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A friend just got a new frame for his cat, and he set it up with passenger seat in the rear, and captain's seat about center. His oarlocks are about one third back from front of the boat. Looks kinda funny. Made a test run down the San Miguel. He loved the control. I have always had my oarlocks centered, but am considering moving them forward, maybe a foot or so. What do you think of this? Where do you guys have your oarlocks positioned?



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A friend just got a new frame for his cat, and he set it up with passenger seat in the rear, and captain's seat about center. His oarlocks are about one third back from front of the boat. Looks kinda funny. Made a test run down the San Miguel. He loved the control. I have always had my oarlocks centered, but am considering moving them forward, maybe a foot or so. What do you think of this? Where do you guys have your oarlocks positioned?
How much during the test run did he row forward (bow downriver) vs. back (stern downriver)? I like the ability to have the same control no matter what direction I'm facing. It's also the reason I like a my rig set up in a symmetrical fashion and balanced front to back.
 

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lots of folks run cats that way, you'll hear from some here eventually, I think its dubbed "Idaho Style", unofficially at least.
 

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lots of folks run cats that way, you'll hear from some here eventually, I think its dubbed "Idaho Style", unofficially at least.
Elkhaven - yea - sorry, I should have pointed out that I'm running a raft and not a cat - so I'm sure that would make a difference. Of course there are folks that run stern rigs on rafts as well - but probably more prevalent when additional paddlers are there.
 

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I think weight distribution is more important than whether or not the oarlocks are centered. I generally run forward in my cat, but for heavily loaded trips I try to be more centered. It definitely feels easier to spin that way.
 

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Being a novice I KNOW almost nothing, but here is what I've HEARD (and it does seem logical):

If you are mostly pushing the oars, front of center is good placement; if you are mostly pulling, back of center is better (relates to why the wheels that turn are in the front of a car?).

Of course that leaves the question of why mostly push or why mostly pull?
Novice speculation: When running big water with a lot of force, you may need to pull more (more powerful stroke); when the water has less force, pushing will often get you where you need to get to.
 

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I think weight distribution is more important than whether or not the oarlocks are centered. I generally run forward in my cat, but for heavily loaded trips I try to be more centered. It definitely feels easier to spin that way.
What catflipper said. Oarlocks forward seems OK for a lightly loaded cat, especially with pushing strokes. But I have seen many cats attempt the MFS with the oarlocks forward and a heavy load in the rear. Most of them loose control after a few pulling back strokes, spin and end up going backwards down the rapids.
 

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Na, that's Montana style.
Rod in one hand, Coors Original in the other.

That's the nice thing about those "cheap, thrown together, homemade" frames (NRS, DRE style) is that you can try out any configuration you can come up with. I place my oar locks in different places depending on the load and purpose of the float. The flexibility is awesome.
 

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Max I think your friend will like rowing in the forward seat. I sure have.

Johnovice, on your question of why mostly push or pull - I feel it is better, bolder, more refined form to be charging your way through the meat than to go down rivers in a constant avoidance mode. Personally I'm going to rig my cat to give advantage to my style of running.

Even with oarlocks pretty far forward, the back stroke is still stronger. Forward position makes it a little harder to steer when going backward. With regard to spinning quickness, centered oarlocks are the best, but within a few feet does not seem to make a giant difference. Weight DOES make a giant difference. Try to load dense things in the middle of the boat.
 

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Old Guy in a PFD
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Things I learned while rowing pig boats

1) The power is in pulling, not pushing.
2) Point your nose to the problem.
3) If you are pushing more than pulling you're doing it wrong.
4) You are not more powerful than the river. Ever.
5) A good boatman will consistently keep the flat side down.
6) It's a good day on the river when you arrive at camp dry and rested.
7) Cold beer and dry gear makes everyone happy.
8) When rules 5, 6, and 7 are followed it's been a great day on the river.
 

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I assumed the little cats that sit farther forward was so they don't get back-endered while running the $hit, but I've mainly rowed round boats with centered oars.

As mainly a kayaker I like to push through stuff. I pull when I need to ferry away from rocks or holes, but any stroke that can be done forward, I do forward. Obviously a rower is stronger when pulling, so if a big ferry is needed, you should be pulling.

I see way too many rafters constantly rowing upstream, which is dumb on many levels. It slows the boat and makes it more likely to flip in wave trains, and slow boats annoy me if they manage to get in front and make me back row to stay off their tail. Scared kayakers tend to do this in class V as well and make the group clustered too close.
 

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Shutzies always has good advice and the above is generally true, however pushing is often very helpful. It generally helps to avoid the need for these extreme measures:

Tappan Falls Surf - YouTube
 

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On a cat I find it more important to center the weight than the oar towers.

So on a small solo cat with ne gear the rower sits center and the towers are front of center. That is Idaho style.

On a raft I center the oar towers, generally because the balance is way less important and you are heavier and need the easier spin.

On a multi day trip you can usually juggel gear so that both are centered for maximum river nirvana.
 

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Old Guy in a PFD
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I assumed the little cats that sit farther forward was so they don't get back-endered while running the $hit, but I've mainly rowed round boats with centered oars.

As mainly a kayaker I like to push through stuff. I pull when I need to ferry away from rocks or holes, but any stroke that can be done forward, I do forward. Obviously a rower is stronger when pulling, so if a big ferry is needed, you should be pulling.

I see way too many rafters constantly rowing upstream, which is dumb on many levels. It slows the boat and makes it more likely to flip in wave trains, and slow boats annoy me if they manage to get in front and make me back row to stay off their tail. Scared kayakers tend to do this in class V as well and make the group clustered too close.
Schutzie will clarify;
The lessons I learned are for rowing, not paddling, not Kayaking. There are different lessons I learned for those rigs.
(I.E. when you are a kayaker you should always take the last beer, cause, you know, you're a kayaker and you wear a skirt.:))

If you're doing it right you rarely have to push while rowing; when you do push it's generally to correct an over zealous pull you just did.

The exception is when you hit the waves; pushing through them should pretty much keep you from getting into trouble and helps to keep you on your line. That is, unless you shouldn't have been on that wave in the first place. You know, cause it's bigger, faster, tougher and meaner than you are.

When I was rowing the pigs it was simple survival to accurately read the current. I wanted to be in it almost without exception, cause, you know, the current ended up doing all the work while I could just enjoy the ride. And a beer. It became a contest I'd have with myself, see how few strokes I could take in a day. My personal best was 18 strokes, from pump house to the bench, on a trip with a group nurses. And 12 of those strokes were to launch or land.:cool:
 

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Schutzie speaks the truth. I learned the "pull away from danger" thing early on. Then someone told me I was back ferrying my way down the river too much, and encouraged me to learn a forward push. Then I was forward pushing too much, and needed to go back to more pulling. I have put myself in a few bad spots by trying the muscle my boat with a forward push. A mixture of the two is best. The real trick is knowing when to use each one.

As far as oar position, I always liked a more centered position on my cat. My buddy has his cats set up to row from the front. He and his kids like that method. I tried it once and didn't care for it. It felt like "the tail wagging the dog" to me. Different strokes for different folks. If you can, try both on a day run and see what you like.
 

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Things I learned while rowing pig boats

1) The power is in pulling, not pushing.
2) Point your nose to the problem.
3) If you are pushing more than pulling you're doing it wrong.
I call BS on all the above. It all depends on what you are doing. The OP is in a cat too, not a pig boat. Takes more skill to push things at high water as you have to really know what and how fast you can move. The power to move the move the boat may be in pulling, but the power to work with the river is in the pushing. Nose to the problem only works in pulling. And if you are pulling backwards downstream....well you can't see too well.

Schutzie will clarify;
The lessons I learned are for rowing, not paddling, not Kayaking. There are different lessons I learned for those rigs.
(I.E. when you are a kayaker you should always take the last beer, cause, you know, you're a kayaker and you wear a skirt.:))

If you're doing it right you rarely have to push while rowing; when you do push it's generally to correct an over zealous pull you just did.

I will gladly give my last beer to Dave Frank every time. Cuz you know he is a kayaker who pushed my boat through Dagger Falls when I wasn't feeling well. And greased it so nice.

Not sure the hangup with pushing but try not pushing on a low water technical river like the Middle Fork Salmon and I will leave you in the dust. Stuck and crying in your beer. Until I want to fish.
 

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I call BS on all the above. It all depends on what you are doing. The OP is in a cat too, not a pig boat. Takes more skill to push things at high water as you have to really know what and how fast you can move. The power to move the move the boat may be in pulling, but the power to work with the river is in the pushing. Nose to the problem only works in pulling. And if you are pulling backwards downstream....well you can't see too well.
Guess you have never heard of a back ferry? If the water is pushing you 8mph into a bridge and your pushing 3mph that makes a combined speed of 11mph going TOWARDS the bridge. Now if you pull 3mph and back ferry away from the bridge you are mitigating some of that downstream flow and theoretically now traveling 5mph AWAY from the bridge. I too was a charge hard and pummel type of boater. Until I started running rivers with features that actually required navigation
 

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Is this the thread where the pig boaters who avoid whitecaps and bridge pylons on class II all day tell the class IV Ferrari drivers they are doing it wrong?

Sweet, sweet forward momentum....
 
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