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I just acquired this 13' Avon bucket. Owner said it was made in 1998 and first sold through Clavey. It has only 2 air compartments, front and back. Seems to be in great shape. Air stays in, water stays out. I can't find a number.

I want to fish from it on class I-III and maybe some milder whitewater and some multiday.

What would you do? How hard would you push this boat? III? IV? How much does only 2 air compartments play into your answer?

Finally, anybody ever fix a weathered cataract handle (see pic) where hairs of fiberglass are poking out and making you itchy?

Thanks!
 

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Sweet boat and love the pool shakedown!

The only place 2 air chambers is a problem is on some permitted rivers which can require 3 or 4 air chambers per boat. Usually a thwart would count, if you found yourself in such a situation. Off the top of my head, I think this is only permitted desert SW sections like GC or Cataract or Yampa. I don't think those regs exist on MF, main salmon, rogue, and other northwest standards. Lots of folks run gnarly stuff in single-chamber cat tubes. 2 chambers per boat, same deal as you. I wouldn't worry about it, espescially on I-III water

Your cataract oar is ok, just UV'd to hell. Get some spar varnish in a spray can, mask the handle, give a light sand, and recoat. I do mine every few years.

My Drifter is an '85. I've run it down the Rogue, class III-IV. Also WA's III-IV Green Gorge, which is much more continuous. I was glad to have some battery bailing on the Green.

I'd run mine down the Illinois, at the right flow. I think in the era of self bailers, the biggest safety issue with a bucket boat is letting your guard down regarding swamping leading to a wrap. A wrapped bucket boat is a whole different beast than a bailing boat wrap.

Congrats, that's a lovely rig.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Sweet boat and love the pool shakedown!

The only place 2 air chambers is a problem is on some permitted rivers which can require 3 or 4 air chambers per boat. Usually a thwart would count, if you found yourself in such a situation. Off the top of my head, I think this is only permitted desert SW sections like GC or Cataract or Yampa. I don't think those regs exist on MF, main salmon, rogue, and other northwest standards. Lots of folks run gnarly stuff in single-chamber cat tubes. 2 chambers per boat, same deal as you. I wouldn't worry about it, espescially on I-III water

Your cataract oar is ok, just UV'd to hell. Get some spar varnish in a spray can, mask the handle, give a light sand, and recoat. I do mine every few years.

My Drifter is an '85. I've run it down the Rogue, class III-IV. Also WA's III-IV Green Gorge, which is much more continuous. I was glad to have some battery bailing on the Green.

I'd run mine down the Illinois, at the right flow. I think in the era of self bailers, the biggest safety issue with a bucket boat is letting your guard down regarding swamping leading to a wrap. A wrapped bucket boat is a whole different beast than a bailing boat wrap.

Congrats, that's a lovely rig.
Thanks, Slickrock! Probably take her out to view zombie chinook this weekend on a trib of the San Joaquin. First multi day will probably be East Carson in the spring.
 

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Good looking boat. 98 looks plausible. Should be a stamped out piece of material on there with the SN. Last 2 numbers are the year.

With a good bailer up front and a solid patch kit, I'd take that boat anywhere I felt good about rowing. I've taken much flimsier boats down some pretty good whitewater as a kid. Start slow and work up to your comfort level.

Put a coat of spar urethane on those oars. Sand off the fibers sticking up and put a few more coats on.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Good looking boat. 98 looks plausible. Should be a stamped out piece of material on there with the SN. Last 2 numbers are the year.

With a good bailer up front and a solid patch kit, I'd take that boat anywhere I felt good about rowing. I've taken much flimsier boats down some pretty good whitewater as a kid. Start slow and work up to your comfort level.


Put a coat of spar urethane on those oars. Sand off the fibers sticking up and put a few more coats on.
Clearly good advice, zbaird.
 

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Nice find! It looks to be in great condition, take it anywhere you like but yes have a bailer!

I completely concur, 98 looks plausible, it looks to be in great condition, I'm an Avon Snob so I'm partial to those boats to start with, nothing rides in the water like an Avon.

There's the old GC saying too, "You can't flip a swamped boat" LOL, but you can wrap one, and I'll second the thought of a wrapped bucket boat being a LOT harder to get unwrapped. I remember an incident in Sunshine on the Royal Gorge that took over 5 hours to get a Campways Miwok off of sunshine rock.

The recovery included shutting down the river, puncturing the boat, and about 300 commercial customers pulling on ropes... Not pretty, and thankfully Sunshine Rock isn't there anymore...
 

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Oh, and use Marine Epoxy on the oars, lasts a lot longer than Spar Varnish. There's a thread here on Mountainbuzz about refinishing oars, lots of schools of thought on how to do it, above is mine
 

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If memory serves me right, Avon had switched to blue rub strakes in 1998, at least on Adventurers and Expeditions. Not sure about the Drifter. Your boat looks like it is great shape. With a solid repair kit and the skills to use it, you should be good to go most anywhere you want to take it.
 

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I can't recall there ever being a blue rub strake, the 80's saw yellow, which changed to yellow and black, then grey with 2 red stripes, can't remember whether the yellow or grey came first. Later there was a dual black with a white stripe, but I don't see those often. The seariders had a black one, but I think that was the only model to have that.



In my search for data on this subject, I came across this interesting read on the history of Avon boats, and a couple others, from inception to it's current state made by MilPro in South Carolina.
http://www.riversimulator.org/Resources/History/Hoops/BoatHistory/04/ZodiacAvonInflatables.pdf
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Oh, and use Marine Epoxy on the oars, lasts a lot longer than Spar Varnish. There's a thread here on Mountainbuzz about refinishing oars, lots of schools of thought on how to do it, above is mine
Interesting. I have some experience with West epoxy on wood sailboats and find it is not as good with UV as varnish (though much stronger)
 

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Discussion Starter #15
YOUR FRAME

Here's blue rub strake for your records
Nice rig, Bigwater.

I got a question for you because it looks to me that your frame goes a bit into the kick at one end:

I want to replace my frame because is is thin tubing has drop rails (so it could work on a cataraft) and struts to the oar mounts which will be in the way of my fishing rods.

I'd like to go 78" so I can get 3 decent bays plus a 23" cockpit. NRS typically says to go no more than 72" on 13' boats. I'd like to go a few inches into the kick on each end. Seem reasonable?
 

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That Avon Expedition with the blue rubstrake in the photo was a 1998 model. I remember because it was a High water year on the Kern and we had new boats to use. I don't think they were special order, but can't say for sure. But I seriously doubt it since the outfitter was never one to spend extra money.

As to frame length on your Drifter, put your tape measure on your boat and see where a 78" frame would sit. I'd imagine 3 extra inches on either end wouldn't be much of an issue. Others will have differing opinions.
 

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Interesting. I have some experience with West epoxy on wood sailboats and find it is not as good with UV as varnish (though much stronger)


The old thread is pretty good. I tend to default to very light sanding & spray spar varnish every couple seasons. It may not be the best or ideal, but easy enough to get it all done in a couple beers.
 

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I am a former WA State Rafting Outfitter; in 1998 we purchased four 14' Avon SB Adventures with blue Rubbing strakes from Clavey River Gear in CA. They told me they were a special order from Avon.
 

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I am a former WA State Rafting Outfitter; in 1998 we purchased four 14' Avon SB Adventures with blue Rubbing strakes from Clavey River Gear in CA. They told me they were a special order from Avon.
That's what I was guessing, cause you don't see a whole lot of them, actually I've been an Avon Snob since the early 80's and never have seen one till the photo was posted.
 
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