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Discussion Starter #1
I have always used Cataract shafts and blades on both my cats. My friend has Carlisle shafts and blades. We traded cats on the Lower Gauley the other day and I was shocked at how much harder her Sotar was to row than mine. Her cat is 1 1/2 feet smaller with smaller diameter tubes but it should have been easier to row, if anything. I noticed that her blades floated way lower in the water, with about a foot or so of shaft buried in the water, making it much much harder to get them out of the water. So yesterday we got together on a lake and tried every combination of oar shaft and blade. 8' oars, 9' oars, Carlisle and Cataract oars with Carlisle and Cataract blades. In all cases, the Cataract blades floated just below the surface and the Carlisle blades floated way below the surface. Length mattered very little, the Carlisle blades were awful to row and the Cataract blades were much, much easier. In all cases, the oar setups were the same, except for the blades. Does anyone have any expertise on this, any fixes? My friend is ready to order new blades.

Susan
 

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Are your oars counterbalanced? I use counter balanced cataracts with the magnum blades and I have a buddy who uses non counter balanced cataract oars with the magnum blades and there was a significant difference just as you stated above
 

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Sounds like the simple difference between a buoyant and not blade. Cats have a sealed core of some composite, they are going to float more than a strictly metal and plastic blade with no core like the Carlisles. The buoyancy of the blade is holding the oar up in the water, that's it all other factors being equal. (I assume you wouldn't compare CB'd to non shafts.)

Counterbalancing may help slightly but doesn't solve the root of the problem. She should get some Sawyers ;-)
 

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ahhh yes...you have discovered that the engineer's design was successful. The cataract blade's design of having an air chamber trapped in the blade helps it float. (unfortunately, I'm worried as my cataract blades have cracked and I'm wondering what will happen as that air-filled chamber becomes a water-filled chamber...the opposite of counter balancing and floatation????
 

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Discussion Starter #5
There was little difference between the oar shafts, the only significant difference was between the Cataract and Carlisle blades, it didn't matter which oar shaft we used. I'm just kind of surprised why anyone would use an oar blade that takes so much more work to push out of the water after the stroke, unless they are unaware of the difference, like my friend.

Why Sawyer over Cataract?

Thanks,
Susan
 

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It sounds to me like she's got her oar towers set up so there is a lot of oar outside of the lock. Neither oar should be that hard to lift out of the water, unless they are rigged kind of weird like that. I use both blades, carlise on the raft and cat on the cat. The carlisle do not float at all and so you must compensate by lifting them through the water. That said, there should be no difference once they are out of the water. What kind of oarlocks are used? Cobras allow a much greater range of motion which can result in oar blades diving and the need to stay on top of them.

I think you experienced a bit of being used to your own setup also, and often something quite a bit different feels bad at first, sometimes for a long time.

However I do use counterweights on my carlisle setup, and recommend them if she can't reconfigure her oar length and isn't rowing solid Class IV or higher. The first option is to see if she can widen her towers and slide the oar sleeve in, better balancing the oars.
 

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I would have agreed with Laura except it sounds like they tried it with 8 and 9' oars and had the same problem. It may very well be what you are used to though.

Carlisle's have cheap dependability going for them and that's about it. Some people actually like a non-buoyant blade depending on the setup. I can't think of a instance where they are going to feel better to row than a quality set though. I was just joking since I'm a sawyer guy and you mentioned having the cats, just what I like. Heck, if you search the board you'll find every opinion possible on which are better. Even people using Cat shafts and Sawyer blades or Cat shafts and Carlisles blades. I think the only accepted truth other than personal preference is that anything is better than Carlisle shafts, haha.
 

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ahhh yes...you have discovered that the engineer's design was successful. The cataract blade's design of having an air chamber trapped in the blade helps it float. (unfortunately, I'm worried as my cataract blades have cracked and I'm wondering what will happen as that air-filled chamber becomes a water-filled chamber...the opposite of counter balancing and floatation????
They're filled with closed cell foam, so don't loose to much sleep.
 
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