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Old 10-18-2011   #1
Pcdc2's Avatar
Salt Lake City, Utah
Paddling Since: 1998
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 102
Quick cat oar tower position question

I've recently come across the opportunity to buy a cat for an awesome price (either an Ocelot or perhaps a WD, though I'm not sure if I can get the deal on a WD, even though that would be my preference given the option).

I have always rowed a raft, currently own a 156R AIRE so have my gear hauling needs covered. I'm looking to put together something pretty sporty.

My question is that in doing research, I have noticed that most cat frames (at least on the Ocelot and WD it seems) put the oar towers fairly far forward of center. Is this so that the rower's weight is centered mid-tube? It seems like this would affect the ability to pivot, but I'm new to this whole cat thing and figured I'd see what the deal is.



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Old 10-18-2011   #2
no tengo
mania's Avatar
Baytopia, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1876
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Posts: 1,768
centering the mass is more important than centering the pivot point especially on a small boat.

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Old 10-18-2011   #3
Beaverton, Oregon
Paddling Since: 2005
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Are you referring to what I've heard called the "Idaho Cat" arrangment?
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Old 10-18-2011   #4
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portland, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 2,188
Gear boats you typically center the oars. Small boats without gear its easier to turn. You typically want your CG just front of center, which makes the cat handle better and more stable, IMO
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 10-18-2011   #5
wildh2onriver's Avatar
irvine, California
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Join Date: Jul 2009
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The rower seated forward helps with having more weight in front to help punch holes. Another benefit is that it's much easier to land the boat in fast current, as it's easier to step off and grab the boat with only one person in a hot landing situation.
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Old 10-18-2011   #6
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Sandy, Utah
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Jun 2009
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I have always preferred rowing from a centered position, whether loaded with gear or on a day run. I have friends who like the forward rowing position for some of the reasons mentioned above. I have tried it, but didn't like it. To me it felt like the tail wagging the dog so to speak. I feel like I can pivot, push, pull, ferry, etc. better from the center. This is just my personal preference after trying both.
In looking at the photos on the Madcatr website for reference, it looks like most of the class IV - V cat boaters pictured are either centered or slightly forward of center. However, I have seen many Cat boaters on the Payette more forward. I'd say try a few different rowing positions to see what you like. If you're rowing a playcat without gear, you have more leeway to move your frame around to try different things.
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Old 10-19-2011   #7
Pcdc2's Avatar
Salt Lake City, Utah
Paddling Since: 1998
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 102
Awesome, thanks for the responses everyone. That is helpful info, coming from a gear hauling 16 ft raft I've always centered my oar towers like Avatard mentioned.

It seems like a cat is different in that you must balance your load properly. I appreciate the info!
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Old 10-19-2011   #8
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Carbondale, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 267
Many two seater cats I see still have the rower in front - its not just about balance. Another factor in play is favoring a pushing style of rowing. Rowing up front makes shoving the boat through the rapids slightly better. An oar setup clear at the rear (like the setup many of us guide with) gives a slight advantage to pulling away strokes. Now understand these advantages are slight.

Speaking for myself I like pushing the boat. Combine that with the natural advantage pulling already has and I decided to throw a little help to the push game.

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