Best Way Cartop Feathercraft K-Light?

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Rob
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Best Way Cartop Feathercraft K-Light?

Post by Rob »

I need to transport a Feathercraft K-Light on a rental car, don't have racks or saddles for it, and am wondering the best way to transport, e.g. right side up, or upside down?

I've got pool noodles and straps, and the guy I'm picking it up from mentioned that he has a surfboard saddle, or something called similar to that which he could loan me that might work.

Ideally, folding it up into the little backpack would be best and easiest, but apparently some of the tubes are seized and don't look like they'll come apart, easily, if at all. The keel tube is seized, and perhaps a few of the other pieces too. He's already tried, without success, despite WD-40, Breakfree, etc. being tried. It was left built for at least the last year, or more.

Figured I might want to put towels between the straps and the deck, or hull, in order to keep from discoloring, rubbing, or damaging it from rubbing. Need to transport it 400 miles, or so, and want to make sure there's no damage to the skin. Obviously, lightly tie the ends to prevent bending the tubing/frame.

Any tips, or other suggestions will be greatly appreciated. I've transported a fiberglass kayak, but not a skin on frame one before.

JohnSand
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Re: Best Way Cartop Feathercraft K-Light?

Post by JohnSand »

I've done what you suggest with a Folbot on a bare roof. I think the roof might be more suspect than the boat, be careful not to dent it.

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KerryOnKayaks
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Re: Best Way Cartop Feathercraft K-Light?

Post by KerryOnKayaks »

I took one of my folders to the UK from the US on vacation 4 years ago so I needed to be able to transport it with the car I's have there. I bought an inflatable rack kit (Malone Handirack) and used it on the Citroen Cactus station wagon I rented. Worked very well and did not leave any marks or scratches on the vehicle.

I will caution you though: you could damage the frame even further by hauling it on the roof rack assembled especially at sustained highway speeds. I bent the deck longerons of my Feathercraft Wisper by hauling it 450 miles from the Saguenay Fjord in Quebec to upstate NY a few years ago strapped onto the roof of my car. Normally I would not have done that, but we broke camp on the last day of the trip in such a heavy downpour that I just threw the set up boat on the roof rather than dismantling and packing it. I figured when the weather cleared up I could pull over and break the kayak down and stash it. But I drove for hours with no let up in the rain and then it was dark and I just wanted to get the drive to my brother's place in Saratoga done with. The next day when I went to pack up the boat I could see that the pressure from the bow and stern lines and the pressure of the wind pushing the boat down for 10 hours had deformed the bow frame so badly that the top longeron no longer engaged with the rib ahead of the cockpit. I was eventually able to straighten the bent parts but it took a lot of effort, locking them into my bench vise cushions by wood blocks I made for the purpose and then slipping a larger diameter length of pipe over each section and leaning on it repeatedly -- it takes much work to even get a millimeter of bending in those aluminum tubes!

Do you plan to leave the one you are buying set up? It will be difficult, if not impossible, to replace the stuck bits.
Be forwarned, you will most likely NOT be able to separate the tubes that have corroded together. I bought a used FC K1 Expedition with two seized tubes and nothing I tried for two years would release them including soaking in solvents and anti-corrosion oils and heating. I could have paid $100 for replacement frame sections s at the time but ended up selling the boat to someone else -- it was too heavy for travel anyway so I just left it set up during the 2 years I owned it.

Are so many of the sections stuck that you can't get the frame out of the skin? If you could get it out, you might be able to fold down enough of it to stash it inside the car. I've partially dismantled folders before to quickly load them when rushed.
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

Rob
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Re: Best Way Cartop Feathercraft K-Light?

Post by Rob »

I'm not sure, but it appears that might be the case, e.g. not being able to get it apart.

Looks like it is too long to fit in a cargo van, and I'd prefer not to dartop it, but may have no option if we can't get the tubes apart.

I'd like to be able to remove at least half of the frame, or a part of it, so I can fold the skin in half.

You make a good point about flexing the frame over such a long distance.

I saw an image of someone putting a ladder underneath their folding kayak to support it with a lightweight, rigid structure, when cartopping, so may need to go that route if other options fail. I think that might provide the needed rigidity over at least 50% of the hull's length. If I do that, I'll probably put high density foam, and/or towels between the hull of the kayak and the ladder, to protect it from damage. Then, tie down with straps, again with towels between the straps and the kayak hull/deck, so the friction doesn't damage or discolor the skin/hull.

Any idea which is better - hull on the bottom, or the hull inverted for transport?

I'm thinking hull on the bottom, with the kayak in an upright position, given the ladder support scenario outlined above.

JohnSand
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Re: Best Way Cartop Feathercraft K-Light?

Post by JohnSand »

I always car-top folders upright. The bottom is straighter and stronger than the deck. I try to locate tie down straps on or near the crossribs/webframes. I don't tie down the bow and stern to the bumpers, too much leverage. Instead I run lines from the aft and stern forward to the crossbars on the rack.

Rob
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Re: Best Way Cartop Feathercraft K-Light?

Post by Rob »

Thank you.

That makes sense.

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KerryOnKayaks
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Re: Best Way Cartop Feathercraft K-Light?

Post by KerryOnKayaks »

I've thought of making a lightweight support frame for my folders out of 1" PVC pipe (smaller diameter is too flexible, especially when it's hot out) and 90 degree elbows. I didn't use to worry about hauling my folders on the roof of my 1992 Volvo station wagon because the flat low roof was so long that they were well supported. I hauled my first folder, a Feathercraft Kahuna, 100's of highway miles on Thule bars on that Volvo.

Most newer car models have absurdly short rooflines -- I have the bars spread as far as I can on my Mazda CX5 (which is considered a station wagon/SUV) and the coamings of my hardshell kayaks just barely fit between the bars when carried inverted: space is only about 37". A frame that would extend lateral support of the bow and stern would be handy.

Such an extension frame would also have been handy all the times I tried to haul 4' x 8' flat building materials like drywall and plywood on that tiny roof area in the past. Since I bought a 16' box truck last year that problem is solved. But while the truck, converted into a fully equipped camper but still has the overhead rear door, is also great for hauling boats (I loaded one solo canoe plus two kayaks into it last Fall for a trip), it only gets 10 to 12 mpg so not my first choice for day trips.
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

Rob
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Re: Best Way Cartop Feathercraft K-Light?

Post by Rob »

The PVC pipe frame sounds like a good idea, though I'm not sure that it would be rigid enough. Seems like it would be too flexible and bend under any sort of load. 1.5 or 2 inch pipe might be better, though that adds more weight to the rack.

I am happy to report that the ladder technique works. I used a lightweight aluminum, 12 foot long, two-piece, extendable ladder , and I put XPS foam on top of that to pad it and it worked very well even in 40 - 70+ MPH, hurricane-force, Santa Ana winds, when driven at freeway speeds. I lashed the foam to the ladder very well with cord, and thankfully I did, so that it remained in place without moving at all.

Clearly not ideal conditions for transporting a skin on frame foldable kayak for the first time, but I didn't pay attention to the weather forecast when arranging to pick it up. I need to start doing that because it's not the first time I've been caught in hurricane force winds in the California mountains dealing with a kayak.

It did serve as an excellent test of the proof-of-concept, so I can happily report it does work well. Made for a stressful night and morning though, stopping every hour to check and recheck the straps and position on the way home.

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