salvaging an ancient Chinook

Need some advise on refitting an old kayak. I just picked up a yard sale 1984 or 1985 Perception (Aquaterra) Chinook (can date it because it has Yellowstone Park stickers on it dating back to 1985). Before anyone scoffs, it was only $100 and I’ve been looking for a cheapie for a down-on-his-luck buddy who just wants something to float little ponds and shallow creeks in North central PA with his dog.

Honestly, I’ve developed a fondness for these vintage Aquaterras – picked up a well-maintained Scimitar (fuschia with yellow pin stripe!) for $300 last Fall and added it to the fleet. Weirdest hatches I’ve ever seen but a nice riding boat.

Back to the Chinook: it’s in suprisingly decent shape – the rudder is clean and the cables run smoothly. Typical oilcanning ahead of the cockpit – I have it out in the sun bridged on sandbags with 80 pounds of bagged pea gravel in there to try to coax it to settle down. If that doesn’t work I’ll haul out the heat gun tomorrow and have at it. I do have a full set of old flotation bags we can use with it (no bulkheads). I can see that the single stern hatch could not possibly be watertight – might silicone it on permanently. Seat is intact, hull scratched but no cracks. It looks like it spent most of its life in a garage. Yeah, probably not a boat I would take in big water but I figure a guy and his pup on a 30 acre pond or flatwater creek could have a few nice outings with it.

The issue I need help with is this: upon inspection last night (first time I could bear to put my head inside – it came full of stinking creek water and I had to scrub it out with soap and lysol) I discovered there are no footpegs on the tracks. I’m sure we could fabricate/machine/weld something from the bottomless (but carefully archived) collection of farm equipment, motorcycle, household and lord-knows-what parts and pieces my adorably handy packrat beau has in his workshop, but it would be a whole lot simpler if we could just buy something that would slide right on. Really don’t want to put $500 worth of time and parts into a $100 boat.

Anybody out there in the Gallery intimately familiar with these venerable 'yaks and have a suggestion on replacing the pegs?

cheap foot pegs

– Last Updated: Jul-29-11 11:11 AM EST –

I think these old Aquaterras had Keepers footpegs. You might see if the ones from your Scimitar fit. Easy enough to get replacements.

Wow, that was quick. Thanks! ACK looks like a great resource for many parts – also noticed they are selling what they call “old style” Perception foot pegs which might fit the track. Just occurred to me we can see if the pegs from the Scimitar fit and, if so, we’ll have a visual to see if the ones ACK stocks are the same.

But being able to swap the whole unit for under $30 is certainly a viable option. Doesn’t appear we could connect the rudder control with that, but he doesn’t really need the rudder. I might remove the rudder to use on another boat. In fact may just order that track and pegs set you linked to anyway to install in my SOF.

must’ve read your mind
I’ll haul the Chinook up north to the farm where we’ve got the Scimitar stashed later today and do just that. The place is sort of becoming a home for wayward kayaks and canoes. Really appreciate the informed feedback.

Silcone . . .
Silicone is not the best option for your hatch, won’t seal well and leaves a residue that prevents other good adhesions. If you are looking for a permanent seal, look at Lexel or 3M5200. My experience . …

Chanook is an antique
I believe the Chanook is the first plastic sea kayak.

It has no bad traits and an all around good boat.

no, but cool stuff regardless
I still see a few of these on the water from time to time, including one that’s branded as I believe yours is. I used to scoff at them but they have some staying power!

historical boat
Yes, that’s what my research on it has turned up, that it was the first production plastic sea kayak that Perception sold. Based on the age this had to have been in the first runs. I’m trying not to get sentimentally attached to it (I did buy it for someone else). Getting to be as bad as my sweetie, a professional keyboard player who collects Hammond organs (he currently has 19, mostly B-3’s and A-101’s). Kayaks are like organs, always stumbling across some unique and under-appreciated version you just can’t resist.

Actually, I just got home and looked inside the Chinook with a flashlight – it actually does have foot pegs!! Really odd ones, so far down I couldn’t see them, that seem to be attached via adjustable nylon strap. Now that the slime and dead spiders have been flushed out of it I’m going to try climbing inside. It’s obviously a high-volume boat but has interesting lines. Clearly too big for me. Found some photos on line of folks that still use and treasure their Chinooks (in better shape than this one.) One guy lets his pug pup ride in the stern hatch!

BTW, leaving the 80 pounds of bagged pea gravel inside the hull all morning while suspended in the hot sun seems to have popped out the biggest oilcan. Now I have to figure out how to transport it 130 miles on a 95 degree day without flattening the keel again (it has a humped foredeck so it can’t ride hull up). Will try to hoist it onto the J-racks.

Damn, I’m getting too old for solo loading 65 lbs kayaks on a tall vehicle on a 95 degree day.

maybe I’ll give him the Magellan
I’ve got a vintage Dagger Magellan (another cheap yard sale find I’ve kept for 6 years as a “loaner”) that’s probably a bit worse for wear than this Chinook (though it does have solid and watertight bulkheads to recommend it.) Might sell that to our buddy for $100 and keep the Chinook. We’ll have to test paddle them side by side this weekend and make the call. The Magellan is a barge but it’s been a reliable one and a fine newbie loaner. (Other than having the seat from hell, but that can be fixed.)

Sounds like a good buy
Not exactly the most efficient boat, but I’ve seen a number of them out on the deep blue in favorable conditions. In about 2000 (I think) one of the people in my group paddled a Chinook on the crossing to and circumnav of Catalina. She was slow, but she made it. Should be quite fine for pond paddling. For $100 you can hardly lose.

was the company that made the Chinook. It was a partner with Perception but the touring/sea kayak side of the biz. decent lines by Pacific Watersports owner/ designer Lee Moyer gives the Chinook a good, classic status amongst paddlers. I paddled one for a 8-day trip along the coast of Costa Rica in '89. It did fine in all kinds of conditions, but tracking is it’s forte. I’d keep the rudder working if I was you. There was a neoprene cover that might be missing on the hatch. This will fix the “leak”. you could even fabricate a cover using plastic and shock cord in a pinch.

good luck


follow up on the Chinook
Hauled the Chinook to the farm and examined it thoroughly. A previous owner clearly removed the old side track footpegs and the original rudder. Replaced it with a well thought out homemade stainless rudder and an unusual foot pedal system made of a metal arch connected to a single track suspended from the bow deck with rounded plastic foot pads at each side connected to new steel cable to the rudder and adjustable straps that run to the seat. Very nicely done and one of the most comfortable and solid foot brace arrangements I’ve tried yet – kudos to the freelance engineer, whoever he/she was. Found that I have a set of float bags that fit it perfectly. Certainly gonna keep this boat – definitely a deal. Cleaned up it looks great (can’t say how it paddles as the Susquehanna here at the farm is too low to test it this weekend). I figure the rudder system alone is worth the $100 I paid for it.

you’ve got an eye for good deals
Owned both the Chinook and Magellan (many moons ago).

Chinook was first kayak - great boat. I had been a canoer, saw an ad showing a Chinook off ‘Pictured Rocks’ (L Superior), knowing the area - I knew it was somewhat unsafe for a canoe, bought the kayak.

Might want to hold onto the Magellan, if it’s not in too bad shape and you like it. (though the ‘barge’ comment sound like it may not fit you well).

It was the first boat I learned the hand roll with - which came in handy once while learning (heavy) surf (off WA coast), paddle stripped from hands, hand-roll, (then quickly pulling out paddle-float to be ready as hand-rolling aid for subsequent pummelling while being ‘surfed’ in to shore)


good point on the Magellan
It does paddle nicely and has a low stern deck – if I replaced the horrid Dagger plastic seat back (a true torture device) with a back band I can see how it could be a good roller. And I suppose it isn’t fair to call it a “barge” – I have used it myself on several occasions and had a pretty good time. But I have 3 much sleeker newer (and lighter) kayaks that fit me better, all potentially good rollers (Feathercraft Wisper, Venture Easky 15LV and a Greenland hunting qajaq replica skin on frame). So old Ferdinand the Magellan suffers by comparison.

The Magellan has been my all purpose “loaner” boat for friends – picked it up when I moved back to my home city 8 years ago. Being single at the time, having a second set of kayak and all gear enabled me to recruit buddies for paddling (and car shuttles). The forlorn Magellan rarely gets used now that I have a boyfriend whom I’ve converted to kayak touring (we’ve collected 3 other boats for him so far). I started him in the Magellan but he complained about his legs going numb in it and won’t use it. Besides, I bought it from a paraplegic guy who had converted the rudder control to hand operation. Have never gotten around to re-rigging it (I rarely use rudders anyway, and if so, only for straight tracking and never for steering.)

Maybe I should find a group that does wilderness outings for the disabled and donate it, since this is a kayak that is adapted for someone with lower body paralysis. I hate to see a decent boat just languish in the barn loft, serving as no more than a condo for spiders and field mice.

Shame you’re not in NE. I have a foam rear bulkhead for a Chinook floating around my barn somewhere. I had installed a front bulkhead but the kit came with both bulkheads.

Anywhere near Northampton?
If you locate that Chinook bulkhead (and want to give it a good home), I would happily buy it off you. We were going to try to fabricate some from minicel but that is such a pain to get right, especially with an somewhat oil-canned hull. If you are near Northampton we’ve got family there that might be persuaded to pick it up. Or tell me the dimensions (if you locate it) and I’ll send you a prepaid box to mail it. Actually, even a tracing of it would be invaluable to us if you didn’t want to give it up.

Isn’t it great to have a barn? Always room for another kayak. My sweetie has two, one of which came full of stuff when he bought the place – seems like no matter what we need we can find it out there. Trailer tire went flat? found one. Bolts broke on bed frame? found 'em. Need a chunk of angle iron? got it! Coffin sized plexiglass box with hinged lid? Absolutely! (never know when you might need one of those.) Fire hydrant? Elk skull? vintage tractor parts? Full row of steel school lockers? Mysterious horse tack? It’s in there.

Even went searching for something else in one of the more obscure lofts last weekend and uncovered a faded pink (!) Dancer kayak, a forgotten relic of his reckless youth. Another artifact for the growing kayak museum!