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Thread: Raft hung up on rocks?

  1. #1
    Member 6XLeech's Avatar
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    Default Raft hung up on rocks?

    The situation became awkward for several years for a friend of mine, who finally convinced his wife to try rafting on the upper Kenai. On their first float (in separate rafts - prob a tactical mistake), they were separated on the stream when her raft got hung up midstream on a rock. Convincing her to try float trip after that was tough, though she eventually did go and they have since had great times doing so.

    My only experience with getting very-stuck on rock was another raft on multi raft trip - overloaded 16-ft Leopard and experienced rower but straddled big rock in mid-river. Solution required rope and plenty of pull from bank. Keeping the bigger heavier raft off gravel bars, etc was problem the whole time, but when it straddled this big rock, we had 1-2 hours of unscheduled entertainment. It was good we had rope. Anybody have experience with raft hung on rocks? Thanks.

  2. #2
    Member 6XLeech's Avatar
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    Default High centered on rock

    Brian Richardson discussed "Point Loading" in older thread: http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...+hung+on+rock: - and excerpted below with one of Brian's photos. Great post by Brian on this topic really and he explains how the situation can be used for leverage/advantage. I added italics/underline, but here are his comments:

    One characteristic of a CataRaft design is that it will point load on a hazard like the 'high-centering' you described or this can happen on parts of the tubes clean out of the water getting stuck on a log, knob, boulder etc.

    While in your scenario, you likely have a few things going on... one important bit of physics is that much of the boat weight + energy force of the current is bearing (read as transferring load) on the higher friction (read as traction point) rock --- meanwhile the rest of the boat dynamic is very little surface tension (read this a surfing as water passes downstream of the boat).

    As you said - this can be a real dilemma under certain circumstances where the water is too deep, too fast, other hazards lurk just dealing with the pickle you could be in.

    First thing in a CataRaft if this happens:
    (beyond the watch where you are going lol.)
    While a point load can be worrisome, tiresome, pain-in the-butt-some... This is also a quality in itself of the CataRaft design. What do I mean? The fact that a CataRaft has very little surface tension compared with Self-Bailing rafts means that if you float into a hazard (something solid like rocks and wood or liquid like hydraulic keepers) you are far less likely to take on water, lose performance, or flip. In effect - I'm saying what hangs you up does in fact handily up margin of error and adds to safety.... in turn also getting you through tougher situations confidently and easier. Feel good that you are in a CataRaft #1 here!

    Second thing is that many times upon a point load the CataRaft will give you a little time to establish the immediate hazard that has you hung-up, form some strategies, then actually start doing something about it. In your case sounds like plenty of time! So do not stress mentally blow yourself out in no time physically. #2 is See, Assess, then put strategy to work. If you have others in the boat communicate clearly what you plan to do and what may be expected of them to cooperate if needed.

    Like you said too deep, and tried poling.... Generally this is often a bad idea and bad form. Good way to loose oars! Good way to get vaulted out! Good way to break stuff like the oar or bashing stuff and folks on the boat! Good way in get hurt yourself! Very limited lift or power often waste of time and energy! BAD FORM!!!

    This also goes for most arm and leg push-offs with loaded rafts in this situation... Bad Form!

    Most successful way to get off a point loading is attempting to find just the right spin free dynamic... like a sweet spot... work with the river and feel where you can take advantage... sort of the teasing the currents power trend (also what's keeping you there by the way) and levering off in the same sequence of moves. Often this means dipping your blades in active water that is doing something for you in addition to maximizing your own row station power zone --- such as face upstream with your body reaching downstream of a rock hazard holding steady or pushing against it (this water is recirculating up-stream) and holding steady or pulling well upstream with the other oar (water is flowing downstream).

    Another way is to slowly coax the point-loading further away from its holding power and gain progressive boat real-estate from the hazard. Key is go slow even if a Baptism looks possible. People with panic that try to work it too quickly almost always burn out tired in no time and may make things worse.

    Occasionally you can use one point load as a strategic solution to lessen the problematic point. An alignment of sorts and lesser of two evils.

    You talked about more or less a pinned situation of no gettin' 'er done unless you exit the boat and devise a haul with rope-line... be it in-line man-power, Z-Drags, and other forms force multipliers. Not a great situation to be in, yet a darn good thing to know how to deal with and be equipped having the proper rescue gear. I won't get into how you 'wet exit' your raft and how to set traverses, wall-hauls, and Z-drags... that is for another discussion, or we can show you a practical demo and the right stuff to have at our shop.

    Hope this helps -

    BR_point loading post.jpg

  3. #3

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    I just recently uploaded a video that i did of how to create (bushcraft) a very simple but effective winch system. The "winch" does require that you be equipped with sufficient size and length of rope. Being familiar with how to construct this simple but effective winch can come in very handy. For those interested, the video link is below.


    a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OkeZ1TLipaY" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">

  4. #4
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    In a heavy loaded boat situation, if your just stable and stuck without any extreme angle or water coming over tubes, I first get the weight of passengers shifted and try and use the oars to do what others are talking about. If thats not working you can start trying to get gear off the stuck tube(s) to lighten the load. Of course this only works if you can get the gear thrown to other boats or shore, or a big enough raft to move it around to the opposite tubes. You can also try deflating the stuck tube (obviously it cant be covered in gear). You do risk a tear doing this, but if you cant get to shore to set up a z-drag, thats an option for self rescue.

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