Problems with Frame and Cooler - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 11-02-2010   #1
 
Park City, Utah
Paddling Since: 2001
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 227
Problems with Frame and Cooler

I am trying to modify my 6 bay frame for my cat to be the best for everything. But my biggest problem is my big ass Yeti Tundra 155 QT cooler. The length and width are alright, but the height is 21.25". I was at first going to put it in the first bay, but I fear a couple of things:

Pros:
Easy to get onto the boat, with a large surface to step onto.
A lot of weight up front, so less of a chance to flip
Easy access to cooler

Cons:
I have a bimini, but it wouldn't cover the cooler in the first bay.
It being so freaking huge, it will block some of my vision of oncoming rocks, etc.
The cat won't slice through waves, and will more likely get stalled on bigger water.

Or do I put the cooler under my seat in the fifth bay?

Pros:
Under the bimini
Slice through waves and better vision


Cons:
More weight in the back half of the cat
Harder to access, but maybe that is good, as it will keep everything cold until camp is set.

But mostly I fear being too high up. Is there a problem with being too high up if I had the proper height oar towers and length oars? I wouldn't think center of gravity would be too impacted, since I have a 72" wide frame, and the beer filled cooler will be below me.

And my last question is, who makes custom captain's chairs? Because I would like to have my cooler only two inches below the bottom crossbar of my frame, which would leave 7.5" of cooler above the frame, so I would need to have a higher flip chair. How about if I go really big and put the cooler on top of the bottom crossbar, so now my cooler is 11.5" above the frame. What happens if I take my boat day tripping and no cooler and dry boxes, but still on really high captain's chair. What is that going to do to the feel of the cat.

Sorry for all the questions, any help would be highly appreciated.

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Old 11-02-2010   #2
 
West of Boulder, CO
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 103
I had the same dilemma and went with your second option. I asked Clavey (Clavey Paddlesports - Sea Kayaks, Stand Up Paddleboards, Avon Rafts, Thule Roof Racks, Point Reyes & Tomales Bay Kayak T) to make me a custom flip seat bracket that was tall enough to go over my 150 qt Igloo marine cooler. Works great. For oar towers I went to Gary at Raft Frame, Cataraft, Cataraft frame, Rowframe, and Whitewater Equipment. Inexpensive and bomber. Being up high has advantages, I think. You can see over passengers much better.
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Old 11-02-2010   #3
 
The Mogur's Avatar
 
Oregon City, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1972
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 494
I think I'd look for some alternative to sitting taller. The higher you sit, the steeper the angle your oars need to be in order to get a full bite of water. That, in turn, takes the handles further apart during the pull stroke, compromising the mechanics of your stroke. It also increases the amount of vertical movement that you will have to make with the handles in order to get the blades in and out of the water, and that can really slow your strokes.

Clearly it can be done, as dogalot points out. He has adapted to the changes in the mechanics, but the compromises are still there.

Obviously, there are other compromises associated with putting the cooler up front, and you've identified them. As for the shade, just strap a couple of thick, white towels on top of the ice chest and let evaporation keep it cool. It works. That's how we kept ice for three weeks in Grand Canyon.

But bulldozing the waves is another issue altogether. It is unavoidable. You just have to live with it. Here is my cataraft (named Madonna, for obvious reasons). I've never experienced an issue with the big, flat exposure up front, but then again, we didn't take this raft into The Canyon. It has been on Salmon, Middle Fork, Hells Canyon, Rogue, and other medium-small rivers, but never in really big water.

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Old 11-02-2010   #4
 
Park City, Utah
Paddling Since: 2001
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 227
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Mogur View Post
I think I'd look for some alternative to sitting taller. The higher you sit, the steeper the angle your oars need to be in order to get a full bite of water. That, in turn, takes the handles further apart during the pull stroke, compromising the mechanics of your stroke. It also increases the amount of vertical movement that you will have to make with the handles in order to get the blades in and out of the water, and that can really slow your strokes.
Wouldn't my geometry be changed only if I didn't also change my oar tower height? But if I raised my seat 4 inches and also raised my oar towers 4 inches and got longer oars, it would still be the same geometry, but my blade would be further away from the boat (4 inches further from the boat using the above example with a 45 degree oar angle).
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Old 11-02-2010   #5
 
Park City, Utah
Paddling Since: 2001
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 227
Quote:
Originally Posted by dogalot View Post
I had the same dilemma and went with your second option. I asked Clavey (Clavey Paddlesports - Sea Kayaks, Stand Up Paddleboards, Avon Rafts, Thule Roof Racks, Point Reyes & Tomales Bay Kayak T) to make me a custom flip seat bracket that was tall enough to go over my 150 qt Igloo marine cooler. Works great. For oar towers I went to Gary at Raft Frame, Cataraft, Cataraft frame, Rowframe, and Whitewater Equipment. Inexpensive and bomber. Being up high has advantages, I think. You can see over passengers much better.
How high is your seat above the top of your frame? Does your cooler go through your frame, or does it sit on top of the lower cross bar? Thanks for the info.
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Old 11-03-2010   #6
 
wildh2onriver's Avatar
 
Glenwood Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1987
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 1,307
How long are your oars? You may have to increase the length to get the right 'bite'. I like your idea of having the cooler beneath your seat. AAA Frames or Down River Equipment can also make you a custom seat.
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Old 11-03-2010   #7
 
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Boulder, Colorado
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While sitting up high has obvious advantages, rowing from up there kind of sucked for me. I have strived to make my seat as low as possible, which for now is sitting on the cooler, that is only 3.5" higher than the frame. A dry bag behind me is the seat back.
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Old 11-03-2010   #8
 
West of Boulder, CO
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 103
BulSCit asked: "How high is your seat above the top of your frame? Does your cooler go through your frame, or does it sit on top of the lower cross bar? Thanks for the info."

I have an NRS frame that is 11 inches deep, if memory serves. Cooler base is at the top of the lower rails (does not hang through), so the cooler sticks up about 7 inches above the top rails.
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Old 11-03-2010   #9
 
West of Boulder, CO
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 103
Another thought on a higher seat position: it reduces the length of the rower's compartment. I am 6' 5" and when my seat is low, the necessary expansion of the rower's compartment takes up a a lot of the boat.
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Old 11-03-2010   #10
 
Redstone, CO
Paddling Since: 2000
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dogalot View Post
Another thought on a higher seat position: it reduces the length of the rower's compartment. I am 6' 5" and when my seat is low, the necessary expansion of the rower's compartment takes up a a lot of the boat.
Good point dogalot... I'm 6'3" and with a low seat and oar towers I have a hard time lifting the blades high enough out of the water when in rapids. On flat water I can lift the blades about a foot out of the water but when the raft is rocking side to side I need more. The oar handles hit my knees and I can't get the blades out of the water sometimes. I'll be rigging a new raft/frame for myself in the spring and I plan to set it up w/ a higher seat and taller oar towers. I'm hoping I'll be able to get my knees out of the way and get the oars out of the water better.
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