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Thread: Raft Motor Question

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Anchor Point

    Default Raft Motor Question

    I am thinking about buying a Aire Leopard 18ft Cataraft.
    I have a 24ft fishing boat that weights about 7000lbs.
    On this boat I have a 10hp Yamaha High Thrust trolling motor.
    It will move my boat at maximum speed of 5-6 knts.

    Would this type of motor move a loaded Leopard raft against a river current?
    Kenai River
    Sag River
    Ivishak River

    If not what hp motor would you use?
    I am told a jet drive is not advised for a Cataraft.


  2. #2
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 1999
    Anchorage, Alaska


    Ken, I tested a 22' cataraft with a large jet motor on it. It's all about rigging, and the technology is new enough that no consistent standards have developed yet.

    Your outboard will not push you upstream with any kind of a load on any of the rivers you mentioned. You need a lot more horses for that.

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  3. #3
    Member TWB's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006


    My observations on the river, 20hp minimum.

    Perhaps get yourself dialed in and ready for a motor and extend an offer of help to others here, perhaps a few people can go out with you and do some testing.

    Also drop a call over to Alaska Raft, I'm sure they can get you squared away on ideas.
    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

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Anchorage, AK - Alaska Raft & Kayak


    When we talk about a leopard its all going to depend on how much you weight you want to move and how fast. That 10hp would move that leopard upstream very slowly empty with one man onboard. Most the main river kenai is 5-8mph so It wont take much of a load to put a hualt to that. TWB is right on....20hp with the right prop will push a good load upstream but not breaking any speed will take a 50hp to take a full load(4-5 people and some fishing gear) upstream on step efficiently.I have seen it done with 40hp but coming out of the hole took a good run. I would recomend taking a look at the suzuki 20hp 4 stroke...its the lightest on the market I believe for a 20hp 4 stroke at 104lbs. A 50hp will be weighing in over 200lbs. Also might consider a two stroke to save weight. Also note to make a cataraft get on step and stay takes some modifications to the frame mainly the containment of spray in betweenthe cat tubes. Do use that 10hp to get you across open water like skilak lake into the middle river or any float that requires starting or ending in lake systems will help battle against wind taking you off course. Only thing worse than slow moving current is no current!

  5. #5
    Member IndyCzar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Just 55 miles north of ANC ... on the lake


    I pretty much have the same set up you are asking about...18' Lion...a 20 HP Honda with a good prop and a whale tail...dry weight 104 lbs...There is some cavitation still with at the back end but its a nice set up and scoots across the lake well...before the winter is over I am going to fabricate a rear splash shield to go around the motor area between the tubes to prevent cavitation while on the step...pops on and off pretty easily when rafting in non motorized areas...I use the UTV for a temp stand to transport motor to and from raft...

  6. #6
    Member 6XLeech's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Eagle River


    There was a fishing guide on the Talkeetna who ran an 18ft cataraft up to the Clear Creek junction. Flow on that river probably vaires a lot. I didn't notice the HP on his outboard jet, but with four clients and a cooler the load was probably in the 1,000lbs range. Maybe someone knows what he's running? Good luck.


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