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 Post subject: Sad news
PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2016 8:06 pm 
forum fan

Joined: Wed Mar 07, 2012 8:05 pm
Posts: 14
I received this sad news tonight:

Feathercraft Has Closed Permanently
December 2016

Feathercraft has now permanently stopped making folding kayaks and accessories. Due to a number of factors, including poor economic conditions, changing lifestyles, flight baggage restrictions and increasing costs, we have found that making our premium kayaks is no longer financially viable. We will miss the incredible feedback and adventure stories that we have received over the years. I personally will miss these customers, our many suppliers, and also my dedicated colleagues who have helped make our beautiful boats. Thank you all for your tremendous support over these past 40 years.
Sincerely Yours,

Doug Simpson

Founder and Principal Owner


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 Post subject: Re: Sad news
PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2016 8:30 pm 
knight of the folding kayak realm

Joined: Sat Feb 19, 2011 9:22 am
Posts: 384
Location: Coastal New Jersey
Sic transit gloria Feathercraft. I suspected that FC was on the skids when they moved to a smaller workshop and dropped a number of boats from their line including their new inflatable, the Aironaut. Their boats are state of the art folders but pricey and not the easiest or quickest to assemble. I wonder what this means for spare parts and maintainance items. Will Doug be able to make these things available for a period of time or will FC disappear from the now much diminished folder world as quickly as did Folbot? One can only hope that Pakboat can hang in, at least for awhile. Y'all should get out there and order a Pakboat!

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Feathercraft Kurrent 2.0 (Pippin)
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 Post subject: Re: Sad news
PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2016 8:58 pm 
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Joined: Sat Mar 19, 2011 11:43 pm
Posts: 13
Location: bangkok, thailand
Very sad news. I was in their shop in Oct to pick up my XP skin after repairs and it seemed busy.
Amazing product and great service, but I always wondered how a company like that could survive with essentially zero marketing. With all the goodwill and amazing stories floating around about their boats, they leveraged none of it.


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 Post subject: Re: Sad news
PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2016 10:49 pm 
faltbootemeister
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Joined: Fri Sep 08, 2006 3:43 pm
Posts: 207
Location: Vancouver, Canada
It is sad indeed to know of the closing of this great Canadian company. Doug and Feathercraft were at the pinnacle of the folding kayak industry and will be much missed.

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 Post subject: Re: Sad news
PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2016 5:19 am 
lord high faltbotmeister

Joined: Fri Oct 07, 2011 1:51 pm
Posts: 602
Location: Colombo, Sri Lanka
That's such a shame. I wish Doug all the best for the future and a huge thanks for all he's done for the folding kayak industry over the years!
Thank heavens Pakboats, Trak and Nautiraid are still going strong

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Simon

Pakboats Quest 135, Nautiraid Narak 460, 416 & K1 (sold my 550), First light 420, Feathercraft Wisper, Fujita Alpina AL-1 400, Incept k40 (for sale)
Non-folders: Cape Falcon F1. Beth sailing canoe, 2014 Hobie Adventure Island


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 Post subject: Re: Sad news
PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2016 9:01 am 
knight of the folding kayak realm

Joined: Sat Feb 19, 2011 9:22 am
Posts: 384
Location: Coastal New Jersey
Not too sure about Trak, either. It's a one-model outfit but maybe that's a good thing for keeping production cost to a minimum. I notice that there's still a yellow deck Trak in the storage shed of the now defunct Jersey Paddler, one of the few boats that failed to find a buyer at JP's going-out-of-business sale awhile back. And, then, there's Oru if one includes origami kayaks. The kayaking universe seems to be contracting and indications are that it will further diminish. Doug and Theresa saw its best years and I'm sure that they'll paddle off into a happy sunset but, somehow, I had hoped that a few of the younger artisans in the shop, people like Dan, Ian and Rob, would carry on but, perhaps, their prospects are better elsewhere. And here I was, foolish fellow, thinking for a time that Feathercraft might be coming out with a modified version of the Aironaut sometime this winter. (Sigh)

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Epic GPX


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 Post subject: Re: Sad news
PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2016 9:32 pm 
lord high faltbotmeister

Joined: Fri Oct 07, 2011 1:51 pm
Posts: 602
Location: Colombo, Sri Lanka
Has anyone contacted Feathercraft to see whether they are still selling existing stock? I wanted to order a couple of parts for my Wisper

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Simon

Pakboats Quest 135, Nautiraid Narak 460, 416 & K1 (sold my 550), First light 420, Feathercraft Wisper, Fujita Alpina AL-1 400, Incept k40 (for sale)
Non-folders: Cape Falcon F1. Beth sailing canoe, 2014 Hobie Adventure Island


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 Post subject: Re: Sad news
PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2016 9:14 am 
knight of the folding kayak realm

Joined: Sat Feb 19, 2011 9:22 am
Posts: 384
Location: Coastal New Jersey
I sent a note asking about the future availability of essential parts but have not yet received a reply. I hope that FC executes a more honorable retreat than did Folbot. A simple mishap such as a surf landing gone wrong could result in frame damage that might make an otherwise seaworthy boat completely unusable and worthless.

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Feathercraft Kurrent 2.0 (Pippin)
Epic GPX


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 Post subject: Re: Sad news
PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2016 2:11 pm 
knight of the folding kayak realm

Joined: Sat Feb 19, 2011 9:22 am
Posts: 384
Location: Coastal New Jersey
A reply from FC. Indefinite but there is some probability that parts will be available.


Future Support
by fckayaks
First of all, thanks to all for the kind words. They are very much appreciated. You guys and gals rock.

There is a rumbling that there will be parts and skin support moving forward...."someone" will have a small side business in making/repairing parts.

Hopefully this will help keep all our boats on the water for a long time. More to follow as we work out how this will happen.

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Feathercraft Kurrent 2.0 (Pippin)
Epic GPX


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 Post subject: Re: Sad news
PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2016 12:25 pm 
knight of the folding kayak realm
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Joined: Fri Sep 25, 2009 10:46 am
Posts: 465
Location: inland Pennsylvania, USA
That's really tragic news! A terrible loss for the folding kayak community.

My first kayak was a Kahuna in 2002 and I have owned and treasured a K-1 and my present Wisper since then. I visited FC's shop in Vancouver twice and they were welcoming and lovely folks, who gave me a tour of the whole production facility, and on the second visit loaned me a Wisper and Klatwa GP to take out as long as I wished. I launched into False Creek, the inlet that was directly beside their shop, and took a leisurely tour of Vancouver's harbor to get a feel for the boat -- loved it and bought one shortly thereafter. I've had wonderful adventures with Feathercrafts, from the Atlantic to the Pacific. I'll have to take particular care of the Wisper now, with no more option for parts.

It has been frustrating over the years that the folding kayak companies have made so little progress in North America in marketing these kinds of boats. Folders are well known in Europe, but few people on this side of the pond even know that they exist. I've been an evangelist for them and long ago took to carrying printouts of the names and websites of the folder makers in my car to give to the people at launch sites who invariably want to know more about my boats. As the population of kayakers ages, retires and would be so well-served by lighter and more transportable boats, it really is a shame that they are so poorly known. I don't know what can be done about that -- I admit that I've fantasized about someone demonstrating and selling folders on one of those Home Shopping Network info-mercials.

Oru seems to have done a pretty good job of publicizing their products, though I wonder what total volume has been and if they have been able to maintain steady sales. They are now in large retail stores and used ones show up on Ebay. They are nowhere in the same category of quality, performance, design range and functionality that were Feathercraft's hallmark.

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Current:
Feathercraft Wisper
Pakboat Quest 135
Pakboat Puffin 12
Pakboat Swift 14
Greenland SOF
P & H Easky 15LV
Previous:
Feathercraft Kahuna
Feathercraft K-1 Expedition
Pakboat XT-15


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 Post subject: Re: Sad news
PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2016 1:02 pm 
knight of the folding kayak realm
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Joined: Fri Sep 25, 2009 10:46 am
Posts: 465
Location: inland Pennsylvania, USA
I sent a note of appreciation and condolences to Doug and the Feathercraft folks. Also suggested to them that, if they still have the CADD and CNC machines for frame and skin fabrication, that they get in contact with the PodRide startup, which is working towards production of what I can best describe as a skin-on-frame all weather, all terrain 4-wheeled hybrid human/electric "bike". The inventor had mentioned in his blog that one challenge was finding a source for components and fabrication of the "skin" The PodRide prototype already looks like the love child of a Fiat 500 and a Feathercraft Kahuna.

http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/podri ... cycle--2#/

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Current:
Feathercraft Wisper
Pakboat Quest 135
Pakboat Puffin 12
Pakboat Swift 14
Greenland SOF
P & H Easky 15LV
Previous:
Feathercraft Kahuna
Feathercraft K-1 Expedition
Pakboat XT-15


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 Post subject: Re: Sad news
PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2016 11:19 pm 
knight of the folding kayak realm

Joined: Sat Feb 19, 2011 9:22 am
Posts: 384
Location: Coastal New Jersey
Latest note from FC. The people at Feathercraft remain highly ethical and I feel sure that they will honor the commitments they've made to their customers as a matter of conscience.

Thank you for your comments of support.
We have stopped our production of kayaks; and hope, in a few months time,
to be able to supply frame parts for existing kayaks.

Please continue to enjoy the wonderful experience of being on the
water in a beautiful kayak.

regards,
Feathercraft

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Feathercraft Kurrent 2.0 (Pippin)
Epic GPX


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 Post subject: Re: Sad news
PostPosted: Fri Dec 09, 2016 10:49 pm 
Brotherhood of the Golden Paddle
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Joined: Tue Apr 26, 2005 12:57 am
Posts: 1225
Location: Anchorage Alaska
Figured this was coming. Just not much of a market. Still have my Java and a Kahuna. Sold my Khats a couple years back

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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: Re: Sad news
PostPosted: Sun Dec 11, 2016 12:17 pm 
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)
Terrible.

As far as I know, Pakboats and Long Haul will continue to exist, at least for as long as their founders continue to want to do so. I think Alv is around 70, but I don't think Mark Ekhardt has hit 60, yet. Gratitude to Mark for having had the wisdom to diversify his business, which lessens the pressure on the kayaks to turn enough profit to support the whole show.

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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: Re: Sad news
PostPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2016 10:29 pm 
knight of the folding kayak realm

Joined: Sat Feb 19, 2011 9:22 am
Posts: 384
Location: Coastal New Jersey
I suppose there's just not enough profit margin in such labor intensive boats like folding kayaks when they're being made in a relatively high-wage western economy. Many hardshell manufactures are now having their composite kayaks made in China and, if my own little Epic is a typical example, the boats coming out of Chinese factories are quality products. It would be a fine thing if a few FC employees who just like making kayaks could continue the operation on a limited production basis.anyway, it's good to know that Pak Boat and Long Haul are still hanging in.

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Feathercraft Kurrent 2.0 (Pippin)
Epic GPX


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