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Discussion Starter #1
On my last river trip it struck me that I'm not pulling my weight. My typical group has 3-5 16' self-bailing rafts (Maravia, Sotar, etc). I have an AIRE 156D that is quite a bit narrower than the other boats, so my dry boxes and rear cargo area are smaller. So, I started thinking about what boat I could get that would complement our "fleet."

What our group lacks right now are good kitchen table space, space for rocket boxes and Partner Brothers groovers, and storage for foldable chairs.

My neighbor said he'd sell me his barely used Jack's Plastic El Tigre (17' x 28") cataraft with NRS Fat at Frame (120"x72") with assorted parts/stuff. Passenger carrying ability aside, it seems ideal for carrying some big tables and other communal gear.

We typically run Cataract Canyon once or twice a year, the San Juan, Main Salmon, Desolation and Grand Canyon when possible.

I've never really rowed a cat -- just 15 minutes on one in some minor riffles/rapids.

Any opinions about this option?
 

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Your raft will likely carry more, better than the cat. Why worry about capacity when you are with all those other big boats. They choose to row the barges and a 156 is no slouch, so don't worry about it.

Have you ever been loaded to your perceived max? Could you reconfigure your frame to carry boxes and tables?

A raft typically carries more weight for the size and is easier to pack.
 

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This is the option I chose when wanting a "kitchen boat" for GC trips. I bought JPW's big daddy cat, 16x28, and a 120x72 NRS frame. I prefer a cat because I can easily handle the tubes versus a 18ft self bailer - I hurt my back a few years ago and have to be careful! The NRS frame allows me to adjust cargo space to suit a particular trip. Here's a list of cargo I've carried on the last 5 GC trips: 4 kitchen boxes, 10 20 mm rocket cans, 2 hand wash stations, 4 gallon water jug, ground tarp, 3 20-lb propane bottles, 6 chickie pails, parawing, chair, rolla table, kitchen table, cot. The kitchen boat accommodates a trip of 16 for 23 days. You'll more than carry your weight - and you get the best parking spot when pulling into camp!
 

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This is the option I chose when wanting a "kitchen boat" for GC trips. I bought JPW's big daddy cat, 16x28, and a 120x72 NRS frame. I prefer a cat because I can easily handle the tubes versus a 18ft self bailer - I hurt my back a few years ago and have to be careful! The NRS frame allows me to adjust cargo space to suit a particular trip. Here's a list of cargo I've carried on the last 5 GC trips: 4 kitchen boxes, 10 20 mm rocket cans, 2 hand wash stations, 4 gallon water jug, ground tarp, 3 20-lb propane bottles, 6 chickie pails, parawing, chair, rolla table, kitchen table, cot. The kitchen boat accommodates a trip of 16 for 23 days. You'll more than carry your weight - and you get the best parking spot when pulling into camp!
Damn! Thats an impresive gear list budy!

Have to say that if I decided to go cataraft rout for a bigger boat, my first choice would be jpw. There gear has allways been bomber for me, Have an 11' culebra now that i LOVE, been using jpw dry bag for 13 years, sleeping on paco pad for 9. Allways been a round nose boater, but el tigre dose look preaty awesome.

Have found loading a cat will teach you about equal weight distribution, if you are off a little it really shows up.Cats do ride a bit lower to.
 

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Hi,

I run a 20'/30" El Tigre Grande with NRS framing, and it has done well on multiple trips on Westwater, Cat, and GC. I row it, and also motor it (with a bit of reinforcement for the rear yoke when a 125# four stroke is hanging off it). It's a lot of boat, but I'm 68 years old and still can manage to row it down the Grand.

Even though the tubes you're talking about are not Grandes, I suspect you will have a fair a fair amount of air under the frame, when prudently loaded. I also suspect you will like the way it tracks, heads into the wind, and ferries for something that big. The blunt tubes put a lot of folks off, but I've been very happy over the years with mine.

FWIW.

Rich Phillips
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for all of the feedback.

richp: How did you make a transom for the motor, and reinforce the frame? Being able to hang a motor is one more item on my list of what I can do to improve our trips -- right now we hang a motor off the back of a raft on a transom that is less than ideal.

Jim
 

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I find the 28" tubes on the Tigre to be be too big and puts you higher off the water than I want to be... unless you really have aspirations to be the kitchen boat described above. jpw Daddy Cat (16', 25" tubes - snub nose option available) is a great size for a "big boat" - its a sweet, classic multi-day cataraft-- very manueverable for a 16 footer. Done two trips down the grand with one and hauls 2 passengers and more than its share of gear, but still rows easy. My dad was a jpw dealer growing up, so I've rowed most of the different sizes. Big Brother & royal flush are great sizes for multi-day if you don't need the extra length from a Daddy.
 

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Hi Jim,

I just went through my pictures and don't have any that show how the main frame itself is set up. And the whole thing is torn down now. So I'll try to explain.

First, I use a jackass, and had an aluminum auxiliary frame welded up, to which the jackass bolted. The frame had angles that dropped down over the cross-members of the frame yoke -- one bracketing the top tube and the other dropping in behind the lower yoke tube to resist torque. (I do have a picture of that and will try to attach it.) The angles are about 18" wide, so they spread the weight of an 18 hp four stroke out, preventing bending of the yoke. In milder conditions, I simply use straps to hold this framework to the yoke; for the Grand, I use stainless u-bolts to secure things.

I use this in the Grand, so I was really dialed in on durability. I had a real concern with hanging something so heavy (125# with the additional leverage of it flipping up and down in big water, out there at the end of the jackass). The worry was that the u-bolts on the NRS fittings wouldn't hold the yoke onto the long frame pieces -- that they would slide and the whole back of the frame would go off into the river.

My solution to that was to use two longitudinal tubes (using NRS fittings again) that tied the top tubes of the rear yoke to the next frame crossmember forward of the yoke. Because I wanted something akin to a cockpit back there, these two pieces are about 36" long. And by fiddling around a bit, I got a seat mount on one of them, so I can motor in comfort. The net effect is to brace the rear yoke, so that any forces pulling it are spread forward to the u-bolts of a second set of NRS fittings on the next crossbar. Multiple motor runs through the Grand at both low and higher (24k) levels and it didn't move a bit.

Hope this helps, although it may be overkill for your application.

Rich Phillips
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Rich -

Thanks for the detailed write-up! That helps a lot. I've been researching the jackass -- seems like a good way to mount.

Jim
 

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This is a follow up to my earlier post; Re a transom, the pics below show how I had a NRS yoke modified. I needed to lower the transom to hang a 6hp Nissan motor and get the prop to a sufficient depth. Per the previous comment, 28 inch tubes get you pretty far up from the water. Hindsight: probably have 26 inch tubes made. I ruled out a long shaft motor since stowing would create other problems. Also, on my 120 x 72 frame, I have a yoke at the 96 inch point. Hope this helps
 

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I agree that your raft probably has at least as much practical capacity as the cat you are looking at. I don't see why it wouldn't hold the items you listed. And I really don't see why you would buy a rig specifically so you could fit the groover.
 

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Hi,

OK, I found some pictures of the second frame I built, using NRS fittings but a combination of NRS and locally purchased pipe. You can see the standard NRS yoke on the other end of this frame (one of two halves for my 20' tubes. I also added a picture of how the fabricated jackass mount fits in over the home-made yoke..

I did this because I wanted to be able to do some things that the NRS welded yoke -- with its drop in the center -- wouldn't allow. So I took NRS fittings and conjured up my own yokes.

As it turns out, this version has the same drop as the standard NRS yoke -- that is, the floor attached to this is at the same level as a floor in a regular NRS cat. But the bottom tube of the yoke's crosspiece is level instead of raised, and the top tube is level with all the other crossbars on the frame.

The beauty of this is that if I decided to go with a lower or higher floor, I could achieve that by substituting just four short pieces of vertical pipe, and get any amount of drop I wanted.

FWIW.

Rich Phillips
 

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Discussion Starter #13
John and RichP -- Thanks for posting the pictures of your modified frames. Both have given me some good things to think about.

Jim
 
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