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Thread: Any inflatable jet boat owners out there?

  1. #1
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    Default Any inflatable jet boat owners out there?

    I'm wondering if any of you have any experience with inflatable jet boats? I like the concept - portability, packability, lightweight, seemingly can get to spots where no other boat can go - but am not sure of all the pros and cons. I've owned various prop and jet boats in the past, but am looking for something to access smaller and more remote rivers. I'd like to find a good approach for getting dropped off in the headwaters of remote rivers, moose hunting, and floating out. Non-motorized rafts and inflatable canoes are slow when one gets to the flats, especially in a head wind. A small jet would at least putt its way out.

    I've checked into the Alaska Series inflatable jets (13'2" and 14'2") and they seem like a potentially good option. Is this a crazy idea, and are there better options out there?

    Any thoughts and advice will be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks, Mark

  2. #2
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    Default I have a Aire Power Traveler

    The Aire Power Traveler sounds like the boat that you described. It is 17' long, about 54" wide at the stern, and weighs in with the rowing frame at about 110 lbs. I use a 20 hp Mercury jet on it. I have primarily used it on the Knik River, Little Sue, and Kenai (for floating) but also bought it for the flexibility of flying into remote streams or taking it up the Haul Road to run on the Sag River. The transom on this boat is actually part of the rowing frame and not attached to the boat. The nice part about this is that it makes it more of a self bailing boat. I know, I went upstream one evening on the Knik River against 4-5' waves (a very strong head wind) and the water that came over into the boat drained out the stern. Wet but not any danger of sinking. The most important part of this boat is to make sure and inflate the floor of the boat to 3.25 lbs. This helps maintain the rigidity of the floor to keep a clean flow of water to the jet. I also added jet fins to my motor. These all help keep the boat from cavitating. I have GPS'd myself going about 12-15 mph upstream on the Knik and Little Sue. Hope this helps. If you have other questions you might want to speak with Tracy at Alaska Raft and Kayak.

  3. #3
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    Default pics Lefty?

    Lefty, do you have any pictures of your power traveler that you could post?

  4. #4
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    Default Aire Power Traveler

    Thanks Lefty for the info. That was very helpful. Yes, the APT sounds like a potentially very good option. I like that a 20 horse pushes it along so well. Plenty fast for my needs. And the weight seems excellent. And I like that it's self-bailing. After your post I phoned the folks at Alaska Raft and Kayak, Blue Moose Rafting, and Aire to talk about the APT and some other potential options. One suggested thinking about framing two Aire canoes together. That's an interesting idea, and undoubtedly tried by others. That would give a person the option to use each canoe separately too. Given your experinece with the APT, what are your thoughts on the Aire canoe pontoon idea vs. the APT?

    After talking to folks, it sounds like cavitation is the biggest potential problem with the APT. But it sounds like you've gotten that pretty well worked out. Any more thoughts you could share on that? What I absolutely don't want to do is put a lot of money into something only to find it is finicky and unreliable. Your 20hp Merc is a 30hp powerhead I presume? What does it weigh in at? And about how much fuel does it consume, let's say going ~30 miles upriver on a river like the Su with no headwind?

    Do you have a few pictures you could post or send?

    Thanks for your help.

    Mark

  5. #5

    Default PT

    I thought they were having trouble getting the power traveller working with a jet? I was looking into one a while ago and they told me the power traveller was more a prop boat. How much cavitation you having with it. How shallow are you travelling?



    And it's gonna be hard to find a jet light enuf to be portable anymore.

  6. #6
    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    Default Jet Ranger

    A Jet Ranger sounds like what you need. Check out my thread on mine. PM me with any questions.
    http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...ad.php?t=31141

    Steve
    "I refuse to let the things I can't do stop me from doing the things I can"
    Founding Member
    http://www.residenthuntersofalaska.org/

  7. #7
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    Default Power Traveler

    Sorry, but I have not kept records on fuel consumption but it doesn't burn too much. I think the weight of the 20 hp jet is about 110-115 lbs. I have yet to run a prop on the boat and you guys are correct that cavitation is always an issue. You need to have proper placement of weight in the boat. If there is only one person in the boat will want to make sure and put weight up in the bow. I have run the boat in less than a foot of water. I have a video that I got a while back about this boat and I will try and see if I can attach it to this post. The video is of this boat on the Snake River in Idaho. Pretty interesting.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Default Sorry wrong picture

    Sorry about that. I will try and find it again.

  9. #9
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    Default Sorry about the video

    Sorry it took so long but this video file is pretty large to attach. Unfortunately, it was too large to attach in this forum and I don't have any pictures available right now. If you want, email me and I will try and send it to your personal email address or if someone has any other ideas let me know.

  10. #10
    Moderator Alaskacanoe's Avatar
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    Default Cordova Fish & Game

    Now use the Jet Ranger, along with 3 Moose and Bear guides over in that country.
    Glen Alsworth over at Lake Clark has two that his group uses to access the swallow rivers in that country.
    I have not used one yet, but have seen videos of them in action and no bad reviews.
    Max
    When you come to a fork in the trail, take it!

    Rentals for Canoes, Kayaks, Rafts, boats serving the Kenai canoe trail system and the Kenai river for over 15 years. www.alaskacanoetrips.com

  11. #11
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    Default new merc weights

    Sound like interesting rigs. I'd sure like to get in one sometime and see how it operates. I was told that the Ak Series 14'2" Jet Ranger (?) w/ a 30/21 hp on it will push it at 22 mph, empty (I think) and that they have a hard time planing w/ over 900 lbs in them. That is pretty good, to me. If you are going to run a new Merc, the 30 hp weighs 172 lbs, while the 25 hp weighs 157. The 25 hp jet is 186 lbs. Surprisingly, a Honda 30 hp weighs 159 lbs. If you can find a 25 hp Yam 2-stroke, which I believe can take a jet unit, they are right near 105 lbs. I used to pack mine around, and it ain't no 150 lb mutha. (All hp's measured at the water.)

  12. #12

    Default build a rigid hull

    I bought a 12' Saturn, one of those chinese inflatables.
    Picked up two sheets 4'x8' 1/4" HDPE. Then bought one of the 3/4" (lighter and softer plastic) and cut out some stringers. Designed with the extra 5" that the jet adds to the short shaft at the transom and followed the deadrise on the existing transom (I think it must be around 5 to 8 degrees) Then bought dow bouancy billets and custom cut with a crown on the top (so when on plane water will run off between the hull and the foam) and fastened the thing to the transom with two brackets and turn buckles. On the front I used small rope thru stainless eyes and fastend to the D rings on the side and front of the tubes.
    Yamaha 25 hp short shaft with jet kit from California. Carried three of us, 440lbs total (we're little) with 6 gals of fuel, modest supplies, cooler, fishing pole, air pump ect. nicely. I rigged a hand operated trim tab on a piano hinge on the thing. When it came time to take off, apply my weight to the trim tab and hammer down on the throttle, the boat with just me in it will plane in a boat lenght. All three of us takes a deeper hole and much more lenght. Talk about turn! like a jet ski, you can make a 180* in a 15' wide channel easily, done it a hundred times.
    I have made plenty of 35 miles trips on six gallons with fuel left over. With all three of us and gear crusing speed is between 14 and 20 mph. It runs shallow, just inches. In fact the less water under it the higher it rides. It actually struggles in the Talkeetna in those deeper more turbulent channels. Find a clear water stream just about knee high and its really at home. 4" water hammer down keep the foot out of the rocks and the hull will slide over any thing, including downed trees sticking out of the water.
    Now the cost, over 6000.00. I can't even imagine the countless hours I spent building that hull and cutting foam and tweeking motor height and trim. Pm me if interested I'll fill you in on logistics.
    I'll try to post a picture, I don't have but a few, I no longer need it. Its now scattered across the country. (don't ask, long story) I do know though that this motor in my garage is really not a good home for it, it needs to get its foot wet.

  13. #13
    Member tboehm's Avatar
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    Default interesting

    Quote Originally Posted by canyoncastle View Post
    I bought a 12' Saturn, one of those chinese inflatables.
    Picked up two sheets 4'x8' 1/4" HDPE. Then bought one of the 3/4" (lighter and softer plastic) and cut out some stringers. Designed with the extra 5" that the jet adds to the short shaft at the transom and followed the deadrise on the existing transom (I think it must be around 5 to 8 degrees) Then bought dow bouancy billets and custom cut with a crown on the top (so when on plane water will run off between the hull and the foam) and fastened the thing to the transom with two brackets and turn buckles. On the front I used small rope thru stainless eyes and fastend to the D rings on the side and front of the tubes.
    Yamaha 25 hp short shaft with jet kit from California. Carried three of us, 440lbs total (we're little) with 6 gals of fuel, modest supplies, cooler, fishing pole, air pump ect. nicely. I rigged a hand operated trim tab on a piano hinge on the thing. When it came time to take off, apply my weight to the trim tab and hammer down on the throttle, the boat with just me in it will plane in a boat lenght. All three of us takes a deeper hole and much more lenght. Talk about turn! like a jet ski, you can make a 180* in a 15' wide channel easily, done it a hundred times.
    I have made plenty of 35 miles trips on six gallons with fuel left over. With all three of us and gear crusing speed is between 14 and 20 mph. It runs shallow, just inches. In fact the less water under it the higher it rides. It actually struggles in the Talkeetna in those deeper more turbulent channels. Find a clear water stream just about knee high and its really at home. 4" water hammer down keep the foot out of the rocks and the hull will slide over any thing, including downed trees sticking out of the water.
    Now the cost, over 6000.00. I can't even imagine the countless hours I spent building that hull and cutting foam and tweeking motor height and trim. Pm me if interested I'll fill you in on logistics.
    I'll try to post a picture, I don't have but a few, I no longer need it. Its now scattered across the country. (don't ask, long story) I do know though that this motor in my garage is really not a good home for it, it needs to get its foot wet.
    Do you have some pictures that you can share with us?

  14. #14

    Default

    I need to spend some time in the FAQ section, I tried but I have no clue how to get them from my camera software to this post. I'll get it..

  15. #15

    Default I hope this works

    My connection is dial up, currently 19,600 bps. I tried twice to get these pictures uploaded, seems to take forever. Maybe a lesser quality photo would load faster but once I have taken it I don't know how to change the properties of the photo. Oh well, If you like living in the woods this is what you have to put up with..
    Okay now I got two but it says its the maximum allowed, I'll post more than once to get the rest? Let me know how else I can do it or is this method acceptable?
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