An Intro plus seeking advice

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garbar

An Intro plus seeking advice

Post by garbar »

My wife and I are new to kayaking, and we reside in Houston, Texas (for now). We both work for a major airline, so we will be able to ship the kayak around when we need. We are looking for a folding kayak (double) which can also be sailed. The type of exploring we will be doing is mostly salt water (in the waters around Maui), but could use it on tame rivers in Alaska. We will be shipping it at least 3 times a year, from Houston to Maui (wife is Hawaiian and we have a home there), or to Alaska, Seattle or Vancouver, to paddle the inland waterways. I need a boat that will haul at least two weeks of camping supplies, as well as my camera gear. Not concerned about price, but looking for quality as well as ease of handling. I am also looking for usable deck space for equipment storage, as well as sail storage.
I have been surfing the website, and have seen some very fine manufacturers. Folbot, Featherlight, Long Haul and Klepper are presently the standouts.
Any suggestions?

Thanks,

Gary

P.S. Excellent website!

cline

Re: An Intro plus seeking advice

Post by cline »

First off, welcome to the forum. Image

As to finding a good, double folding Kayak that you can sail and can be carried around on trips, I'm going to suggest a Klepper Aerius II. There are several different models of the Aerius II boat.

I bought my first one in 1965 and my current one more recently. I love it. It's a great boat with plenty of room to store your gear. It's also a very well built, sturdy boat, as are all Kleppers. Here are a couple of pictures of mine (without the rudder, which I don't use very often except when sailing).

Image

Image

My wife and I sailed our old one for many years. It was a good sailing boat for a kayak. We haven't sailed the current one even though I still have my old sailing rig. My wife isn't big on sailing anymore. LOL

Here is a link that should give you some idea what the Klepper looks like under sail.

http://www.klepper.com/en/faltboote_besegelung.php

You can search the web for dealers. There are a few in California, and one in Wisconsin. I hope that this helps you.
Last edited by cline on Sat Nov 14, 2009 6:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

garbar

Re: An Intro plus seeking advice

Post by garbar »

Cline,

Thanks for the info. The pictures are great. Beautiful boat. I checked out the web-site and it looks like a great sailing craft. My concerns are for the amount of cargo it can carry with the sail rig. I want to put a dry box forward so that I can reach it from my seat. This will house my camera and various lens for my photography. We will also be carrying sleeping bags, two man tent, food and fishing gear. Our outings in Alaska will last about three weeks. The bag I want to use is the Seal Line Kodiak, or something along this line. I will need easy access to the camera. Since we'll be mostly in sea water, I need to extra protect the camera gear. What are your thoughts? Thanks.

Christov_Tenn

Re: An Intro plus seeking advice

Post by Christov_Tenn »

See about getting a copy of Keep Australia on Your Left - two guys paddle around most of Australia in a Klepper with a custom sail-rig.

cline

Re: An Intro plus seeking advice

Post by cline »

Christov_Tenn wrote:See about getting a copy of Keep Australia on Your Left - two guys paddle around most of Australia in a Klepper with a custom sail-rig.
I was just looking at the book that you mentioned above listed on Amazon. As I was previewing the inside, I saw where the author of the book, Eric Stiller, was talking with his father, Dieter Stiller. Then it hit me; Dieter Stiller sold me my first Klepper in 1965 back when he had his shop in Arlington, VA. I demonstrated boats for and with him on a couple of occasions. I lost track of him a long time ago. Only recently, while talking with Peter at Klepper West about possible dealers on the east coast, did I learn that he had moved his shop to New Jersey or New York after he left Arlington. I guess that he’s retired now.

It's a small world, isn't it? :lol:

cline

Re: An Intro plus seeking advice

Post by cline »

garbar wrote:Cline,

Thanks for the info. The pictures are great. Beautiful boat. I checked out the web-site and it looks like a great sailing craft. My concerns are for the amount of cargo it can carry with the sail rig. I want to put a dry box forward so that I can reach it from my seat. This will house my camera and various lens for my photography. We will also be carrying sleeping bags, two man tent, food and fishing gear. Our outings in Alaska will last about three weeks. The bag I want to use is the Seal Line Kodiak, or something along this line. I will need easy access to the camera. Since we'll be mostly in sea water, I need to extra protect the camera gear. What are your thoughts? Thanks.
Without seeing the volume of your gear, it’s hard to tell for sure if everything that you mentioned would fit. I will say that if it won’t fit in an Aerius II, you’re probably going to have a hard time getting it to fit in any other foldboat that I’m familiar with. I think that there may be a 19 or 20 foot one out there, but I’m not sure. I really don’t know that much about all the different models of folding kayaks.

The biggest problem that you’re going to face with the Klepper (and maybe the others too) is getting everything stored under the deck and between the ribs. It’s a PITA. If you buy a new Aerius II model, you can get hatches put on the deck, fore and aft, at the factory which will give you easier access to below decks, so to speak. You should consider that should you decide to buy a new boat. It's an expensive option (about $400 per hatch), but worth it. When I buy my new Aerius I Expedition next year, I'm going to have an aft one put in. I take my Nikon camera with me on occasion, and you’re right about the protection. In the environment that you’re going to be in, this will be very important. I keep mine in a sealed bag between my legs when I’m out on the water, but my environment is probably, on average, not a harsh as yours will be. One other thing to note; be careful not to "stuff" things in below the deck too tight against the air sponsons, especially anything that has a shape edge or something that might put a hole in the sponson. They can be easily repaired, but they can be a PITA to get back in after you're removed them for the repairs, especially if you’re trying to repair them in the field. I know from experience. :(

One thing that you should avoid if possible is lashing stuff on top. It’s a good way to lose things in a rough sea. If you have to do it, make sure that it’s very secure and protected, and not something that you need to get at while underway. I'm sure that this is obvious to you, but I thought that I'd mention it anyway.

I hope that this isn’t too much blah blah. :lol: Good luck on your trips. They sound like they're going to be fun, albeit rugged.

Alm

Re: An Intro plus seeking advice

Post by Alm »

Folbot, Featherlight, Long Haul and Klepper are presently the standouts.
Any of these doubles is capable of carrying at least 2 weeks supply of food (with, say, 10-15 liters of fresh water) and 2 people. Longhaul MKII is essentially American remake of Klepper AEII, cheaper locally, same skin, heavier and sturdier frame than AEII. Folbot GII is the same shape and size as AEII or MKII, only with aluminum frame, so it will handle no different from the other two, but FC Klondike or K2 is a totally different hull-form. I second what others say about lashing things on deck (except for a furled sail still attached to the mast) - there is no such thing as "deck storage" in a kayak, forget about it. Disclaimer: I do carry a small deckbag, but it contains non-essential items like snack, map of the current leg, rainjacket - the trip would go on even with all this lost, it's on deck merely for convenience.

Also, any of those listed boats has enough payload to add the weight of an upwind sailrig with outrigger.

Feathercraft (I assume this is what you mean) has no good upwind sailrig available (their own rig is rather imperfect). I've heard that there is not enough room in FC Klondike with 2 people to carry 2-3 weeks food and gear, but the info was from people who didn't do multiday trips and didn't accumulate enough experience in compact packing (selecting optimal compact gear takes time, too). I did 2 weeks trip in area where I had to carry 20 L of fresh water and desalinator PUR 35 in a tiny FC Kahuna http://alexm221100.googlepages.com/bagamasapr2008 - it was a pain, but not everybody carries that much water (and desalinator), and again, Kahuna is tiny.

Sailrigs - there are downwind and upwind rigs. It's your choice.

Upwind rigs - briefly.
They can be with or without outrigger. I wouldn't feel safe without outrigger in a boat with precious multiday supply of food and gear, but it's your choice again. Klepper rig comes without outrigger. I've seen photos of Klepper rig on Klepper with Folbot outrigger added. Folbot rig (sail, mast and leeboard) is not perfect as well - the flaws are different from those of FC rig, and leeboard is poor, so you can barely make 10-15 degrees past the beam wind. And then there is BSD rig - it is good, has an outrigger, needs a lot of DIY work, can be installed on AEII, MKII or GII (probably, on Klondike or K2 as well, but I haven't seen any such installation), though BSD manufacturer is nearly impossible to get a hold of. All those rigs (especially with an outrigger) will restrict your paddling ability a lot. All of them are difficult to dismantle completely while under way. All of them add one luggage piece to already substantial luggage (Klepper AEII is a 3-bag boat). I am not talking about downwind rigs here - those are a different breed.

The gear - drybags etc - you will figure out after first few trips in whatever boat you'll choose. I don't know why you want to have a big drybox for photo equipment accessible on water. Drybox or anything else angular doesn't fit kayak well - dry bag is a preferred option. Most photos in kayaking trips are taken while ashore - there is usually no good angle of view from water level, or not close enough. Decent non-SLR waterproof camera will take care of those infrequent shots from water, and needs no drybox. Though, I am not much into photography, never had a high-end camera, so may be I'm missing something here.

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krudave
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Re: An Intro plus seeking advice

Post by krudave »

I agree with Alex on those caveats re: storage and transport of high-end photo gear. Most serious photo folks use a Pelican dry box or similar, because of the better protection than a dry bag can provide.

That is about the only hangup with what you plan. If you pack carefuly and avoid bulky food, any of the folding doubels can handle two weeks.

In the event you want more feedback on this from photographers who use kayaks as a base for shooting, check out the Paddling section of this forum, where there are several top-notch photographers who hang out: http://www.westcoastpaddler.com/community/index.php

I think you said you wanted to use a folder around Maui. You might want to sort out exactly where you would launch and land for that use. Folders do not handle large surf well.
Dave Kruger
Astoria, OR
--
Folbot Kodiak, Cooper, and Edisto; three hardshells; Mothership: Surf Scoter the Bartender; dinghy Little Blue Duck.

cline

Re: An Intro plus seeking advice

Post by cline »

Alm wrote:...The gear - drybags etc - you will figure out after first few trips in whatever boat you'll choose. I don't know why you want to have a big drybox for photo equipment accessible on water. Drybox or anything else angular doesn't fit kayak well - dry bag is a preferred option. Most photos in kayaking trips are taken while ashore - there is usually no good angle of view from water level, or not close enough. Decent non-SLR waterproof camera will take care of those infrequent shots from water, and needs no drybox. Though, I am not much into photography, never had a high-end camera, so may be I'm missing something here.
I do photography from time to time, and I think that you're right on with this advice. A drybox would be impractical and unnecessary. And, you're right about taking pictures while you're underway; and I might add, especially under sail in potentially rough water.

The only time that I take or pull out my good Nikon camera is when I'm on a calm inland waterway and I'm there specifically to take pictures, usually of wildlife or something else of interest. If I'm going to take pictures while underway, or when I'm just out for a paddle, I take and use a much less expensive camera that can take good pictures but not cost too much if it's lost or damaged. Don't get me wrong; I still protect it, but I won't have high-end heartburn if something happens to it. In times past, I never took pictures while I was under sail which is why I didn't have any to show. I was usually too busy with other things. :mrgreen:

It was interesting reading your post about other folding kayaks. As I mentioned earlier, my knowledge about them is lacking. I was also interested in what you had to say about the various sailing rigs and sailing techniques. It was very informative. When I used to sail with mine, I used the stock upwind sailing rig with jib, main, rudder, and leeboards. I was looking at the Balogh Outrigger Stabilizing System (B.O.S.S.) online recently, and thought to myself, now that would be fun to have. :lol:

garbar

Re: An Intro plus seeking advice

Post by garbar »

Thanks everyone for the excellent advice. It gives me a lot to think about. I hope more members add to this thread.

I am planning to use the kayak for landscape and wildlife photography. There are many uses for the kayak as a platform for photos. One use I have in mind is using the kayak as a piece of floatsom when photographing birds. Shore birds react to movement that is not natural, so to sneak up on them, you let the boat drift in on the tide, and the consider it non threatening. Same with some animals like the lynx, bobcat and other species that you can spot while near shore. I was using a Necky double this past August in Alaska, and I had Orcas right next to the kayak. The sea otters were also very curious, but rarely found on shore. Sometimes, to get the perfect landscape, you have to be out on the bay. So to do this, I have lenses that are extremely expensive. These must be protected when not on the camera. When I use the camera, I have a rain jacket to protect it. It's the lenses that are not being used that I need safely stored. If I am sailing, most likely I will have all the camera gear put away in the container. That's when I worry about tipping or rolling or even waves breaking over the kayak. It's nice to have the confidence that if you do screw up, you gear is secure. While on the Necky, I had my gear strapped on top in front of me, but I was a nervous wreck when paddling as the bag wasn't waterproof. Got some great shots, though. Keep the suggestions coming, as I am now painting a better picture of what I need to acquire.
Thanks to all who have contributed so far.

cline

Re: An Intro plus seeking advice

Post by cline »

krudave wrote:I agree with Alex on those caveats re: storage and transport of high-end photo gear. Most serious photo folks use a Pelican dry box or similar, because of the better protection than a dry bag can provide.
I agree that a Pelican dry box is about as good as it gets when it comes to storing and protecting a camera and lenses. That's what I had for my Nikonos underwater cameras when I would go scuba diving. Many times, dive boats were a zoo, and it was nice to have them protected that way. If it went overboard (it never did, thank God), it would float. That's protection.

In a Klepper, a dry box doesn't fit very well below decks on a Klepper, but you're right when you say that it is the best protection.

Alm

Re: An Intro plus seeking advice

Post by Alm »

to use a folder around Maui. You might want to sort out exactly where you would launch and land for that use. Folders do not handle large surf well.
No problem to launch on the South shore of Maui - it's mostly protected with reefs. But it's so densely developed that this might be boring after a while. There is a short distance to Lanai and Molokai islands (short under a good sail rig, anyway), both with sheltered bays right across from Maui, but this is it, folks. Hawaii is not a wilderness anymore (and probably never was), except for paddling around scary north shores.
I was looking at the Balogh Outrigger Stabilizing System (B.O.S.S.) online recently
Yes, Balogh, a.k.a. BSD, a.k.a. BOSS (if with outrigger). Hard to get any response, hard to fill an order, long time to wait when it eventually gets filled.
Most serious photo folks use a Pelican dry box or similar, because of the better protection than a dry bag can provide.
Yes, for storage, and with SLR it's going to be under-deck storage, otherwise it is a burden. What I meant was that having drybox accessible on water is not a necessity. Having compact waterproof camera doesn't tie your hands up while under way, they are largely automated, and therefore leave you more opportunities to shoot a better scene, albeit with less than stellar quality. Just my 2 cents.
photographing birds. Shore birds react to movement that is not natural, so to sneak up on them, you let the boat drift in on the tide, and the consider it non threatening. Same with some animals
They react to everything that is not natural, IMO. You drift too close, and they take off or attack you, even if you are moving slowly. Sea lions will attack you if you come close, and even small seals will, when they are in huge numbers on the rocks.

mje
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Re: An Intro plus seeking advice

Post by mje »

Agreed on the Pelican (or similar) boxes. A double like the Klepper or Long Haul is *very* stable. BTW, the Long Haul has stainless steel fittings that are great if you're spending a lot of time in salt water.
Michael Edelman
FoldingKayaks.org Webmaster

cline

Re: An Intro plus seeking advice

Post by cline »

mje wrote:...A double like the Klepper or Long Haul is *very* stable.
I agree that a Klepper is very stable when you're paddling it. It's one of many things that I've always loved about it. However, when you're under sail in one, it's a bit different. In a good wind, under the stock sailing system that is sold for the boat, you can turn one on its side, sails in the water, very easily. But, it is a fun boat to sail as long as you pay attention.

Since I was primarily a day sailor when I sailed mine, I've never sailed a Klepper after it's been loaded up with gear, especially with stuff strapped on the deck, so I'm not sure how it would handle under sail that way. Maybe better; maybe worse. Image

I mention this only if Garber intends to sail it on some of his overnight journeys with his boat packed with gear. Garber, if you're going to paddle it on your long camping trips, rather than sailing it, then what I've said here really won't matter much, in which case please forgive an old man his musings. :)

Alm

Re: An Intro plus seeking advice

Post by Alm »

cline wrote: Since I was primarily a day sailor when I sailed mine, I've never sailed a Klepper after it's been loaded up with gear, especially with stuff strapped on the deck, so I'm not sure how it would handle under sail that way. Maybe better; maybe worse.
Loaded it will be more stable, and slower (= wider angle of upwind sailing), and yet, not stable enough to make a capsize in gusty winds impossible. Mark Balogh has a photo of AEII with his BOSS outrigger on his website, and I read John Waterman's book that this photo is taken from. At some point, when he sailed without an outrigger, sudden wind gust hit him, and he capsized in freezing waters of Arctic with heavily loaded boat and with a tiny sail - I think it was 18 sq.ft. For comparison, I carry 32 sq.ft sail with outrigger, and Klepper S4 rig (sans outrigger) is over 50 sq.ft. - plenty of heeling force to capsize. So, this is possible ;-) ...

Heavy stuff strapped to the deck will be detrimental to balance, of course.

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