How are surface-drives working on shallow rivers?
I知 wondering how surface-drive operators on shallow rivers are liking their rigs. Are surface-drives now the state-of-the art for shallow water canoeing? Better than conventional outboards with lifts? Better for canoes than any other propulsion? What do you like best? Any flaws?
Which manufacturers are producing surface-drives with the best performance and best reliability? Which combinations of horsepower and canoe size (say between 15 and 18 feet) are working the best?
What would you tell a jet-boater who was going to operate one on a shallow river for the first time?
I was looking at them for my Aire Power Traveler after 4 props and 10+ shear pins last moose hunt. Any suggestions?
after observing how feeble and flimsy the transom is on the "power traveler", I don't think you'd be hanging any surface drive off that thing. Even the smallest surface drive would exceed the weight limit of your transom by almost double.
I found some in the high sixties weight wise and fixed my transom issue with the use of 4 nrs straps connected from the d-rings to the motor. I realize the traveler will never work as well as a rigid canoe but it fits in a cub easier.
This subject has been covered in quite a few threads.. I've searched them all..the op here is right in asking what the current thoughts are as the tech is evolving quite quickly.
I am thinking of going old school.. 2 hp honda and a small lift.. but then if it's too easy, I don't find it that entertaining..
I am looking at the 2 hp helios... 52 lbs.. I imagine these surface drives/longtails use quite a bit more fuel than a 4 stroke out board??
I see the 6.5 Copperhead.. and that's really more power than i need.. though quite a bit of bang for just an extra 30 lbs..
I guess the difference between the 6.5 and my proposed approach(2 hp honda/lift),.. is the copperhard would give you enough power/speed to blast through shallows that are simply going to stop me with the out board.. but I go hunting to be in the woods. If it takes me 4 days to get where I am going that just part of the adventure.. but I'm scheduled to get old, so keeping an open mind here.
I'm with Mainer on this one... The current cataloged version of the 'Power-Trav' is not up to snuff for any of the surface drive options (straps & mods are not a fix for torque or weight). Hull design is also wrong for any real outboard HP or in the case of surface drive the high torque There was an older version (mostly unreliable unfortunately plagued by design flaws) however still not a very applicable fit. None of the surface drives are good for super-cubbin' it.
To be fair-minded about the two versions of the Power-Travs... my comments probably need some clarifications.
Originally Posted by Brian Richardson
On the original with actual hard transom features akin to the somewhat modified yet traditional approach on sport-boats --- the unreliably came in the forms of problem I-beam floors. These various issues related to A.) i-beam inner-construction imperfections, B.) overall length to width and the optimal inflation plus the right PRV. Due to these flaws... performace and dependability suffered hence the low demand then quick demise. I feel it was rushed into service and additionally did not benefit from what would have been the better (tho' expensive, heavier, harder to pack) drop-stitch high-pressure design that did exist at the time as used by Maravia and Sotar. If i-beams was the ticket... Urethane with no PRV and a pressure gauge would have also worked.
The second version cataloged today is mainly a Trav with a cutting board bolted to the stern... NOT a transom... consider it more of a motor mount modification/accessory for little gas kickers or electric motors. The hull is no more performance based than a skinny hybrid raft. It is not an up-stream assent boat. It is designed/intended to make a standard Trav more versatile as in easy for a lake/pond fisherman or adding a little kicker on calmer moving water having little technical features. One thing to very much take into account is the 'way' the inflation chambers are on the Trav (not good for hanging higher HP, any significant weight, and especially high torque for boat design and driver).
What I would say to the jet-boater about surface drives is to talk with Mainer and ask for a demo come spring. A sort or supervised try before buying on one of his freighter canoes will reveal both high-cards and limitations. If this is not an option, a forgiving hard-shell shallow draft boat or wider durable square-stern freighter canoe might be right.
For my use... I see value and economy in these surface drives. Some look crude. I see some durability in the shafts and props while also questionable reliability and potential danger/higher-risk issues while operating. The noise is awful! In my opinion surface dives at this point are niche motors and not all that versatile... better suited to niche watercraft in like Mainer's larger, more stable, and more durable, freighter canoes.
Nothing is said here to bash or promote products or businesses!
Lots of study in Yellowstone, northern Mid-west, and northern parts of New England concerning impacts of motorized recreational traffic (higher levels of 'noise' makers... snowmobiles) vs. non-motorized and on foot. Many of the surveys accepted the case study that the noise itself very often did not make the game run from home-ranges and seek distance or deeper cover --- particularly when perceived and closing in from non-threatening, further distances away (no surprise or spooking). Other loud noise forms like chainsaw work and tractor or skidder drone even attracted game to some extent. The constant noise created a curiosity comfort zone vs. run away flight stress. Association to these high-level noises was not perceived as assassination.
Higher levels of noise and vibration seem to go with the surface drives I've been around... however the accessibility gain, relative simplicity, affordability, and good economy are the high cards.
Like the pics Mainer... and you know I really like your ol' classic freighter (a real find there!). What did you finally do with the Sav 99 --- did you re-chamber and rework the action? Mine 99 is the ol' Schnabel forend in .300sav. Working on cool dark green KaBoat for ya to test so we'll have to get the small Copperhead on the back this spring --- head up 20 mile, Little Su, or up the Lower Willow Creek. Probably put your larger Copperhead on my old black self-bailing SOTAR SEAL boat for same test run... the old Urethane Hercules in action again come open water 2013! We'll get Goo to come along!! Because that transom is heavy duty welded aluminum vs. wood raised above the floor inflation ... we'll be able to armor shield the back cones with welded or bolt on aluminum.
FamilyMan welcome to join us
Originally Posted by Brian Richardson
Off topic a little- but I wonder if that is why game is spooked when you are creeping through the woods, but you can be talking and walking along when not looking for game, and walk right up on them. I think they sense that you are hunting vs just being noisy.
Originally Posted by rifleman
I got my first surface drive this year, it is a 23 hp mud buddy.
It is on a 20' x 54" freighter canoe.
I like the fact that the lift, tiller and throttle are in one lever.
Also no worry about water pumps.
The biggest benefit for me is not having to keep it up on step, so on those smaller creeks there is less stress.
It will not do what a jet boat can and a jet boat can't do what a freighter can and that's fine by me.
Different applications I believe.
Thanks for your post. Your description of the lift, tiller, and throttle all on one lever reminded me that unlike an outboard on a lift, the surface drive height can be variable in real time as required.
I知 hoping a canoe and surface drive combination can keep me on the river late in the fall when the water is getting lower and slushing up. I知 thinking that when the shallow spots stop me, I could just line the rig until I知 floating again and continue on my way. My idea is that I could manage these interruptions with 300 or 400 pounds of canoe, motor, and gear a lot easier than with 3000 or 4000 pounds of jetboat and gear.
Then, when I知 an old geezer, using the canoe might keep me on the river when freeing a stuck jetboat becomes harder with the passing years.
I壇 like the advantage of being able to go slowly in skinny water with less stress. Is the motor and canoe combination stable? Suppose there were an obstacle ahead in the channel that you could not go around, it's about a 6 mph current, and you had to make an evasive U-turn. If you then started bumping bottom half way through the turn, would capsizing the canoe be a likely hazard?
Originally Posted by rifleman
Leaves, slush and ice have always been a pain boating late in the year with a jet boat and always will.
There is no doubt that the lighter your outfit is the easier it will be when the water drops out
Being I am right there at geezer hood myself I agree that to keep things lighter and physically simpler will keep you out there more.
As far as stability goes I would much rather be in a round bilged freighter than a hard chined jet boat if striking bottom sideways in strong current, not that I relish either option.
I hope this helps. If you want pm me and we can chat more in depth.
Originally Posted by oyster
yikes, I can relate.. I play hockey all Winter to stay in shape.. my knee went out a couple weeks ago, and my back went out yesterday... starting to get concerned about dragging a canoe 20 miles up river.. dreading the day I am forced to simply fly in to some location, sit and phone in a hunt... I've never had to fly in anywhere to kill a moose.. even feel bad about using the 600 miles of road system to get to the put in .lol Those guys that walked in to Alaska.. Frank Glaser types.. .. can't find adventure on that level anymore.
mobility and health cannot be taken for granted!! Pretty amazing stuff.
Ain't that the truth. And neither can they be purchased.
Originally Posted by anchorrivercrowds
Heard a guy (older than me) say one time that he'd wished that when he was younger someone had told him that's the only body that he's going to get. He said if he'd have known that, he'd have taken care of his!
I keep telling my son that, but seems to have no effect.
Originally Posted by FamilyMan
I love mine and have been operating it for 3 years now. I have the HB 21 ft.and the Mudbuddy 23hp. I burn about a gallon an hour, 30 gal of fuel will take you a long ways.
It's very stable , even with 4 guys fishing at valdez you don't have to pay much attention to keeping the top side on top.
I need to have a removable top added for traveling in the wind, side splash at speed will drench both riders.
The motor tiller needs an extension to make standing easier, I added about 30 inches to mine.
It would also be more comfortable to use in shallow water if the tiller had a ratchet stop to assist in lifting the motor.
It's hard to find a good tension on the tiller screw that will stay there while you travel and use the lift feature of the motor.
I had a 20 hp honda to start and shallow water was a no go. I wish the M buddy was as easy to steer as the honda but for now it's the best I've seen.
Jetboater get ready to have the time of your life from idle to 20mph you have the river at your service.
COME ON breakup!