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I am in the market for a raft coming from a cat. What are you guys take on rafts with diminishing tubes. Is this just the latest thing or are they here to stay. Also what does this do for the performance? Any experience with them or thoughts would be very helpful.

Thanks,
 

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I got a new SOTAR this summer, and came across the same conundrum. Ended up going standard. Since there is less bouyancy in touch with the later, the boat rides a bit lower, and with less tube wall in front, the front passengers get more wet. Not something I was interested in. Guides like to use them for the splash effect in whitewater, supposedly more excitement for the passengers. I don't recall if they say they track or spin better. I expected them to punch through waves differently, some say better, some say they don't have the oomph to do so as much with the smaller tube in front. SOTAR takes the dimension off the bottom of the tubes, I think (?) so the kick was to be the same. Supposedly more room for gear, which is likely true, but an inch or two isn't worth it to me. Especially if they take the dimension off the bottom of the tubes, the stern floor is going to be comparably higher, so you'd lose vertical volume. With that, your gear would ride higher than, it seemed to me.

After all that, I decided to just stick with what is proven, I am not one to go after the latest and greatest, since it's rarely the greatest unless it becomes the norm, which hasn't happened.

So if you have some specific desires, or any of those factors really appeal to you, you might like them.
 

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Flatter bow = easier to hop on and off the boat while at camp - which becomes more important with an armload of food or increased inebriation. It's also less sail area for headwinds.
 

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I used to push 16' Wing paddle rafts in WV. The diminishing tubes were pretty extreme, and the boats were light. They were great paddle rafts, you could punch big holes and they were very maneuverable boats. Great raft but they don't make them anymore, Sotars are the closest thing you can find. We never used them as gear boats though. Why are they worse for carrying loads?
 

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2 reason for reduced capacity:

1. small tubes mean lower buoyancy and a lower amount of total weight you can float.
2. the smaller tubes mean that the boat has less space in it - if the tubes diminish to say 10" in the front, and then the floor rises to meet the tubes - your cargo space is that much smaller compared to a boat with a tube that is 21" in front.

A side effect of the diminishing tubes is an increase in effective rocker that tends to help the boat avoid going deep into a hole. The boat is more likely to 'bridge' over the stickiest/deepest part of the hole.
 

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A side effect of the diminishing tubes is an increase in effective rocker...
I'll second that.

It's not always true that diminishing tubes makes the bow/stern of the boat lower. Also, this is not new technology. DIB, for one, has been building boats like this for at least 15 years. From my experience, I find boats with diminishing tubes to be more nimble. But, as stated above, these boats generally don't make good gear boats.
 
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