I saw the new Dave Scadden raft video for the 14' Assault Dragonfly XL. The paddle board floor intrigued me. It was claimed to row very easily and quickly. I liked the boat and bought one at the fly fishing show. After making a rowing frame and seats for it as a fishing rig I started using it on the Colorado River.
I found the raft did indeed row very quickly skimming along the surface of the water with ease. The paddle board floor is very stiff making it a great platform to fish from. The floor fits below the tubes of the raft and the boat rides mostly on the floor with the tubes even with the surface of the water.
The problem is that the boat will not track at all. It goes sideways as easily as it goes forward or backward. It is very difficult to set up a ferry and when you pull into an eddy it doesn't grab the back water it just slides across and slams into the rocks. In upstream winds it is particularly bad.
Has anyone found a way to get these boats to track?
They are rated Class V but with the bad handling characteristics anything over Class II would be dangerous. The manufacturer has not answered my email or phone calls.
I also have a Scadden 12' Challenger that is a great one man boat and can get by as a 2 man boat. It is rated to also handle 3 people but that would definitely overload it. Since the Challenger has been a good boat I hoped the big Assault would be good as well.
I see NRS makes a similar raft and they state that it does not track well. Their floor does not sit as low allowing the tubes to have contact with the water and hopefully they track a little so they might be usable. The Assault Dragonfly XL is hardly usable and makes for a very disappointing rafting experience.