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Discussion Starter #1
Hello everyone, I was hoping to get some advice from the seasoned experts on here.
I recently got into white water rafting this summer after several season as a canoe guide up north running class 3s. I'm back in Colorado now.
I picked up a prestine 1983 14ft Achilles bucket boat this summer and started getting the hang of things. Homemade oar frame, floors, and nets. I ran a few multi day trips, several class 4s. and am not happy about my cargo space and the fragile floor. I've been debating taking the thwarts out this winter in order to set up a better frame and cargo. I don't plan on doing any paddling but would like to keep the thwarts as a removable feature for when I've got a bunch of buddy's. Has anybody done this with this boat model? I understand nrs has a kit and am looking into it. Advice would be awesome. Would like to make it a self bailer but that's a stretch time and money wise for me right now.
Any other advice to do with it right now would be awesome as well. Tha ks!!!!
 

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Keep running it as it is until you can afford what you want. Nothing wrong with a wrap floor boat, and you can just deflate the thwarts, you don't really have to take them out. Bailing floor retrofit is spendy, perhaps more than a good used self bailer would cost..
 

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Keep running it as it is until you can afford what you want. Nothing wrong with a wrap floor boat, and you can just deflate the thwarts, you don't really have to take them out. Bailing floor retrofit is spendy, perhaps more than a good used self bailer would cost..
That's what I figured for the floor. I have deflated the thwarts and they don't seem to give me a ton more room, and I'm a little worried about them being in a fragile state when on the river between gear boxes etc. But I would like to keep this old boat in original condition. Thanks for the insight!
 

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Congratulations! Those are sweet boats but heavy... and it's a boat, not a "bucket boat" - and not a self-filler!
Instead of dropping a bunch of dough into a retrofit, which will change how it handles and how much you can carry, consider a 12V battery pump setup (not when you're paddling, then you have enough "bailers" to empty it quickly). If you run technical stuff where it will take on enough water to be an issue, and you don't want to move it yourself, a bilge pump is the way to go... or if you're just lazy and want a dry floor.
Manual models work well enough and are sub-$100 (or used to be, haven't checked lately, I'm thinking of the one that mounts to your frame sideboard, has a short handle and pumps through a round or hexagonal shaped chambr about 4-5 inches in diameter). But if you want to move a lot of water quickly, go with a 1500 to 2000 GPH pump (do your homework, multiple models out there and some are garbage - good one will cost you around $100 or more, depending on capacity). Float switch to make it fully automatic might work for fisherfolk, for running whitewater I've found just a straight up rocker switch is better. Turn it on at top of rapid, turn it off when floor is as dry as you want. Mount pickup at what experience will reveal is low point of your floor - you can run as much hose as you want to get there.
12V setup options abound. I have an old school deep cycle AGM battery ("marine/RV" - you can buy them at Costco now...) mounted in .50 cal ammo can that has lasted four years and been on multiple Grand and Cat trips. With solar charger it will keep all your devices charged in camp as well as run your bilge pump on the boat. But the newer Lithium ion batteries offer advantages and battery technology will continue to evolve.
Have fun with your boat, whatever you decide!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Congratulations! Those are sweet boats but heavy... and it's a boat, not a "bucket boat" - and not a self-filler!
Instead of dropping a bunch of dough into a retrofit, which will change how it handles and how much you can carry, consider a 12V battery pump setup (not when you're paddling, then you have enough "bailers" to empty it quickly). If you run technical stuff where it will take on enough water to be an issue, and you don't want to move it yourself, a bilge pump is the way to go... or if you're just lazy and want a dry floor.
Manual models work well enough and are sub-$100 (or used to be, haven't checked lately, I'm thinking of the one that mounts to your frame sideboard, has a short handle and pumps through a round or hexagonal shaped chambr about 4-5 inches in diameter). But if you want to move a lot of water quickly, go with a 1500 to 2000 GPH pump (do your homework, multiple models out there and some are garbage - good one will cost you around $100 or more, depending on capacity). Float switch to make it fully automatic might work for fisherfolk, for running whitewater I've found just a straight up rocker switch is better. Turn it on at top of rapid, turn it off when floor is as dry as you want. Mount pickup at what experience will reveal is low point of your floor - you can run as much hose as you want to get there.
12V setup options abound. I have an old school deep cycle AGM battery ("marine/RV" - you can buy them at Costco now...) mounted in .50 cal ammo can that has lasted four years and been on multiple Grand and Cat trips. With solar charger it will keep all your devices charged in camp as well as run your bilge pump on the boat. But the newer Lithium ion batteries offer advantages and battery technology will continue to evolve.
Have fun with your boat, whatever you decide!
Im an industrial electrican by trade, I have started building a 12v pump system for it built in a ammo can. Was planning on a rocker switch setup and a small solar panel for charging and camera etc, I didn't mind self bailing and always had a bail buddy when running rapids etc . I'm more worried about cargo space and setting up for a new frame. I'm gonna start playing with it this week and seeing what I can do with just deflated thwarts. Thanks for the input man! Ideas like this keep the build going!
 

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I have a different take...I own a 1984 Achilles, 13'and a bit, am the original owner. I bought it for a Grand trip way back then, and ended up taking it on rivers allover the west. I have several rafts (Sotar, Avon), but it is my old favorite: just a bomber boat with great handling/ bow rise, etc. I happen to live near the Sotar company in S. Oregon. Know them. Had them put in a bailer floor a couple years ago. Yeah it was a grand, but turned my bucket boat (in really good shape but still...worth 500?) into a great self-bail, and I use it more now because of that. Any self bailer in good shape is worth what I have in this boat. A no-lose situation. I saw recently on a Hyside price list where they have floors for sale. get a grommet set, and a case of beer on a weekend and there you go.
 

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Oh man, I have owned several boats and from experience I will tell you this...take the leap and modify the boat. Take the air gun and remove the thwarts, its easy, just go slow. If you want them later it is easy to glue in a set of thwart knuckles. Don't be scared of your fabric and learning how to make repairs. Build a nice frame for the boat and a system that works for you. Then, after some period of time, sell it ALL and start again. Continue this process until you own your perfect fleet...
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I have a different take...I own a 1984 Achilles, 13'and a bit, am the original owner. I bought it for a Grand trip way back then, and ended up taking it on rivers allover the west. I have several rafts (Sotar, Avon), but it is my old favorite: just a bomber boat with great handling/ bow rise, etc. I happen to live near the Sotar company in S. Oregon. Know them. Had them put in a bailer floor a couple years ago. Yeah it was a grand, but turned my bucket boat (in really good shape but still...worth 500?) into a great self-bail, and I use it more now because of that. Any self bailer in good shape is worth what I have in this boat. A no-lose situation. I saw recently on a Hyside price list where they have floors for sale. get a grommet set, and a case of beer on a weekend and there you go.
Thanks man this is just what I needed to hear! Got it for $200. Only has two patches. No sun fading etc. It's really comfortable on the river. You've lit a fire in me, if I can find a self bailing floor to put in this winter that I can swing it's gonna happen.
 

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Oh man, I have owned several boats and from experience I will tell you this...take the leap and modify the boat. Take the air gun and remove the thwarts, its easy, just go slow. If you want them later it is easy to glue in a set of thwart knuckles. Don't be scared of your fabric and learning how to make repairs. Build a nice frame for the boat and a system that works for you. Then, after some period of time, sell it ALL and start again. Continue this process until you own your perfect fleet...
Thanks man this is just what I needed to hear. I really like the idea of removing the thwarts and it does sound easy enough, would like to make them so I can put them back if I ever need them.I've started collecting things for the frame. Think I'm gonna do it.
 

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Wow! That boat takes me back. Used to guide on the American(s) and Arkansas with hysides and achiles. AND, they were bucket boats. When the self bailers first came out we all said that everyone will start flipping more; And they did..haha. As far as hauling gear you either have to learn how to sling it or build some plywood decks. If the boat is prestine then I would definitely consider a floor upgrade. Having said that, since all of my early rafting experience was with bucket boats, I have no problem with them. Like another poster suggested learn how to patch which, you should do anyway.
We used to take avon small tube pros and back into a pour over and fill up the boat until the water was up to our chests then, laugh our arses off! Somehow, we would never flip.
 

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Wow! That boat takes me back. Used to guide on the American(s) and Arkansas with hysides and achiles. AND, they were bucket boats. When the self bailers first came out we all said that everyone will start flipping more; And they did..haha. As far as hauling gear you either have to learn how to sling it or build some plywood decks. If the boat is prestine then I would definitely consider a floor upgrade. Having said that, since all of my early rafting experience was with bucket boats, I have no problem with them. Like another poster suggested learn how to patch which, you should do anyway.
We used to take avon small tube pros and back into a pour over and fill up the boat until the water was up to our chests then, laugh our arses off! Somehow, we would never flip.
I did a good amount of slinging last summer with it because that was my only option. I have decided to remove the thwarts and really dig into it, and practice my patching. the boat is absolutely pristine but I don't really have the money to put a self bailing floor with my other hobbies hogging the money haha but a little battery operated pump should do the trick until I upgrade or make that mod. Its always good to hear from the veterans! really excited to turn this boat into a beast.
 

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Hey man, just came across your post. I bought an old 1982 bucket boat for my first boat, but the floor had been removed by a previous owner who shredded the floor on rocks during a low water trip. It has a frame, so I just run it without the floor like a cat and it has worked great for me. I do have some plywood sheets cut to fit inside and they hang from the D-rings, but I've phased them out and replaced them with mesh slings that I custom sewed. The previous owner left the thwarts in...but I have learned that without a floor they add a ton of drag while rowing, so I'm running it without the thwarts now with much more efficiency.
61986
 
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