Sunday, March 28, 2021

First Two Rides On The Water

 On March 23 and 27, 2021, I took the Mako Air out on the Williamette River here in Portland, Oregon

Both days were perfect and I had a blast.  The kayak is super stable even in wake generated by speeding boats and I was comfortable on the water.  I also enjoyed “traveler” conversations with several people I met during the journeys - including some folks living permanently on the water both in lovely floating homes and in boats anchored in the river.  Here is a one minute YouTube I put together about my very first voyage.

The Mako Air was easy to launch (about 50 lbs fully loaded with seat in place), as mentioned, stable on the water, easy to pedal (a comfortable 2 mph (3.2 kmh) with very relaxed - I could do this all day - slow pedaling - about 3 mph (4.8 kmh) if I wanted to make it a “fitness” experience). I’ll post more about speed later, but suffice to say this speed is very acceptable with virtually little effort and comparable to recreational kayaking - without the paddle dripping.   

The Mako Air does need to come with a few important instructions (mentioned below) but so far I can only find one fabrication flaw - the preassembled steering control is either labeled or connected incorrectly.  Pulling up on the the steering control lever toward the letter “L” (marked for “left”)  turns the kayak toward the right - and vice versa.  I’ve already been in touch with the importing Canadian company - Kayak Distribution, Inc. - about this and the missing parts (see prior posting) and will blog about their response later.

The recommended instructions resulting from my two outings involve the rudder.  The rudder is designed with a cord-pulley system so that the operator can move the rudder into and out of the water while seated.  Just pull the black cord knob (located on the right side of the seat) to move the rudder into the water and pull the red cord knob to remove it.  This is a useful feature as one gets near the shore and the rudder would otherwise get damaged in the rock or mud.  Here are the essential instructions:

1.  Be careful how you install/tie down the chair to the kayak.  It needs to be cinched in where it is not sitting on the rudder pull-cords guides. While this might seem intuitive - don’t sit on the cords! - it isn’t because the cords are routed in tubing and the chair can be wrongly placed on this tubing.

2.  The rudder needs to be placed in a hard left steering direction whenever placing the rudder in the water or removing it.  The design of the rudder placement/removal cords makes them impossible to move until the steering direction is full left.

I have several other operator suggestions - but for now, those are the only things I wished I had known before my use - and they each took some experimentation to figure out.

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