Inflating Puffin/Puffin Swift

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Inflating Puffin/Puffin Swift

Post by michelled »

Hi all,

I have a question about how much to inflate my Pakboats (Puffin and Puffin Swift, 2005ish). The instructions say "about as much as you can easily do with the pump provided." "Easy" is a relative term, so I inflated more than that as I'm fairly small (5'5", 110-115 lbs). It feels as though I'm riding pretty high on the water and tracking is a little difficult.

It's entirely possible that this is me getting used to a folding inflatable instead of a hardshell, so I'll keep experimenting. However, I'm curious about others' impressions - does it make a difference to inflate slightly less? Inflate the top/middle sponsons slightly more than the lowest sponson? Advice welcome!


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Re: Inflating Puffin/Puffin Swift

Post by Jeremiah »

Hi Michelle
I would not under inflate any of the sponsons. With the lack of chine bars (something most folders have) the Swift relies on fully inflated sponsons to give it a more rigid feel. This may also help keep the frame in good alignment. I recall that there are instructions on the order of what sponsons to inflate first. The sponsons inflate quickly and look an feel rigid. As I feel some resistance from the pump I'll finish with "micro" strokes, being careful to never force in any more air that would stress the sponsons.
I'm not sure why the seat moves on you. Mine is pretty stationary. The instructions say not to inflate the seat all the way. Maybe a little less air would give you a better feel on the water. As far as tracking, I feel that the Swift tracks fine. You could check the frame alignment although the assembly of a Swift pretty much ensures everything aligns properly.
One more thing, your weight might be working against you. I weigh 145 and on some kayaks tracking is more of a problem for me than a heavier person who would "sink" the kayak more and create a longer waterline. I eventually compensate by using hip movements and varied paddle stokes. As you said, you may simply be going through an adjustment from hardshells to folders. You've only been out a few times so don't get discouraged.

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Re: Inflating Puffin/Puffin Swift

Post by michelled »

Jeremiah wrote:
Sun Jul 12, 2020 12:11 pm
As you said, you may simply be going through an adjustment from hardshells to folders. You've only been out a few times so don't get discouraged.
Thanks - not discouraged! Just tryin' to figure it all out so I can have the best experience. Appreciate the thoughts. I might try adding a little ballast of some kind. :)

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Re: Inflating Puffin/Puffin Swift

Post by JohnSand »

I use sandbags or gallon water bottles in my rigid canoe. For sand a trash bag or shopping bag will do. I'm surprised how much difference 15-20 lbs makes.

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Re: Inflating Puffin/Puffin Swift

Post by Bob1nLR »

Michelle, the instructional for the Quest I just bought says inflate top sponsons first, than lower ones. Also, I suggest not over inflating, because a burst sponson is a drag.... they cautioned to under inflate on warming days as hot weather will cause air expansion. You don't want to burst a sponson.

On the sensation of high seat, try deflating your seat cushion, I put almost no air in it, gave me plenty support and still comfortable, I sat lower in boat. I'm 5'9" with average length legs, I found I could set pegs at right length that I wedge against deck, I got the thigh straps too but don't think I need them unless I try to do rolls. You might invest in the foot pegs. Tip: i think the pegs have a port and starboard, if they are marked i missed it. Put them so that you have to LIFT up to release.
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Last boat: Easyrider Dolphin

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Re: Inflating Puffin/Puffin Swift

Post by Jake »

I’ve just now realized (thanks, Jeremiah) that the Quest 150 as well as the little Saco both lack chine longerons and this could mean that the double sets of sponsons are critical to both proper hull tensioning and stability. Might this be a problem if the four sponsons in the Quest 150, after being inflated prior to launching, lose pressure after a short time in cool water? This would sometime happen with my K-Light and Kurrent but as these boats had regular chine longerons handling was not affected even though the hull tension slacked a bit. If it bothered me, I would just find a sandy beach or shoal, exit the cockpit and blow a few puffs into the sponsons making the hull and deck drum-head tight.

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Re: Inflating Puffin/Puffin Swift

Post by KerryOnKayaks »

Having paddled folders with sponsons for 18 years (including 4 different Pakboats) I will say that as long as the boat is in the water it is not likely to have a sponson ruptured because the water will cool it. And, yes, if the water is cool to cold, the sponsons will lose a little pressure once on the water and you may need to stop and boost them a little after a while unless you really pumped them up. But as soon as you take it OUT of the water on a warm or hot day, you really need to open the valves and relieve a little pressure. I have never ruptured a Pakboat sponson but had a Feathercraft one blow out -- those are much harder to repair than the Pakboat ones because they are inserted in pockets in the skin rather than being easily accessible like the Pakboats.) Patching is easy if they do blow out, anyway, and won't compromise performance.

At least the Swifts have the higher pressure valves rather than the twist tube-end valves that my earlier Puffin 12 has (though those are easier to inflate they won't hold the higher pressure.)

There was a run of Swifts one year that came with defective inflatable components. I got stuck with two of those (bought them cheap, used, without knowing about the recall, which the sellers apparently failed to have taken care of back when Pakboat was offering free replacements). So I bought the materials to make new sponsons a couple of years ago and have them half made. I decided to make them like the Feathercrafts, of vinyl but with fabric sleeves that they would slide into to restrict them from over-inflating. I cut the perforated borders that lace onto the frames off the top of each sponson pair and stitched them to the fabric sleeves.

I was surprised to hear that the Quest 150 doesn't have chine tubes. Is that true? My beta model Quest 135 has chine tubes that nestle between two of the sponsons. I've wondered if the Swifts might be used in a similar fashion by using 1/2" PVC pipe as a "floating" chine.
Feathercraft Wisper
Pakboat Quest 135
Pakboat Puffin 12
Pakboat Swift 14
Greenland SOF
P & H Easky 15LV
Curtis Lady Bug solo canoe
Feathercraft Kahuna
Feathercraft K-1 Expedition
Pakboat XT-15

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