Originally Posted by GeoRon
Thanks for the rest of the story. (I hope your friend is better after the evac.) It was not fair to point out the flip and say it was caused by a high back seat and then later as an after thought mention he was a complete "newb". I hope the guy was a good sport about being set up to flip in Bedrock("here take this boat and go down that river, and btw, miss the big rock"). But I'm sure there is even much more to that story(how did he do in Dubendorf?).
Its totally fair... the seat was a large contributing factor. We also didn't "throw him in" at Bedrock. The crazy dude started acting up around Nankoweap, so the "newb" guy basically started rowing that boat after that. It took a few more episodes before we eventually called for crazy dudes, who we called Spicoli, evacuation at Blacktail canyon. The guy had been acting manic the whole trip, switching from talk like "I'm such a POS, why are people always ragging on me?" and then two minutes later saying and doing things that shows why people said that kinda stuff. He had supposedly guided in Oregon somewhere, but it didn't really show since he was always a mile behind and didn't show much aptitude for reading or running rivers. He had a full meltdown at the Across from Blacktail camp and started threatening people and himself and it was clear that it wasn't safe for him to remain on the trip. I know he sent threatening texts to the TL and PH, and supposedly he got a lifetime ban from GCNP and mandatory anger management classes. I haven't heard from him since.
Back on topic... The guy who took over for the crazy dude had never rowed a raft before the GC trip, but he's a smart athletic guy. He took over that boat at Nankoweap or Kwagunt and basically rowed it the rest of the way. The owner of the raft brought two boats (the yellow one that crazy dude and newb dude rowed and a 18' for himself and another guy that shared the rowing duties) so he let his buddy row his 18' boat while he mentored newb dude for a day or two. I think he let the owner row Hance, but newb guy ran the rest of the Upper Granite Gorge, Horn, Granite, Hermit and all the smaller stuff and he did great in all of it. He also ran Dubendorf, Upset, Lava and other big rapids after Bedrock with little incident (his passenger fell out in Lava...but that wasn't his fault...she just wasn't holding on well enough).
So yeah...I guess I need to tell an overly long story to get the point across on an example of one of the downsides to high back seats and why I don't like them. I stick to my theory that the high back seat was the biggest limiting factor to him not making that line. Inexperience also played a factor, but he had been rowing that boat for over a week at that point in the trip and had done fine in other rapids.
Originally Posted by GeoRon
Let me jump to conclusions and assume without basis the following. You don't like high back seats because in every case so far you feel confined because the boat was set up for a smaller person, or not set up properly at all. Hence, perhaps, you've never had a cockpit with a high back properly set up for your dimensions. You got something from your respected predecessor and "stuck" with it.
To be redundant, from your description of 6.1, large(barrel chested?), 30" inseam that you also likely have long arms and legs. You ain't gonna feel comfortable or capable in a cockpit(e.g. hitting your knees with oars) set up for someone 5.8 with short arms and legs. Your instant response will be, this sucks.
I think you need a good boat fitting, or perhaps not if you are happy with the boat the way you bought it without any experimentation. To each their own.
Anyway, like I said earlier, it is easier to do contortions and acrobatics on top of a cooler necessary to make a bad cockpit work as opposed to being fixed in place in a seat in a cockpit of unsuitable geometries.
To each their own.
Assuming makes an ass out of you and me you know.
Like cupido said, thats a short inseam for my height. I don't have especially long arms and legs...probably normal or short for a person my size.
Believe it or not, even without you there to hold my hand, I'm pretty good at figuring stuff out. I've built several frames from scratch (some of which I actually bent tubing for) and they work great for me and friends. I'll admit I haven't really adjusted the frame on the Avon since it worked for me from the get go. I use a low back tractor seat on one of the setups but the rest I either sit on a dry box or cooler. I use 10" DRE towers (10" tube...so another inch maybe with the DRE style oarlock fitting but a couple inches inside the Hollaender fitting too) but I've happily used 12" towers.
I use a suspended floor on all my multi-day boats and really like having the stable platform instead of a squishy raft floor that gets my feet wet when I stand in it. I've found I like to have my feet rest on the floor with my knees at a 90 degrees which means I really need to be sitting around 4" above the frame of most rafts. This means I would have to space the seat up or use a DRE style seat...and I've just never liked it.
I've definitely played with the spacing and angle of the foot bar a bunch...but I'm also not too picky about it. I think generally a 20-24" captains bay is fine, and maybe a 10-15 degree angle towards the rower. I've done it straight up and down too, but I kind of like being able to put my feet on top when I brace.
Like I said in a previous post... the boat that hit the Bedrock was well set up. No oars hitting my knees, the kickbar was spaced correctly as were the oar towers both distance and height wise. I didn't like the oars (they were cataracts with plastic blades I think). I've made that work before...but the only limiting factor for me personally in that boat was the high back seat and not being able to lean back any further then dead vertical without basically having my butt on the front edge of the seat (which pretty much negates the whole reason for having the seat there). It maybe made a little difference when pushing...but not enough to sacrifice being able to make full strokes when pulling.
None of this even takes access to boxes or coolers when you have a seat into account. Most setups with seats I've seen are a total pain in the ass and you basically have to take the seat off to get to the stuff underneath or sacrifice valuable cargo space.
As you said...to each his own... I just know what I like.