Are Feathercrafts still a sensible purchase?

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Selkie
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Are Feathercrafts still a sensible purchase?

Post by Selkie »

Hello again :) I haven't visited here in ages, I hope you folk are keeping well.

I'd like to ask opinions on buying a Feathercraft now they are no longer in production - would you risk it? I have sufficient funds again and there is a 2007 Wisper in the country going for 2k. Are spares readily available including skins, and is a 2007 model likely to be in viable condition in principle, if it has been well looked after?

I would prefer a Nortik but have never seen one for sale used.

Thanks in advance and stay safe.

Kirsty

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Re: Are Feathercrafts still a sensible purchase?

Post by JohnSand »

Hi Kirsty, welcome back.
I can't speak to Feathercraft, but I have purchased two Folbots since they closed. I paid a lot less than $2G for them, but I think if you find a quality boat in good condition at a price you're comfortable with, then buy it. I keep an eye on craigslist and ebay for spare parts. I'm sure Folbot produced many more boats than Feathercraft, but I think you can probably make any repairs you might need.

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Re: Are Feathercrafts still a sensible purchase?

Post by mje »

I wouldn’t count on spares being available, although ribs can be made from HDPE, tubing is available for fabricating repairs, and skin repairs can be made by outfits like Long Haul. $2,000 seems a bit high to me, given the age and the fact it’s been discontinued. New price was under $3K, and it’s 13 years old. I personally would value it more at $1K-$1.5K at most.

You can by a new Long Haul Ute for under $3K, and several Pakboats in the $1.2K to $1.5K range. I’d be more inclined to buy one of those.
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Selkie
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Re: Are Feathercrafts still a sensible purchase?

Post by Selkie »

Thank you both.

I do feel it is expensive given the lack of spares and my limited [non existent] ability to make my own, but equally the rarity of this and indeed all folders on the used market gives it greater value... In the current crisis it is less than appealing to make a big ticket purchase, especially as paddling is out for the foreseeable future - above all else want to reduce to zero the risk of needing rescue or medical services!

I am undecided!

Hope all well and remain so :)

yuen
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Re: Are Feathercrafts still a sensible purchase?

Post by yuen »

The Wisper is a joy to paddle. Spare parts could be a problem, would order the extensions bars as a replacement in case of purchasing the boat and some rivets and plastic stoppers. The rest is solid withe the HDPE Noses in stern and bow solvable withe heat in case of damage (as made in the faltboot.org forum).

2000 pounds is not a bargain, but that's the normal price used. Little depreciation in price the last years, nobody knows what the price in the future will be.

You had the navigator in the past. It paddles faster than the Wisper, but the FC is somehow more seaworthy, but less capable of transporting expedition luggage. Both are not boats for daily outing with assembling and disassembling. The Wisper is more constructed to last. Better skin and better coaming, the one in the navigator is prone to break. The navigator has the choice of a rudder.

Navigators go here in Germany for 2000 to 2500 Euros, if you catch a bargain 1600.

Wispers hardly never appear.

I would choose in these uncertain times a boat that you really use a lot rather than one you could sell well after.

My most used boat in the last six months is an Aironaut. For me the best compromise.

Best wishes and a wise decision. If possible go soon to the water again. It helps a lot to preserve a clear mind and heart!

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Re: Are Feathercrafts still a sensible purchase?

Post by Jake »

I paddled a Wisper a few years ago in Florida with Ken Fink, then FC’s east coast dealer. I found the Wisper a pleasurable boat to paddle and a very handsome thing, too. It did seem to have a slight tendency to veer just a bit to the left when allowed to glide along with my paddle out of the water but nothing that significant. This was a new boat, just shipped down from Vancouver and Ken and I as his “helper” assembled it fresh out of its stuff sack. This was definitely not a pleasurable experience; it took us a full 45 minutes laboring under a hot Florida sun before it was ready to launch. As to performance, I felt that it cruised along at the same easy pace as the K-Light that I owned at the time. Of course, with a more narrow width and longer waterline, the Wisper’s speed at top throttle would exceed that of the K-Light but who wants to paddle that hard. Not me! After suffering through the assembly process without other considerations, I ordered a Kurrent 2.0, the heavier version of the original boat. The Kurrent is not as easy to assemble as, say, the Long Haul Ute but the Ute weighs 52 pounds and, with a beam of 28 inches, might be a bit of a barge to paddle. Having never paddled one, I can’t say for sure but it’s way too heavy for a short boat. The original Kurrent weighs 21 pounds, my 2.0 version comes in at 31 (I actually weighed it on a hospital scale). And my next Feathercraft might be even lighter. This past autumn, I learned that Doug Simpson kept three Aironauts after he closed up the shop and, when I asked if he’d sell me one he suggested that I check with him in a year and he might be persuaded to part with one of them. Maybe.

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Re: Are Feathercrafts still a sensible purchase?

Post by mje »

i had a Ute on loan for a short while which my girlfriend paddled on our outings. It’s a very lively boat, faster and more responsive than the Aleut she usually paddles when we don’t paddled my double.
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Selkie
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Re: Are Feathercrafts still a sensible purchase?

Post by Selkie »

Thanks very much for further input.

I have put one together before, not fun, not fun at all! By comparison the Nortik was a walk in the part to assemble.

As things stand I have come to the conclusion I won't be purchasing the Wisper. Pretty clear we will have restrictions on travel for months to come, and like most here we are voluntarily not paddling anyway so as to avoid any risk of needing emergency services or medical assistance. I doubt anyone else will buy in the meantime either though, so more time to think about it and try to arrive at a decision driven by my head not my heart!!

:)

Jake
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Re: Are Feathercrafts still a sensible purchase?

Post by Jake »

Kirsty, Might you consider a well-cared-for Kahuna? More volume than the Wisper and probably no more difficult to put together and even a few pounds lighter, always a good thing. There are usually a few about on the used market. Just a thought😊. Jake

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Re: Are Feathercrafts still a sensible purchase?

Post by Jeremiah »

Hi Kirsty,
First off, good for you to put the kayak plans on hold. You bring up a good point in that an accident on the water or in the drive to and there could compound things in a way that was unimaginable a short time ago. I would not lecture anyone on what to do. A solo paddle sounds really good to me. But overcrowded hiking trails (everyone is thinking the same thing) has curbed my wanderlust for now.
I own two Feathercrafts and don't consider them a liability now that Feathercraft is no more. In some ways they are like a tent, with a frame and outer skin that you can make repairs to with modest skills. It helps to know the right glue to use and know your way around a rivet gun. You can even manufacture your own replacement parts. This forum has a wealth of information on repairs as I'm sure you're finding out.
As far as the price, Michael seems to have a good feel for what used folding kayaks should go for. Again, the forum can be very helpful. It's good that you are thinking more with your head and not your heart as you said. But I would not be afraid to purchase a used Feathercraft if the right one came along.

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