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Old 05-08-2011   #1
Robin's Avatar
Ft. Collins, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1998
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 36
Rowing your cat

I'm new to rowing a cataraft (16') in whitewater, I've taken it mostly on flat water overnight trips so far & have set the oars mid-line and mostly balance the wt in the front & back- now I have the opportunity to take it on whitewater overnight trips. I've noticed in pictures of people rowing cats in big water that some have set their oars up closer to the bow and some are set up more mid-line. Any one have some advice/opinion on where & why you set your oars on a cat rig where you do? Any advice/opinion on where/how you pack your wt- is it really much different from balancing a raft?


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Old 05-08-2011   #2
Avatard's Avatar
portland, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 2,188
If boat is heavily loaded I like middle as it gives you best ability to turn and maneuver. I try and keep the mass towards the middle (which is difficult because i have legs and also like to be able to pull my oars in and down and this cuts into prime gear storage area) the mass towards the center allows the boat to turn easier as the moment of inertia is less.

I think in very technical whitewater the preference is to be able to see and read the water but I really don't run much that is class iv when the river is screaming

The boats I see this way don't seem to have as much gear as I have

Hey, if you want me to take a dump in a box and mark it "guaranteed", I will. I got spare time.
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Old 05-08-2011   #3
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1986
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 184
The important thing is balanced weight. If I am running empty, then my body is pretty close to the middle of the waterline, so naturally the oars are forward. Generally speaking, weight is every cat's enemy. You just don't want it. So, for overnight trips, pack light. After that, there are a lot of solutions, but I choose to put everything behind me and sit a little forward of center.
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Old 05-08-2011   #4
cataraftgirl's Avatar
Sandy, Utah
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 3,120
Rowing position on a cat seems to be part personal preference, part gear load & balance, and part level of water you're running. I have always rowed from a center position. As Avatard said, it seems to give me the best ability to ferry/turn/push/or pull as needed. But, then again, I've never tried rowing whitewater from the front. A lot of people do it that way. Many in my rafting group prefer it that way. The most important things on a Cat are balancing your load and not overloading for your particular boat. Most folks I've talked to prefer a little more weight in front than in back for punching through holes. Otherwise the load should be pretty balanced. Gear placement on a Cat is a bit more tricky than on a raft. Cats are very maneuverable, but not when they are overloaded.
I mostly run class III - IV multi-day trips. I don't do class IV - V day runs that much anymore. A lot of people who do the class IV -V day runs, go very light, and row from the forward position for power, hole punching, and the ability to see what's coming at them. Hope you enjoy your new Cat.
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Old 05-08-2011   #5
cedar city, Utah
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 1,927
I have rowed multiple ways. I prefer rowing in the front on my small 12' JP Cutthroat and middle w/ my 14' Aire Ocelot for multiple days.

Very subjective and just requires playing around with your frame, assuming its modular. All depends on load, passengers, length of boat and frame.

Some claim its helps to punch holes with the rig up front. Never heard about "seeing" better from the front. Sounds odd to me, I can see features just fine from the middle of the boat (and its more stable when I stand up to boat scout).

Agree with everyone else, key is a balanced load. Had 2 passengers in the front of my rig once. Dredged right into Skull Hole. Fun except for it was March 1st

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Old 05-09-2011   #6
Salem, Oregon
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 10
I rowed a 13' cat for overnights with a cooler and bags behind me, so for the boat to sit even I rowed from the bow third of the boat. There is no compromise of maneuverability and I had a great time. If I rowed from the middle of the boat I would have to have put some gear in front of me which wouldn't have been so fun because I want to be first. So long as the boat is level you're great.
A lot depends on what type of frame you've got.
I also suggest rigging your cat in a half foot of still water if you can, so that you can see the balance.
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Old 05-09-2011   #7
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 127
Just so we are clear...when you row a boat, the bow is behind you, the stern is what you face. Right?
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Old 05-09-2011   #8
Salem, Oregon
Join Date: Sep 2010
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Only if you do crew
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Old 05-09-2011   #9
thornton, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1969
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Originally Posted by lcscmllr View Post
Only if you do crew
Or sea men.
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Old 05-09-2011   #10
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portland, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: Apr 2011
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Bow comes before Stern as b comes before s and BS becomes frequent

Hey, if you want me to take a dump in a box and mark it "guaranteed", I will. I got spare time.
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