Sotar "SL" Rafts-Got one? - Mountain Buzz
 



Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 09-11-2013   #1
 
JustKip's Avatar
 
Fresno, California
Paddling Since: 1979
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 184
Sotar "SL" Rafts-Got one?

A couple of members have mentioned shopping for one of these in the last week and it got me looking. I find the design very intriguing, but have a question or 2 for the folks who actually have them.
The tubes are tapered, and NOT just on the ends like other tapered rafts I've seen. Here's the blueprint of the 14" SL, copied from their website.




I'm not a boat design engineer, but it seems to me that this design would be awesome for quick maneuvering, but, because of the taper in the middle, maybe slow going in flat water?

What are they really like, you know, in the real world?

JustKip is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 09-11-2013   #2
 
Bend, Oregon
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 180
SL

I am a fan. Not an owner but rowed one for a day on the Rogue. Doubt very much I will ever be able to replicate that experience - great feel and overall synergy with the river. It allowed me to move but also provided rock solid, stuck to the water, feel that I appreciate. Donít be afraid to size up. These boats move. Try to keep it light.
cmharris is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-11-2013   #3
 
Aurora, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 623
They turn easily because of the continuous rocker.
They blast waves because of the taper.
They track awesome if they have enough weight (6 paddlers and a guide for 14', 4 load for 12').

All in all, I love them. They're sporty- definitely a guides' boat.
climbdenali is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 09-11-2013   #4
 
cataraftgirl's Avatar
 
Sandy, Utah
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 3,344
Quote:
Originally Posted by climbdenali View Post
They turn easily because of the continuous rocker.
They blast waves because of the taper.
They track awesome if they have enough weight (6 paddlers and a guide for 14', 4 load for 12').

All in all, I love them. They're sporty- definitely a guides' boat.
I'm one of those looking at buying an SL. I'm switching from a cat, so the quickness and maneuverability is what caught my eye. One person who rows a 16 SL commented on issues with tracking on flat water & in wind. He did say that he saw a big improvement on another trip when he loaded the boat differently (more gear & weight forward). This leads me to the question of size choice that I posted about on another thread I started. I'm a gal rafter who mostly rows solo. My current gear load is pretty much dialed in on my 14 ft. cataraft, and I don't come near maxing it out. A 14 SL has almost twice the optimal carry capacity as my cat. Would I be better off in tracking & maneuverability with a 13.5 SL that's 6'8" wide, or a 14 SL that's 7' wide for extra stability. Will it make any difference? I want great handling & good tracking without having to add extra gear or a passenger. I'm trying to keep things light.
cataraftgirl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-11-2013   #5
 
Aurora, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 623
Quote:
Originally Posted by cataraftgirl View Post
... A 14 SL has almost twice the optimal carry capacity as my cat. .
We usually paddle with clients down the Royal Gorge. I did take one of our 12'6" SLs down Yampa this spring at low water. Since it was low, we tried to pack pretty light, and I had no problem with the weight. I think I had the group food cooler, a light kitchen box (stove, blaster, dishes/pots for 4), a table, the Throne and another 20mm rocket, and a couple dry bags. It was tiny and light and handled like a 4 load of guests.

I don't really have a good concept of how that compares to what you usually haul, but I imagine it's a bit less than the 14' cat. I have a hard time thinking of the 12.5' boats being awesome downriver boats- a little too small in my opinion. The 13.5' boats we run could haul a bunch, and if I had a group with plenty of big boats, I'd happily run one down the Grand. Now, this is coming from a guy who owns an 18' ST that recently replaced an 18' Riken. I like having plenty of space for beer, and whatever else my slacker kayak friends brought without having room for. So, I think you could be happy with a 12'6" boat, but maybe a little bigger? 13' might be good?

Hope this helps!
climbdenali is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-12-2013   #6
 
Villainista's Avatar
 
Fresno, California
Paddling Since: 1990
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 113
One thing that surprised me was how they would bury down in big holes. They were sporty and fast but when it came to taking a hit it felt like the whole river was flowing through the boat. That is fun in class 3 but scary when the consequences were bigger.
I never owned one but ran both the Sotar and Aire diminishing tube 13 ft. boats, same feeling. Paddle guiding 4-6 peeps
Villainista is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 09-12-2013   #7
 
JustKip's Avatar
 
Fresno, California
Paddling Since: 1979
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 184
Thanks for the replies, Everybody. Keep em coming.
@Cataraftgirl. I'm not so sure about the "optimal" loads you listed in the other thread. They look more like max weight while still being able to maneuver. I've had 1300 lbs in my NRS 13.5, but it's a lot more steerable at 900.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Villainista View Post
One thing that surprised me was how they would bury down in big holes. They were sporty and fast but when it came to taking a hit it felt like the whole river was flowing through the boat. That is fun in class 3 but scary when the consequences were bigger.
I never owned one but ran both the Sotar and Aire diminishing tube 13 ft. boats, same feeling. Paddle guiding 4-6 peeps


I see you're here in Cali. I assume this wouldn't be your first choice for a gear boat on "The T"?
My favorite runs are technical class IV, and I'm wanting something as nimble as my NRS E136 (31" of rocker, 6'-5" wide, short waterline) but able to carry a bigger load. I was thinking the SL15 might just be the perfect compromise.
JustKip is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-12-2013   #8
 
cataraftgirl's Avatar
 
Sandy, Utah
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 3,344
I'm going by what the manufacturers list for optimal carry capacity (1/3 tube submersion?), not max load. Just a reference point to compare. My 14 X 24 Maravia cat is around 980 lb. and a Sotar 14 SL is 1800 lb. With all my own gear, cooler, 2 dry boxes, and some group gear (fire pan, ash can, 2 dutch ovens, 2 tarps, 2 water jugs, table, sometimes a groover) I was not overloaded on my cat. So a 13.5 - 14 raft wouldn't be anywhere near overloaded. I'm just wondering if I'd need more weight in a 14 to achieve optimum performance? I've always thought that a lightly loaded bigger boat handles better than a heavily loaded small boat. But I'm new to rafts, with 16 years of rowing a cat.

Justkip. I'm attaching some pics that were posted of a 16 SL. In the Raft Porn thread on the last page is a pic of a 15.5 Aire diminishing tube raft. Hope this helps with a visual.
cataraftgirl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-12-2013   #9
 
Aurora, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 623
Quote:
Originally Posted by Villainista View Post
One thing that surprised me was how they would bury down in big holes.
Well, now a big steep sticky hole I can see the SL kinda diving into, but also could see its rocker allowing it to slide over. But I also like to skip that kind of hole.

When we have 4-loads if they're big folks I like to put two up front and two in the back row, right In front of me. It distributes the load better to prevent big submarining.

On big waves, haystacks And even wave-holes i like that the SL blows through them. I feel like when the untapered tubes hit that much water they like to blast off up into the air, exposing the bottom to the foamy water and dipping the stern into the fast glassy water- the makings of group swim time. The SL stays lower, toward the faster water longer without getting blasted off onto a bad line or bad angle.

Cataraftgirl-
I don't think you'd need to add too much weight to that for a 14', but I think you could also get away with a 13'-13'6" SL. I notice the 12'6" SLs getting piggish when I've got 5 really big folks or 6 kinda big people, so that would be around 1000lbs. The 13'6" SLs start to get piggish with 7 kinda big folks, or 6 really big folks, so I'd guess around 1400-1500 lbs. When your feet are in the water in the self bailer is when it starts to get slow to react.
climbdenali is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-12-2013   #10
 
cataraftgirl's Avatar
 
Sandy, Utah
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 3,344
Quote:
Originally Posted by climbdenali View Post
Well, now a big steep sticky hole I can see the SL kinda diving into, but also could see its rocker allowing it to slide over. But I also like to skip that kind of hole.

When we have 4-loads if they're big folks I like to put two up front and two in the back row, right In front of me. It distributes the load better to prevent big submarining.

On big waves, haystacks And even wave-holes i like that the SL blows through them. I feel like when the untapered tubes hit that much water they like to blast off up into the air, exposing the bottom to the foamy water and dipping the stern into the fast glassy water- the makings of group swim time. The SL stays lower, toward the faster water longer without getting blasted off onto a bad line or bad angle.

Cataraftgirl-
I don't think you'd need to add too much weight to that for a 14', but I think you could also get away with a 13'-13'6" SL. I notice the 12'6" SLs getting piggish when I've got 5 really big folks or 6 kinda big people, so that would be around 1000lbs. The 13'6" SLs start to get piggish with 7 kinda big folks, or 6 really big folks, so I'd guess around 1400-1500 lbs. When your feet are in the water in the self bailer is when it starts to get slow to react.
Thanks. Sounds like I'm going to like the SL. I'm used to getting wet & so-so tracking on flat water with a cat. Leaning towards a 14 footer, as I primarily do multi-day trips as an oar rig. I don't see myself paddle rafting with this boat much. Would a 14 SL be an adequate Grand Canyon boat? No plan to do the GC anytime soon, but maybe someday?
cataraftgirl is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Topic Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
NRS cataraft "blisters" or "blebs" ytupnorth Rafting | Gear Talk 2 07-21-2013 03:22 AM
RM Rafts "Booze Cruise" packages? Or create my own...? Bayou Rafting | Gear Talk 77 03-24-2011 06:10 PM
"Oar" is a noun. "Row" is a verb swiftwater15 Whitewater Kayaking 8 02-08-2010 09:50 PM
Low cost rafts - "Buccaneer rafts" or "Aqua Max select series"?? slugslime Rafting | Gear Talk 4 08-22-2009 04:57 AM
Anyone ever run a Star "Starlite" or "Yellow Jacket"? Rogue Warrior Kayaking | Gear Talk 2 07-10-2009 08:36 AM

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 01:29 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity v2.2.2 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2020 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.