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Thread: Just bought my first raft for Alaska float trips!!

  1. #1
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Smile Just bought my first raft for Alaska float trips!!

    I have had a hard time finding a raft that I could fly with. Goo Vogt (Alaska Wildwater) hooked me up in a big way. He represents the sport well. He sold me one of his custom made Sotars from his rental fleet. Despite all the cons of the bucket boat, I feel that it will suit my needs perfectly. Namely because I will have to fly it up from North Carolina on all my float trips. It had to be under 100 lbs for me to fly with it on the airlines. Shipping cost are outrageous. I can fly with the raft I bought as checked luggage. I am having NRS make a custom break down frame so that no section will be longer than 3' and Cataract will make me some 9.5' 3 piece oars. The frame and oars will be in one duffle bag, and the raft in another duffle.

    I bought the raft today. It is a 15 ft custom made Sotar. It was in near new condition and comes with full warranty from Sotar. Price was $3,000. It has one thwart in the front, 10 D rings, is made from 40 oz urethane, has 4000 denier base, rolls to 32", and best of all, weighs 93 lbs (raft,twart, and boat bag). Thanks for all the help here on the forum. I appreciate it.

    Below are some pictures of the raft I bought. When the link opens, you can click "slideshow" in the upper right side of the page. Any opinions or thoughts on the raft? I need to get pumps, top off pump? throw bags, oars, frame, and such. Anyone have anything they would suggest to a guy with his first raft. How do you guys outfit your rafts for float trips? Anything you would add to this raft?

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/2114408...7606621126048/


    Thanks guys,
    Dan
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

  2. #2
    Member AKMarmot's Avatar
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    Default link check

    Dan
    Congrats on your purchase, it sounds tough.
    I'm sure there will be a few good suggestions as there is always something to learn & improve on from others. I will try & think of some of the little extras that help like a cargo platform to keep heavy things off the floor, the the crazy creek folding chair (like a thermarest style) will strap to a tube & allow a 3rd person to sit comfortably & have a back rest, or used by the person in the front if you go really light & dont' bring a second cooler or tote for them to use.
    One thing before I go on could you check the link

    Could be just me but the link does not seem work... get a page not found error message.

  3. #3
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Default Link...

    Here is the link again. Not sure what happened.


    http://www.flickr.com/photos/2114408...7606621126048/
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

  4. #4
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Default coolers..

    Forgot to mention, we don't take coolers. I will have a seat on the frame where I will pull the oars from. Just one thwart in the boat (up front). Wife sits there. I would wonder, are there taller oar arms you can get? I am tall and heavy. I was in a drift boat on the Kasilof and took over the oars briefly. They hit my legs when I pulled the oars out of the water. Any info on outfitting this raft is greatly appreciated. I could use some suggestions for sure. Thanks guys!
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

  5. #5
    Member BlueMoose's Avatar
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    Default Tall Mounts

    You have a high profile NRS Oar Mount 8 Inch and a low profile 6 in. which fits your standard oar lock if you go with Oar Sleeves and Knuckles. You can also use Pins and Clips they also have a tall and low. If your have NRS build your frame as stated just give them a shout and have them place the larger oaring system on your frame.

    However to be honest being that you were hitting your knees using a drfit boat was more likely caused by having the oars and system you were using not adjsted properly to your oaring style or seating position verses your oaring length.

    I am just over 6ft and have to adjust frames all the time i.e. seat verse distance to the oar mounts, rasing the mount slightly up verse slightly down, adjusting the oar sleeve length in or out becuase we send the boats out on rentals or other guides adjust to fit them.

    Lots of thought into the process. If you happen to be flying into Squarebanks give me a shout we can go over the entire proces in about 15 minutes to find your adjustment points.

    Congrats on the boat purchase and I am glad Goo hooked you up! I will tell you this though if you ever get caught in 5 days of rain OUCH! Bail Bail Bail. Purchase a bailing pump to save your days from having to use a can to bail your water out of the boat.

    Blue Moose

  6. #6
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    If you use pins & clips instead of sleeves and oarlocks, another adjustment point, besides the height of the oar mount stands, is the length of the pin. Normally they are 9" tall, and there is no adjustment. But if you use an 11" pin you can use a couple 1" spacers that will raise the pin height as needed. For short people the spacers go below the connection of the stand, but progressively taller people can use one or two spacers on top to raise the effective height of the pin. Instead of using a nut on the bottom of this pin/bolt, I drill a hole in the end of the bolt and use a clevis pin to hold it all together. This way no tools are needed to make a fast change when needed. NRS sells both 9" and 11" pin assemblies.

    Here is an NRS page showing the differences between Pins & Clips verses Oarlocks and Sleeves: http://www.nrsweb.com/frames/OarAcce...ptid=980&tn=48

    Another thing that local legend Pete Tryon taught me years ago was to split the usual plastic sleeve about half way up the oar stirrup, and place a very large washer around the bolt right where the split is. This way the oar's clip is usually at it's normal place at the bottom of the stirrup where you can get a better direct pull on the oars. But when the water gets a bit rough and starts rock the boat, and you can't get the oars to reliably clear the next wave, you quickly remount the oar's clip above the washer to raise the oar about 2 inches. This gives you 5-6" of higher lift at the blade. This trick can also be used for quickly switching between tall and short people to clear knees.

    I know that's confusing to describe, but if I get a chance I'll post a few pictures showing how it's done. Also, none of this works if you are using oarlocks & oar sleeves, and are reasons why pins and clips are preffered by many white water paddlers.

    BTW, when using pins & clips, I much prefer to use the stiffer Carlson stirrups in the maddening rush of whitewater, but the more flexible NRS stirrups are more durrable. Both are shown on that web page.

  7. #7
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by BlueMoose View Post

    If you happen to be flying into Squarebanks give me a shout we can go over the entire proces in about 15 minutes to find your adjustment points.

    Congrats on the boat purchase and I am glad Goo hooked you up! I will tell you this though if you ever get caught in 5 days of rain OUCH! Bail Bail Bail. Purchase a bailing pump to save your days from having to use a can to bail your water out of the boat.

    Blue Moose
    We drink hot liquor drinks on rainy days. As for Fairbanks, we will be going through there next summer. We will float the Alatna or Kongakut. Still getting info on those. If time allow, and it should, I will shoot you a message well ahead of time. Maybe you can give me some pointers over a cold one. Thanks man. I appreciate all the input.
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

  8. #8
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Strutz View Post
    I know that's confusing to describe, but if I get a chance I'll post a few pictures showing how it's done.
    That would be great. I would be lying if I said I fully understand what you are saying. I am not sure if oar pins and clips or sleeves and oar locks are what I need. I read the pros/cons on the link you sent (thanks) but still don't know which would be best for me. We will be floating easier rivers for the most part. Lots of class I/II rivers that have a few stretches of class III somewhere along their length. It will be the wife and I most the time, on a few trips possibly a third or fourth. But mostly just the wife and I. If it is easier, send the pics to my hotmail danattherock@hotmail.com Thanks again Jim!
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

  9. #9
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    Default Soar

    Congrats on the raft!!!here is how i set my Lev up for a weekend trip, 1" 1/8 plywood seats coverd in rhino lining,W/ comfy seat's straped to the ply seats,Cargo net,oar saddles & the best part it all rolls up with oar saddles & my plywood seats all under 120lbs and will fit in a cub..Good luck!!
    Attached Images Attached Images

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueMoose View Post
    Congrats on the boat purchase and I am glad Goo hooked you up! I will tell you this though if you ever get caught in 5 days of rain OUCH! Bail Bail Bail. Purchase a bailing pump to save your days from having to use a can to bail your water out of the boat.
    I thought SOTARs were self-bailing. Is the SOTAR Alaskan different?
    "The days a man spends fishing or spends hunting should not be deducted from the time he's on earth. " Theodore Roosevelt

  11. #11
    Member BlueMoose's Avatar
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    Default Purchased a custom made Sotar

    From what I gather it was a boat made for Goo by Sotar that was then sold to danattherock which was a non-bailing boat.

    Blue Moose

  12. #12
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Default Yep...

    Bluemoose is right.

    This a custom made Sotar. It is a little narrower at 40" inside the tubes (width wise), it is 14' 5" long, has a standard floor, no chafe pads, no rear thwart, and weighs only 93 lbs (in the boat bag with the front thwart). Perfect for flying around with. Below are some pictures.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/2114408...7606621126048/
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

  13. #13
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Default Nice...

    Quote Originally Posted by reilly View Post
    Congrats on the raft!!!here is how i set my Lev up for a weekend trip, 1" 1/8 plywood seats coverd in rhino lining,W/ comfy seat's straped to the ply seats,Cargo net,oar saddles & the best part it all rolls up with oar saddles & my plywood seats all under 120lbs and will fit in a cub..Good luck!!


    Thanks for the picture man. Nice set up.
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

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