Thursday morning saw the arrival of the Fatyak Kaafu for review.
The Kaafu came with two tube style rod holders fitted and before I put it on the water I wanted to put a few extras on to make it more of a fishing kayak.
I had to have words with Neil at H20 kayaks to get some bits and Saturday morning saw them arrive. I was ready to go.
Firstly lets have a look at the kayak as delivered.....it was bright orange. You won't miss me on the water But hey what is the difference between orange, green or white when a fish looks up through ten feet of cloudy water?
She comes in at just short of 10 ft long and 30 ins wide
The first things you notice are the two hatches with lids. The lids I can say are really tight, mind you I think the temperature made them stiffer. A quick spray with WD40 made them easier. Two small moulded tubs sit beloe these lids. Useful? I think there is work to be done there. ;D
The storage area at the rear is quite big with countersunk scuppers and drainage channel. There is a continuous bungee cord through 6 padeyes. This is OK but I will be changing it slightly to have clips and two bungee that can be pulled over gear rather than trying to squeeze stuff in. Minor point though.
It should be noted that all factory fitted padeyes are screwed into encapsulated threads ensuring security,
There are two shaped flat areas behind the seat, rod tubed size.
There is a flat area in front of the rear hatch and another near the bow hatch ideal for a fish finder.
Paddle holders both sides by the rear storage.
Side moulded in carry handles are great. It really does make this an easy kayak to lift it does not seem 20kgs. The balance is spot on around these handles.
The carry handles either end are part of the moulding too.My wife Steph saw them and tried lifting one end and found it much more comfortable than corded on my other kayaks.
The built in 'skeg' moulding looked as if it might aid tracking and the roll of the bow looks as if it will deflect water away from the boat nicely.
There are 6 scupper holes which would clear water swiftly if you were swamped in the surf. The front pair are recessed enough to fit a transducer.
OK now came the time to get the drill out. First off I wanted to get an anvhor trolley. I had the H2O kayaks anchor trolley kit. Neil has a range of fixings, rivets with neopren seal, well nuts and stainless nut and bolts. You should note that all his nuts are Nylock so you will need a ring spanner ideally to tension the nut whilst tightening.
For the trolley padeyes I decided on rivets and aimed for as far towards bow and stern as possible. 5mm holes and a blob of silicon and job done.
The kit comes with all you need.
http://www.h2okayaks...hor Trolley Kit
I did add one extra though an extra carabine to clip the rope to the nylon ring.
Quick and easy job.
Then came the zigzag cleat, the ideal place is in the handle recess, I tried it with double sided tape and picked the yak up to make sure the lift wasn't impaired. I wanted to bolt this but to do that I need access to inside the hull.
Out came the Drenel ( lookalike ) first a metal cutting disc and then the sander and tah-dah...access and the cleat is done.
Next came fitting a rod tube....the flat area in front of the rear hatch is the mould plug and is easilly drilled out and then a bit of sanding and the recessed socket is fitted, bolted again with access through the opened up hatch.
So all done now to try it on the water to see how she feels.
Sadly I would be out alone so no pics other than the view that greeted me at the launch point and at the access to the River Wreake where I had planned to fish.
:-[ :-/ :'(
Oh well I would try elsewhere and have a paddle.
First thing to say is how easy it was to board, I was getting on from the canal towpath with a drop of 18" and she was very stable.
I notice that there was water at the top of the footwell scuppers ( possibly down to my 14st 10lbs) but the seating area was dry.
I sat at first without a seat and there was loads of leg room, then with a basic OK seat still plenty of room. finally with a Crazy Creek II and now my feet could only go in the last foot prg but that was no problem, I am 6ft 1".
I left the Crazy Creek in it to save a numb bum.
I paddled along the canal/River Soar and I was immediately surprised at just how straight and swift this 'little' boat was.
I have to say the effort to get it moving was not noticably more than the P13 and with only the bare minimum of corrective strokes.
It was also obvious that the roll on the bows did it's job.
Then I tried manoeuvrability and no surprise there, at 10 ft it did what it should and turned on a sixpence.
About 1/2 mile down river I had to haul out for a lock and drag the Kaafu over a field and I have to say the moulded handle made that more comfortable than other hauls I have done.
As the fishing was so cr%p I emptied the gear onto the bank and did a couple of self-rescues A doddle to right the yak and to haul back on, again as one should expect.
I sat side saddle and as we are nowadays expecting it took more tilt than you are likely to use to tip it.
I tried the anchor trolley and I was very pleased with how she settled.
Back at the car I checked inside the hull and the self rescuses had caused no water to get in.
I ended up paddling about 4 mile and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised with the performance. I am not saying I am geting rid of the P13 or my SINK but when I am looking to do just a bit of lure fishing and cutting back on all the gear or to take the wife or grandson out then this is just the job
Others have reviewed the Kaafu as a saltwater vessel so I will only comment on it as a fresh/flat water fishing kayak.
Hand on heart I found myself smiling as I paddled, it is a a great first kayak for people on a budget but also ldeal for lure fishing, fly fishing. It is stable and deceptively fast and straight. If you are looking for a competitively priced British made 10ft kayak then consider the Kaafu starting at £299. I don't think you will be disappointed, I wasn't ;D
To find out more go to Fatyak's site:
All parts came from Neil at H2O Kayaks who gave exceptional service. If you haven't dealt with Neil then you are one of the few . H2O are regularly praised for their customer service. Rightly so! ;D
Fatyak Kaafu Review
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