Originally Posted by JustKip
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