14 foot or 15 foot, is there a diference - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 10-12-2010   #1
 
sandy, Utah
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14 foot or 15 foot, is there a diference

I have been rowing a 14 ft Advantage pro with pretty good competance. But we are a bit cramped. My question stems from the fact that I have Muscular Dysrophy, and I worry about not being strong enough to row a 15 ft raft. I have about the same upper body strenght as a female, but not of a Man the same size and weight. I feel that I am a good boatman but did have my girlfriend help power row with me at warm springs the day it peaked a16000 cfs in June,(was a bit pucker'd).

Anyway, is there a major noticable difference between the two lenghts? Does a foot make a big diference?

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Old 10-12-2010   #2
 
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Buy a CAT, better response-less effort
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Old 10-12-2010   #3
 
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True that a cat would be more responsive. However, only if you're not overloaded. If you're feeling cramped in a 14 ft. raft, then you'd probably be cramped in a Cat. Cats present a bigger challenge for gear & passenger placement. Maybe a 16 ft. Cat would work for you???? You'd have to design a Cat frame that maximizes storage/passenger space. I'll see if I can attach some pics of my friend's 16ft. Cat. One thing about a Cat that might be helpful to you is that the tubes don't weigh as much to load into your trailer/truck/etc. since you can load them separately.
Another option would be for you & your girlfriend to each get a Cat, but I'm guessing you'd rather have her on your boat for back-up if things get hairy.
Sorry I can't offer insight into the bigger raft. I've only rowed Cats.
KJ
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Old 10-12-2010   #4
 
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I think you might get more responses if you provided more info on your setup, day trips/multiday, # people, to better describe why you are cramped.

If a cat is an option, as others say they are much more maneuverable, taking less energy and strength, than a raft. However you do have to go bigger for a given load (of weight). I row both a raft and a cat and the cat is MUCH less taxing in comparable water. A solo cat is like a race car. Howe about your girlfriend getting a boat also and you can each row your own?

I have a friend who is 63, had a stroke 15 years ago and has MS. He rows a cat but it is a solo boat. He's awesome.

If you need to stay with a raft, I'd say the 15' shouldn't be too much different and may provide some advantages. The key is in the specs of the two boats. If the 15' jumps in tube size or outside width it will be more noticeable. One problem with a bigger boat is then you pile more gear on, making the boat heavier and more burdensome to row. But an overloaded 14' will be a pig compared to a nicely loaded 15'. Perhaps you could rent one from an outfitter and see how it feels before you decide to buy.
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Old 10-12-2010   #5
 
Missoula, Montana
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A 15' boat will row a little easier than a 14' boat if loaded the same. Only downside is that it will ride higher and be more impacted by wind, it will handle bigger stuff and a greater load. The biggest factors to getting a boat to row well are how they are set up. Here's a huge problem- lots of people, especially the ones who post on this forum don't know shit about boating. They tell you that you should be using oars as long as flag-poles and that cats row better than rafts and other complete nonsense. They haven't done enough boating to really know the difference. Chances are that they're on their first boat and they use it a grand total of 5 times a year.

If you have less upper body strength, set up your boat so it is easy on your upper body. Find oar towers that are angled outwards, and use oars that are light and nearly balanced in the oarlocks, so like 45% of your oar shaft is inside of the lock. So many supposedly bad ass boaters are running oars that have like 70%+ of the shaft outside of their locks. It's like a big swinging dick that is some kind of badge of honor, of course they will tell you that it's for the extra leverage- total bs.

What kind of trips are you doing that a 14' isn't quite enough?
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Old 10-12-2010   #6
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marco Esquandolis View Post
lots of people, especially the ones who post on this forum don't know shit about boating.
And we have a winner!!!!!
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Old 10-12-2010   #7
 
SMCanyon, Colorado
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Originally Posted by Marco Esquandolis
lots of people, especially the ones who post on this forum don't know shit about boating.

The guy's a wack job
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Old 10-12-2010   #8
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kb52 View Post
Originally Posted by Marco Esquandolis
lots of people, especially the ones who post on this forum don't know shit about boating.

The guy's a wack job
It's a long held practice in Montana to trot out our wack-jobs once in a while. Heck, we don't want people thinking this is a wonderful place to live. No, it is cold, snowy, dangerous, and people are MEAN and CRAZY.

We had the Freemen. Then ole Ted (Unabomber). The Buzz brought out NWF#[email protected]#$ (who seems to have gone back to his room), and now Marco. It's just our way of advertising to draw the tourist dollar.

Sorry for the thread hijack, but this is the Buzz after all.
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Old 10-13-2010   #9
 
sandy, Utah
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The best years of my life have been in Montana. My Grand Parents lived in Big Fork and I spent three great years in Missoula. Love it there!

Anyway, I think the big problem I have is I have a 4 bay frame. That doesn't leave alot of room fore, for feet, and aft for Bag storage. So, there is only a small space in front and enough space in back for 2 large bags, a couple of chairs & roll table stuffed down in my everything bag. I have also ended up carrying other gear for people too, like mothers and sisters bags, kitchen gear, food and drinks. My frame is just long, with the bays. The Frame is 85 inches long, I could shorten it if I went with dry boxes, that would give me a bit more room. My tubes are large for the size of the raft 20 or 21 inches, the raft is 13'9" so it is just short of 14ft. That only leaves 40 inches in front and back, with the way tubes round, not much space.

We do long trips 6 to 8 days, and sometimes not many boats and a few ducks. I had been using 9 ft. oars and tried some 10 ft oars with 8 inch blades, on the Yampa, after Warm Springs(because I didn't wan't to change my set up before a big rapid) There was a world of diference with my raft, where before it would take a stroke or two to get moving, with the 10 ft'rs one stroke and I was moving. I think I could of handled it myself, but it was cool to do it as a team. We were so excited when we made it passed the hole, that looked like it could flip a big raft. We had had 3 days of rain and the river peaked at 16500 the day we hit warm springs, so I was a bit scared of flipping, the way it all pushed into the hole. Also I do tip my oarlocks out to have more of a mechanical advantage.

Now I am looking to get a new boat and I just thought I might consider a 15 ft raft.

I have a twelve ft whitewater dory, that I call Tipsy, when we flipped in Wild sheep on Hell's, a few years ago on her second river trip, Susan ended up under the boat and got a little bit scared of white water. So I bought the raft. I have grown up on the river she is a newbie so I don't think she will ever man(or woman)the oars.

The top pics are of the raft fully loaded(see my dory next to it?) You will note the front cockpit is nearly filled by a water container. The bottom is on the Yampa this year unloaded.

Thanks for the imput.
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Old 10-13-2010   #10
 
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I use 9 ft. oars on my 14X24 Cat with a narrower 66 in. NRS frame (34 in. between the tubes). So 9 ft. oars on your raft does seem a bit short, and it sounds like you noticed a big difference when you tried the longer ones. Looks like from the pictures that you are pretty much maxed out on space in your current boat, especially if you are carrying gear for 2 people and a share of group gear. Also sounds like your GF doesn't have a desire to be a solo boater. So I'd say, look for a bigger boat. Study size & design (rounded vs diminishing tubes, tube size, etc.) and also give a lot of thought to your frame design to maximize gear capacity without overloading. I think if you do some research and get constructive input from other boaters you'll find a great boat to suit your needs.
KJ
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