Another motor thread-Cats vs Rafts - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 09-28-2013   #1
 
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Fresno, California
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Another motor thread-Cats vs Rafts

Looking into the not too distant future and retirement, when I'll finally have time for long wilderness trips way up north...

When using a motor, does a Big cat (18 feet or so) have an advantage over a raft in the 15-16 foot range?
A few years ago in Alaska there were a few peeps using cats for motorized river touring, but I didn't notice any rafts.

Obviously I'm more interested in actual experience and observation, but feel free to bring your speculation too. Everything is worth considering.

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Old 09-28-2013   #2
 
4CRS, Durango, Colorado
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Cats motor better than rafts, especially self bailers. There is a lot less drag on a cat when using a motor. It's also easier to rig a motor mount plate on a cat than a raft as there is no kick on a cat, you generally need a jack lift on a raft to raise and lower a motor.
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Old 09-28-2013   #3
 
Fairbanks, Alaska
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JustKip View Post
Looking into the not too distant future and retirement, when I'll finally have time for long wilderness trips way up north...

When using a motor, does a Big cat (18 feet or so) have an advantage over a raft in the 15-16 foot range?
A few years ago in Alaska there were a few peeps using cats for motorized river touring, but I didn't notice any rafts.

Obviously I'm more interested in actual experience and observation, but feel free to bring your speculation too. Everything is worth considering.
I have ran a aire cougar with a 4 hp, 10 hp, 35 hp with a jack ass lift and a 27 hp go- devil.
I have also ran a 14' avon bucket, as well as a 14' sotar self bailer with a 4 hp and 10 hp.
Both the avon and sotar did fine with the 4 hp and the avon did better with the 10hp than the sotar for not shipping water thru the bail holes.
All in all the 4 hp is all I ever needed, but I never towed a string of rafts.
Neither rafts made for a viable upriver boat.
The cougar did better with the 4 hp than either raft.
It was pretty quick with the 10 hp.
Now then, with the 35 hp when very lightly loaded felt like I was driving a hydroplane, almost scary.
When you throw in hunting camp, 2 men and a moose it falls off bad but still could travel up stream in 3 mph current.
In the faster current I would throw out half the moose but would have to watch the bank to make sure we were making way.
I don't know if you want travel upriver but if you do, the problem with cats is they funnel the water between the tubes until it comes up to the floor and then create a ton of drag and spray.
Bar none the go- devil made for the best upriver travel with the least amount of spray from the motor but would work the hell out of you on a tight creek.
I have looked a a couple power cats with uhmw poly bottoms and aluminum frames that they say are planing boats with a load but are more like a rib than a cat.
The cats that are rigged for the bigger motors are getting pretty heavy and not too airplane friendly.
For down river travel and wanting to make better speed, I would go with a cat and a 4 hp to keep it light and airplane friendly.
With a few more details of what you are looking to do, I may be able to give some more insight.
Sorry if this was long winded
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Old 09-29-2013   #4
 
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Fresno, California
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That's exactly the kind of input I was looking for. I don't plan to fly in, much. Mostly it will be for against the wind on those loooong flat water stretches near the coast. But I've also considered motoring upstream for a couple of days and drift fishing my way back downstream.

Many years ago I saw a pic of a cat using a square stern canoe as a middle pontoon like a hillbilly RIB. It had a small outboard and I can't imagine it taking one big enough to make it plane. I don't want to mess with any type of RIB-like floor and will be satisfied to make slow upstream progress.
I've also considered a foot controlled trolling motor for fishing along the banks, but that would just take space and not move the boat down the river(and definitely not upstream).
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Old 09-29-2013   #5
 
Fairbanks, Alaska
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Justkip,
Let me say that I have quit trying to use a cat as a upriver boat,just to slow and inefficient .
Upriver travel is more suited for aluminum prop and jet boat or freight canoe.
Now if I was you and hell bent on a cat boat for upriver travel I would go with long, large diameter tubes.
Power it with a 20 hp because they weigh about the same as a 10 hp.
Then if the opportunity comes up to get a small skiff or big freight canoe you will have a good engine for either.
You will definitely need a well constructed frame and lift that you can run with one hand while you steer and throttle with the other.
The frame and lift I made for mine 20 some years ago, was kind of complicated and labor intensive and would probably cost at least 3 grand today.
If you have any way to try before you buy, it may save some regret.
By the time you add up the costs of set of tubes, 20 hp engine, frame and lift ,it is a lot of money.
For my money, I would hang a 4 hp on my cat to get me across the lake and beat the upriver winds and look some where else for a upriver craft.
I don't mean to sound discouraging, just hate to see you disappointed in the end.
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Old 09-29-2013   #6
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by knucklenuts View Post
I don't mean to sound discouraging, just hate to see you disappointed in the end.
You didn't so much burst my bubble as confirm what I expected. Inflatables don't make good upriver boats. That means small motors for downriver against the wind are all that's really useful, and frames that support them are easily built.
Thanks, Kip
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