Raft Porn Needed -Let's see them rigs!!! - Page 79 - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 03-21-2014   #781
 
cataraftgirl's Avatar
 
Sandy, Utah
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Originally Posted by tmacc View Post
So, elkhaven and Cataraftgirl, What made you pick the SL instead of the ST?
Two things for me. #1 - SL is a little lighter. Base weight of 119 lb. vs 126 lb. The Sotar website has the weights reversed on the 14 ft. rafts by the way. I have verified it with them and it looks like they still have them wrong on the website. Not a big difference in weight, but every oz. counts for me, since I load the boat by myself with a gimpy leg. #2 - because I was switching from a cataraft, I wanted to retain some sportiness in handling. The design of the SL sounded like it would fit that criteria, with the increased rocker & diminished tubes.

How this all works out is yet to be seen. Elkhaven has had his on the river and seems happy with it. I'm new to the world of rafts, since I've seen rowing a cat for 16-17 years, so it was just a choice I made based on specs and input from other rafters.

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Old 03-21-2014   #782
 
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Belgrade, Montana
Paddling Since: 1991
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Originally Posted by tmacc View Post
So, elkhaven and Cataraftgirl, What made you pick the SL instead of the ST?
For me it was all about shape and rowing efficiency. There is a lot of discussion in the "SL, Got one" thread on specifically what I was looking for in a boat and why I believed the SL was that boat so for details and opposing opinions go there. But, as a quick summary, I wanted a boat for 80% day fishing trips and 20% overnighter gear barge. The most important attribute was I wanted it to back row well, i.e. move across the water with minimum effort. I also wanted it to be as nimble as possible, quick turn, slide sideways, catch eddies - in essence all the things you do to effectively cover water for fishing.

I wanted all of this in a big enough boat to haul two growing boys, 2 dogs, my loving wife and all of our crap on week long trips, Hence the 15'. My old boat was a 13' hyside, 19" tubes, long straight section; basically the classic raft design and very similar to an ST. That boat even when loaded with just 3 fishermen was a dog, it was not responsive, it gripped the water vs sliding over it but it tracked well and handled weight fairly well (i.e. didn't get much worse when overloaded then when lightly loaded). Some of the my negative feelings on the hyside would be positives if it's primary mission was long overnighters and such and a few are probably related to materials. The chafe guards were neoprene and very gripy especially to rocks.

The final thought with SL was lower wind profile and easier to fish out of having less height bow and stern. I don't really know if this worked out as I never really looked at or considered an ST. I don't have comparisons on kick for the two. I do know that my 15' SL has 36" of kick (ground to top of tube) which is more than I thought. It's really frigin' tall bow and stern. My hyside by comparison only had about 24" of kick by the time I got rid of it (it was flattening out over time).

To be honest I never really thought about a "conventional" boat design (like an ST, Maravia Willy, hyside, NRS, etc.) All I looked at were diminishing tube boats: Aire D boats, Maravia typhoon (size?) and NRS' Riken designs. All but SOTAR's design still retain long straight tubes (some are a bit shorter, but still much longer than Sotars), they simply add a diminishing tubes to the end. What SOTAR's design does is what Aire's claims - continuous curve. Aire has it, just over a lot shorter span. The other thing that I really liked in the SL design (and love in reality) is that all the tube diameter changes occur on the outside of the boat. This means that the interior width is one dimension (42" in my case) all the way up until the bow/stern actually starts to curve. Aire's version seems to be designed around aligning the center of the tubes, so the cockpit decreases a bit making it harder to reorganize coolers and boxes in the boat.
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Old 03-21-2014   #783
 
TV, Idaho
Join Date: Dec 2013
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I also recently bought an SL. I am a relative greenhorn, but it turns out that my reasoning and uses are identical to elkhaven. These two reasons sealed the deal on the SL for me:

Quote:
Originally Posted by elkhaven View Post
What SOTAR's design does is what Aire's claims - continuous curve.
Quote:
Originally Posted by elkhaven View Post
The other thing that I really liked in the SL design (and love in reality) is that all the tube diameter changes occur on the outside of the boat. This means that the interior width is one dimension (42" in my case) all the way up until the bow/stern actually starts to curve. Aire's version seems to be designed around aligning the center of the tubes, so the cockpit decreases a bit making it harder to reorganize coolers and boxes in the boat.
The other factor was that I could get a better deal on a Sotar than a Maravia. People tend to say that Sotars are the most expensive, but it isn't really true because you can find a sale price on a Sotar any time of the year if you look a little bit.

This past weekend I rearranged my setup. I moved the rower's bay forward, which put the oar stands almost exactly at mid boat. I put the cooler in the front bay. With the better weight distribution and the ideal oar placement, the SL really came into its own. I'm absolutely ecstatic about the way it rowed. The funniest part was when my wife (who has never rowed) tried it for awhile and told me that my oars are too heavy. They are 9' sawyer square-tops.
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Old 03-21-2014   #784
 
Park City, Utah
Paddling Since: 1982
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Thanks all for your input. We've had a 18' Aire and a 16' Sotar for the past 7 years and although I'd like to get a 15' raft, my SO is still set on cats. I rowed a 16' Sotar ST on the MF for a day a couple of years ago and it handled way better than our 16' cat. I will admit I had the cat slightly overloaded. Just slightly. My SO actually got a little motion sick from the ST. From the boat riding up over the wave much more than a cat would. I forget what section we were on. Below Johnny Walker I think

I was wondering if the diminish tube design would not be as bouncy as a ST?

Another point is load capacity. The 16' cat is pretty much restricted to two people for a multiday trip. It's rare, but there have been times when a third person is on the trip. Which means I have to break out the 18' cat. That's fine on the Main or GC, but I rather not have to do that on the MF or the Selwey.
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Old 03-22-2014   #785
 
Portland, Oregon
Paddling Since: 2012
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 9
Curious why you you went with a 14' instead of the 13' for one person. Raft looks fantastic.


Quote:
Originally Posted by cataraftgirl View Post
I finally did it. Took the new Sotar out of the box and inflated her in the garage. I must give bonus points to Sotar.....nice repair kit & boat bag. Now the question is, will I ever get it rolled up enough to fit back in that nice bag. I'm hopeful.

My 96 inch side rails took up every inch of the frame chafer. They didn't look right, and stuck out a little on the ends where the boat curves. Since I really only need 80 inches to fit my two dry boxes and cooler, I cut them down to 86 inches. I still have 6 extra inches to play with. I took the rails over to Home Depot and they cut them for free. Nice neat cut, and they reamed the ends. Smooth, no burs. The rubber ends caps fit perfect, nice and snug. For the record, the flat section on my 14 ft. SL is 90 inches as posted on their website.

Here's some pics of the preliminary set up/dry fit. The end view is of the stern with the extra D-rings. I also added extra inside bow & stern D-rings. I'm also posting pics of my other new toy. Necky Vector 13 SOT touring kayak.

PS - the frame isn't backwards. I run solo most of the time, and like my gear in front of me to balance out the bigger of my two dry boxes underneath my generous buttocks.
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Old 03-22-2014   #786
 
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Sandy, Utah
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Originally Posted by Dave S. View Post
Curious why you you went with a 14' instead of the 13' for one person. Raft looks fantastic.
I went back and forth over 13 vs 14 a lot. The majority of my friends and Mountain Buzzards advised to go 14 for overall usage on bigger & smaller water. I had a 12 ft. Hyside that was fun, but small for multi-day trips (what I do most), so a 13 seemed not that much different. The 14 gives me the ability to carry a passenger if I want to, and gives me a better comfort level for higher water trips. My two dry boxes & cooler fit nicely on the 14. Choosing between 13.5 & 14 took awhile, but I'm happy with my choice so far. We shall see when I get this baby on the water in a few months.
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Old 03-22-2014   #787
 
Park City, Utah
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OK, so bare with me here. Other than a GC 21 day trip (oaring a 18' Sotar) and one day on the MF, all of our multiday trips have been in cats. Looking at the SL, I'm wondering if the rocker of the floor interferes with the bottom of dryboxes that might be placed at the fore and aft ends of the frame? Looking at Sotar's site, it looks like the SL has tons of rocker. I'm looking at a 15' for our uses.
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Old 03-22-2014   #788
 
cataraftgirl's Avatar
 
Sandy, Utah
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tmacc View Post
OK, so bare with me here. Other than a GC 21 day trip (oaring a 18' Sotar) and one day on the MF, all of our multiday trips have been in cats. Looking at the SL, I'm wondering if the rocker of the floor interferes with the bottom of dryboxes that might be placed at the fore and aft ends of the frame? Looking at Sotar's site, it looks like the SL has tons of rocker. I'm looking at a 15' for our uses.
My dry boxes were made short for my cat....13 inches tall, with 10 inches below the hang tabs. At the moment, sitting on the garage floor, there's about 3 inches between the bottom of the boxes & the floor. Elkhaven may be able to shed some light on this, as his 15 SL has seen some use. In comparison, I used one of these same dry boxes on the 12 ft. Hyside last spring, with 19 inch tubes. The dry box was touching the floor, but very slightly, and I saw no evidence of rubbing.
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Old 03-22-2014   #789
 
TV, Idaho
Join Date: Dec 2013
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From the underside of the frame to the floor (DS) on the last crossbars in the bow and stern measure 13.5" on my 14' SL. With loaded dry boxes it squishes down to more like 13". My dry boxes hang below the bottom of the frame 10", and they have amply space.

15.25" at the crossbar in the center of the boat without a load.

I hope that helps some.
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Old 03-23-2014   #790
 
Park City, Utah
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Thanks. That answers my question on drybox clearance. Still going back and forth on whether to get a ST or SL. In a perfect world, I'd ditch both the cats, but mine isn't the only opinion that counts in this household.
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