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Old 07-06-2012   #1
Portland, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 11
Structural Integrity - Cat frame

I'm currently debating whether I want to get a cat. If I do, I may build a frame. However, I had a question for the experts.

Is there a structural issue if I have a 14' cat with two shorter frames instead of one longer? The idea is to have a frame for when I'm alone on a day trip. The second frame/module could be added when I want to take a passenger or go overnight.

Is there a problem where these two frames meet? Will one slide underneath the other in a rapid? Or will it stay put (assuming it is lashed down properly)?

Thank you


p.s. Been a lurker for a while, finally decided to post something.

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Old 07-06-2012   #2
Portland, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 11
I now realize that this probably should have been posted in the Gear Talk. If a mod would like to move it, please do.


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Old 07-06-2012   #3
Missoula, Montana
Paddling Since: 2009
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 97
Modular seems like a great idea - seen lots of people doing this. I've mostly seen single-bay cargo modules added to the front and/or rear, but a 2-bay module for the front would work great for gear and/or passengers, just make sure your oar handles won't take out the passenger. Shouldn't be an issue with movement if the modules are lashed so that they can't shift fore/aft. I made a pair of U-shaped cargo modules that attach using nrs breakdown rail kits, which are just solid aluminum plugs sized to fit inside nrs frame rails. This makes for a very rigid connection, but I just did it to be cheap/light since only one cross-member is needed per module.
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Old 07-06-2012   #4
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 883

This may not translate directly to your situation, but I think the functional principles are probably the same.

I've run a two-piece cat frame for years on my big 20' El Tigre Grande -- starting with two six foot sections. Sometimes I've bridged the two with a two foot trailer frame, which gives me 14 feet of frame. I've also used one of the six foot sections in conjunction with the solid ten foot frame from my 16' NRS cat, giving me 16' of frame on 20' of tube.

In my experience, as long as you strap the sections together well and then diagonally strap them to the outer tubes, I've never had them shift in a way that gave me concern. This includes rowing the Grand twice in that rig, and motoring it twice -- once at a steady 24k and another in fluctuating flows between 7.5k and 13k.

I figure that if it holds together under motor power in those higher volumes on the Grand, there's things I have to worry about more than the frame moving around. And I suspect that will be your experience as well using smaller components.


Rich Phillips
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Old 07-06-2012   #5
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New Castle, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 1,105
I have a sixteen foot cat with a four bay frame and an additional fifth bay on the back. I end up keeping the fifth bay on all the time regardless. It doesn't add much weight. I guess if I want the "sportiest" model I would pare it down but I've run it solo through some fast tight runs.

My tubes have three chambers inside and I would want to maintain the ability run it on two if something happened (it has). So it makes sense to keep the frame long enough to span the mid-point of the front and back chambers to lash straps to the d-rings. If I only had two, or even three bays, I'm not certain I could still attach the tube if I lost the middle chamber.

Not sure if I'm being clear but I hope it helps.
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Old 07-07-2012   #6
Portland, Oregon
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Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 11
Great information everyone. Thanks for helping me out. Appreciate it!

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Old 07-08-2012   #7
Lemooreq, California
Paddling Since: 1969
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 60
2-piece frames

I'm making a 30" floor addition to fit on the front of my 8' frame for a floor for a front fisherman's position. Take a look at Osseous' post regarding webbing a cat floor. Shouldn't be a problem.

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