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PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2016 10:58 pm 
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Location: Coastal New Jersey
This was posted today by Dan on the FC blog:

New post on Feathercraft Kayaks

Don’t worry! Be happy…. I’m goin Hoppy
by fckayaks
Quite a few speculations as to what is going on here.... we are just renovating! There has been no mortality, sickness, injury or any other cataclysmic ordeal! Feathercraft will be around for at least another 30 years if I have anything to say about it.

All of our parts are labeled out of stock so that we don't get flooded with orders that we can not complete because our machines are being moved. We're very close to being finished....... It has been a few months of moving machines, electrical hookups, compressors and air hoses.

The square footage cost in Vancouver is insane. Insane. (how is a completely average house worth 2.5 million!!?!?? gah, now I'm riled up) We are halving our space as a result. The other option was to move to the boonies.......

As to the models we carry; we simply don't want to make so darn many. Its a Massive Pain in there Derriere. We either have to keep everything in stock or stop what we are doing and make a bow java chine bar #3. heh. Not exactly productive. So hopefully we streamline for the future, but in the meantime we still support all the boats we have sold.

This year will see Feathercraft more fiscally secure than it has been since 2008.

Breath people. Breath.



dan

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2016 3:07 am 
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Great news, delighted to hear all is well :D


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2016 8:22 am 
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Not sure how many here are familiar with the history of Vancouver's real estate market over the past 10-20 years, but their point is legitimate.

Never the less, it is also fair to say that they couldn't pay the rent and are downsizing.

Seems like one could interpret it either way.

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~'91 Klepper A2 w/ BSD schooner rig.
'64 Klepper Passat/Tradewind and T12 restoration projects.
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Previously owned '04 Pakboat Puffin II and '05 Swift.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2016 9:35 am 
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The market for all kinds high end kayaks has been in decline for some time now. While sales of "kayaks" may appear to have actually increased, most of these are probably what I'd call point-of-sale purchases eg, a ten foot plastic rec boat or SUP, paddle and PFD included for around $500 from one of the big box sporting goods retailers. I've watched Jersey Paddler transition over the years from a retailer who once had the largest inventory of high end composite kayaks on the US east coast to a diminished operation that seems to be kept alive these days by the sales of SUPs (and some very expensive composite SUP models, too) and barge-like fishing kayaks. With commercial space being as expensive as it's become in places as disparate as New Jersey and Vancouver, BC, downsizing seems to make simple economic sense. I suppose it's all about survival.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2016 1:58 pm 
faltbootemeister

Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2013 1:15 pm
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This has been one of the more interesting topics and I appreciate everyone's input. I can honestly say that I wasn't too worried about Feathercraft's future, but probably a little disappointed after taking all of this in. I will bring up the Aironaut, and yes, I'm being a pain in the...The Aironaut single was so popular that they made a double version, and then, in what seemed like days both were shut down. I did read about the Aironauts being labor intensive but why did they go with that darn double. Is there more to this...I know, let it go...just let it go.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2016 10:33 pm 
knight of the folding kayak realm

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Location: Coastal New Jersey
Jeremiah,

I wish I knew more about what happened to the Aironaut. Theresa says it's been dropped from the line, Dan says it will be back with an even better hull. Maybe Doug Simpson is the person who would be able to address this conundrum. I would like very much to have a performance folder (I suppose a frameless inflatable could be called a folder) that I could carry along in the car and be able to have in the water on short notice when I came upon some inviting lake,pond or bay that begged to be explored. On the other hand, a Gumotex Safari would probably do almost as well for this sort of water wandering.

Perhaps you could give Doug a call but, of course, that means that you most likely will first have to deal with the formidable Theresa. Good luck with that! :)

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 30, 2016 9:00 pm 
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Vancouver real estate...
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/rundown-vancouver-house-for-2-4m-ridiculous-or-a-bargain-1.3426147

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~'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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PostPosted: Sun Jan 31, 2016 4:12 pm 
faltbootemeister

Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2013 1:15 pm
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Jake, is Feathercraft a three headed monster? Just kidding. Back in the day (when I purchased my K-Light from them), I would call Feathercraft on occasion. Friendly, but very business like. They may not want to entertain a conversation on the Aironaut in light of the downsizing and the point that Chris has made about the real estate business. In fact that conversation could get prickly if they are feeling pinched. But that's okay. Realistically I have to get rid of kayak "clutter" before I can think of another kayak. So maybe this just needs some time before we get answers.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 31, 2016 4:44 pm 
lord high faltbotmeister

Joined: Thu Sep 06, 2007 8:05 am
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When I visited Feathercraft this past summer I found everyone to be inviting and generous with their time, same experience I have had on the phone. I had the opportunity to look at the Aironaut from the inside out, Doug showed me some of the very complex hand crafting that goes into making this complicated structure. The kayak keeps with the Feathercraft promise of making the highest quality, most durable and dependable, and purpose-built boats in the world. That said, the amount of hand crafting and the ridiculously small tolerances needed to make the air channels is over the top. It's one thing to fabricate CNC ribs and shock corded tubing required of most of the other lines, it's another thing altogether to create the seams on those channels where not one curve is linear. And this is no Gummotex, which can pretty much be machine made.
Let's hope Feathercraft can crack the code on fabricating these at a reasonable cost, my bet is with that happening.

Best,
g

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 31, 2016 9:02 pm 
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Greg: Thanks for the explanation of the complicated, exacting process involved in the fabrication of the Aironaut. It's a unique watercraft and might even be described as elegant in the realm of inflatables which, for the most part, are considerably less than what one might call elegant. I'm considering buying one of the Gumotex inflatables mostly for spontaneous use when a serendipitous opportunity presents itself. On the other hand, if the Aironaut is going to be available again, I'd rather wait until I can buy one. I guess I'll just have to try and talk with Doug Simpson myself. I wouldn't think it'd be top secret stuff.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 31, 2016 9:19 pm 
faltbootemeister

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g,
they are good people and highly skilled. I would love to get a look at that shop in person! You and Jake both have some recent insight to their operation and both of you feel that the Aironaut will return. That implies hope and hope is a good thing, to borrow a quote from the Shawshank Redemption.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 31, 2016 9:57 pm 
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After reading this thread, and doing some general research on inflatables, I'm beginning to suspect I might like one of them thar' Aironauts. Looks like a very interesting boat, and can actually go on planes without eating up an entire baggage allowance. Kind of reminds me of Crown Royal Northern Harvest rye whisky. By the time I learned of its excellence, it just wasn't available anymore. At least not at the moment, anyway.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2016 4:38 am 
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As upthread, there is one in that store in Germany if anyone really would like one now.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2016 9:32 am 
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Their website indicates that the Aironaut is "nicht bestelbar" which might mean "not available". Anyway, looking at the other Feathercraft prices, it seems that the Kurrent 2.0 is €3390 which converts to about $3700 (US). So, at $2600, I got a real bargain and that makes my morning coffee taste all the better. :)

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2016 12:14 pm 
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They may have sold it, but it was the showroom display model as I understood so may not be listed.

Yes, importing sucks!


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