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 Post subject: New boat coming?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 23, 2014 10:34 pm 
knight of the folding kayak realm

Joined: Sat Feb 19, 2011 9:22 am
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Location: Coastal New Jersey
I live in New Jersey where rumor, at least of the political kind, often bears ripe fruit. And so this latest rumor which has to do with a new addition to the Feathercraft line of boats caught my attention. The new boat TBA early this year will likely be a fully inflatable, frameless kayak that will match the paddling performance of the Kahuna. This could be something to consider for those of us with after market parts holding our hips and knees together and who find ground level assembly of a folding kayak a much less than pleasant experience. No frames to put together, just pump 'er up and go!


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 Post subject: Re: New boat coming?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 24, 2014 1:32 am 
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I got really sore backs from pumping Gumotex inflatables when I was guiding in Thailand :lol: The ups and downs of a pump might wear out your old parts more than the extension levers :P


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 Post subject: Re: New boat coming?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 24, 2014 1:59 am 
faltbootemeister
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Location: Vancouver, Canada
Using a foot pump will eliminate that problem. Too bad foot pumps don't last. I had to replace my Scoprega practically every year. I now use a K-Pump and seems to work quite well.

I haven't seen the new FC inflatable in the flesh, but saw a picture on the net. It looks like an overweight Feathercraft kayak. It's reported to weigh very little, around 20#, but don't quote me on that - the information I received might be wrong. Apperently it's making its debut at the Vancouver boat show.
It will be interesting to see how it will compete against Innova inflatables, especially the shorter Solar.

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 Post subject: Re: New boat coming?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 24, 2014 8:51 am 
knight of the folding kayak realm

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I suppose this new inflatable, the Aironaut by name, will certainly meet the standards for high quality as do the Innova products. Price will likely be on the high end. I've been thinking about getting an Innova Safari mostly just for playing with in the light summer surf along the Atlantic beaches, something I would not do with my Kurrent. Considering both price and quality, I really think that Innova boats are hard to beat.


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 Post subject: Re: New boat coming?
PostPosted: Sun Feb 02, 2014 4:06 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 15, 2006 8:37 pm
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Feathercraft has the new Aironaut loaded on their web site now.


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 Post subject: Re: New boat coming?
PostPosted: Sun Feb 02, 2014 6:40 pm 
faltbootemeister
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It's a mean looking kayak and a lot sleeker than I expected. Given the price tag it probably won't compete with Innova or others, but it could create it's own little market niche.

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 Post subject: Re: New boat coming?
PostPosted: Sun Feb 02, 2014 8:34 pm 
Brotherhood of the Golden Paddle

Joined: Mon Apr 18, 2005 3:40 pm
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Location: isles of scilly UK
To me this looks like a winner, they don,t have to compete, they make the best.


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 Post subject: Re: New boat coming?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 03, 2014 9:07 am 
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20 pounds, a six minute pump up! It's time for Our Man In Vancouver, aka Paraglia, to bicycle over to Granville Island and take the Aironaut out for a paddle. Don't forget to wear a wet suit :)


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 Post subject: Re: New boat coming?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 03, 2014 1:45 pm 
faltbootemeister

Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2013 1:15 pm
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Love this forum! Thanks for the heads up. (I shouldn't get excited but it must be cabin fever.) It's like a Kahuna without the frame. Would love to see a review.


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 Post subject: Re: New boat coming?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2014 5:05 pm 
faltbootemeister
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Location: Vancouver, Canada
I just came back from visiting the FC shop on Granville Island...
They had three Aironaut inflatable lying around. I have never seen anything like it before... It has the hull shape of a regular kayak, but it's not. It's a full inflatable boat with no framing at all, with the exclusion of small stern and bow pieces to give the ends rigidity. Everything stays attached to the boat, including what looks like a very comfortable inflatable seat with backrest and hip support.
The kayak comes with a skeg, seasock, sprayskirt and an inflatable paddle float (nice touch). The whole package is very sleek.
I would have loved to take it out for a paddle, but alas, work was calling me back...

Below some additional pictures from the FC blog:

http://fckayaks.wordpress.com/

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 Post subject: Re: New boat coming?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2014 11:37 pm 
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Did you get to talk to them about the hull and deck fabrics? From the specs sheet, it seems to be similar in durability to the lightest made kurrent.


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 Post subject: Re: New boat coming?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2014 11:48 pm 
faltbootemeister
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It's a similar material to the light skin Kurrent, but thicker and stronger. It feels different to the touch as well. They still managed to keep the weight just under 20lbs.
In a couple of days FC's staff is taking three Aironauts on a week long trip on Vancouver Island. It will be interesting to hear the results.

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 Post subject: Re: New boat coming?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2014 8:59 am 
knight of the folding kayak realm

Joined: Sat Feb 19, 2011 9:22 am
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Location: Coastal New Jersey
Thanks for the reconnaissance effort. It'll be interesting to read what the folks at FC say about their new inflatable and even more so to hear what other paddlers have say about it. The Aironaut looks quite different than any of the other 'touring' inflatable from other high-end manufacturers such as Incept and Grabner. How it performs in wind and waves will show if it's the real thing or not. I like the addition of a paddle float to the list of standard equipment. I always carry a small, inflatable float on the aft deck of my Kurrent to provide extra stability when entering or exiting the boat in knee-deep water which helps avoid hull contact with stones, shells, etc.


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 Post subject: Re: New boat coming?
PostPosted: Sat Feb 15, 2014 3:05 pm 
I'm very interested in the Aironaut, but have some concerns about ease of repair and the time it takes to make repairs in the field.
Using a motorcycle accident analogy ... It's not if, but when !

On the Feathercraft Aironaut, the numerous air chambers are arranged in three groups, which I assume means that one leak affects several individual chambers.

There are no removable / replaceable sponsons so when out paddling, repairs must be made in the field as the air chambers provide all the structural integrity of the Aironaut,
unlike an internal aluminum frame folder with or without sponsons.

Here's a link to Feathercraft's blog. It contains instructions for repairing a nylon / urethane coated hull using a patch and Aquaseal.

http://fckayaks.wordpress.com/ - Scroll down to hull repair instructions

In the blog it mentions patching both the inside and outside of the hull in the event of a puncture, but with a non removable air chamber, that's not possible.
After gluing on the patches, the instructions recommend a 14 hour Aquaseal drying time. On a PVC hull or sponson, repair takes just a few minutes using a PVC patch and a thin coat of HH-66 vinyl cement.

Duct tape might be a temporary fix on a skin, but on an Aironaut air chamber under pressure, I doubt the duct tape would be of much value. Another option might be to keep pumping, but that would only be effective with a very slow leak, not a puncture. I've been lucky enough to use both of these options over the years :D

Info@feathercraft stated that they have been making urethane hulls for 15 years and Aquaseal was used for repair... I need more "inflatable" detail than that.

Any thoughts on this from you Feathercraft / Urethane experts out there ? Keep in mind I'm talking about nylon / urethane inflatable hulls comprised totally of structural air chambers under pressure, and not a standard folding kayak urethane hull skin, and not removable / replaceable sponsons.

Thanks, Tom


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 Post subject: Re: New boat coming?
PostPosted: Sat Feb 15, 2014 4:15 pm 
faltbootemeister
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Location: Vancouver, Canada
That's a good point. It's important to be able to perform at least temporary repairs to a hull puncture. We'll see how FC addresses this issue. However, hull punctures and repairs also applies to inflatable kayaks in general. Innovas for instance can be paddled with one deflated chamber, but they are quite beamy. With the narrow Aironaut it may be a different matter; but still, it literally remains to be seen.

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