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

  1. #21
    Member BluNosDav's Avatar
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    Wanted to pull this thread up from the bottom of the pile, since I finally got a set of 18' Leopard tubes and will be building a frame soon.

    Jim,
    I understand what you mean about flex at the frame and cargo platform joints. How wide are the side-rails on your cargo platforms? They must be slightly narrower than the frame itself, to attach inside the Lopro fittings on the cross-bars, right? How do the cargo side rails still get support from the tubes?

    Trout,
    I like the idea of a longer frame, but, I also notice that the top surface of the tubes begins to arch upward a bit, before reaching the end of the chafe strips (that are 13 feet long). Does this affect your 12-ft side-rails in any way? Like you, maybe I can design two versions of my frame (with & withour cargo platforms) for different type trips?

    Finally, does anyone have experience with bench-style seats for passengers? AIRE has a 72" Folding Camp Table, and a 65" Buckboard seat on their website. I'm looking for low-profile alternatives to having swivel seats on all four corners of the raft.

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

  2. #22
    Member AK Troutbum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BluNosDav View Post

    Trout,
    I like the idea of a longer frame, but, I also notice that the top surface of the tubes begins to arch upward a bit, before reaching the end of the chafe strips (that are 13 feet long). Does this affect your 12-ft side-rails in any way? Like you, maybe I can design two versions of my frame (with & withour cargo platforms) for different type trips?
    I've been running that 12' frame now for, I think, three years and haven't had any issues with chafing/wear on the tubes. I don't know if the design of their tubes are any different now or not, but mine don't really curve up very much. Here's a couple pictures from last summer, I don't know if you can tell much from it, but there doesn't seem to be any greater contact/pressure on the tubes from the ends of the frame as opposed to the middle of the frame.


  3. #23

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    My standard width for a 16' cat or raft with 24" tubes is 72", you just have to deal with 10' oars. I go 70" for the 15' and 68" on the 14' with 9' oars.
    This puts the frame 2/3 out on the tubes. Just my system. Built a couple thousand frame in the last 35 years of doing this. Again just my thoughts. Hope it helps.
    Goo

  4. #24
    Member BluNosDav's Avatar
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    Thinking about going with a 12-ft frame without any cargo platforms at either end. More people room, since most of our trips will be day-fishing, or weekend camping, rather than week-long moose hunting expeditions. Also thinking about using 4 NRS yokes to provide support along the (longer) side-rails: a yoke on each end, plus one with a rower's seat mounted on it, and one used as the rower's foot-bar. I'll place take-down joints in the side-rails between the seat & foot yokes, so that I can easily separate the frame into halves for one-person portability to/from the landing/parking-lot, and winter storage. Each half would sorta be a 6-ft square with two yokes holding this shape, and only short stubs sticking out to where the take-down fittings go. Each half would also use a 6' NRS web floor. Might place the oar-towers, right where the take-down joints come together on the upper side-rails, so that these "tall horns" can be easily removed for transport & storage. Might mount a 39" cross-bar at the same place on the lower side-rails, to help pull the floors tighter (lengthwise) and better support the rower's weight, when he wants to stand up and look around. Finally, I'd still like to learn more about full-width benches/tables as an alternative to swivel-seats at all 4 corners?

    Anyone flaws to this plan?

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

  5. #25
    Member AK Troutbum's Avatar
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    I don't think you need four yolks but other than adding weight it definitely won't hurt. I built a 12 foot takedown frame and used three yolks, one at each end, and one right in the middle where the split is in the takedown part. My rowers seat sits right behind the middle yolk and I use that as my foot bar. I turned the original foot bar upside down and mounted my rowers seat to it so I have a little elevation and vantage point. I have four corner seats, rowers seat, and two seats each mounted on their own cross bar in front of the rowers seat. This system has worked out very well for me and is plenty solid even with 6 people and enough gear for camping out several nights.

  6. #26

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    Get in touch with Brian Richardson at "alaska raft connection" 907-250-2271 He knows more about cat frames than any on I know.
    Goo Vogt
    ALASKA WILDWATER

  7. #27
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    My quad tube Aire Cougar has a mostly flat frame with a short 6" drop between the tubes, making a shallow web floored trench about 18" wide. (I use a slightly narrower than recommended frame.) And since I was doing mostly whitewater with this thing, I kept all the seats low, mounted directly to the top of the frame, so your legs stretch straight out in front of you. Sort of like driving an old style sports car with the seats down really low.

    Anyway, I made a plywood bench with short back and sides that stretches across the the boat. I padded it with a thin layer of high density close cell foam and usually strap it on a few feet in front of the rower's chair. I cut out holes that fit where the Low-Pro are and they allow a good place to string straps through. It usually carries three people but getting four on there is done when needed. For white water use, it works far better than putting a Fish-On seat in each corner, because my passengers are in a lower and more secure position for paddle assist. But it's certainly not as comfortable.

    I keep thinking I will rebuild it for greater comfort. Its seat is now about 15" deep, with the back about 6" high and reclined slightly. I think it needs to be 18" deep, with at least a 9" backrest. And the foam needs to be a little softer and thicker. Also, it would be nice to raise it up a couple inches, but not too much. The 6" sides/ends could stay the same and are great for giving the rider a false sense of security.

    I think a bench seat would work equally well in a conventional cat. The guys on the edge could have one leg on the tube and the other on the floor and still get out there far enough to paddle assist when necessary. The older I get the more I think passengers should assist.

  8. #28
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    Default I have a great deal on an 18' Aire Cat is interested.

    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.
    Give me a call or send email if interested. I just put post in today with pictures. It is titled, "Great Deal on 18' AIRE Cataraft with trailer. 460-0244 or alaska.run@gmail.comCat pic 1.jpgphoto-2.jpg

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    Quote Originally Posted by fish.finder View Post
    Give me a call or send email if interested. I just put post in today with pictures. It is titled, "Great Deal on 18' AIRE Cataraft with trailer. 460-0244 or alaska.run@gmail.comCat pic 1.jpgphoto-2.jpg
    Do you still have your raft for sale? If so I would like to look at it,

  10. #30
    Member BluNosDav's Avatar
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    After much consultation with the guys at Alaska Raft & Kayak, I decided to go with a 72" wide frame, 11-feet long, with two 25" cargo extensions at either end. The bow & stern rise of my tubes convinced me to go that route, plus I chose a new gray floor from AIRE that needed an 11' length to stretch really tight. I also went with 4 swivel seats at the corners for the family, and I'm glad that I did. Not only does it make everyone happier to have their own space at each corner of the raft, but, it actually places the passengers out over the tubes - freeing up more internal volume for coolers and other camping gear. For up to Class-3 rapids it's plenty safe. The final touch, was choosing gray AIRE straps to tie it all together, they match the raft panels, floor, and seats perfectly. I'll try to post some photos of the assembled rig soon.

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

  11. #31
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BluNosDav View Post
    After much consultation with the guys at Alaska Raft & Kayak, I decided to go with a 72" wide frame, 11-feet long, with two 25" cargo extensions at either end. The bow & stern rise of my tubes convinced me to go that route, plus I chose a new gray floor from AIRE that needed an 11' length to stretch really tight. I also went with 4 swivel seats at the corners for the family, and I'm glad that I did. Not only does it make everyone happier to have their own space at each corner of the raft, but, it actually places the passengers out over the tubes - freeing up more internal volume for coolers and other camping gear. For up to Class-3 rapids it's plenty safe. The final touch, was choosing gray AIRE straps to tie it all together, they match the raft panels, floor, and seats perfectly. I'll try to post some photos of the assembled rig soon.

    Thanx for all the advice and suggestions, Dave.
    Dave,

    Congrats on the new rigging! You are really going to love it. My only comment is on the strap color. You are probably using one-footers on the inside D-rings, and three or four-footers on the outside. If they're all gray, you're going to have to separate them or come up with a system so you don't have to fiddle around too much getting them sorted when you break the boat down for flyout trips. The NRS Blue straps are numbered. You could get a sharpie and number the yellow tags by the buckles (if the grey straps have those). That could help. In my case I seem to end up with a big mesh bag full of straps that I have to dig through to find the "right one".

    I look forward to seeing pics of the finished boat!

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
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    Let's see if there is any life left in this...I'm outgrowing my Esquif Cargo so....

    I'm thinking of buying 15.5' Saturn tubes and building a 10' x 6' frame for 1.5"x0.145" 6061-T6 pipe. I have a wife and 2 adult sons but it will mostly be just 2 or 3 on board. I want to put a motor mount and run my 9.9 2 stroke short shaft or a 6hp 2 stroke long shaft depending upon which works best. Use will be flat river and lake use but also want to be able to do low water rapids to class 3. I'd done them in a kayak but never a cataraft, but I suppose I can learn easy enough on smaller water first. Want to do the Snake and Salmon in late season so the water should be down pretty well at that point. Will also use it for fishing and camping up to a week.

    I have a 8'x10' snow go trailer I was going to use to transport rather than deflate tube so I would make the frame rigid and a slip together 2 piece frame. I TIG alum so that's the way I'd construct. Just finished 0.040 5051 fuel tanks for my Patrol I'm building so the heavy pipe should be a snap.

    Seats will be center rowing and a bench behind that with storage front and rear. Not sure how the 9.9 in controlled so I may need a seat back there too. Also provisions for a low seat on each side ahead of oar locks. I'll probably put in some plywood floor under the bench seat and a walkway forward of the rowing seat.

    ANy thoughts and ideas are welcome for sure!!
    Somewhere along the way I have lost the ability to act politically correct. If you should find it, please feel free to keep it.

  13. #33
    Member Ridgerat's Avatar
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    Attachment 90282

    Here is the frame set-up I built for my '00 Super Leopard. I'm running 11' SGG's with it and so far, no complaints. It's heavy, and not fly-in friendly...but I have other boats for that duty!

  14. #34
    Member Ridgerat's Avatar
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    Sorry I can't get the picture to show up as anything except an attachment. Hopefully you can see the dimensions. The frame is 12' x 6'-4".

  15. #35
    Member ChugiakTinkerer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lowrider View Post
    Let's see if there is any life left in this...I'm outgrowing my Esquif Cargo so....

    I'm thinking of buying 15.5' Saturn tubes and building a 10' x 6' frame for 1.5"x0.145" 6061-T6 pipe. I have a wife and 2 adult sons but it will mostly be just 2 or 3 on board. I want to put a motor mount and run my 9.9 2 stroke short shaft or a 6hp 2 stroke long shaft depending upon which works best. Use will be flat river and lake use but also want to be able to do low water rapids to class 3. I'd done them in a kayak but never a cataraft, but I suppose I can learn easy enough on smaller water first. Want to do the Snake and Salmon in late season so the water should be down pretty well at that point. Will also use it for fishing and camping up to a week.

    I have a 8'x10' snow go trailer I was going to use to transport rather than deflate tube so I would make the frame rigid and a slip together 2 piece frame. I TIG alum so that's the way I'd construct. Just finished 0.040 5051 fuel tanks for my Patrol I'm building so the heavy pipe should be a snap.

    Seats will be center rowing and a bench behind that with storage front and rear. Not sure how the 9.9 in controlled so I may need a seat back there too. Also provisions for a low seat on each side ahead of oar locks. I'll probably put in some plywood floor under the bench seat and a walkway forward of the rowing seat.

    ANy thoughts and ideas are welcome for sure!!
    I bought my cataraft used and the frame wasn't designed for using a motor. I've had to get creative in attaching the mount for my little kicker. I ended up removing a rear cargo platform and it's now a lot easier to operate the motor because it sits 2' farther forward. I have the option to remove the motor and put the cargo platform back. I'm thinking you may want to think of a design that gives you similar flexibility. Weld up the main frame but leave the option to bolt on a platform in the bow and/or stern.

  16. #36
    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
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    A wider frame makes the boat easier to pivot, assuming the oars are matched to the set up.

    Pivoting quickly is essential to positioning yourself to avoid hazards
    If cave men had been trophy hunters the Wooly Mammoth would be alive today

  17. #37
    Member Ridgerat's Avatar
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    Here's a decent shot of my S.Leopards 12'x6'4" frame set up. Its a hog, but set up mostly for hauling friends and family down the Kenai and Kasilof. The front deck is a 6'x2'2" table I made that is much more user friendly than the roll up blue tables I have carried for years. Its hard to see what it is in this picture, but that black thing forward of my footbar is a side-x-side rear bench seat out of Cabelas. It is removable by pulling 4 pins, so it's handy to throw in the boat for toddler seating when needed. Also works well for picnic seating. I'll attach a couple pics of it and my table next.
    IMG_8461.jpg

  18. #38
    Member Ridgerat's Avatar
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    Here's a picture of the table and bench seat. Sorry I don't have a photobucket and don't know any other way to make the image appear in the thread without needing to click on it.

    Attachment 93361Attachment 93362

  19. #39
    Member AK Troutbum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ridgerat View Post
    Here's a decent shot of my S.Leopards 12'x6'4" frame set up. Its a hog, but set up mostly for hauling friends and family down the Kenai and Kasilof. The front deck is a 6'x2'2" table I made that is much more user friendly than the roll up blue tables I have carried for years. Its hard to see what it is in this picture, but that black thing forward of my footbar is a side-x-side rear bench seat out of Cabelas. It is removable by pulling 4 pins, so it's handy to throw in the boat for toddler seating when needed. Also works well for picnic seating. I'll attach a couple pics of it and my table next.
    IMG_8461.jpg
    I am very happy with my Leopard (with 12' frame), that I've been running now for the last 21 years, but I gotta say, that is one hell of a sweet looking set up you've got there. Nice job!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  20. #40
    Member Ridgerat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AK Troutbum View Post
    I am very happy with my Leopard (with 12' frame), that I've been running now for the last 21 years, but I gotta say, that is one hell of a sweet looking set up you've got there. Nice job!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Thank you! This is my 4th raft, so when building this frame I incorporated several of my wish list items. I am just about done with it, just need to add an anchor system. Then once I get some time on it and am relatively sure I am done cutting on the floor to accommodate changes...I am going to get textured UHMW floor and deck pieces made.

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