Some advice needed for a cat purchase? - Mountain Buzz

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Old 04-29-2019   #1
Bozeman, Montana
Paddling Since: 1988
Join Date: Jul 2017
Posts: 71
Some advice needed for a cat purchase?

Oam looking to buy a 2nd hand cat specifically for whitewater play/learning to row better. Id like to be able to take one passenger for day trips and maybe an overnighter solo. Ive found so far-11 foot sotar legend. 13 foot aire wildcat. 14 foot ocelet. 14 foot Moravia and s 25 foot aire W.D. iam s little guy 140lbs and my wife/daughter are smsll fries too. I WILL NOT be running class 5 but would like to ventire into class 4 in the future . I will only take daughter in easy stuff and if my wifes get bucked oh well. Can i get away with a 11 or 12 footer? Is 24 to big for smaller rivers like the Gallatin? Trying to keep it around 3k done. Is a 15 foot W.D way to big? Any advice would be great! Thanks i can post c.l. adds too if you dont poach them!

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Old 04-29-2019   #2
Bozeman, Montana
Paddling Since: 1988
Join Date: Jul 2017
Posts: 71
Spell check gone bad! 15 foot wave destroyer! Basically whats too small and whats to big?
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Old 04-29-2019   #3
idaho falls, Idaho
Paddling Since: 2010
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 55
We run a....

Aire Sabertooth paddlecat down the Gallatin. The Gallatin is really too tight for most oar boats. I'm not saying you can't get an Oar boat down, but you won't have fun doing it. Especially at low water, you will need a paddle boat. Also I really like my Sabertooth in rocky conditions like the Mad Mile because you can slide through rocks easier. See you out there!
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Old 04-29-2019   #4
Wondervu, CO, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2001
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 493
I own a 15' Aire Cougar cataraft. While far from an expert I can share what I learned with my boat. I love my boat and prefer the agility of a cat over a raft.

Catarafts are not the best gear boats. Lacking a floor it can be hard to load them up, and they are less forgiving than rafts when you overload them. You will need a shocking number of straps to load a cat as a gear boat.

When fully loaded I can get 2 persons (wife + me) and gear for a 6 day self supported trip. A shorter trip just means less food in the cooler, short or long you still need the same gear for camping, cooking, toilets etc.

To fit all this I needed to stretch the frame from a 3 bay to a 4 bay, add some platforms, a partial floor and some saddle bags. When fully loaded my floor is just a few inched off the water, not ideal. (some of this is due to the low profile twin tube design)

My boat is very sensitive to trim, if the weight is not distributed for dead level the rowing performance suffers. As a result I need to shift gear (water jugs) to change from one person in front to two. Cats are not as adaptable as rafts for passengers. I need to have actual seats or benches, you can't just sit someone on the tubes.

I used to own a 13' Star self bailer, I could get just as much gear in that boat and not have to worry as much about how I loaded it.
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Old 04-29-2019   #5
Bozeman, Montana
Paddling Since: 1988
Join Date: Jul 2017
Posts: 71
Cool thanks guys. I all ready have a raft (14 ft oddessey) its a p.o.s. though and we use it to do mellow flat stuff. I have kayaked for awhile and have duckies too lol. Thing is i just did a 4 night on the san jaun w/daughter (15) and i just kinda suck at rowing. We did westwater too as a day trip and well that was more than i exspected! I actually swam from the oars on sock it to me and well my daughter wasnt to happy about me flinging off the boat and being alone lol.I wanna build up to do deso or dinosaur next year (if i can get a permit) so ive been watching guys charge shit on little cats and it looks fun!?? Wanna do yankee jim a bunch in the raft this year and bear trap and we'll paddle the kayaks and duckies every year for 2 weeks around glacier BUT...these rivers are puny compared to the big rivers down south lol. Dream is to do the grand canyon before iam to old and with out killing anyone. Used cats (oars) are pretty east to get cheap. Thought i might get more seat time in one than the love a paddle cat but i have no team to help. Thought about a mini me/ max with oars ? But they are spendyerer if you find one near guys run cherry creek and gore and all manner of silly small nasty rivers in these little cats so i feel like even if its not ideal for everything its probably a good comorimise? Thanks again
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Old 04-29-2019   #6
k2andcannoli's Avatar
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 886
Running tech water in small cats with 8' and under oars is really fun. Growing up in the mid Atlantic, I did most of my rowing along with s-2 paddle cats. It's really interesting to figure out the different approaches and moves for a cat boat vs a paddle raft. Generally in really tight moves, you'll run the river sideways-bow and stern towards the shores- rowing to for and aft to navigate through slots and around boulders. Paddle cats are a nice option for a row frame while still being easy to carry a passenger. Opposite is generally true for times when paddle boats get perpendicular to the flow and go hard, you'll be able to hold an easy angle and pull against the flow to give yourself the time needed to make the move.
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Old 04-29-2019   #7
Fort Collins, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 320
For a second hand cat you should go to the animal shelter on e. Cameron bridge rd.
Adoption fees are reasonable but be warned, most cats don't like water.
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Old 04-29-2019   #8
Bozeman, Montana
Paddling Since: 1988
Join Date: Jul 2017
Posts: 71
Thats is...pretty damn funny...well as usual ...i guess its just like allways...fuck it...go do whatever...never thought of a frame on a paddle cat? Maybe ill just buy a few of each and try them out iam rich. Anyone ever row a wing cat? They look cool and cool kids say their cool and i do so want to be a cool kid
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Old 04-29-2019   #9
Richland, Washington
Paddling Since: 1992
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 11
Cat boating

I started rowing cat boats in the early 90s and my first boats were 14' Ocelots, then for my first Grand Canyon trip in 2008 I bought a 16' Jag, and for my third Grand Canyon trip in 2014 I bought an 18' Leopard. Everything that the previous catboater mentioned is true, cats are very sensitive to trim and for that reason I prefer not to have a passenger. Just having them move from one side of the boat to the other can affect how the boat sits on the water. And giving them a proper mounted seat to sit on with the leg space to go with it takes up some valuable bay space you'd otherwise have for gear.

Also you should be aware that cats suck in the wind, you have no floor to give you much current assist and I've been blown to shore more times than I care to count while my buddies in round boats were able to manage. This year I'm looking into buying a round boat for that very reason, and I love cats and have been rowing them for 23 years.

To estimate what size boat you want consider that your 14' round boat will carry roughly what a 16' cat will comfortably carry (weight wise). I use my 16' cat for overnight trips so I can carry my share of the group gear, otherwise I'd be in my 14' cat because it's so ridiculously maneuverable. I would like to sell my 18' tubes because I just never find myself yearning to row an aircraft carrier sized boat. I'm small, 5'7" and not quite 130#.

Hope that helps.
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Old 04-29-2019   #10
Bozeman, Montana
Paddling Since: 1988
Join Date: Jul 2017
Posts: 71
Thanks! plan was to up grade the 14 foot raft to a 16 of better quality and do the next few years of multiday trips with it. And if...i ever got to row the grand i think id hire out an 18 footer? The small cat was to be a after work and weekend day play boat with oars? Thats why i wantrd a used on for an afordabke price. I see guys rowing up front with a poor helpless person on a seat behind so i thought it might be just fine? My local class 3 is 1/2 hour away but is kinda a small boney thing exvept for run off. The sotar legend is overkill iam sure but theres a good deal on one closs by but at 11 ft its a solo rig. A bunch of old aire cats 14-16 ft but i think that would be big on at least the gallatin lol. So i guess i need 4 new boats! So...which four new boats should i buy??
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