections for left and right sides.

The assembled boat looks more like a little u-boat than a kayak. Most likely it is due to the hump given to it by the built-in deck bag behind the cockpit. But it does look very decent (subjectively, of course). With sponsoons inflated, the boat is about 27 inches wide. It is about 16 feet long. The hull sits on the frame without any folds or buckles, nicely stretched. The boat can be picked up easily by one person. Overall structure looks and feels very solid. When either the bow or the stern is picked up, the boat flexes a bit, but does not make any threatening sounds, and the hull stays nice and tight.

The rudder attaches easily, and it does not take much to run the control lines. Pedals install with some effort when the boat is already assembled. Although the manual does not mention this, I suspect that they need to be attached to the frame before the frame is inserted into the hull. The rudder itself appears like the most home-made part of the boat, but does appear to work.

Getting inside the boat is easy, although the cockpit is much narrower than in the Pisces. Seats are nice and padded, and are covered by some sort of black synthetic material. Bottom cushion can be adjusted forward or backward. Rudder pedals are mounted over the bottom of the third rib. I am about 5'6", and even with the seat fully forward, they appeared a bit too far away. The back of the seat is comfortable, but I wish it could be mounted a bit further forward.

Teardown took about half an hour. I will try the boat out in the water this weekend, and try to post some more info and pictures later on.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2006 10:28 pm 
Site Admin

Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2005 12:34 pm
Posts: 1703
Location: Southeast Michigan
This is great- I'd like to see you expand it into a full review for the main site.

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Michael Edelman
FoldingKayaks.org Webmaster


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 21, 2006 12:03 am 
Leaving aside possible issues with repairs or replacement (wooden repairs are doable anyway), looks like inexpensive alternative to Klepper AE1 or Longhaul Mk1. Apparently less heavy-duty frame if can be lifted by one person (I would hate lifting 72 lbs MK1 - and this is without seat, rudder, and dry). And they have rudder design different from Klepper or LH, and this is likely not good, but can be changed later. Keep us posted, how it feels on water, how skirt works (if any), and how all the parts and aluminum joints fare after a season. Those plugs for inlfation hoses - if NRS valves won't fit, it can still be remedied. I had this kind of design once, - you can drill 1/16" or 1/32" holes in plugs buts (laterally, of course), and tether them with thin lines like shoelaces to the closest rib or sew those laces to the sponson sleeve, or edge of the deck.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 21, 2006 5:24 am 
Brotherhood of the Golden Paddle
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Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2005 4:47 pm
Posts: 1712
Location: Arlington, VA (i.e. Wash DC)
Yes-- thanks very much for posting. I look forward to seeing pictures!

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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: Fri Jul 21, 2006 10:27 am 
knight of the folding kayak realm

Joined: Sat Apr 16, 2005 1:06 pm
Posts: 359
Location: Spruce Head, Maine
Congratulations on your new boat. It looks pretty nice, judging from the pics on the Wayland site. It does look similar to a Klepper or LH. The Wayland site says that it's 14.76' x 29.5". Looking forward to hear how it paddles.

Paul


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 Post subject: Pictures
PostPosted: Tue Aug 15, 2006 11:57 am 
I have posted some pictures of the Harpoon. They are in the user gallery section.

More words will follow soon.


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 Post subject: Words
PostPosted: Tue Aug 15, 2006 9:27 pm 
Looking forward to those words. That rear coaming assembly looks weird to me - those metal fittings jutting up hornlike. Chris


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 Post subject: Re: Words
PostPosted: Tue Aug 15, 2006 10:36 pm 
Christov_Tenn wrote:
Looking forward to those words. That rear coaming assembly looks weird to me - those metal fittings jutting up hornlike. Chris


In defence of third-world manufacturers ;-)... Those horn-looking aluminum fittings are very similar to the ones on Klepper and Longhaul. They bend occasionally on my LH (I've heard, on Kleppers too). I flatten them out, and then they bend again at some moment (I didn't notice that this affected the frame integrity).


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 Post subject: Re: Words
PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2006 4:19 pm 
Alm wrote:
They bend occasionally on my LH (I've heard, on Kleppers too).


Most of the metal hardware on Harpoon is made out of aluminum alloy, anywhere from 1 to 3 mm thick (roughly), depending on the part. So far, after more than 7 assemblies/disassemblies, nothing got bent, but I still "baby" everything.

To be on the safe side, I did repackage all the flat parts in a separate bag with semi-rigid sides.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Aug 17, 2006 1:17 pm 
Site Admin

Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2005 12:34 pm
Posts: 1703
Location: Southeast Michigan
Dmitri's full review is now on the main web site. Look under "What's New" or "Longer Reviews".

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Michael Edelman
FoldingKayaks.org Webmaster


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 Post subject: Re: Words
PostPosted: Thu Aug 17, 2006 8:47 pm 
menedem wrote:
Most of the metal hardware on Harpoon is made out of aluminum alloy, anywhere from 1 to 3 mm thick (roughly), depending on the part. So far, after more than 7 assemblies/disassemblies, nothing got bent, but I still "baby" everything.


I've just measured - those aluminum "horns" on the rear cockpit rib are also 1.5mm thik on Longhaul. On Klepper - don't know, probably the same, though Klepper has some indentation on this fitting for extra rigidity, - don't know if this makes a lot of difference. Those "horns" and other metal fttings bend occasionally not in assembling, but when boat is in use, when more stress is applied in all directions. It is actually good that these guys didn't try to invent anything unusual and mostly copied Klepper's design, tested over dozens of years. If they copied accurately enough and didn't save too much on the quality of alloys and wood, then this boat should be OK :-).


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 Post subject: Re: Words
PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2006 6:38 pm 
Alm wrote:
It is actually good that these guys didn't try to invent anything unusual and mostly copied Klepper's design, tested over dozens of years. If they copied accurately enough and didn't save too much on the quality of alloys and wood, then this boat should be OK :-).


I have never seen Klepper up close, but have looked at the pictures of Klepper assembly on this site, and used them as a guide to Harpoon assembly. Harpoon appears to be very closely "patterned" after AE1, although dimensions and some of the details differ.

Wayland does appear to try and evolve the product, though. The company rep mentioned to me that they have done some recent frame modifications to reduce the boat weight. One of these changes was the replacement of ribs 1 and 7 with spreader bars. According to the company, these and other changes resulted in reducing the boat weight by about 2 kilos, but have not impacted the frame integrity. The only thing that I can say is that the frame does feel solid. Subjectively, that is.

Time will tell, of course, how everything lasts. My initial impressions are positive, and I hope that they continue to stay this way.


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 Post subject: Re: Words
PostPosted: Thu Aug 24, 2006 4:56 pm 
Alm wrote:
I've just measured - those aluminum "horns" on the rear cockpit rib are also 1.5mm thik on Longhaul.


One thing to note here is that the Long Haul "horns" are, as most of the fittings on a MKI or MKII, stainless steel not aluminum and therefore not as brittle.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Aug 25, 2006 2:42 am 
Sorry, - I didn't realise those fittings were stainless on LH. Being long, they bend anyway at that thickness. Probably, some kind of "stiffening rib", like that groove on the similar Klepper "horns", could've been used.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Aug 25, 2006 11:40 am 
Site Admin

Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2005 12:34 pm
Posts: 1703
Location: Southeast Michigan
Stainless at that thickness is so much stronger than aluminum that I suspect adding additional stiffening is unecessary. One thing to keep in mind is that while steel may deform under load, it will recover if not deformed beyond its yield strength. The aluminum Klepper parts will deform under any sort of stress- I carry a multitool when I take a Klepper out to deal with the occasional but inevitible bent fitting. They can be bent back, but the deformation weakens them. I can't imagine any conceivable load under normal circumstances that would deform one of the stainless parts on the LH boats.

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Michael Edelman
FoldingKayaks.org Webmaster


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