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Thread: Anybody run a cataraft with a 72" wide frame?

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    Member BluNosDav's Avatar
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    Default Anybody run a cataraft with a 72" wide frame?

    The only ones I ever see, or rent, have 66" wide frames?
    Just wondering about using a wider cat?

    Thanx, Dave.
    "Luckily, enforcement reads these forums, and likely will peruse this one...Especially after a link of it is forwarded to them....." - AlaskaHippie.

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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    There are only two advantages for running a wider frame (well... only two that come to my mind, anyway):

    1. Greater stability. Wider boats are harder to flip.

    2. More interior room.

    But because it's so easy to overload a cataraft, I question the value of having more interior space. You'd just be tempted to fill it up, and then your boat would row like an overloaded garbage scow.

    Are you seeing something in a wider frame that I am not seeing? What are you planning to do with it?

    -Mike
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    Member BluNosDav's Avatar
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    Thanx for the quick reply Mike.

    I'm looking for more room for kids to jump around and swing their fishing poles. Plus I'm considering Super Leopard tubes, so load capacity should be OK. Just curious, that I haven't seen/heard about more 72" cataraft frames. Bigger versions of just about everything else, usually sells better. Especially, when both sized frames are priced the same.

    Thanx, Dave.
    "Luckily, enforcement reads these forums, and likely will peruse this one...Especially after a link of it is forwarded to them....." - AlaskaHippie.

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    Member BlueMoose's Avatar
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    If you are going wider you may wish to consider additional supports from top to bottom in certain weight bearing portions of your frame. Even Schedule 40 anodized 1.5 inch pipe beds or sags at that distance. Been there and done that.

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    Most larger cat frames that I see are 72" wide. At least they look that wide. My Cougar frame was 72" until I cut it to 66" some years ago. I also made a 60" frame for when I split the quad tubes apart. But I was trying to narrow it up for running narrow whitewater streams; not really what it was designed for but it did help for that purpose and also allowed me to shortened the oars a foot.

    You sure they only rent 66" wide frames?

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    Member AK Troutbum's Avatar
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    I run a 6' X 12' frame on my Leopard with the NRS mesh for the floor. I use 3 NRS yokes for support of the lower bars, one on each end and one in the middle. I have a 4th yoke, if need be, but have never used it.

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    Wink 72" Cat frames

    Quote Originally Posted by BluNosDav View Post
    The only ones I ever see, or rent, have 66" wide frames?
    Just wondering about using a wider cat?

    Thanx, Dave.
    Hello Dave,

    72" is often the standard on the longer 18' cats with larger diameter tubes.

    Not sure who you are seeing or renting from, but it's not favorable cookie cutter-framer production to run a 66" wide on these bigger boats.

    Beauty of a cataraft is try anything for whatever you need it for from narrow to wide.

    Best handling geometry on a Leopard Cat (based on load bearing, center of gravity, and optimal space) for example is actually even a bit wider!

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    Member BluNosDav's Avatar
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    I'm pretty sure that the frame, on the Leopard that I rented last year, was 66" wide. I actually used a tape-measure to check the frame that AR&K had on display at the GASS this year, and that one was on an even larger tubed 18' Aire Lion cataraft. The top bars were 66" on-center, and the floor bars were 39" on-center, which allowed them to use the regular NRS web floor panels. Now, both frames were AR&K's "break-down/fly-out" frames that don't use NRS yokes in order to make them more compact when broken down. Perhaps, they make them "only" 66" wide for the same reason, to make them more compact for transport? Or maybe as has been suggested above: that without extra supporting bars which would also add more weight/bulk (or by not using the NRS welded yokes), 72" is just too wide?

    I'm glad to hear that with proper support (extra yokes, etc.) a 72" frame is definately do-able!

    Thanx for all the input, Dave.
    "Luckily, enforcement reads these forums, and likely will peruse this one...Especially after a link of it is forwarded to them....." - AlaskaHippie.

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    It all depends on the oar length and tube size. On 16', 24" tubes I run 10' oars. How high is your seat, how wide are your blades, so many things to consider, The angle of your oar stands? Nearly all cat frames are custom built, listen to what Brian is saying and give him a call,250-2271. He has tried lots. I personally make my frames to go 2/3 of the way out on the tubes, as some companies like 1/2. Have built a couple thousand frames over the last 30 years and this formula works for me and my customers. Just my thoughts. For the 16' - 22" rafts I use 10' oars, with 72" frames any longer oars are a pain to me.
    Goo

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    Member AK Troutbum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BluNosDav View Post
    I'm glad to hear that with proper support (extra yokes, etc.) a 72" frame is definately do-able!

    Thanx for all the input, Dave.
    Not only is a 72" wide frame doable, in all likelihood, it is the most common width for the bigger cat's. The only reason I use more yokes is because my frame is 12' long. I have used shorter frames with just two yokes (front and back). The yoke that I use in the middle of the frame doubles as a foot bar for the rower.

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    Thumbs up

    To revisit this thread... couple things here in terms of specs on most manufacturers 'routinely cataloged' longer, larger diameter Cat tubes:

    A.) 72" is the favorable of more to less user-standard. Simply fits the common needs
    B.) 66" is not ideal and generally fits the cookie-cutter (one-size-fits-all approach) format... Works - yes - however a sales strategy of sorts vs. on-water. Recognize that a majority would never even realize any difference anyway.
    C.) Frame cutting shorter does not change the labor time, yet is cost cutting to a degree on pipe (a cat involves some pipe)
    D.) Case lots of pipe is often in 20' sticks in Alaska vs. 25' in the lower-48 (can do the math here for what it's worth)

    E.) A 12' frame while an OK fit on the top-rail is not a good idea for bottom side-rail (sticking well out beyond D-rings) on many large model catarafts
    1.) n r s type fittings w/ pipe size is not ideal
    2.) n r s yokes are not all that great for Alaska for several very valid reasons, like cargo modifications to front and back, motor-mounting, accessorizing, etc, but do shave a bit of weight.
    3.) 12' frames often also shorten cargo modifications.

    Just about optimal for Alaska on say 18' cats is a 10' top and bottom side-rail main frame and to lengthen your mods to a maximum. 72" top cross is just fine or go up to 2"-4" wider. If you feel that reinforcement is key adding drop-downs to your geometry is easy and effective.

    Again beauty of a cat is do anything/everything and nothing particularly wrong with cookie-cutter one-size all especially for sports shows and so on... I'll say tho' this can get a bit over the top, so keeping it simple brings out the best and safest attributes of cat-boating.

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    Member AK Troutbum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Richardson View Post
    To revisit this thread... couple things here in terms of specs on most manufacturers 'routinely cataloged' longer, larger diameter Cat tubes:

    A.) 72" is the favorable of more to less user-standard. Simply fits the common needs
    B.) 66" is not ideal and generally fits the cookie-cutter (one-size-fits-all approach) format... Works - yes - however a sales strategy of sorts vs. on-water. Recognize that a majority would never even realize any difference anyway.
    C.) Frame cutting shorter does not change the labor time, yet is cost cutting to a degree on pipe (a cat involves some pipe)
    D.) Case lots of pipe is often in 20' sticks in Alaska vs. 25' in the lower-48 (can do the math here for what it's worth)

    E.) A 12' frame while an OK fit on the top-rail is not a good idea for bottom side-rail (sticking well out beyond D-rings) on many large model catarafts
    1.) n r s type fittings w/ pipe size is not ideal
    2.) n r s yokes are not all that great for Alaska for several very valid reasons, like cargo modifications to front and back, motor-mounting, accessorizing, etc, but do shave a bit of weight.
    3.) 12' frames often also shorten cargo modifications.

    Just about optimal for Alaska on say 18' cats is a 10' top and bottom side-rail main frame and to lengthen your mods to a maximum. 72" top cross is just fine or go up to 2"-4" wider. If you feel that reinforcement is key adding drop-downs to your geometry is easy and effective.

    Again beauty of a cat is do anything/everything and nothing particularly wrong with cookie-cutter one-size all especially for sports shows and so on... I'll say tho' this can get a bit over the top, so keeping it simple brings out the best and safest attributes of cat-boating.
    I have attached cargo mods off the NRS yoke without a problem. For a motor mount, I just welded two plates (approx. 12" long) with the yoke sandwitched inbetween and gussits at each end of the yoke for support. This adds about a pound or so to the overall frame, is simple, and works great. I did this about 16 or so years ago and have ran anything from a 9.9 to a 20hp 4 stroke without any issues. It is also a very inexpensive motor mount. I only use it to get to the upper take out of Skilak, and I'm not setting any speed records, but it works very well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AK Troutbum View Post
    I have attached cargo mods off the NRS yoke without a problem. For a motor mount, I just welded two plates (approx. 12" long) with the yoke sandwitched inbetween and gussits at each end of the yoke for support. This adds about a pound or so to the overall frame, is simple, and works great. I did this about 16 or so years ago and have ran anything from a 9.9 to a 20hp 4 stroke without any issues. It is also a very inexpensive motor mount. I only use it to get to the upper take out of Skilak, and I'm not setting any speed records, but it works very well.
    Hello Troutbum,

    Please don't see me as dissing your set-up... it works for you and that's great. Please also see that again I relate personal choices, anything goes, etc.

    I'm not even certain what boat you have regarding the 12' frame, yokes, # of modules with length x width, etc.

    In many cases tho' the n r s. yokes have bends near the fittings that will not allow the mod fittings to lay perpendicular and flat without tweeking... plus there is the lower drop down the middle that will cause a potential upturn to the whole mod if you mount it there - so that baggage is tilted inward.

    Formed n r s yokes are more for sport-cats vs. Alaska versatility.

  14. #14

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    Ain't this FUN we all learn from each others experiences- What works for one's experiences and applications, may not be the same or best for others. So is the beauty of the ALASKA OUTDOOR FOURM!!
    A lot of wonderful information. Keep on helping each other, as all rivers have their on "SPOOKS"--- Just do your homework!!
    Safe boating
    Goo

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    Member BluNosDav's Avatar
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    Wow, great stuff!
    Now, let's take this to the next level and design the "perfect" cat frame.
    I'll try to narrow the focus just a little:
    a frame for a generic 18' cataraft with tubes about 25-28" in diameter.
    (sorry, but Super-L's & Cougars are twice as expensive and not very common)

    How wide should the cross-bars be?
    How many cross-bars?
    How far should they extend over the tops of the tubes?
    How long should the side-bars be?
    How deep of a drop should the floor have?
    How should the motor mount be designed?
    How would additional front/rear cargo platforms (if any) be set up?
    Number and placement of D-rings, chafe strips, etc.
    Anything else that I've missed?

    Thanx, Dave.
    "Luckily, enforcement reads these forums, and likely will peruse this one...Especially after a link of it is forwarded to them....." - AlaskaHippie.

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    Member AK Troutbum's Avatar
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    ImageUploadedByTapatalk1334858044.452976.jpgImageUploadedByTapatalk1334858078.195005.jpg
    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Richardson View Post
    Hello Troutbum,

    Please don't see me as dissing your set-up... it works for you and that's great. Please also see that again I relate personal choices, anything goes, etc.

    I'm not even certain what boat you have regarding the 12' frame, yokes, # of modules with length x width, etc.

    In many cases tho' the n r s. yokes have bends near the fittings that will not allow the mod fittings to lay perpendicular and flat without tweeking... plus there is the lower drop down the middle that will cause a potential upturn to the whole mod if you mount it there - so that baggage is tilted inward.

    Formed n r s yokes are more for sport-cats vs. Alaska versatility.
    No worries. I've tried a lot of different configurations for my frame over the last almost couple decades and with a growing family my latest configuration is this 12 foot frame. I don't have any cargo modules on this frame, I just have four passenger seats, one on each corner, the rowers seat, and two seats in front of the rower seat that sit dead center between the two pontoons with the NRS mesh floor underneath and this is what my two kids sit in. Oh, this is on a 18' Leopard. I have another frame that I use with the same pontoons that is 9' X 6' with a 3' cargo module and I use it for fly out float hunts. I'll try and post some pics of the motor mount. The two holes that you see in the motor mount are for the anchor arm that my anchor hangs off of. It's a bit of a pain to unbolt the anchor arm to put the motor on and vice versa, but it works out okay.

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    Member BluNosDav's Avatar
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    Wanted to bring this thread back up to the top of the page again, to ask more about frame length.

    Why is it so common to have a 10' long frame and then add a 2-to-3' cargo platform, instead of just making a 12-to-13' long frame? In a break-down format, the longer side-bars would be almost the same as 72" cross-bars, which many have recommended. So, fly-out capability should not be affected.

    So, what's the down-side of longer frames? (OR) What's the up-side of using cargo platforms instead?

    Thanx, Dave.
    "Luckily, enforcement reads these forums, and likely will peruse this one...Especially after a link of it is forwarded to them....." - AlaskaHippie.

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    Member AK Troutbum's Avatar
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    Default Anybody run a cataraft with a 72" wide frame?

    That's exactly what I did with my Leopard. I did away with the cargo module, extended the frame length out to 12 feet, and added another yoke for support. I see no downside with this configuration, it works out perfect for me and my family. I feel like we have way more room in the boat now.

  19. #19

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    Was just wondering-- what kind of planes are you putting these frames in?
    On the width I personally try to stay with 10' oars with a 72" frame- "outside-outside". For a basic 16' rig. If the tubes are larger than 24"-26" I would go with a little longer oar and little wider frame.
    Sawyer, will cut you what you want on the oars size.
    Goo

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    "So, what's the down-side of longer frames? (OR) What's the up-side of using cargo platforms instead?"

    Most large boats flex when punching waves, holes, etc. and that's usually a good thing. A long solid frame either eliminates the flex, or if the water is serious enough, can bend the frame. I prefer to have the boat partially conform to the waves. The joint between frame and cargo module allow the boat to flex some. Plastic/PVC/urethane boats are pretty stiff anyway, while rubber/hypalon flex more than I prefer.

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