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Old 04-06-2013   #1
Prattville, Alabama
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 60
Powering up the Colorado from the Confluence

newbee here, I am sure this has already be covered but does anybody have experience with powering back up the Colorado with your own outboard from the Confluence to Potash or even Moab. I would think the Slide area would be the problem. I am just finishing a 15'6" Cataraft that I want to go from Green River or Ruby all the way to Confluence then back up in. The Rig of course has oars but I also added and OB mount as well as a 8" Bimini top for the flat stuff. I have a big foot 8hp Mercury OB, but was not sure if it would climb the slide. I will be doing this trip staring first week of June this year so there should be plenty of water. Total weight of craft should be about 1100 boat, gear and passengers.

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Old 04-06-2013   #2
Boulder, Colorado
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 42
Powering up

I have done some of what you want to do, putting in at Hite and motoring up. However, we did not make it all that far, certainly not to any of the rapids. I had a 4 hp motor on a 14 foot aluminum boat, two guys, so lightly loaded. We finally turned around when our progress slowed to a crawl. We did not intend to make it all that far, it was really an exploratory trip. The highlight was hiking one of the slot canyons.

I would say that 8 hp on a raft is not even close to being adequate for upstream use. Really, the right tool for the job is a jet boat with 100 or 150 hp.

I would think that you would need a boat with a top speed of at least 15 or 20 mph to negotiate rapids. I don't see a way to power a conventional raft to the speeds required. Zodiacs will go fast, but not with 8 hp and a 1000 pound load.

The first test I would perform is to put your loaded boat on a lake with a GPS and see how fast it will go. I suspect that you will be disappointed.


Open boater.
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Old 04-06-2013   #3
Prattville, Alabama
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 60
Slide is really not a Rapid

This section is not whitewater the slide area is just a constriction. People have rowed up this section. I agree, the best thing to do would be to put rig in water and see what it will do. The 8 hp actually came new with a 10' zodiac tender we have and will push it to 20 plus mph with light load on plane. The same 8 hp will push my 21' deck boat as a kicker to about 9 to 10 mph. I probable could borrow a 20 hp for the trip if needed, but wanted the lower fuel consumption.
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Old 04-06-2013   #4
Centennial, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 72
Bama, you would regret trying to do this with an 8 HP motor. You would be crawling the entire way, I'd estimate 5+ days and 25 gallons of gas to get up from the confluence, and I think that is being optimistic. The current doesn't look strong until you start motoring up it. As a test, we turned a 3 boat flotilla around with a 15 hp and got barley got 1 mph moving upstream. I would advise hiring Tex to jet boat you back up from spanish bottom.
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Old 04-06-2013   #5
Prattville, Alabama
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 60
8 too small

JerkMyBait, thanks for reply. I was thinking the 8 might be a little small. I will have the rig completed and in water probably by next weekend. I think a 20 hp would most likely get the cataraft up on plane which should negate the current. Cats with big OB's seem to be the rage up north in BC and Alaska. I had thought of the jetboat but I want to spend a few days on the way back up. plus would have to break the cat all the way down for jetting up I assume. We were going to do Labyrinth and Stillwater a few years back and did not have much luck with setting up jet boat.
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Old 04-06-2013   #6
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Eastern Slope, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 2,404
Here's a crazy idea, row your raft through Cataract Canyon! It's fun, beautiful, full of history, and you don't need a loud, stinky, polluting motor to do it. Why run all the flat only to skip the good part?
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Old 04-06-2013   #7
Prattville, Alabama
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 60

RanDaddy, I knew that was coming but it still stung a little. I promised the wife we were going a nice relaxing trip threw westwater I guess it was three summers ago. Same time, first week of June . I can't remember if it was 26,000 or 28,000 but it was not relaxing. She wanted to do labyrinth and stillwaters then but I had permit for Westwater. We did not do labyrinth that year, just about four more daily trips while we were in Moan. I would love for ob to not work out and have to run Cat. How big do you think water will be first week of June?
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Old 04-06-2013   #8
Crested Butte, Colorado
Paddling Since: 82
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 205
I can assure you you will be making slow progress with an 8hp. I have a 20hp and my cat has to be nearly empty to get on plane. Those round tubes don't like to plane out.
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Old 04-06-2013   #9
Andy H.'s Avatar
Wheat Ridge, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,910

You could put in on the Green at Swasey's and float Labyrinth to Mineral Bottom. Alternately, you could put in at Cisco and float all the way to Potash.

Roll Tide,

Nothing in the world is more yielding and gentle than water. Yet it has no equal for conquering the resistant and tough. The flexible can overcome the unbending; the soft can overcome the hard. - Lao Tse
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Old 04-06-2013   #10
Canon City, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Apr 2006
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Originally Posted by Randaddy View Post don't need a loud, stinky, polluting motor to do it.
That's debatable. Depending on the lake level, you could have current to Dirty Devil, or you could have a truly hellish time rowing the 30 miles of truly flat water to the take out.

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