I'll field this question, if I may be so presumptuous...
Originally Posted by cataraftgirl
How does it handle differently?
In my initial post, starting this thread, I stated that I'm not a boat design engineer. However I do understand a bit about how it works.
Originally Posted by JustKip
The tubes are tapered, and NOT just on the ends like other tapered rafts I've seen. Here's the blueprint of the 14" SL, copied from their website.
I'm not a boat design engineer, but it seems to me that this design would be awesome for quick maneuvering, but, because of the taper in the middle, maybe slow going in flat water?
What are they really
like, you know, in the real world?
You (cataraftgirl) have been asking about frame fit because of the rocker. As you'll note, the top of the tubes is flat, while the bottom has all the rocker. Also, the insides of the tubes make a straight line while the outsides bow outward.
The design will undoubtedly take a full length frame. The bulbous mid-section will make the boat pivot easily (easier than straight tubes at least) Diminishing tubes of AIRE D series or Maravia, or even the old Riken Dodger I used to row are all straight along the sides and only taper at the ends. This helps them track better as well as carry heavier loads without drafting too much.
The Sotar design will push the deepest part of the side tubes deeper into the water before getting support from the rest of the raft. This will help it pivot and spin if loaded moderately, and unfortunately be deeper in the water at that point. Loaded heavy, it will be slower than boats with straight side tubes and similar floatation.
It has the potential
to be much more nimble, but like a cat, if you weigh it down it will loose that advantage. I think you should get the 14 footer.