strength

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Grian

strength

Post by Grian »

Despite having read Diaz's book I'm still a bit uncertain about some elements of the robustness of folding boats. Can anyone please help me to understand what I can expect from my boat-to-be (narrowed to choice of two, one aluminium frame, one wooden). I have a composite hardshell so am careful of it's gelcoat anyway, but am a bit concerned I'll be really restricted and treading on eggshells with a folding boat.

Do things like self-rescue, with leaning across or straddling the deck, harm the frame? How do I carry the boat when it has some load in it - do I need to empty it completely or can it cope with some weight? What kind of surfaces do people land on, what will scuff and what will pierce? I have read of people car-topping quite long distances and others have counselled against it completely... if car topping do you support and secure any differently, how far would you go and at what speeds?

Thank you :)

konta
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Re: strength

Post by konta »

I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at the strength of your new folding kayak. First, the hypalon hull is much more resistant to damage than your hard shell gel coat. I launch from a concrete boat ramp, so each time it involves some amount of contact with the concrete surface. No damage to the hull noticed so far.

The frames, either wood or aluminum, are quite a strong rigid structure. You may recall the picture in Diaz's book with about eight people on a Klepper double. I think one person was even standing on it. I'm comfortable with self-rescues in both my Nautiraid and the K-light. The frame can support your wait, no worries.

On the weight question, I guess it depends on how much you are talking about. If I'm loading a hundred pounds or more of stuff, I'd do it at the water. But for most days and a moderate amount of gear, I load it up at the house and walk it on the cart down to the water. Now if it's a little heavier, I use my larger boat cart positioned under the cockpit. Empty or a little weight and I use the Feathercraft cart on the stern.

I've car-topped both my boats about five or six times. That involved an hours drive on the interstate. I was nervous every time, but they came through just fine. A lot of people here cartop I think.

Basically, the boats are strong, wood and aluminum. (I have one each.) You'll be very happy with it.
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Jeremiah
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Re: strength

Post by Jeremiah »

I believe a good rule of thumb is to treat your folder like a fiberglass kayak. The hulls are very durable, especialy
if you have the hull strips that protect the keel and chine areas. I have car topped my folders with no problems. Having confidense in a good roof rack sytem is key (as you would want for any kayak). An exception might be long folders that flex alot. I wasn't happy with how my Folbot Cooper sagged in the kayak saddles. If you search the forum I think you'll find clever solutions to this and other car topping problems.

Konta covered the weight issue. I would add that on a two person carry of a loaded folder, never use the fabric loops at the bow and stern as they will tear loose eventually. Place your hands under the stems.

Apathizer
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Re: strength

Post by Apathizer »

It really depends on the the specific model/manufacturer. The high-end makers (Feathercraft, Trak, Long Haul, Klepper) are probably just as durable as high-end hardshells. Unfortunately, that's why they cost $3K+.

Makers like Folbot and Pakboats are not as durable, but still durable enough for the conditions most paddlers are likely to encounter. Unless you're likely to encounter surf and class 2+ rivers, they're probably fine.

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Re: strength

Post by siravingmon »

My Narak frame is plenty stiff enough for self rescues and for carrying on a trolley, even though it flexes a lot more than my Fujita when you pick it up (and over waves, which I like)
The pvc skin is quite hard wearing and of course there is some give if you hit something off the frame tubes. Dragging it up and down beaches has worn away the outer layer where the keels meets the stems (bow and stern), but never through the polyester core, and with the hull being black it's easily patched with Sikaflex 290 iDC and primer, applied with rubber gloves :D
Having said that, it's not as tough as my F1, but that is incredibly tough
The lighter the kayak the less you'll need to drag it anywhere, of course, and some folders are incredibly light.
I can't comment on cartopping - one of the reasons I have folding kayaks :-)
Simon

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Grian

Re: strength

Post by Grian »

Thank you all for advice, I'm growing more reassured that I'll not be hopping out waist-deep to carry my precious new boat safely up the beach! I'll have a look through the archives for car-topping information.

I really hope not to encounter surf or rivers... :)

Unfortunately I don't think anyone here is paddling a nortik navigator so I don't expect anyone can comment on their hull durability in particular?

Jake
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Re: strength

Post by Jake »

I keep my KLight assembled most of the time and car top it except for long trips. I use 2 inch wide NRS straps and avoid cinching them too tight. The folder is not slippery like most composite hardshells and really doesn't need to be scrunched down hard, something which might bend the aluminum frame.

Grian

Re: strength

Post by Grian »

Thanks Jake, do you use cradles or directly onto roof bars (deck down)? I suspect I'll have a wooden frame. I've been thinking of getting the v-shaped cradles for the hardshells, where they sit on their hull would they be suitable for a folding boat do you think?

I'd like to keep mine assembled for short trips to the coast - about 8 miles, and when going between sea and accommodation when away on those kind of trips - any tips for securing to the roof for anti-theft purposes if leaving unattended?

Jake
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Re: strength

Post by Jake »

I use simple, foam kayak cradles that fit over my Forester's standard roof rack. I have glued on additional pieces of closed cell foam so that the chine longerons as well as the keel are adequately supported. As mentioned, when traveling over long distances at high speed, the KLight is in its bag in the back of the car.

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maryinoxford
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Re: strength

Post by maryinoxford »

Grian, I don't know if the Navigator has sponsons. This is a photo of two Feathercrafts on a car, and you can see that the straps sink in a little where the sponsons "give."

Image

This gives the straps more grip than they would have on a hardshell. This was on a holiday with a hire car, so we used an inflatable temporary roofrack. Distances around 20 miles, at modest speeds on winding narrow roads. No problem. Had I done a lot of car-topping, I would probably have used some padding between strap and boat, maybe towelling or non-slip rubber matting.

Securing the boat... I used to keep my Wisper assembled in a boathouse, and I locked it to the rack. I used a "security cable" of the type sold for bikes, a plastic-covered steel cable with a loop at each end. I had one end going in the front hatch (although I could have used the cockpit) and looped through a rib. The other end was padlocked to the boat rack. When paddling, I shoved cable and lock into the bow, and then they would have been available if I had wanted to secure the kayak while on a paddle. The cable could have been cut with bolt cutters or similar, but would have defeated an opportunist with a pocket knife.

My kayak was insured, and I think it said in the small print that, to claim insurance for theft, I'd have to show that force had been used to take it. If you want insurance in Britain, there's a company called N.W.Brown who know what folding kayaks are.

Mary
Not in Oxford any more...

Jake
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Re: strength

Post by Jake »

Sometime ago, I read a report about two kayakers who were paddling close in to the big surf area called the Mavericks near Half Moon Bay in Northern California. One was paddling a Feathercraft Wisper, the other an Epic 18 touring kayak. They got a bit careless, forgot about Situational Awareness for a moment and were hit by a big, breaking wave. When they got the boats to the beach, they found that the Wisper had a couple of bent frame parts but the aft deck of the Epic had been stove in and seperated from the hull by the force of the wave. Fixing the Wisper was a matter of replacing the damaged parts. The Epic's repair would have been more involved.

Grian

Re: strength

Post by Grian »

Thanks for the tip re insurance company. If in the house, or the attached newly configured 'garage' I hoped they would be covered by household insurance, but I didn't think it would be possible to cover them while they were away from the house - I wonder if they are considered properly secured when you use one of the kayak-specific bike lock type things to attach them to the roof as you describe...

The navigator has sponsons. That photo is really helpful, so you travel them deck down, or was that just because of the inflatable type roof rack? I think I'd definitely want them on the roof rather than building at the lochside where you took them, we went a couple of years ago and the midges were so bad my other half capsized in his haste to leave shore! It was well worth the blood loss for great sightings of otters and pine marten at close hand though.

Good to hear about the wisper coming out of that so well! I hope (pray) I'd never be in that situation!!

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tsunamichuck
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Re: strength

Post by tsunamichuck »

Jake wrote:Sometime ago, I read a report about two kayakers who were paddling close in to the big surf area called the Mavericks near Half Moon Bay in Northern California. One was paddling a Feathercraft Wisper, the other an Epic 18 touring kayak. They got a bit careless, forgot about Situational Awareness for a moment and were hit by a big, breaking wave. When they got the boats to the beach, they found that the Wisper had a couple of bent frame parts but the aft deck of the Epic had been stove in and seperated from the hull by the force of the wave. Fixing the Wisper was a matter of replacing the damaged parts. The Epic's repair would have been more involved.
Happened off Pt Loma near San Diego. Lee had just got that Epic. Sometime later, Lee was in a group that paddled from Oceanside to La Jolla on a rough day. There were big sets coming through Oceanside harbor and Lee just stopped to take pics in the impact zone :roll: He got a wake up by some of us and not a breaker.
I have had my Khats over coral in surf and its come out fine. I have patched small holes caused by rocks in Tahoe though :?
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john allsop
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Re: strength

Post by john allsop »

To roof rack or not to roof rack, that is the question. Many Folbot owners (Folbot Forum)seem to use roof racks or trailers. I almost always assemble my boats at the side of the lake or river, i once put my Yukon on the roof rack and i thought it took just as long putting it on the rack tying it down and taking it off at my destination as it does to assemble either the Yukon or the Aerius 2. I live in Northern Ontario, we don,t have midges, we have black flies and mosqitoes. I like the photo of the boats on the roof rack, reminds me of the lake district. As regard the Navigator, Flat earth sails in Austrailia sells them and he says they are very good boats.

aklinz

Re: strength

Post by aklinz »

Hello there. I have paddled since the early 80's, and have paddled Feathercraft boats since 1996. Tried (in order) a Klepper, a PakCanoe, and a Folbot. The Feathercraft is simply the finest kayak out there, and their customer service is second to none. I will address your concerns in order that they appear in your post:
- Folding boat hull is far more forgiving than a gel coat. I have never managed to actually puncture my Feathercraft hull. Maybe a scuff or two, but that's it.
- Never damaged the frame with cowboy rescue, rafted up rescue, etc. My wife and I even do Class II whitewater river paddling, and have never so much as dented a frame tube.
- You cannot carry a fully loaded boat by the end straps. It will carry, mind you, but will really flex and overly stress the frame. Never a good idea for your back, as well. Feathercraft makes a good boat
cart. kayaks were never designed for long portages, like a canoe.
- My wife and I have landed on shell midden beaches, gravel, and rocks, and have never punctured a Feathercraft hull. We have gotten a scuff or two from barnacles, but that's it. The hull material is way tougher than you think.
- Car topping ? Absolutely ! We regularly cartop our Feathercraft K1 and K-Light. We use good quality Yakima Kayak saddles and J-Cradles. The key is to really secure the kayak hull to the cradles; and use minimal tension on the bow and stern tie downs. The bow and stern tie downs are for wind-induced side loads; while the cradles themselves support and secure the hulls. We have never had an issue by car topping our boats over several decades of use.
Andrew Klinzmann

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