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Discussion Starter #1
All,
Hubby and I are considering purchasing and stylishly outfitting a 16 foot large diameter tube expedition cataraft. The frame would be a 5 bay frame with a trailer frame for those extra long trips. The captain's foot bay would have two captains boxes. In the first stab at design in the local river shop the foot bay was the middle of the five bays, and passengers would sit on the front bay with a foot bar. However, I genuinely dislike having passengers in front of me. I can't see, and when I need to make a big hard forward push through the wave, they are inevitably leaning back from the splash and getting in my way. This is particularly true for cats, where the folks can't squish down in the front of the boat. So we are considering moving the rowing bay forward one and having passengers in the back, without a foot bay when the loads are big. The trailer frame could go on the front or the back. If the trailer frame was on the front, the rowers bay would be more centered. I have liked a more forward rowing position in smaller cats, but have never rowed a cat this big. The length of the tubes should make centering the load a non-issue. Does anyone row an expedition Cat that way? Pros? Cons? Suggestions? Inane comments?
 

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I have a 16' cat with a 10' frame and have a similar setup. First bay dry box; second bay cooler; third bay me; forth passenger or gear and fifth drop bag. Seems to work well for me and towers are just forward of center so boat is balanced when empty as well as fully loaded.
 

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I have a NRS Top cat frame that allows for change. I also have a Receretect frame that is not adjustable, the receretect has the rower in the front. I have had great rusults with my 14' tubes on the receretect frame. I tried to set up my 16' tubes and NRS frame in a simular fasion with horrible results, the back end seemed to keep wanting to come around. I tried this on the Alpine section of the Snake near Jackson Wy. I was very glad to have tried the setup on a short run as I was working the oars constantly to keep T'ed up with waves and holes. I did use the NRS and 16' tubes with passengers in front of me on the same section of the Snake this past summer. I had two chairs set side by side in front, rower in the middle and this allowed me to see between the passengers and time my strokes pretty good. Just my experiance.
Be safe out there...
 

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Discussion Starter #4
dport,
Thanks for your response. A few questions:
-do you tend to pull, or push when you row?
-how was your draft and trim when the back end was coming around?
-were you in the very front bay?
 

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dport,
Thanks for your response. A few questions:
-do you tend to pull, or push when you row?
-how was your draft and trim when the back end was coming around?
-were you in the very front bay?[/QUOTE
I tend to pull away from objects, and push through waves and holes hoping forward momentum will help me through.
With my draft and trim when I tried the set up it was just myself and a passenger, we were set pretty good balance wise. We did not have much weight though.
The position that I had myself in was nothing in front of me except the yoke of the frame and my oar locks were set 2 feet from the yokes with myself back another 18 inches.
I love using my 14' boat with the rec. frame, being up front is great for me, it just did not seem to work on my 16' boat. My 16' definately controls better from the center area for me.
 

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My experience has been with a 14 X 24 cat, loaded for multi-day trips. I prefer the center rowing position. Easy to pivot for a back pull or forward push. I tried the forward position once and it felt like the tail wagging the dog.
 

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Definitely put me in the Inane column: On a 16' cat you're going to be far enough away from forward passengers that you shouldn't have to worry about it- they're 2 bays in front of you. Vision ahead can be an issue- but just have them duck down prior to a rapid if you're having trouble. I don't think moving your pivot away from close to the middle is going to do good things for handling characteristics-- but I do know that a forward position is popular in certain circles. Hopefully the fans will chime in an enlighten us all.....
 

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I have a 15ft sotar elite sl cat with a sotar frame. originally the fame came with welded on oar mounts in the center putting the row seat on the rear box. hated it. I hacked those puppies off and put the rowing position up front on the tongue. love it. I essentially lost a dedicated box or cooler position but the handling and fun factor went way up. to counteract the lost spot I rigged the tower of power in the back, which is essentially coolers on top of the rear drybox with a chair strapped on top. it hilarious and the view for the passenger is like stadium seating. when the nasty comes the passenger just hops down behind me. I'll post pics if I ever figure out who has the camera with them.
Note that I try very hard to never back row. the load is fairly even. the fun is never ending.
 

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547526_534689719949838_449810279_n.jpg

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ooh, ooh! Found em. heres some random views. one with the chair too. The was on Hells Canyon trip a month ago. Good times!
 

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I run a 16' NRS Kodiak with a five bay frame. I position the oar towers at the center pivot point of the tubes for a fully rigged multiday trip with a couple passengers. They sit on the cooler in the second bay with a deck over gear in the first bay. I sit on the drybox in the fourth bay with my feet in the third (Captain's Bay). I warn my passengers that if they feel a bump in their backs that they need to lean forward or be swept off by the oar. If I need to carry everything for a week, the front bay is stacked to the height of the cooler and the seat becomes a double-wide Paco pad covering two bays.

I don't mind having passengers in front of me and I tell them I can see around them by keeping the blades in the water and pivoting slightly.

If I am running bigger water solo, I move the frame forward and load the front end to punch holes.
 

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For a cat I think being forward of center is the way to go. These are pics of my 16 Kodiak with a 5 bay frame. My father has a very similar setup with a smaller rear box and a 6 bay frame. For a passenger he leaves the second to last bay empty and has them sit on a table that goes across the last bay. On a new frame design you could kick the rear box back one bay and have the passenger sit behind the rowing bay. I wouldn't mess around with the trailer frame and just build a six bay from the get go. I'll try to load more pics of them both side by side on our Grand trip.


 

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For a long time I used to oar a raft with a stern frame. Since it was the only thing I knew, I got to be proficient at navigating it.

Then I switched to a cat and centered the oar position roughly center

Since then I tried a trip where I rowed from the front and did not like it. For one I felt like I was swinging a bowling ball bag.

The second thing to consider is the oars and the boats overall profile. My cat is 18' and my oars 11' (about 20' wide while rowing). There are tight spots I find myself in where I have to stay at roughly 45 to avoid scraping while retaining the ability to row. Seems like the center position accomplishes this best

I think I will keep running this way (row forward in a lightly loaded play cat) but not in my gear cat (row center)
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Sledhooligan,
Your setup is very similar to what we are thinking. Only we would have RB's upfront under a table (to which other gear could be strapped), dry box under the seat, then cooler in the 4th bay, and what-have-you in the fifth and trailer bay if needed. Also we are getting a frame with transom plate as we would like to get a motor someday. With respect to rowing a bit forward, I also like the ability to hop out the front quicker when rowing solo. We currently have a 14' NRS cat that we have been rowing slightly forward, and I used to have a little wildcat that I definitely rowed in front of the little bit of gear it could carry. The only time I ever had issues with steering either of those boats was when the weight was not centered. It looks as though we will be going on the grand next year, and we have found the 14' cat easy to overload on more common week long trips with 2 people, so we may part with it for an expedition 16. Thanks for the thoughts everyone, keep them coming!
 

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I may have rowed one of the first Cats in the Rocky Mountain region. This was a 20' monster with not only really big (22") tubes, but it also had two additional mini tubes at the waterline on both sides, on both tubes. I wanted it to be a big, long trip, cargo hauler. It would easily handle all the gear, including bags, for 30 people for 5 days.

I learned really quick that the cat was much easier to row, and sat much higher in the water than the conventional rafts. It would haul an incredible weight nicely, and it was a joy to run.

But, in wind it was lousy; you see, it sat much higher in the water so it grabbed less current and more wind.

I also discovered that pushing it was a waste of time; it tracked nicely, but it was so quick to turn that keeping it on a line was almost impossible if I tried to push. If I was pulling it, tracking was as good, but keeping it on line was about the same as for a conventional rig.

I didn't design it as a people hauler, but it surely could. I could put them in front (where they served as a water and wind break for me) but I'd always want a cooler bay between us, and a bag bay behind me.

Don't know if this helps much. Loved the Cat, wish I still had it. I have a couple of pictures around someplace; I'll see if I can find them.
 

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Hi, Catwoman. I'm the Sledhooligan's Dad and run a similar Cat with NRS Kodiak Tubes. I have setup my DRE Cat Frame a lot of different ways over the years, but really like the oar towers (rowing position) moved forward. The advantages are: Cat spins much faster with pivot point forward. Better "push thru" in big waves and holes - more punching power! Cat in general moves easier with push strokes. Properly loaded tubes lay flat on the water - no rear endos! Passengers sit behind you - not obstructing your oars or view and they really stay dry!.... just my opinion. Another major factor on why these boats are so fun too run is also related to the tube diameter. Big tubes like our Kodiaks carry big gear loads easily and still have excellent hull speed.... they are quite simply "The Shit"! Give it a try, I think you will really dig this setup!
 

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I've been on this boat on numerous runs including browns and have rowed it on a westwater trip and like the center rowing position. 2 bays seperate the passengers from the rowing compartment. Not even come close to hitting someone. The boat turns and pivots well being centered. This is m buddy Toan's boat.



Here is my buddy Terry's boat that I've also ridden on and rowed through Pumphouse. This photo is of his boat on Browns also.

 

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All,
Hubby and I are considering purchasing and stylishly outfitting a 16 foot large diameter tube expedition cataraft. The frame would be a 5 bay frame with a trailer frame for those extra long trips. The captain's foot bay would have two captains boxes. In the first stab at design in the local river shop the foot bay was the middle of the five bays, and passengers would sit on the front bay with a foot bar. However, I genuinely dislike having passengers in front of me. I can't see, and when I need to make a big hard forward push through the wave, they are inevitably leaning back from the splash and getting in my way. This is particularly true for cats, where the folks can't squish down in the front of the boat. So we are considering moving the rowing bay forward one and having passengers in the back, without a foot bay when the loads are big. The trailer frame could go on the front or the back. If the trailer frame was on the front, the rowers bay would be more centered. I have liked a more forward rowing position in smaller cats, but have never rowed a cat this big. The length of the tubes should make centering the load a non-issue. Does anyone row an expedition Cat that way? Pros? Cons? Suggestions? Inane comments?
Dear Catwoman,

We build a lot of custom size large cat boats. We have a new design for a solar cat for Texas Tec that is going to be on the Great Salt Lake for month at a time. Not a river cat, but a large cargo lake cat. Well that is one extreme, another are some large pontoons used for dredging gold off the ocean near Nome Alaska. Anyway If you would like to have some custom tubes designed, have a look at this web site http://www.jpwinc.com/pages/customtubestyles.html

You are right to talk about the utility of the frame. I am not a big fan of rowing cargo from the front, because the center of spin is behind your head, and that is difficult to get accustom to. but on big rivers where there is lots of room It should not be too bothersome. Certainly is a choice and if people in front of you is more bothersome do what works for you.

Anyway thanks for having a look.

Sincerely,

Jack
 

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I run a setup very close to what you are talking about... I run a 16' lion with a six bay 12' frame the last bay being a 24" extension that I can remove... I run a dry box up front with a beverage cooler behind that... the third bay is my foot bay on a seat bar with the fourth bay being passengers foot bay.. fifth bay is a large 150qt food cooler and sixth bay is a pacific river bag... I don't like having anyone in front of me and my girlfriend doesn't like being up front.. and I build the pacific river bag up for a nice reclining lounge chair affect for the passenger.. for day runs a pull the front dry box and make it a passenger foot bay and they sit on the cooler... the oar stands are a little front of center but not much..
 
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