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Old 09-02-2013   #1
 
cataraftgirl's Avatar
 
Sandy, Utah
Paddling Since: 1997
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WWJRD?

What Would Jesus Rafter Do?
Ok, maybe that's a bit blasphemous, but trust me, a lot of prayer has been involved in trying to make this decision. Unfortunately the big guy upstairs hasn't sent me an e-mail on this yet.

I know this should be easy. However, since I have way too much time on my hands after an accident eliminated my rafting this summer, I am over thinking this to the max. I'm selling my 14 ft. cataraft and switching to a raft. I've studied a ton of specs, and I know I want a Sotar SL raft. The size choice is driving me crazy.

About me - Female rafter. Have rowed cats for 16 years. Usually row solo on my boat. Occasionally take my dog along. Moderate gear load. Usual trips are Deso, San Juan, Lodore, Westwater, Main Salmon, Middle Fork Salmon, Rogue, parts of the Payette. Would like to do Yampa, Cataract, and Grand someday? I do currently own a 12 ft. Hyside raft, and a 10 ft. Outcast Mini fishing cat. The 12 ft. raft may need to be sacrificed to finance the new raft. I don't want to, but I have medical expenses to deal with as well.

Choices - #1 - Sotar 14 SL. 14 ft. long, 7 ft. wide, about 120 lb., 40 inch center compartment. I think I can repurpose my 66 inch NRS frame for this raft. #2 - Sotar 13.5 SL. 13 ft. 6 inches long, 6 ft. 8 inches wide, about 112 lb., 38 inch center compartment. Would need a new frame, but this raft would cost a bit less $$$ than the 14 footer. Whichever raft I choose, I'll be using the 34 inch wide X 13 inch deep dry boxes off my cat, and the 105 Qt. cooler.

My rafting buddy has voted for me to get the 14 footer. I'm worried that the 14 is overkill for me, and the 13.5 would be more fun, especially if it ends up being my only boat. But the 14 would cover all bases and be more stable in all conditions. Which one would you choose & why?


KJ - Looking for some "divine"guidance. Oh, and yes, I do want to switch to a raft, so don't try to talk me out of it.

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Old 09-02-2013   #2
 
Andy H.'s Avatar
 
Wheat Ridge, Colorado
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There's probably not a whole lot of difference between the two boats except for the initial cost but it sounds like you'll be doing a lot of 4+ day multi-day trips with some big water boating, up to running the Grand. Based on that my suggestion is to go with the 14' boat for gear hauling and stability. You may be glad you did it when you are bringing the dogs and a bunch of gear. If you can keep the 12' raft, you'll be set for shorter runs or day trips.

Curious - will you be rolling the boat for transport and storage or trailering it? This also may influence your decision.

-AH
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Old 09-02-2013   #3
 
cataraftgirl's Avatar
 
Sandy, Utah
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy H. View Post
There's probably not a whole lot of difference between the two boats except for the initial cost but it sounds like you'll be doing a lot of 4+ day multi-day trips with some big water boating, up to running the Grand. Based on that my suggestion is to go with the 14' boat for gear hauling and stability. You may be glad you did it when you are bringing the dogs and a bunch of gear. If you can keep the 12' raft, you'll be set for shorter runs or day trips.

Curious - will you be rolling the boat for transport and storage or trailering it? This also may influence your decision.

-AH
For transport -Trailer, either fully rigged & ready, or rolled with gear & frame on the trailer.
For storage - Rolled & stored in my boat shed. Wish I had garage space to keep it inflated on the trailer.
Thanks for your input Andy.
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Old 09-02-2013   #4
 
JustKip's Avatar
 
Fresno, California
Paddling Since: 1979
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 184
It prolly don't matter too much what Jesus would buy, as You won't be walking on water, and any wine you drink will need to be carried in the boat.
One thing I'm sure JC would do is better 'rithmatic than Sotar. Their blueprint of the 14 shows 85.3 inches of width (including handles) while the description says it's 80" wide, with 22" tubes and a 40" center compartment and that adds up to 84"...which supports the blueprint version.
There is no 13.5 foot SL listed, but the 13 is said to be 80" wide, with 21" tubes and 38" interior = adds up, but only 13 feet. I know with cat tubes they will add or subtract 6" at no additional cost, but don't know about rafts.
The 14, only 1 foot longer than the 13, but looks like it will take 16" longer frame. Again, no specs for a 13.5, but to me the longest frame you can fit is an advantage when tying down a load.
To me, the advantage goes to the 14. You will never be using it lightly loaded, or as a paddle raft, and the 1" bigger tubes and 4" extra width will make a difference in rigidity and stability, while carrying a load higher in the water.
Nimble is nice, but when my NRS E136 gets a little overloaded I start wishing I was rowing a 14' X 7'3" Avon again.
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Old 09-02-2013   #5
 
cataraftgirl's Avatar
 
Sandy, Utah
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JustKip View Post
It prolly don't matter too much what Jesus would buy, as You won't be walking on water, and any wine you drink will need to be carried in the boat.
One thing I'm sure JC would do is better 'rithmatic than Sotar. Their blueprint of the 14 shows 85.3 inches of width (including handles) while the description says it's 80" wide, with 22" tubes and a 40" center compartment and that adds up to 84"...which supports the blueprint version.
There is no 13.5 foot SL listed, but the 13 is said to be 80" wide, with 21" tubes and 38" interior = adds up, but only 13 feet. I know with cat tubes they will add or subtract 6" at no additional cost, but don't know about rafts.
The 14, only 1 foot longer than the 13, but looks like it will take 16" longer frame. Again, no specs for a 13.5, but to me the longest frame you can fit is an advantage when tying down a load.
To me, the advantage goes to the 14. You will never be using it lightly loaded, or as a paddle raft, and the 1" bigger tubes and 4" extra width will make a difference in rigidity and stability, while carrying a load higher in the water.
Nimble is nice, but when my NRS E136 gets a little overloaded I start wishing I was rowing a 14' X 7'3" Avon again.
The Sotar website specs for the 14SL should list the width as 84 inches. The blueprint is correct. It has a flat area of 90 inches, and the tubes are 22/17 diminishing. The 13.5 is a custom size with 83 inch flat area and 21/16 tubes. My 4 bay frame (2 dry boxes, one cooler, rower bay) would fit either raft, but just by a few inches on the smaller raft.
Thanks for your thoughts. Gotta have room for those loaves & fishes I suppose.....but I don't want to end up carrying other people's wine or disciples if I get the bigger raft.
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Old 09-02-2013   #6
SarahofTheWaves
 
FoCo,NoCo, Colorado
Join Date: May 2004
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We have a 13.5 Hyside. Wish it was a 14' raft, at least.
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Old 09-02-2013   #7
 
rivh2o's Avatar
 
p.c., confused
Paddling Since: 1978
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bigger is better

JC says go big or go home. All other posts also say that you should have at least a 14' , carefully listen to all that is being said. Best wishes.
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Old 09-02-2013   #8
 
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Bayfield, Colorado
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If I could only have one boat it would be a 14 foot raft.
Big enough for the family and the Grand, small enough to paddle boat tight technical rivers. ( I had only one boat for years. A 14er).
Also, repurposing your frame will save money.
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Old 09-02-2013   #9
 
mtrafter's Avatar
 
bend, Oregon
Paddling Since: 2002
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well im sure this will start a boat brand battle lol...I am a fan of sotar boats but have been pretty hooked on maravia for awhile now,i honestly think the best all around 14 foot raft out there is the williwaw 1,i row a 14 maravia ranger which is my second choice its a little narrower
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Old 09-02-2013   #10
 
mtrafter's Avatar
 
bend, Oregon
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i don't know what jeebus prefers but im thinking he agrees that no matter what brand you buy going with a 14' will be the best decision lol
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