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Just bought a K1
Posted: Thu May 09, 2019 5:20 am
I've been paddling hardshells since 1995, but I always thought a foldable would extend my travel range beyond North America. I recall reading with interest about the Feathercrafts in the usenet paddling newsgroup. I later learned they had closed shop when their rudder became unavailable, but I recently bought a '94 K1 in excellent shape and I may now need some advice and tricks.
Luc Le Blanc
Re: Just bought a K1
Posted: Fri May 17, 2019 12:29 pm
I just responded to your question about an airline bag for the K-1. So now I know that your boat is the older model, as my 1998 K-1 was.
The most important "trick" is to ALWAYS keep the frame joints lubricated -- my preference is to use Boeshield T-9 lubricant which you can get at most good bicycle shops in a small dropper bottle. If not lubricated and left assembled with salt water in the boat (and even some freshwater) the joints will freeze together and be impossible to break down. I bought mine used from a guy who had let that happen and had to pay $200 for new frame parts to replace the frozen ones. I keep a zip lock baggie with the T-9 and a couple of rags in the patch kit that I always carry with my folders and liberally grease each joint whenever I put one together. If your boat did not come with a patch kit, I would recommend getting one. Pakboat sells them, with vinyl adhesive and scraps of patch fabric that will work on other models of boats as well as their own.
Another important thing to remember is to never leave the sponsons inflated when the boat is out of the water or being transported on hot days. Air expansion will rupture the tube and removing to patch or replace these in a Feathercraft is a major hassle. Get in the habit right away of opening the tube valves in the sponsons every time you take the boat out of the water. Since you have an older model I don't know if you have an inflatable seat back but the same goes for that -- don't want to rupture the bladder.
I found it useful when I had the K-1 to use multi colors of electrical tape to code the frame parts so that they were easier to lay out in the right place and connect together. Assembling the older K-1's takes a lot of time until you get used to it -- the best I was ever able to do was 45 minutes. But if you have a place to store it set up and lubricate it well you can leave it set up for a whole season if you don't need to break it down for storage or travel. Don't be frustrated when you first do this -- it will get easier with time and once you have a system for doing it, always the same way. You probably already know that you can find the original owner's manuals on line for even the older Feathercrafts.
Speaking of travel, you need to be mindful of how you haul a folder on a roof rack. If your vehicle is a sedan and does not allow a long distance between the bars of the rack, it can be damaging to a folder to carry on the rack directly especially for long distances at highway speeds. I badly bent the frame on my Wisper by doing that. Fortunately I was able to gradually bend the warping out of my frame longerons but it was a tedious process. Now I only carry any of my set-up folders on cushioned J-racks that cradle them and protect from having wind press them down and out of shape.
If your boat did not come with flotation bags, those made by Harmony work perfectly well. If your boat came with the original sprayskirt I would be willing to bet that it leaks, even though it will look perfectly fine. I loved my Feathercraft sprayskirt that came with the 2008 Wisper but the coating failed 2 years ago and it leaks like a sieve. Since I use a Greenland paddle I dump a lot of water onto the skirt and found I was getting soaked. I've since found another skirt from another maker that fits (at least Feathercraft used fairly common cockpit dimensions) and am going to try an aftermarket coating liquid to try to restore the FC skirt. Just be forewarned that it may not be waterproof after so long a time even if it looks OK. Test it in your kitchen sink before committing to paddling with it.
Re: Just bought a K1
Posted: Fri May 17, 2019 12:45 pm
Yes, my seller had all the printed instructions, notices, repair kit, etc. Though the original glue might have dried in the bottle...
I noticed that the tubes are already color-coded with factory-installed tape. And no inflatable seat.
Thanks for the tips on both forums.
Luc Le Blanc
Re: Just bought a K1
Posted: Fri May 17, 2019 2:06 pm
Congrats on your "new" boat, the K1 is a lot of kayak. You got all great advice from Kerryonkayaks, I can add very little. The one tip I will pass on is also the most difficult for me to describe. When you get into the tight places during assembly/disassembly do NOT force anything. If you need to use force then you have the pieces in poor alignment. This is especially important for the cockpit ribs which need to be installed after you have inserted the bow and stern frames in the skin. For those ribs I found it best get both hands in the boat and using my grip strength to get the longerons into the rib cages...thumbs on the inside of the rib and hands on either side of the rib with fingers around the longerons. I hope that makes sense, and enjoy your new ride!