Why don't play boats (catarafts) have floors? - Mountain Buzz
 

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Old 09-02-2013   #1
 
Great Falls, Montana
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Why don't play boats (catarafts) have floors?

I've noticed that most don't. If I had a playboat I would at least like a mesh floor just under me. Nothing fancy, but something.
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Old 09-02-2013   #2
 
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The theory is that the advantage of a cat in big rapids is that there's nothing to catch the water (like a floor) and cause it to flip. Self bailing to the max. Most play cats have no, or minimal floors, to take full advantage of this. Some have small scout bars that allow the rower to stand & scout. Another advantage in a play cat is that if & when you do flip, you can climb back in the open cockpit. Since I was never a play cat person, and prefer multi-day trips, I made a small skidguard floor for my rower bay. Made loading gear & scouting much easier. Water could still flow through pretty easily, and I never saw it as a big problem. A mesh floor would be ok for quick draining, but they aren't always super easy to stand on.
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Old 09-02-2013   #3
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cataraftgirl View Post
The theory is that the advantage of a cat in big rapids is that there's nothing to catch the water (like a floor) and cause it to flip. Self bailing to the max. Most play cats have no, or minimal floors, to take full advantage of this. Some have small scout bars that allow the rower to stand & scout. Another advantage in a play cat is that if & when you do flip, you can climb back in the open cockpit. Since I was never a play cat person, and prefer multi-day trips, I made a small skidguard floor for my rower bay. Made loading gear & scouting much easier. Water could still flow through pretty easily, and I never saw it as a big problem. A mesh floor would be ok for quick draining, but they aren't always super easy to stand on.
I would add that a mesh floor can still catch enough water in a big reversal to surf you back into a hole.

This frame I made for the Sotar Legend tubes I had is sporting scout bars for the rower. I didn't see fit to put any for the rear of the frame because the passenger, if any, don't need to scout. The front seat bar in the pic was too low to row from effectively, so I never used it in that position.
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Old 09-02-2013   #4
 
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My Grand Canyon cat has a floor, my play boat does not.
All the reasons listed plus the ability to stand up in shallow water or if hung up on rocks. Think Fred Flintstone. If I am stuck, I can usually just stand up and lift my boat, because it weighs very little because I don't have a floor or other unneeded items. Many times you need to stop but there is no beach. I can run my boat up on a rock and quickly jump to shore or just stand up. One of the advantages of a small cat is putting each tube on a different side of a rock, much easier with no floor. Notice the picture you provided shows a footbar.
The rower is locked into position, pushing back into the seat and holding on with
both feet and both hands. It is a high clearance frame with room to go over rocks. The yellow frame (purple boat) is lower clearance and does not appear to have any foot bar. Rowing with your feet locked into position allows you to row with your whole body, not just your arms. Much more power and much more stable when being thrown around in big water.

The only reason my Grand Canyon boat has a floor is I'm old and getting on and off the boat dozens of times a day for three weeks gets difficult. But even with a floor I have a footbar to lockin position.
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Old 09-02-2013   #5
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich View Post
One of the advantages of a small cat is putting each tube on a different side of a rock, much easier with no floor. Notice the picture you provided shows a footbar.
The rower is locked into position, pushing back into the seat and holding on with
both feet and both hands. It is a high clearance frame with room to go over rocks. The yellow frame (purple boat) is lower clearance and does not appear to have any foot bar. Rowing with your feet locked into position allows you to row with your whole body, not just your arms. Much more power and much more stable when being thrown around in big water.
Good eye. The frame was built using parts of an NRS frame, and the foot bar wasn't on it in that pic. The drop rails were 9" below the top of the 22.5" tubes and I hung up the crossbar several times trying to straddle rocks. The cross brace in front was only 7" down from the top and I hit it on rocks occasionally too.
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Old 09-03-2013   #6
 
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Scout bars also give you something low to grab to get back in your boat. They are nice for passengers too, it makes it easier to move around having a little somewhere else to put your feet.

A floor is a disadvantage on a cat just just for flipping, but overall maneuvering too. The river hits it and pushes the boat, much more than if the river can just rise and fall with only you and the open frame as the only obstruction between the tubes.

I'm curious why the drop seat dis not work. I have that on my 11' legend frame and love it.
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Old 09-03-2013   #7
 
Ashlandistan, Oregon
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I have been curious about this topic as well. Coming from years of round boating and getting into cat boating more. I am struggling with not feeling like I can get leverage to really lay into forward strokes with both feet forward as I prefer one foot forward and one back. Thoughts?
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Old 09-03-2013   #8
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by solboater View Post
I have been curious about this topic as well. Coming from years of round boating and getting into cat boating more. I am struggling with not feeling like I can get leverage to really lay into forward strokes with both feet forward as I prefer one foot forward and one back. Thoughts?
Are you rowing without a seat or something? If so, try a lowback seat - just enough leverage without getting in the way. If you can't push, something weird is going on. You will get used to it, once you get over your raft technique. It won't be hard to swap back and forth, I do. However I do use a seat on both and I will say my rafting foot position has moved up to match my catboating position.
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Old 09-03-2013   #9
 
Ashlandistan, Oregon
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Thanks Ihowemt. I can push but there is no way I can get even close to the amount of push I can get off a stern frame or center mount on a round boat, both of which I row without tracter seats. I am rowing off a dry box on the cat, but I am considering changing up my setup to either add a bar in front of the dry box for my back foot, add a seat on top of my box, or go with another frame and have a seat on a bar. Not sure I believe that it is physiologically possible to get the power out of the forward stroke while pushing back into your seat with both feet forward like you can one forward and one back foot. Maybe this is why I always make sure to be in front of all the pulling catboaters out there when I am in a round boat.
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Old 09-03-2013   #10
 
Grants Pass, Oregon
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Erik, I cant remember what your frame set up was but I know what you are talking about on this topic. I started on a raft and even my large cat always had a bar to get leverage to push with. I have ran a high clearance frame a few times and I think it does take some getting used to. Just doesn't seem like the push is as strong as it was before with the one foot back. I do think the seat will help a bit and give a little something to push off of though. Plus your supposed to throw all the gear in the round boat and let them carry it so you have a nice light cat. Thomas
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