Raft Question - 14' "big enough"? - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 08-13-2009   #1
 
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Raft Question - 14' "big enough"?

i am looking at a used 14' NRS otter, the pre-2005 model that is only 6'-6" wide (same as the current NRS 142 model). understanding the reduction in gear carrying capacity as compared to some other 14' boats (NRS 140 is 14-0 long and 7-0 wide, Hyside Outfitter Pro is 14-3 long and 6-10 wide), is this reduction in width a stability issue when loaded?

i would like a raft that will allow me to consider running bigger water multi-days such as cataract, grand, salmon, snake, etc. at "typical" flows once my oar skills improve. i have seen other posts suggesting that a 14' boat is the smallest people would want for a grand trip, i just want to make sure this boat will not be too small for that or the other big water options i noted above. i am not as concerned with reduced gear capacity, given that most of my trips will just be me and the wife with maybe one additional passenger. it seems like a lot of 14' boats are cut with about a 7' width, so does the narrow cut of this model otter at only 6-6 make it less stable in big water? any experience or advice is appreciated. later.

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Old 08-13-2009   #2
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A few inches here and there really doesn't matter all that much.
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Old 08-13-2009   #3
 
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That's what she said. Hopefully.

I have a 16' boat because I learned to row bigger boats and I enjoy having lots of space when I need it. That being said, with all the day trips around here, 14' would be better. And for the long-ass trips, 14' would be fine. I know lots of 14' owners who've run the Big Ditch with 'em, no prob.
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Old 08-13-2009   #4
 
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I'd look bigger than that Otter for some of those rivers. Also check tube size, I think some of the otters had smaller tubes than the more "expedition" grade boats. You definitely want the width for Cataract and the Grand. 14' on those rivers is small, and usually for experienced/ready to flip type boaters. If that's not you, I'd look a bit bigger. 15' is a good compromise size, quite a step up from 14' (esp the skinnier ones you are talking about), and the storage is a bit better, two storage bays/dryboxes/coolers in front of the cockpit don't make the rest of the boat as cramped as with a 14'. I sometimes wonder if I should have gotten a 15' last summer, (bought a 14') FWIW. I think that mostly when I think of BIG water, and long term gear storage space.
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Old 08-13-2009   #5
 
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My 14 ft Hyside is actually 6'-8" wide with 38" interior width so you will only gain an inch with that boat. I would consider the NRS 140 "extra" wide and somewhat of a barge at 7 ft wide. The extra space would be nice but not neccesary.

The 6'-6" NRS 142 is the perfect width for a 14 ft boat. Stability won't be a problem but if you are looking at the Grand or Cataract with 3 people I would look for a 15-16 footer. Good used boats are hard to find so good luck with that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pbowman View Post
i am looking at a used 14' NRS otter, the pre-2005 model that is only 6'-6" wide (same as the current NRS 142 model). understanding the reduction in gear carrying capacity as compared to some other 14' boats (NRS 140 is 14-0 long and 7-0 wide, Hyside Outfitter Pro is 14-3 long and 6-10 wide), is this reduction in width a stability issue when loaded?

i would like a raft that will allow me to consider running bigger water multi-days such as cataract, grand, salmon, snake, etc. at "typical" flows once my oar skills improve. i have seen other posts suggesting that a 14' boat is the smallest people would want for a grand trip, i just want to make sure this boat will not be too small for that or the other big water options i noted above. i am not as concerned with reduced gear capacity, given that most of my trips will just be me and the wife with maybe one additional passenger. it seems like a lot of 14' boats are cut with about a 7' width, so does the narrow cut of this model otter at only 6-6 make it less stable in big water? any experience or advice is appreciated. later.
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Old 08-13-2009   #6
 
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as mania knows first hand, i am a tad gun shy on the big stuff (see avatar).

as for additional info to consider, i already have an 11.5' "play boat" for day trips, fishing, and paddle raft use. the 14' will be my second boat for big water and/or multi-days. i must have caught the bug.

lhowemt, are you running your 14' on big water on the Lochsa? if so, paddle raft or oar rig? big water there would be as big as i would want to be on.
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Old 08-13-2009   #7
 
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if you already have a small boat for day trips and fishing...I would say step up to a 15, 15.5 or 16 footer...especially if your only going to use it for big trips and overnighters! You'll be happy you did in the end...
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Old 08-13-2009   #8
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On my last Deso trip this year we had 3 14 footers and 3 16 footers. I noticed the 16 footers had much more space for the passengers and they weren't cramped as much as the 14 footers. Also, I noticed the gear load on smaller boat was much higher than the bigger boats (spread more horizontally).

I own an old 16 footer Riken and looking for 15.5-16 foot NRS now. With the family, I like to have stability and space for them to be comfortable. If you have a small play boat already, I'd say go big (15.5-16).
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Old 08-13-2009   #9
 
thornton, Colorado
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pbowman View Post
as mania knows first hand, i am a tad gun shy on the big stuff (see avatar).

as for additional info to consider, i already have an 11.5' "play boat" for day trips, fishing, and paddle raft use. the 14' will be my second boat for big water and/or multi-days. i must have caught the bug.

lhowemt, are you running your 14' on big water on the Lochsa? if so, paddle raft or oar rig? big water there would be as big as i would want to be on.
You have a small boat. Set your eyes on a 16 footer++ the bug will be happy for a lot longgggger.
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Old 08-13-2009   #10
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pbowman View Post
lhowemt, are you running your 14' on big water on the Lochsa? if so, paddle raft or oar rig? big water there would be as big as i would want to be on.
I did earlier this spring, oar rig. I think I ran up to just over 4'. Then my cat came, so I never went back. It would have been pretty brutal running it when the L was over 8', the few rafts that ran it looked like freaking freight trains, just pounding and launching down the river, and most of them were 16' or bigger. It turned out great for me to get the cat, as if I was running that raft on high L water, I'd probably be regretting the raft size. Maybe the cat biases me, it is so smooth through huge water, and has such good brakes, my raft seems small to me now. But, there were more than a few privates on smaller boats I seem to recall mostly paddle, but a few oar also.

If I was only going to use a raft on it, I'd go for a 15'.
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