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 :)

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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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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!!

:)

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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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Re: Are Feathercrafts still a sensible purchase?

Post by paraglia »

I agree with Jake about the Kahuna. Having owned a Wisper, Kurrent (light version) and a Big Kahuna (larger cockpit), I would recommend a Kahuna in good shape if you can find one. Depending on your body shape and weight, the Kahuna is a good choice for both day paddling and multi-day trips.
It's easier to assemble than the Wisper and has more volume than the Kurrent. Then again, it's really a personal choice.
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Re: Are Feathercrafts still a sensible purchase?

Post by Jake »

Feathercraft May have produced more K-Lights and Kahunas than all of their other models combined and these often appear on the used market at reasonable prices. I’m a day tripper exclusively and my old K-Light was just the ticket for a day afloat with lunch, a thermos of coffee and some extra dry clothes the only things to be stowed. As it happened, I was ready to replace my second-hand, 17 year old K-L with a new, upgraded version when the Kurrent 2.0 was introduced and I ordered it instead. I’ve not been disappointed. The Kurrent is a lovely boat to paddle and cruises along at an almost effortless 3.5 to 4.0 mph with a kind of unique rapport with the water that no hard shell kayak seems to possess. But, if I wanted to go out on extended cruises, a weekend or longer, I would search for a Kahuna or Big Kahuna preferably one with hatches. I don’t think I’d be sorry😊.

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Re: Are Feathercrafts still a sensible purchase?

Post by KerryOnKayaks »

There was a red Big Kahuna on Ebay for US $1200 (1000 quid?) until yesterday, located in West Michigan. Today it looks like what may be the same boat is for sale in Utah for $3,100 which is absurd. That is what it cost new! I am wondering if this was a flip and is the same boat -- good luck with that, dude! There was a blue one that sold the same day in another state -- odd to have 3 such rare boats show up the same week. But maybe with the pandemic quarantine a lot of garages and basements are getting cleaned out.

I know people complain about assembling Feathercrafts -- I did struggle the first few times with both the Kahuna and the later Wisper that replaced it. But after a half dozen set ups it became second nature and I can put the Wisper together in 20 minutes now when motivated, or 30 minutes at a leisurely pace.

Only drawback of the BIg Kahuna is an oversized cockpit (same as the one they use on the K-1 Expedition). For a smaller person it is kind of sloppy (I had a K-1 for a couple of years and at 5' 5" and 150 lbs I swam in it.)

If you can get a WIsper in good shape, it's a lovely boat. The Kahuna is a great boat too but a bit more sluggish, being shorter and a tad wider. I had many great trips with the Kahuna, my first touring kayak. But I eventually wanted something that was comparable in performance to my hardshell sea kayak and I got that in the Wisper. I bought my Wisper (a used but meticulously maintained 2006) in 2010 for US $ 2,200. Honestly, it is one boat I would never give up. I agree with Michael E that the one you are looking at is overpriced.
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Re: Are Feathercrafts still a sensible purchase?

Post by Jake »

I need only assemble my Kurrent a few times each year and this notable lack of practice is probably why it takes me 35 minutes, sometimes more, to get the boat put together.. And now, well into my 79th year with both hips having been replaced with after-market parts, scrabbling about on the ground like some 145 pound land crab while trying to assemble a folding kayak is too painful even to consider which means finding an elevated surface usually a vacant picnic table at the local waterfront park where the assembly process can be undertaken in reasonable comfort. This often invites an audience of idle onlookers to witness my ineptitude while further distracting me with their questions and comments (Is that a boat?, Why does it come in pieces?, How much did it cost?) Such trivial matters aside, the general consensus seems to be that Feathercraft boats are more difficult to put together than most other folders. Wintering in Florida where the Kurrent gets most of its use we’ve been fortunate to rent a condo with a garage and so I need only assemble the Kurrent once after we arrive and then, in between paddles, store it safely in the garage for the three months that we are here. If I had to assemble the Kurrent each time I wanted to go paddling for a few hours, I probably wouldn’t get afloat very often. Or, more likely, I’d look about for something that could go from bag to water in no more than ten minutes or so, probably an efficient inflatable if such could be found, or one of the Oru models. Or, dare I risk apostasy, even an inflatable SUP. In benign conditions they look to be good fun while offering a full-body workout. Beats sitting on the beach.😊

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Re: Are Feathercrafts still a sensible purchase?

Post by Selkie »

Thanks guys.

The vendor of the Wisper has told me he won't actively try to sell it for the foreseeable future so I can reconsider the matter when we have our freedom again. It is pricey, but that does seem to be the kind of figure they are advertised for.

I'm not averse to the idea of a different model, although I think the Wisper would be the best match performance wise. Now that I've been in lockdown for six weeks I would happily potter around a short stretch of coast and consider myself blessed! Also, since we have a dog nowadays realistically it will be difficult to make longer day paddles in any case. So I am definitely open to reconsidering what would work for me.

Jake, assembly is definitely not a spectator sport! Particularly not in front of children or the easily offended... :D

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