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Thread: Barge Raft instead of Catacanoe?

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    Default Barge Raft instead of Catacanoe?

    There's always somebody (like me) asking crazy questions but I'm humble enough to throw it out to those who have far more rafting experience than me. I've read the opinions on Catacanoes and understand it's an expensive mistake according to some. I also see where they are very wide and could be difficult to maneuver. I'm planning some future float hunts for 2-3 hunters on a Class I/II river. I might even have a 4th hunter. I own a few canoes and use them to line up river so I'm naturally attracted to the skinny rafts like Goo's moose boat or Larry's Levitator. I can sell a canoe or two and convince my wife I'm just replacing them (wink). 2 of either of these boats would be way too wide side by side to handle on a river which brings me to my crazy question. Why can't a guy take 2 skinny rafts (both with oar setups and frame) and attach them end to end? 2 extra poles (1 on each side) with a couple if fittings that look like "m" to bolt the pole to the frame side by side on each raft frame connecting the 2 rafts. This would make a very long barge but would also have 2 rowers. The raft frames and connecting poles would distribute weight and allow for that extra hunter/moose. No? Yes? Maybe? or Go drink another eggnog?

    Oh, I know I can get a "BIGGER" raft but I'm trying to keep the individual carry weight down and I want something that can play double duty as a lining rig for the Haul Rd and such.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Boud'arc View Post
    There's always somebody (like me) asking crazy questions but I'm humble enough to throw it out to those who have far more rafting experience than me. I've read the opinions on Catacanoes and understand it's an expensive mistake according to some. I also see where they are very wide and could be difficult to maneuver. I'm planning some future float hunts for 2-3 hunters on a Class I/II river. I might even have a 4th hunter. I own a few canoes and use them to line up river so I'm naturally attracted to the skinny rafts like Goo's moose boat or Larry's Levitator. I can sell a canoe or two and convince my wife I'm just replacing them (wink). 2 of either of these boats would be way too wide side by side to handle on a river which brings me to my crazy question. Why can't a guy take 2 skinny rafts (both with oar setups and frame) and attach them end to end? 2 extra poles (1 on each side) with a couple if fittings that look like "m" to bolt the pole to the frame side by side on each raft frame connecting the 2 rafts. This would make a very long barge but would also have 2 rowers. The raft frames and connecting poles would distribute weight and allow for that extra hunter/moose. No? Yes? Maybe? or Go drink another eggnog?

    Oh, I know I can get a "BIGGER" raft but I'm trying to keep the individual carry weight down and I want something that can play double duty as a lining rig for the Haul Rd and such.
    hi boudarc,
    I have rafted two grabner Trekkers together and they work well in water that is not too white and they are not wide in my opinion for small creeks.
    I used to hunt out of a aire cougar set up almost 9' wide, I always got comments on how the heck did you get that thing down this skinny water.
    It worked well.
    I feel if you tie two boats end to end you will find that with the length you will have a hard time maneuvering.
    If you are going to have two oar stations why not keep the boats separated.
    just one nitwits thoughts

  3. #3

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    Hey Oyster,

    First off, nice work on your canoes.

    I guess I'm trying to make a silk purse out of a sows ear. Using the Aire traveler as an example because that seems to be the choice that everyone brings up. The traveler can carry 750+/- by itself but side by side it can carry nearly 2500 according to some on this forum. Using this example: If I framed two 12' rafts side by side they should haul much more together than separate but side by side they would be over 10' wide. If framed end to end would I get the additional load capacity, keep the rig at normal width and still be able to maneuver the rig down stream with the extra length?

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    Member jaydog's Avatar
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    Proximity between rafts or canoes doesn't change the laws of physics. Load capacity is still load capacity and displacement is still displacement. Trying to manuver a 26'+ boat down a small river could be asking for trouble with the huge decrease in manuverability. Take two rafts if you need them, but keep them separated. Safety first!

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    Wow interesting subject I am with Jaydog so plus one. I do like the outside the box tinkering though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Boud'arc View Post
    Hey Oyster,

    First off, nice work on your canoes.

    I guess I'm trying to make a silk purse out of a sows ear. Using the Aire traveler as an example because that seems to be the choice that everyone brings up. The traveler can carry 750+/- by itself but side by side it can carry nearly 2500 according to some on this forum. Using this example: If I framed two 12' rafts side by side they should haul much more together than separate but side by side they would be over 10' wide. If framed end to end would I get the additional load capacity, keep the rig at normal width and still be able to maneuver the rig down stream with the extra length?
    Hey bourd'arc,
    thank you for your kind words.
    Maybe a cheap way to prove your theory would to raft your hard shell canoes both side by side and or end for end to see what shakes out.
    A couple fellas on a small creek I used to hunt saw my cat boat and cut poles to lash their canoes together and said it made getting downriver not only safer but more enjoyable.
    If you want we can we can take the grabners and cowboy something together to see how they do end to end, if nothing else we can have some fun.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jaydog View Post
    Proximity between rafts or canoes doesn't change the laws of physics. Load capacity is still load capacity and displacement is still displacement. Trying to manuver a 26'+ boat down a small river could be asking for trouble with the huge decrease in manuverability. Take two rafts if you need them, but keep them separated. Safety first!
    Hi jay dog,
    I agree that displacement is displacement and that can not be changed,but I feel you can load a 6' wide boat to less freeboard than a 3' wide boat, with more safety because of more stability. I will also say my days of loading boats to the nuts are over, I am all about safety as well.
    thank you

  8. #8

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    My GOD!! DO NOT THETER two rafts end to end. call SOTAR they will build you what you want!! In my opinion rivers are unforgiving. Just buy 2 boats from who ever you think is best USA-china. ect. BAD Idea-- only my hunble thoughts.
    Goo

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    Quote Originally Posted by Boud'arc View Post

    The traveler can carry 750+/- by itself but side by side it can carry nearly 2500 according to some on this forum.
    This statement is patently flawed - it just isn't so. As Oyster says above - putting two Travelers together side by side as a catacanoe will give you increased stability because of the increased overall beam - which will translate to a small increase in overall capacity because you can "safely" overload the boats a little bit more. It certainly won't buy you 1000lbs of increased load stability in even a relatively easy Class II section of river.

    Tying them together to make a long skinny boat - no gain in stability, huge loss in maneuverability, and no net gain in carrying capacity. Why do it?

    Guys have been playing with boats since the day the first caveman figured out he could ride a log down a river. Lots of smart guys, dumb guys, crazy guys, curious guys, and even some dead guys. This idea has been floated before and it hasn't survived for good reasons. I don't have the knowledge that guys like Goo, Blue Moose, Brian R, Jim Strutz, etc have, but I'm a long time hardshell whitewater paddler and I'm on our local swiftwater rescue team. Do the guys who do rescues and body recoveries a favor - if you HAVE to try this because you're one of those guys who simply has to see/do/try it for himself (and hey - this kind of behavior is what drives mankind's evolution!) - give it a go in a local lake. Be safe - and have fun!

  10. #10

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    I didn't make up the example. I pulled it from a previous thread in which no one disagreed at the time. Admittedly, I'm not an experienced float hunter which is why I posed the question after reviewing the archives. If I go out with 3 buddies I don't plan to come back with just two.

    Goo, you'll be my first call when I'm ready to order. The more I look at your drawings the more I like your "Moose Boat" over the Strike. Especially if we could get that thing another foot or two longer without making it too heavy to carry on an ole' man's back. Maybe the real answer is to just buy one boat, pick my best friend and let my other buddies fend for themselves.

  11. #11

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    I did not mean to sound so brutal last night, but having worked on a tug boat, on the lower Mississippi, back in the 60's, I know from experience how hard it is to control end to end boats. Last May during the all time record flood I saw a very large tug hit a piling on the Natchez bridge because of the extra strong current. I had the same experience when I was quite young pushing butane barges Me and the the other deck hand jumped in the river. All went well, but is still stuck in my brain!!
    SOTAR can build any size, length, tube size, width, for a change design cost.
    Good luck on your project and if I can help with any input, feel free to get in touch with me.
    Sincerely,
    Goo

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    I've played with end-to-end rafts a few times. You tie them up so that the joint between boats can't flex and off you go. Last time we did it with 4 18" self bailers in one long train. It was mostly fun because of the near complete lack of control, but it was also just a little faster. I do not recommend it unless there is almost no current and plenty of room to play with.

    I still think the side-by-side option can work well. It's pretty wide, but they must be making those 12' oars for somebody. My double Lynx setup was a lot of fun, but they were framed together without any gap between them.

    Still, for practical and safe use it's tough to beat the single boat designs we have today.

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    I have seen photos of a side by side raft (2 lashed together) and a big spotting platform between the two for sale on craigslist. It appeared very cumbersome, but it looked like they floated a lot of water that way.
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  14. #14

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    It will greatly depend on which river your float. if it's a river with tight turns or fast currents, don't try the barge idea...but on the yukon, you'll probably get away with the concept. on a typical river though, forget that nonsense and go traditional raft vs barge. you won't be able to tether two large rafts together and actually control it...you'll just bounce from bank to bank and be at the mercy of the current and channel. sounds like a terrible idea though.

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    Default Barge Raft instead of Catacanoe?

    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Bartlett View Post
    It will greatly depend on which river your float. if it's a river with tight turns or fast currents, don't try the barge idea...but on the yukon, you'll probably get away with the concept. on a typical river though, forget that nonsense and go traditional raft vs barge. you won't be able to tether two large rafts together and actually control it...you'll just bounce from bank to bank and be at the mercy of the current and channel. sounds like a terrible idea though.
    Then toss in a tight oxbow with a few sweepers piled up on a log jam. Shoring quickly to avoid river hazards is challenging enough but barging with a second raft, you now have a lot more weight working against you.
    We do not go to the green woods and crystal waters to rough it, we go to smooth it. We get it rough enough at home; in towns and cities; in shops, offices, stores, banks anywhere that we may be placed

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    Quote Originally Posted by Boud'arc View Post
    ...The traveler can carry 750+/- by itself but side by side it can carry nearly 2500 according to some on this forum. Using this example: If I framed two 12' rafts side by side they should haul much more together than separate but side by side they would be over 10' wide...
    I'm probably one of the guys you're talking about here. Remember that your first number is the one AIRE notes as the Traveler's capacity. But many of us believe those numbers are on the conservative side, because AIRE is being careful. Additionally, AIRE caters quite a bit to the whitewater market, where light loads rule the day. Regardless of the reason, there is no industry standard for calculating raft capacity. What would be really great is a chart that shows displacement from 1" to 12" or so, with loads assigned to each inch of displacement. Then all we'd have to do is figure out how much displacement we are comfortable with, given the depth of the river we intend to float (see "Let the River Choose the Boat" on our Boat Selection page). But so far, we don't have a tool like that, so we are reduced to using our collective experiences as a guide. And those experiences, regardless of who we are or what agenda we may have, are all tainted to a degree. My advice on the Traveler question is to contact Tracey Harmon, of Marita Sea & Ski. He was one of the first I know of to actually use the Catacanoe concept on a moose hunt. My numbers came from his experiences.

    As to the width question, you've gotten a lot of good input here. The boat is as wide as you want it, because you can make the frame as wide as you want (anybody want to try a "Canoe Tri-maran"?). But it will only be as narrow as the combined width of the two canoes used. And of course the width question can only be decided when you know what rivers you plan to float. I've had many great float hunts with an AIRE Leopard, running a standard-width frame. Floated everything from the Noatak to a skinny little river (which shall remain unnamed) in GMU 19. Worked great.

    -Mike
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boud'arc View Post
    There's always somebody (like me) asking crazy questions but I'm humble enough to throw it out to those who have far more rafting experience than me. I've read the opinions on Catacanoes and understand it's an expensive mistake according to some. I also see where they are very wide and could be difficult to maneuver. I'm planning some future float hunts for 2-3 hunters on a Class I/II river. I might even have a 4th hunter. I own a few canoes and use them to line up river so I'm naturally attracted to the skinny rafts like Goo's moose boat or Larry's Levitator. I can sell a canoe or two and convince my wife I'm just replacing them (wink). 2 of either of these boats would be way too wide side by side to handle on a river which brings me to my crazy question. Why can't a guy take 2 skinny rafts (both with oar setups and frame) and attach them end to end? 2 extra poles (1 on each side) with a couple if fittings that look like "m" to bolt the pole to the frame side by side on each raft frame connecting the 2 rafts. This would make a very long barge but would also have 2 rowers. The raft frames and connecting poles would distribute weight and allow for that extra hunter/moose. No? Yes? Maybe? or Go drink another eggnog?

    Oh, I know I can get a "BIGGER" raft but I'm trying to keep the individual carry weight down and I want something that can play double duty as a lining rig for the Haul Rd and such.

    Really bad notion altogether!!! Never a good practice to tandem or tow downstream on moving water with paddle-craft. Even running moving water of seeming little to no demands... it places most any to all forms of often easily avoidable hazards at exponentially different extremes.

    Two unsafe examples (other than lack of control among literally dozens of others) are:
    A.) Wrapping (or double wrapping)
    B.) Anchoring Effect (where one load gets anchored on something while other remains in motion)

    Food for thought: Given the choice, I'd opt the SOTAR Strike for its exceptional handling on floats over more niche long skinny raft/canoe hybrids... just don't overload the Strike day-trip-fisher because that in turn takes away from it's purpose-built handling features (in a hurry) by the increased draft occurring relatively easily with every additional pound.

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    Have you ever seen the crazy raft concepts coming out of Russia over the years? True innovation! I think they were the ones that popularized the cataraft idea. Another was the ploht (I'm probably misspelling that). Imagine several very large diameter tubes or just large rafts tied side by side. Then the whole thing was turned so that the boats all ran sideways down the river, so that you had a very large and flexible craft. They usually run a sweep oar out of both ends (really the outward facing sides of the two end boats), just to move the boat sideways to the current to line it up for the next big drop. Always looked like fun to me and perhaps the one of the few ways to reasonably run high volume class VI water in a raft. ---- Devil's Canyon anyone?

  19. #19

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    For what its worth-- I was the head of the 1989 Australian team at the "CHUYA RALLY" world championships in the ALTAI MT's North of Mongolia. Like I have said-- it was a "yellow brick road" with 50+ world wide teams-- We all looked at each others stuff.
    Just back from some serious whitewater in Kamchatka in July-- Used state of the art Russian gear. That are SOTAR clones.
    Have been in their "ploats", strange donut stuff,2 and 4 man paddle cats and every other types of their crafts. The "KIND" is is our basic self bailing rafts.
    This is what I sell and send over there to the class companies. I did use a clone built in St. Peterburgs in class IV+ water-- was really *****ING!!! impressed with the quality and feel of this urethane raft.
    Again-- just my thoughts--
    Goo
    I do have some film of all these crafts from back then--- Will try to run them down!! And for what its worth-- they loose a lot more folks than we do -- Had to sigh a waiver not to run the upper canyon---- 2 Russians did drown during this stay on this section. If any of you know Steve Gillrow-- He is a professional film maker who was there during the crazy mishap. So glad I snuck out of camp and having a beer or two with some crazy Russian GIRLS!!
    Cheers,Goo

  20. #20

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    I've experimented with the tow-behind concept for hunting moose with packrafts. Here's what we did this year:

    A 9' packraft with a 6' dinghy lashed to the stern with 4 cam straps for rigidity. I paddled this barge 70 miles loaded with about 700 lbs onboard. River character was a fast class I-II creek with lots of tight corners, shallow riffles, and converging currents. By all accounts this rig system was sluggish and requires extreme attention to detail. The most challenging aspect of the float was maintaining control with a kayak paddle, coupled with converging currents.

    The tube suck factor is a serious threat with converging channels. The upstream side of the boats, especially the trailer, can easily flip your rig if you're not careful. It was pucker factor all day long for every mile, and I wouldn't recommend it for novice boaters.

    However, getting it done with a packraft requires some serious confidence and a lot of luck.

    This system weighed about 23 lbs total with the trailer, and floated a 5" draft (tube diameter 13"), so I was tapped out on capacity and needed 6" of river depth to clear rocks and riffles.

    larry

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