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Discussion Starter #1
Proud new owner of a 14ft ocelet w/recretec frame. Never rowed one and iam fairy inexperienced in general. When i was looking at these it allways seemed from pictures that the rowers seat looked forward of center(their in front) now that i have it set up in my yard and since its used , i used old wear marks, it looks like the seats center fore and aft in the tube. Iam a pee wee (5'5"140) and i need to move the seat and oar towers and was just wondereing what affect the seat and towers had on handling in a general since and if i load it with stuff if that would warrant a change also? I will take a passenger (wife) and we may do weekends i hope. I read on boatpoeple review how they thoight it handled vest with around 900 lbs? Id have to load everything i own to do that. Just bored at a boring job and was courious. Maiden voyage this weekend! Woot woot!
 

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Pretty much, in a cat anyway, there's 2 schools of thought. Forward, or center. The Packfic coast folks tend to like it forward from what I have seen, and the midwest is center, or toward the rear some if carrying a passenger. Forward rigged puts the gear toward the rear, and center splits the weight. The important things are oarlock position, and a level load when in the water.



Without going too deep into it, a good rule of thumb to use for a starting point is, when the oars are parallel to the water (ground if the boat is on land) and perpendicular to the tubes, the oar handles should be 6 inches in front of, and 6 inches above your knees when you're in a sitting position. You can tweak things from there to your personal preference.



Lastly, the more weight you put on a cataraft, the more it will detract from your handling. 900LB sounds like a lot, am guessing you're about 150lbs, will guess your wife is the same, so there's 300 lbs to start. For a weekend, your cooler will weigh about 100lbs with food and beer, 50 lbs a piece for your drybags, and 100 lbs for your required equipment, (pump, throw bag, groover, dishwash etc) and another 50 lbs for your misc stuff that most folk bring along.



Try a day trip somewhere where you can just go yourself, with little weight, figure out how the boat handles and what it will, and will not do, and experiment. A light boat is MUCH easier to re flip, and you'll have some good intel to start tweaking, and rigging, and remember, don't take things too seriously, having fun is paramount, there are very few "right" and "Wrong" ways of boating, at the end of the day it's what works for YOU.



Hope this helps, and remember, with MY advice and 5 bucks you can get a cup of coffee at Starbucks LOL
 

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Home made frame on a 12 foot

Here is a movie of our 12 foot cat on the Rogue. We are about center. Cooler up front, dry box in the rear, along with other gear. Seat a little in front of center, just o balance. These boats are GREAT. We have taken them down MFS, Main, Owyhee, and others. We have had two people on it but it rides a little low in the back. Oar towers are fully adjustable forward and back, as well as seat.
 

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MNichols nailed it. Really nothing more to add until you have a more specific question.

To add emphasis, cats suck when you overload them. How do I know? I've owned six of them, including an Ocelot. If you overload them they tend to hug the bottom of the river and handle like a dog. Likewise, load them as balanced on all four corners as possible.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks ! On a related note. My drybox doesnt fit afterall and i was wondering how low into the boat to go with one? Should i buy a shallow one or does it matter? It will not have dry box on in serious whitewater but want it for storage on flatter water overnights. Thanks
 

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Thanks ! On a related note. My drybox doesnt fit afterall and i was wondering how low into the boat to go with one? Should i buy a shallow one or does it matter? It will not have dry box on in serious whitewater but want it for storage on flatter water overnights. Thanks

Ok, well again, a rule of thumb is you don't want it hanging in the water. Typically it would sit flush with the top of the down tubes on your frame, the U shaped ones that run the length of the frame and hold the tubes apart.



I just gotta know, why wouldn't you take it along on whitewater ?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Ok, so just the frame depth on a cataraft. I have another seat and i figured i could just do that or nothing for challanging whitewater day trips. I not a very experienced whitewater guy so i wont be doing big stuff. Just figured you didnt want anything hanging down so low it would catch water right? Lol. Common sense i guess but the box will be pretty shallow following that as a guide. Will measure it and see if i can find one to fit. My wife and kid sit on ours in the raft bummer it wont fit there spendy lol
 

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Ok, so just the frame depth on a cataraft. I have another seat and i figured i could just do that or nothing for challanging whitewater day trips. I not a very experienced whitewater guy so i wont be doing big stuff. Just figured you didnt want anything hanging down so low it would catch water right? Lol. Common sense i guess but the box will be pretty shallow following that as a guide. Will measure it and see if i can find one to fit. My wife and kid sit on ours in the raft bummer it wont fit there spendy lol

Well, ok. You indeed don't want anything hanging down in the water for numerous reasons.

Any competent metal fab shop / welding shop that works with aluminum can easily make your box shallower, narrower is harder, but it can be done without a huge investment in a new box.

I personally rig my boat at the beginning of the season, and derig at the end, but then I have a trailer and a whitewater designs boat cover, which especially with a cat, is a dandy thing to have given the hassle of rigging and derigging every time you want to boat.
 

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Pretty much, in a cat anyway, there's 2 schools of thought. Forward, or center. The Packfic coast folks tend to like it forward from what I have seen, and the midwest is center, or toward the rear some if carrying a passenger. Forward rigged puts the gear toward the rear, and center splits the weight. The important things are oarlock position, and a level load when in the water.

I tend to agree.

From what I've seen (lots of cats on the Lochsa), the PNW folks tend to rig a bit farther forward, especially on day runs. Forward gets you and your mass past the break of a wave or the pull of a mid-sized hole. You can have your momentum through it before it realizes it has you. If you're more centered, you should be more able to easily back surf.


Try a day trip somewhere where you can just go yourself, with little weight, figure out how the boat handles and what it will, and will not do, and experiment. A light boat is MUCH easier to re flip, and you'll have some good intel to start tweaking, and rigging, and remember, don't take things too seriously, having fun is paramount, there are very few "right" and "Wrong" ways of boating, at the end of the day it's what works for YOU.

Too few people take their boats out and flip them, then they panic when they're flipped in "interesting" water.
It's warming up. Go out and play on flat water.


OP, not sure if you can take a boat in Hyalite reservoir or Bozeman pond? I'm in Bzn at least every other week and would be happy to flip boats with you.



Hope this helps, and remember, with MY advice and 5 bucks you can get a cup of coffee at Starbucks LOL


Better make it $6. That shiz is expensive.
Or for $6 I can have 1/2 lb of some good beans and make my own in camp. Wanna cuppa?



for challanging whitewater day trips. I not a very experienced whitewater guy so i wont be doing big stuff.
Do you want to? (serious question)
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks for replies! Do i want to run some class 3/maybe a kitchen sink ? Hell yeah (just need a warm up or 3) ive done our local stuff in my kayak and id like to learn to row whitewater thats why i bought the ocelet! Just gotta give it hell right! Good idea on learning to re flip it and i was gonna try it on the pond. Just got done swimming the Gallatin for rescue course and have a false confidence going! You wanna take me on the upper or yankee jim before they flood? I can hang iam sure of it lol!! We're doing a overnight on rock creek this weekend for a see how she works trip then its off to the n.f payette to bomb the gnar(never!!)
 

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My first boat was a 14' Jacks Plastic Cat. Big tubes - I loved that boat. I always center oared. My second boat was a 16' Aire Jag; I wanted something a little longer so I could add a passenger. (I could take a passenger on the 14' but it felt packed). I always center oared that boat as well.

I then went to an Aire 156DD (round boat) because the one poster is correct; a heavily loaded cat is a bit of a pig and TERRIBLE on a low water MF trip. As the family grew I needed something that would hold more gear but still sit higher in the water.

I still have the 156DD (love that boat) but I have added a 14' Aire Wave Destroyer. I have oared both center and front. I oared the front on the Selway. It handled great. Here is my take on center vs. front:

Center - I prefer oaring from the center. I allows me to pivot the boat on (OK, real close to) the center line. But, on a 14' cat it doesn't allow much space in front of behind. Since I tend to put most stuff behind me it creates a problem for weight distribution. I always put my 6 gallon jugs of water on the front to try and get better distribution but I sometimes struggle with getting enough weight on the front. I tend to lay my rafting table up front and stack it with my dry bags to add to the weight and have the cooler behind me.

Front - I actually kind of liked it when I rigged for a front row. It was so I could see everything clearly (I also took my 16 year old daughter on that trip and didn't want her taking the brunt of the water). This worked out really well. I was able to use my weight and my water jugs to balance the boat out pretty well. I liked that I didn't have anything obstructing any part of my view to the river. I didn't like that my back end swung out further than I was used to having it swing since my pivot point was closer to the front.

One thing that I do with my drybox and/or cooler when I am on the cat; I put them as high out of the water as I can (another reason I typically put them behind me). I have gone into some large waves only to have the drybox/cooler act as a brake when the wave hits it. I want it as high as possible to allow that energy to pass under me; not slam into vertical wall of drybox/cooler. Not too high, but high enough that a wave cannot dissipate all of its energy on it. It sucks when you are going through and your boat just stops.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Great info thanks so much for your time! I only wonder a couple things lol. 1- to bring a dry box up higher do you do re locates the welded "tabs" lower on tge box or just forget about those and strap it where you want? 2- with your table do you just strap it to your tubes? Iam thinking my frame is more a sportier version and is more limited with frame stuff. Heres another pic. Thanks again! Man i reallt wanted a wave destroyer but felt like a fraud buting one since iam a novice lol! 20190521_201638_1559260499162.jpg
 

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Here's a photo of my 14 ft. JPW Flyer Cat, which I've had for years (15?) The frame is a homebuilt double rail type: top-rail tubing and SpeedRail joints.

She's set up for daytrips on the local river with class 2+ rapids, for me (rower) with one or two passengers.



For solo rowing, I slide the frame back to center my weight. The idea is to have a level waterline regardless of the load. For long trips, I built a simple frame for dryboxes and watercans, that I usually rig forward, with the ice chest at the back, so it can be accessed for lunches with the boat pulled up sternwards, and also serve as a seat.

I don't like having passengers at the front since they block my view and in big stuff (Grand Canyon, etc) they've been knocked off their seat by a wave and ended up in my lap— makes it hard to row.
 
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