Pakboats Saranac Characteristics

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DuraMike
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Pakboats Saranac Characteristics

Post by DuraMike »

Hello, I got a chance to paddle my new Saranac for the first time yesterday. I noticed that it had a tendency for the bow to turn a little on each stroke of the paddle. Later in the day, when my son was paddling the Saranac, I noticed that the bow was not in the water. In fact, there was about a foot of the keel also out of the water. The boat was lightly loaded as this was a day trip. I am wondering if the bow would turn less if it were in the water? Or was it poor paddling technique or simply the nature of the boat? (On multi-day trips, the boat will be carrying more weight with food, water and camping gear.)

JohnSand
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Re: Pakboats Saranac Characteristics

Post by JohnSand »

I haven't paddled one of those. I do use ballast in light rowing or sailing boats. In my dory tender I keep a shot bag full of lead for trim ballast. In other boats I will use gallon bottles of water, or plastic bags of sand. Let us know if you find a good solution.

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KerryOnKayaks
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Re: Pakboats Saranac Characteristics

Post by KerryOnKayaks »

With Pakboats you have to make sure that the sponsons are firmly inflated. If not, you lose some rigidity and the center can sag, creating a bit of rocker that will lift the ends and cause the boat to meander rather than track well. Remember that when air cools it will contract, just as it expands with heating. If you inflate the tubes on an 80 degree F day on land and then the boat is in 55 degree water, the tubes will contract a bit. Since the Saranac is a convertible solo to tandem, having the paddler load centered is even more likely to have this effect. One reason I liked the older Pakboats having the long tubes with the inflation mouthpieces on the end was that you could blow them up a little during use without having to pull ashore and pull back the deck to access the valves which is now the case with the Boston valves set way down towards the stern. I wish the Boston valves were closer to the cockpit so they were more accessible. I'm testing that placement with the replacement sponsons I am making for the vintage Pakboat Swifts I picked up a couple of years ago (with defective sponsons).

It wouldn't hurt to see if a couple of plastic gallons of water in the bow and possibly the stern correct the waterline.
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DuraMike
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Re: Pakboats Saranac Characteristics

Post by DuraMike »

Hi KerryOnKayaks,
The air temp vs water temp on the sponsons is a challenge this time of year here in Arizona. With the air temp over 100 degrees, I have tried to be careful not to put too much air in the sponsons, until I get to the water. There I add more air. I am wondering if you or anyone else has tried running tubing up to the cockpit? It seems like a male fitting on the sponson side of the tube to match the larger valve would allow the tubing to be connected. And then on the cockpit end, use the same valves that the sponson has.

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KerryOnKayaks
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Re: Pakboats Saranac Characteristics

Post by KerryOnKayaks »

The company DIYpackrafts.com sells the valves and tubing. You could add what they call "top-up valves" to each of the sponsons with extended tubing to the cockpit -- or place them near the cockpit with just the short stems where you can reach them easily.. I've considered doing that with my Quest to make accessing and adjusting the sponson pressure more convenient. Their listing (see below) has instructions for installation.

https://www.diypackraft.com/shop/mercha ... -up-valve/
Current:
Feathercraft Wisper
Pakboat Quest 135
Pakboat Puffin 12
Pakboat Swift 14
Greenland SOF
P & H Easky 15LV
Curtis Lady Bug solo canoe
Previous:
Feathercraft Kahuna
Feathercraft K-1 Expedition
Pakboat XT-15

RobertD
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Re: Pakboats Saranac Characteristics

Post by RobertD »

DuraMike, have you resolved the issue with the Saranac? How do you like it in general? I am considering getting one as a low cost, lighter alternative to a Klepper to use in the small local lakes around here. I don't expect it to perform like a Klepper, but also don't want a boat that won't track at all, or is very slow.

DuraMike
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Re: Pakboats Saranac Characteristics

Post by DuraMike »

Hi Robert, I love the Saranac. Since it is much lighter than rotomolded kayaks it is much easier to load on top of my truck mounted camper. If I am out for a day paddle, I put a 10L water bladder slightly in front of my feet. I do not have any experience paddling a Klepper, so I cannot comment there. The Saranac seems faster than my sit on top or my son's sit inside rotomolded kayak. I have also noticed that I usually cover more miles in a day than I did with my sit on top. I have been itching to get the Saranac out for some kayak camping. I was out 2 nights May and had a blast. The boat handled fine when loaded. Because of the rear skegs, it does have a tendency to lee cock in wind. I am planning some more overnight kayak camping in the coming weeks.

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Re: Pakboats Saranac Characteristics

Post by RobertD »

So the boat handles better when loaded? Have you paddled with a partner? Do you think that it could handle myself at 6' 180 and my petite wife at 5', 100lbs, or might even behave better then?

Also, how have you found the setup time? Are you getting faster at it?

I would probably be looking to use it without the top deck...i am used to having a bailing bucket in a boat, and expect to get a bit wet when i am on the water.

DuraMike
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Re: Pakboats Saranac Characteristics

Post by DuraMike »

Hi Robert, Perhaps it does handle better when loaded. Folks suggested putting some "ballast" in the boat to improve the handling. I have done that on every paddle after my first experience. As I mentioned, I use a 10L water bladder when paddling for the day. I often have the same bladder along on overnight trips to carry fresh water. So, I really haven't paid much attention to the difference when day or longer overnight paddling since using the ballast. The boat is rated to carry 400 lbs, so I would think it would easily handle the two of you plus your gear for the day.

I bought both of the decks, solo and tandem. So far, I have not used the tandem deck nor have I paddled yet with a partner. That is why I bought the boat though, so I could paddle solo or tandem. I have also not paddled the boat without the deck. In the swimming pool, I messed around with it without the deck, but so far on the lake I have always paddled with a deck.

In terms of setup time, I have found that I don't set it up that often. I often set it up and then carry it that way. There is a statement on the Pakboats home page that says often folks buy a Pakboat and leave it assembled. They buy it because it is much easier to handle because it weighs so much less. The Saranac weighs about half of what a similar size rotomolded boat weighs. So, I guess I am one of those as suggested on the Pakboats website.

I setup up my Yakima bars on my truck camper to carry the boat either way: assembled or in the bag. Alv suggested using one of the PakCanoe bags when carrying on the roof unassembled because they are made from a much heavier material, and that is what I do. In the spring/summer of 2019, I drove to Alaska before I purchased my Saranac. If I were to do that trip again with the Saranac, I would probably carry it in the bag for the legs of the trip up and back. Once I got up north and assembled the boat, I would probably carry it that way until it was time to head home. My next trip will be a drive of about 4 hours to get to the water. I am planning to carry the boat assembled for that trip.

You will probably find that the setup goes pretty fast, especially if there are two of you and if you don't deck it. But, I am always amazed at how much time I spend preparing once I reach the water and then how much time I spend unloading once the paddle is done, even if I arrive with the boat setup.

In terms of bailing, I carry a pitcher, pump and a sponge. When I bought the boat, I put it in the swimming pool and purposely swamped it or flipped it over many times so that I would familiar with the experience should it happen inadvertently. The boat has a lot of volume, so bailing the large volume of water takes some time; that is why I carry the pitcher (easier to use single handed than a bucket). The pump is used for smaller amounts of water. The sponge I tuck up under the seat and it absorbs the water brought it when stepping into the boat.

I hope this helps! Good luck with your decision.
Mike

RobertD
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Re: Pakboats Saranac Characteristics

Post by RobertD »

Mike,

All that info is great, and much appreciated. Because I have small cars, I will likely be setting up breaking down after each paddle.

With the Klepper there is a technique where you drain most of the water out of a capsized boat, then right it, and bail out the rest. I would imagine i could do that with the Saranac, also, as it has the air sponsons too.

DuraMike
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Re: Pakboats Saranac Characteristics

Post by DuraMike »

Hi Robert, If you are paddling the Saranac without a deck, one can remove a lot of the water just by the flipping technique. It is harder to remove a lot of water in one step when decked. If two or more boats are in the group, one could use the canoe technique by dragging the swamped boat across another boat. In my testing, I was trying to replicate a more difficult situation: boat is decked, boat is alone (no other boats nearby) and in deep water, so one is not able to stand on the bottom .

Good luck in your search and decision.
Mike

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