Need help picking oars for 14' Sotar - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 12-19-2008   #1
 
Rockingham, North Carolina
Join Date: Aug 2008
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Need help picking oars for 14' Sotar

I got a 14'4" custom Sotar bucket for Alaska bush trips. Got the custom 20 lb frame being fabricated now. Thanks for the help I got here a few months back trying to figure that one out. It was a pain, but I have a six piece frame being made now that will fit in a 36" duffle bag. Largest piece will be about 34" x 18". Anyway, that leaves me with getting oars. I need a breakdown oar, but other than that, I know jack. Aluminum Carlisle's Heavy Duty oars caught my eye. Saw their 8" blades too. Then there are the Cataract graphite type oars. Said to be lighter than aluminum, and perhaps tougher. Wood and synthetic Sawyers... I am lost guys. I suspect 9' oars will do nicely as that is what I used on my last arctic trip in Sept and it worked out fine from what I could tell. I need the type that break the length in half, so I would have two 4.5' sections for travel on airlines/bush planes. Any suggestions? While I am begging, any thoughts on clips and pins vs oar locks. This will be the next thing I buy. If I can figure it out now, I will order it with the oars. Thanks for any help. For fun, below are pics from our recent Alaska trip. A fly fishing trip on class I, but it was nice to use my raft for the first time. Heading to the Kongakut in ANWR (NE arctic Alaska) in mid June for some class III. Can't wait.

Wulik River Sept 10-15 2008

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Old 12-19-2008   #2
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Baytopia, Colorado
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personally cataracts are my favorite although they are not cheap. they do come in a breakdown version. carlisles are too easy to bend. I don't know much about wood except they are popular on desert floats without too many rocks in the water.

most people I know use open oarlocks. you can do interesting things with the blades that way. I do know some hard core people (and some complete novices) that use pins but they are not for me. oarrights are not for me either. just make sure that 1/3 of your oar is inside the oarlock and 2/3 outside and you have the right length.

Good luck.
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Old 12-19-2008   #3
 
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Boulder, Colorado
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I am interested in your frame - could you post pictures and/or drawings of it? Who is making it? 20 lbs sounds very light.

For the oars Cataracts are better and more durable in my experience. 9 ft sounds about right, that's what I run on my 14' Hyside. As Mania said, about 1/3 inside, 2/3 outside the oarlock. The width of the boat and frame is the bigger determinate of oar length, not the length of the boat. Also the composite oars, Cataract's and Sawyer's, have a flex in them that many guides feel is easier on their shoulds and are easier to row long distances with.

Personally I think that pins/clips are the way to go for class V and hard class IV (They're what I use, so I may be biased). This is simply because they are faster to rest, and can usually be reset with one hand. Also if you run with stirrups, you can still get a stroke or two in without the pin attached to the clip which can be a huge benefit in a critical situation. With open oarlocks, if the oar gets popped out it usually takes two hands to reset it, and it's usually impossible to get a stroke with the oar out of its oarlock. That said oar locks are far more elegant, and without oar rights they are a pleasure to feather and row. Both are used in all classes of whitewater and each has it's fans.
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Old 12-21-2008   #4
 
Colo Springs, Colorado
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I use 10 foot oars on my 14 foot boat. Works well for me. Don't know how to go about getting that in breakdown style. Perhaps you'll have time to borrow different oars for testing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by danattherock View Post
I got a 14'4" custom Sotar bucket for Alaska bush trips. Got the custom 20 lb frame being fabricated now. Thanks for the help I got here a few months back trying to figure that one out. It was a pain, but I have a six piece frame being made now that will fit in a 36" duffle bag. Largest piece will be about 34" x 18". Anyway, that leaves me with getting oars. I need a breakdown oar, but other than that, I know jack. Aluminum Carlisle's Heavy Duty oars caught my eye. Saw their 8" blades too. Then there are the Cataract graphite type oars. Said to be lighter than aluminum, and perhaps tougher. Wood and synthetic Sawyers... I am lost guys. I suspect 9' oars will do nicely as that is what I used on my last arctic trip in Sept and it worked out fine from what I could tell. I need the type that break the length in half, so I would have two 4.5' sections for travel on airlines/bush planes. Any suggestions? While I am begging, any thoughts on clips and pins vs oar locks. This will be the next thing I buy. If I can figure it out now, I will order it with the oars. Thanks for any help. For fun, below are pics from our recent Alaska trip. A fly fishing trip on class I, but it was nice to use my raft for the first time. Heading to the Kongakut in ANWR (NE arctic Alaska) in mid June for some class III. Can't wait.

Wulik River Sept 10-15 2008
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Old 12-23-2008   #5
 
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at my house, Montana
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I have 10' for my new 14' sotar, but I may cut off a few inches this year, we'll see. Carlisle makes breakdown oars, but still about 4', I think.
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Old 12-24-2008   #6
 
Rockingham, North Carolina
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Thanks for the input here guys. I appreciate it.

I have been reading up on Sawyer oars and saw there Pole Cat. Looks like a decent option as they make it in three pieces (optionally).

Anyone know anything about Sawyer oars/blades? All the names are new to me, so any input is valuable.

Also, they have many different blades, some wood, graphite, fiberglass, etc.. Which is stronger and least likely to break on the rocks and gravel lined rivers that I will be floating in the arctic. Is one material better than another?

Anyone willing to tell me the difference in 5.5, 6.5. or 8" blades? Pros/cons? Thanks for any thoughts.
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