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Thread: Narrowing a Cataraft

  1. #1
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    Question Narrowing a Cataraft

    I was wondering if anybody had tried narrowing a cat frame. I have a AIRE Leopard and I have been thinking about narrowing the frame and was wondering if it had been done. How would it handle and what kind of a load would it handle? I have a inflatable canoe but a good buddy of mine is wanting to come up and do a moose hunt. Instead of renting or buying another canoe I was thinking about trying to narrow my cat. The river is not wide enough for the cat and the canoe works great. Thanks for any info.

    450

  2. #2

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    Just cut your frame down , and it will answer your question!! It all depends on tube size, length, ect. Hey it is all what you need or want!
    Just my thoughts and experience== A Kat is a Kat!! she is fun but not a raft and will never carry the weight. Love them both!!
    As always -Goo

  3. #3
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    I narrowed my Aire Cougar frame by 6" some years ago. It was fairly easy in my case. Pretty much just like Goo said, "just cut your frame down." A hack saw will work. Another option is to buy more frame rail and cut it into shorter pieces than you have now. That way it would be easy to widen again. The difficulty is getting the new bolt holes to line up on all the old NRS Low Pro fittings. It's easier to buy new fittings, but I've been able to just eyeball it well enough with the existing fittings. Another issue is if you have a seat rail that uses a welded on seat base. Then you will have to remove 1/2 the amount of narrowing from each side and then drill for two new fittings. Otherwise the seat would be off center.

    However, if your frame uses the custom NRS yokes instead of just standard cross rails, you will have to come up with another solution. In that case replacing the yokes with cross rails and drop rails will work.

    All that said, I'm not sure what you have planned is a good idea if you are taking a lot out of it. The Leopard has large diameter tubes and the center of gravity might be a little tall for a significantly narrow boat. Also your oars will be too long, but perhaps you were thinking about converting to paddles anyway.

  4. #4
    Member BlueMoose's Avatar
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    As always Goo and Jim thank you for you expertise and insight always appreciated and needed.

    450 - couple of things to consider as well is the over all cost of narrowing your frame for a specific reason. Mind you Jim did point out that would allow you to have two options which is and always will be a great thing.

    For Argument sake lets look at your overall cost. - 12 Low Pro's or other fittings lets so 20 bucks each 6 for the bottom and 6 for the top so $240.00 math in public sorry all. Pipe about 22ft give or take a few feet about 4.00 bucks per foot an additional 88 bucks worse case plus Stainless bolts etc.. another 8 bucks as well ass a potential reconfiguration of or oar set up 2 min at 90 bucks each you can use your blades from your old oars. $180.00. ruff guestimate potentially over $500.00 to do the trick out on your frame.

    So the question is how much do you wish to Narrow from 42 inch bars down low to 30 inch bars same goes with the top from 68 inches to 60 inches etc.... so on an so forth.

    You bet it can be done however and this is just thinking out loud is a potential used canoe in your future?

    I will be more available after next week if this can wait for a while give me a shout sometime after 20 Sept when I have a little more room to breath. I have the pipe cutter and tube bender if you want to do the work.

    Regards

    RMM BMR.

  5. #5
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    I had a Leopard for years that had a convertible frame on it. Each cross-bar had a section in it that could be removed to narrow the boat (it was sleeved and ferruled like many of us do with the long bars). To be honest, I don't think I ever ran it in the narrow configuration, but it was a nice option.

    Jay Massey's boats were rigged the same way. He was running the original Panther cats over on the Moose John for many years, and needed a narrow frame for that river.

    -Mike
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  6. #6
    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
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    Please consider a couple things before narrowing your frame.

    1) If your intent is to make the boat more maneuverable, it wont. Aside from the modifications to your frame you will also need to change the pivot point on your oars: Further up the shaft towards the handles which will lessen your mechanical advantage when rowing.

    Or, you'll need to shorten your oars to maintain the current ratio, or buy new ones

    2) Narrowing the frame decreases lateral stability. All else being equal a wider boat is less likely to overturn

    If your motivation is to make your Leopard more small/fast water user-friendly? Sell it as it is and get a Jag or any similarly designed 16' boat.
    If cave men had been trophy hunters the Wooly Mammoth would be alive today

  7. #7
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    Thanks everyone for your info and suggestions. Its something I am kicking around instead of paying $2k for another used canoe. Also selling the cat is not a option in my book. I would not be cutting any of my current frame parts. The last thing I want to do is screw up my current frame because then I would just have the tubes to ride.

    BlueMoose....This is not something real pressing. It would be used next year at the earliest. I may talk to you a little later about this adventure and thanks for offering help/assistance.

    Erik in AK....I would set it up pretty much the same way as my inflatable canoe with rowing frame and oars. As long as the frame is positioned right the canoe responds great with the oars. My biggest concern is the height of the cat tubes but as long as I don't go to narrow it should be ok.

    450

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