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Discussion Starter #1
So I bought a 15' raft, and after doing about 10 trips this past season (4 time down the Gorge, 3 down Browns, Westwater and others), we are wanting to progress to bigger water and multiday trips. So the next step seemed to be getting some kind of frame. I have read a bunch of past topics on frames and oars, and I had some questions for some questions I couldn't find.

I can get a good deal on a stern mount frame. Looking at the videos from 4-Corners, it looks like you can run some pretty big water with this setup(in my world that will be Browns/Royal Gorge around 2-3k and Westwater during June). Would this be a better frame to do this with, if I still wanted to have 2-6 people in front paddling compared to a typical center mount frame? How much gear could I put onto the frame if we wanted to take this for an overnight trip with 5-6 people?

Is this a stupid idea and I should just stick to paddle rafting? I have never oared before, and I would definitely start on some easier Class II/III- runs to try and get the hang of it.

The third part is about oars. Seems to be a lot of discussion on Carlisle vs Cataract, with most people saying Carlisle is not that good. For 50% more, would Cataracts be good for someone staring out, or should I go for the cheaper Carlisles? I guess what I want is something strong that will be able to take my "learning curve". Is someone with no rowing experience going to be able to tell the difference?

Last part. The frame I can get a good deal on is a 66" inch frame, and my boat is 62". The guy who sold it to me says that this isn't a big deal and will fit. And he recommended getting 9.5' oars. Does that sound good? Would that be good for both a stern frame along with a center frame if I ever step up. I found a good deal on 9 and 10 foot oars. Which one would be the better one to get with my setup?

Sorry for all the questions. Please let me know if you have any knowledge - BS
 

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Give Ron at RiverboatWorks in Salida a call, he can answer all your questions and build a custom frame for you if you want one. I can definitely tell a difference between my back up Carlisle and our Sawyer composite oars, the Sawyer's are more fun to row and feel alive in your hands (I know, they are just oars.).

my $.02

SH
 

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You should get a center mount frame, it will be way more useful and versatile, although you will probably be hard pressed to put more thanfour paddlers in your boat, two in the front and two in the rear.

Premium oars are nice but Carlise oars are sufficient for your needs.

There are some good threads on here about oar/frame sizing. Generally, 9.5-10ft. oars will probably work for you.
 

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For your first oars, I'd recommend Carlisles too. You'll always need a spare set in the future as some rivers require two spares. Carlisles are good beaters and much cheaper to loose or break. I use them for rocky runs like Browns Canyon or the Ark in general. I save my Cataracts for bigger rivers like the Green and Colorado.

I've never seen a stern mount frame used for a gear boat. I'm sure someones done it. I think it would be really tough rowing one into a headwind.
 

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over the horizon
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Center mount is the way to go for overnight use, as stated above. Stern frames really just hold oars - that's it. No infrastructure for gear, perfect for taking eight tourists on a day run.
Furthermore, an oar's forces are applied to the boat at the oarlocks. Application of these forces at different points fore/aft makes a giant difference in maneuverability. Imagine being a 20' tall giant and leaning over to grab a boat's oar towers to pivot the boat. It is easy to twirl the boat if you are grabbing oar towers at the boat's center. Leverage works against you if those points you grab are at one end or another.
 

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Kjirsten
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It sounds like you plan to row with paddle support most of the time. If that is true, then a stern frame works well. I used a stern frame for 8 days on Deso two years ago with two people up front and all of our gear and for the most part it worked fine. With a stern frame, you really need people up front at least as ballasts if not paddle support.

We also use them for commercial trips which, as a guide, allows you to have really bad paddlers on board-versus paddle-guiding.

If you plan to row solo or with non-paddling passengers, a center frame is a must. It's really hard to get forward momentum from the back of the boat. I don't see much difference in maneuvering as long as you have adequate weight in the front.
 

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The stern frame will work as a gear hauling set up in a pinch. You will be able to take more of your friends down this way, however I really doubt you will be able to take all of your friends and their gear. With a center mounted gear frame, you not only have a better angle for your oars on the water, but you gain the ability to hold your gear in the frame, and not on the floor of the raft.
If money is the problem with you buying a center mount frame, I have seen many many home made frames built from 2x6 lumber. While not as light and sexy as a custom aluminum frame, it will definitely give you a few good years of use while you save for a fancy riverboatworks custom frame.
I guess your other option is to have one of these 6 "friends" of yours partner with you and buy a frame to go on your raft. I bought my first set up with a couple of friends and it worked out quite well. Just remember that the best partner to own river gear is not the guy with the most river experience, but the one with the best job and the most money. He inevitably will have less time off to use it.
 

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Stoked to hear you are looking into a frame. Keep all this knowledge handy, as I'll be asking you all these questions in the spring when I get mine!

To contribute to the thread: it seems like self supporting an overnight trip with the crew you roll with will be pretty hard. I could see you and your better half, but the rest of the crew will more then likely push you over the limit since every body also adds more gear. I'd say get the center mount as carrying gear will not be a problem with such a set up. Can't wait for next season, we need to throw down a few overnighters. I'm hooked.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Everyone, thanks for the info. Just to explain a little more about what I want to do. I first want to make it safer for everyone in the raft. Most people that I go with are now somewhat experienced, but when I become somewhat proficient at rowing, I assume it will be safer for everyone else than if I was just paddling. Is that right?

While it would be nice to have a big center mounted frame, I am more interested in making it safer, then having the ability to multiday and strap stuff to the frame. I guess I would be a little scared having two people behind me if I was rowing from the center and not knowing if anything happened to them. If I could take me and three others for 4 or 5 days, I would be happy. I don't plan to use the raft/frame solo, so a lot of the concerns people had hopefully won't occur.

TakeMeToTheRiver, would you have any pics of your raft when you took 2 people for 8 days? Was it insanely packed on the boat?
 

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I can only think of one instance when it would be safer to have a stern frame- when you have a weak crew that can't pull its weight. Otherwise, a stern frame is arguably less safe. Stern mounts have a weird pivot point from the rear of the raft that makes you less maneuverable. This is particularly a problem on narrow rivers. Also consider the extra weight of a frame and oars. In the event of a flip, you will have a harder time flipping the boat back over. If your decision comes down to safety, a paddle boat is probably preferable to a stern mount. While you don't move as much water guiding with a paddle as rowing with an oar, you can still do a lot with proper technique, and you can use your crew when you need extra power.
 

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... If I could take me and three others for 4 or 5 days, I would be happy.
I have a 15' and I was able to fit 2 adults (me and my wife) and 2 kids fairly comfortably for 6 days. Five adults would be real tight unless you packed real light. When you start going on longer trips your gear starts to take up more and more room, as you need coolers, water, groovers, and all the other required gear.

Good luck
 

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So I bought a 15' raft, and after doing about 10 trips this past season (4 time down the Gorge, 3 down Browns, Westwater and others), we are wanting to progress to bigger water and multiday trips. So the next step seemed to be getting some kind of frame. I have read a bunch of past topics on frames and oars, and I had some questions for some questions I couldn't find.

I can get a good deal on a stern mount frame. Looking at the videos from 4-Corners, it looks like you can run some pretty big water with this setup(in my world that will be Browns/Royal Gorge around 2-3k and Westwater during June). Would this be a better frame to do this with, if I still wanted to have 2-6 people in front paddling compared to a typical center mount frame? How much gear could I put onto the frame if we wanted to take this for an overnight trip with 5-6 people?

Is this a stupid idea and I should just stick to paddle rafting? I have never oared before, and I would definitely start on some easier Class II/III- runs to try and get the hang of it.

The third part is about oars. Seems to be a lot of discussion on Carlisle vs Cataract, with most people saying Carlisle is not that good. For 50% more, would Cataracts be good for someone staring out, or should I go for the cheaper Carlisles? I guess what I want is something strong that will be able to take my "learning curve". Is someone with no rowing experience going to be able to tell the difference?

Last part. The frame I can get a good deal on is a 66" inch frame, and my boat is 62". The guy who sold it to me says that this isn't a big deal and will fit. And he recommended getting 9.5' oars. Does that sound good? Would that be good for both a stern frame along with a center frame if I ever step up. I found a good deal on 9 and 10 foot oars. Which one would be the better one to get with my setup?

Sorry for all the questions. Please let me know if you have any knowledge - BS
GS 9.5 ft oars are to long for your frame...unless you cut or counterbalance
 

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I can only think of one instance when it would be safer to have a stern frame- when you have a weak crew that can't pull its weight. Otherwise, a stern frame is arguably less safe. Stern mounts have a weird pivot point from the rear of the raft that makes you less maneuverable. This is particularly a problem on narrow rivers. Also consider the extra weight of a frame and oars. In the event of a flip, you will have a harder time flipping the boat back over. If your decision comes down to safety, a paddle boat is probably preferable to a stern mount. While you don't move as much water guiding with a paddle as rowing with an oar, you can still do a lot with proper technique, and you can use your crew when you need extra power.
GS That wierd pivot point is inertia, the A d^2 factor. When the frame is in the middle of the boat, the d^2 portion in 3.5 ft qty squared instead of the 7 ft squared or 5 times harder to turn + or -
 

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Kjirsten
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TakeMeToTheRiver, would you have any pics of your raft when you took 2 people for 8 days? Was it insanely packed on the boat?
I'll dig out pics if I can soon, but here's a link to a video. At about 1:35 it has a still shot of my boat and at 2:50 a shot of us running 3 Fords rapid.

YouTube - Desolation Canyon 2008


I had plenty of room the whole time :cool:. I think it's less comfortable for passengers.

Also, you only want a stern frame if you plan to always use paddle support up front.

Here's what happened to a friend on Westwater with a stern frame and no paddlers up front.

http://www.mountainbuzz.com/gallery/showimage.php?i=3371&catid=searchresults&searchid=29523



Gear management is an art form in itself and must be considered with either type of frame.

The frame I usually use is considered a center mount, but it actually sits just in front of the rear thwart- not quite center. It gives me plenty of room still for a couple passengers, but also keeps me in control of the boat without them paddling.
 

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You might be happier with a stern mount frame (and paddle assist) since you'd run the rapids in a similar manner to a paddle boat, vs a center mount frame. The approaches into the rapids are different with the two. If you go center mount just be prepared you'll be setting up and running through the rapids a little bit differently. Not a big deal, unless you want to keep things sort of the same for now.

I think those oars sound way too short, but others with stern mount experience might know better. I always heard stern mounts needed longer oars since the oars are mounted up higher along the stern kick of the boat. I run 10; oars on a 14' center mount boat, definitely on the long end, but would probably be just about right for most people on a 15'. I'd say go for the 10's, depending on what others say for the stern mount length, they might be just about right for both oar setups.

Others, recommended stern mount oar length, esp compared to center mount?

And aren't most companies/people running stern mount when there's also a limited number of paddlers available? I see that up here on the Lochsa, 2-4 guests may get a stern mount.
 

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If you'll be running days with paddlers, a stern frame will do.

But you asked about a setup for two adults for eight days, for which a standard center-seat oar rig is the ticket. Here's a photo of a 15 ft. cat launching for 8 days on Desolation with two adults and one dog-varmint.

deso load.jpg

Stacked, but not ridiculous.
 

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Center mount for sure.

A wooden frame can be an easy and efficient frame with tons of space and good functionality. It is a little heavy but it has a table, backboard and space to tie in water coolers with tons of cockpit space.

Center mount is defiantly the way to go if you want to carry gear and people. I rowed a stern assist 14' on several 3-4 day trips and was fighting the gear the whole time.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
So does everyone else agree with Iraq and think that there is no benefit to a stern mount frame unless you have people that can't paddle at all? Again I will never take this out by myself, and I will always have at least a couple of paddlers in front. I guess I wonder why 4Corners use them on some big nasty water, even though it looks like the guys paddling know what they are doing and getting after it.

And what is the final word on the oars? Too long at 9.5? Or too short? Seems like both ways have been expressed.

Thanks again for pics and videos, and I learned I didn't want to get sideways in Sock it to Me.
 

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With a short center mount frame, you could rig it behind the middle thwart which would give a much better position for the oarsman (vs. stern) and you can still take 4 paddling passengers up front. It would also keep the rear of the boat open for gear etc. I got to try a boat setup this way this past summer and it worked quite well, I also got to try a stern mount which I didn't like at all, felt really awkward. Up until I tried the stern frame, I thought I wanted to have one someday......
 
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