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Thread: aire travaler cata canoe frame

  1. #1

    Default aire travaler cata canoe frame

    I have an aire travaler cata-canoe with a frame I made using NRS fittings and aluminum tubing. The frame currently has NRS high oar stands and the seat is connected on a basic ubolt low base. This next summer I would like to start doing more whitewater with this set up. My whitewater experiance is limited to the gulkana and kisarolic (both of wich I though was relitively easy). The one Item that worries me about this set up is will I be able to get the paddles far enough out of the water on my forward stroke to prevent them from draging in the bigger waves? I think my oars are 11ft. I am contamplating building both my rowing seat and oar stands higher by welding another tube 6" higher than the base frame. I will be switching seats to a padded rowing seat also. Is this a good idea? I was just wondering how everyone elses frames are set up and if you have any experiance in whitewater with them.
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    Member 6XLeech's Avatar
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    Default Tradeoffs...

    The guides on our spring float experimented with elevated seat placement in our 13 ft round rafts. Although it improved downstream visibility (the intended goal), elevating the rower changed the angle of oar attack and shifted the load to other muscle groups - both disadvantages when more leverage was needed. I guess being above the usual rowing plane cost rowing leverage.

    The longer oars/lower initial seat height in your setup might reduce this unintended effect though.

  3. #3
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Some thoughts

    In many cases if you raise the seat platform you will have to adjust the height of your oar stands and oar length. Otherwise you get the dynamics Leech speaks of. In extreme cases you end up with your oar handles above or below center chest height, which is far less than ideal. Eleven foot oars sound a bit long to me; I'm running 10.5's on my Leopard cataraft, which has much larger tube diameters.

    Because the cata-canoe is a non-standard configuration, you will have to experiment. I would advise speaking with Tracey Harmon at Alaska Raft and Kayak about this; he's rigged them before and would have some suggestions.

    If you're going to run white water as you say, and are switching to a padded oarsman's seat, I would suggest a low-back seat that allows you to lean back more easily on steep drops. Under no circumstances should you use a swivel seat in the oarsman's position (it looks like the one in the photo has a swivel seat). Otherwise it can pivot on you when you least want it to.

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
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    Member tboehm's Avatar
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    Default off subject

    Just wondering what your experience with cats is and your reasoning for going to the catacanoe? I have actually talked with Mike and some others about the pros and cons of what you have and was wondering if you could share some insights with the rest of us? What have you done, not done, hunted, fished, floated with others, preformances, etc... Do you have any other pics you can share? Thanks

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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default The biggest issue with the Cata-Canoe

    I hesitate to make exclusive statements, because there are usually other factors to consider. But the biggest negative issue I see with the cata-canoe is the frame. It's just too heavy / bulky.

    I'm hoping some engineer-type person out there can come up with a lighter / stronger / thinner frame material that could be used for this boat. We need something that breaks down into a few straight pieces that can be carried on the floor of the two canoes for folks who want to hunt shallow / narrow headwater areas before assembling the two boats into the cata-canoe configuration.

    How about it, folks?

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
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  6. #6
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Nice-

    Quote Originally Posted by slow reflection View Post
    I have an aire travaler cata-canoe with a frame I made using NRS fittings and aluminum tubing. The frame currently has NRS high oar stands and the seat is connected on a basic ubolt low base. This next summer I would like to start doing more whitewater with this set up. My whitewater experiance is limited to the gulkana and kisarolic (both of wich I though was relitively easy). The one Item that worries me about this set up is will I be able to get the paddles far enough out of the water on my forward stroke to prevent them from draging in the bigger waves? I think my oars are 11ft. I am contamplating building both my rowing seat and oar stands higher by welding another tube 6" higher than the base frame. I will be switching seats to a padded rowing seat also. Is this a good idea? I was just wondering how everyone elses frames are set up and if you have any experiance in whitewater with them.
    That's a pretty aggressive little chute you're running in that photo! With a flow reversal at the bottom. Any more pics like that?

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
    Web Address: http://alaskaoutdoorssupersite.com/hunt-planner/
    Mob: 1 (907) 229-4501
    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
    "I have climbed my mountain, but I must still live my life." - Tenzig Norgay

  7. #7

    Default

    That's a pretty aggressive little chute you're running in that photo! With a flow reversal at the bottom. Any more pics like that?
    Nope.....one time was enough .
    Just wondering what your experience with cats is and your reasoning for going to the catacanoe? I have actually talked with Mike and some others about the pros and cons of what you have and was wondering if you could share some insights with the rest of us? What have you done, not done, hunted, fished, floated with others, preformances, etc... Do you have any other pics you can share? Thanks
    For me it was an easy choice. I had already bought a traveler a couple of years ago so it was just a matter of buying a second one.(much cheaper than a new cataraft). The only advantage I can see would be the frame weight. My frame weighs about 40 lbs I think. I helped portage a 18ft cataraft frame once and I know it was alot heavier.
    In many cases if you raise the seat platform you will have to adjust the height of your oar stands and oar length. Otherwise you get the dynamics Leech speaks of. In extreme cases you end up with your oar handles above or below center chest height, which is far less than ideal. Eleven foot oars sound a bit long to me; I'm running 10.5's on my Leopard cataraft, which has much larger tube diameters
    .
    This makes sense. The problem I see is I sit much closer to the water than your cat does so my blades can not come out of the water as far. The other problem is my legs currently go straight out wich is uncomfortable after a long rowing day. I have preaty much made up my mind that I am going to raise the frame I just wanted to here from other users. If they dont work I can cut them back off. One other question as far as oar length is there a general rule such as 1/3 of the oar inside of the oar lock 2/3 out side? or should it be closer to 50/50. Thanks for the comments.

  8. #8
    Member 6XLeech's Avatar
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    Default Keep us posted...

    SR,
    Pretty cool setup already though. Congratulations on your "prototype".
    Looking at that frame, you've done a lot with this project already and 40# sounds manageable. If that frame holds the tubes securely, the vessel might already hold a lot of promise for area waters, appealing to others for the same reasons you like it. Hope you'll post more.
    Good luck.

  9. #9
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    Default

    As has been said, raising the seat will have the effect of lowering your oar blades making it difficult to get them to clear the water when rowing. From the pictures shown here, it looks like the oar blades might be a bit too low now. I find that when the water gets rough, I want higher oar stands and blades to allow the oar blades to reliably clear the tops of the waves when the boat is rocking without the grips whacking my knees. If you do raise the seat, I would recommend raising the oar stands at least as much or even more. Shorter oar shafts usually have the effect of raising the blades a bit as well, but yours are already quite flat, so shorter shafts would not raise the blades as much as it does on normal rafts.

    BTW, I prefer a bit more than 1/3 of the oar shaft inboard -- perhaps 35-40% -- to provide more leverage. But not if the boat is very light. Then the reduced leverage can increase rowing speed a bit. So perhaps shorter oars would work for you.

    I have a few ideas for simple things you can try for raising the oars a few inches. If you are using thole pins and clips instead of oarlocks, you can use a longer pin, and put spacers between the top of the oar stands and the working part of the pin. Another technique I learned from local boater, Pete Tryon, is to split the working part of the pin sleeve, and put in a large washer to separate the top half from the bottom half of the new sleeve parts. Then when the water gets rough you just pull the oars out and put them back in above the washers. Presto! The oar has just been raised 3 inches. Lower then again when it gets calm to provide a more natural rowing position.

    Those two ideas only work with pins and clips, but this next one works for oarlock system as well. Instead of mounting the oar stands in their normal outward cant, reverse them, so that they lean slightly inward for the lower part, but then still lean the normal 15 degrees outward for the working part of the pin or the oarlock. This raises the oars about an inch, and allows you to use oars that are 1' to 1.5' shorter than normal. Also, when mounted this way the oar stands don't get pushed in when you whack a wall either. Very handy in Sixmile Creek.

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    Default

    The catacanoe thought has crossed my mind, as the owner of one new Pro Pioneer. I could see myself putting it to good use in situations where the hunting water is skinny and the takeout is far away across a lot of slow water. I see some serious flatwater capacity/buoyancy/draft advantage versus a cataraft.

    I didn't stay at a holiday inn express last night, but I am an engineer. I'm not sure being an engineer matters when I don't yet know the subject matter (rafting dynamics and available hardware) very well. I presume the cataraft frame has to serve several functions:

    1. Positively locate the tubes (or canoes) relative to each other, in all sorts of dynamic situations (ledge drops, rock bumps, etc.)
    2. Provide platform for gear/meat transport
    3. Provide secure platform for oarsman seating and rowing
    4. Provide location for mounting an outboard motor

    Would there be room and strength enough for two guys and two moose? I know from experience that the PP will do one guy and one moose quite easily in flatwater and some fastwater (not that the fast water was any fun - no BIG waves or hydraulics, but lots of sleeping rocks and large exposed rocks, a very steep and busy gradient, and some white knuckles on my part). My camps tend to be spartan, my gear list minimal. Meat is dense. I think it could all fit.

    Anyway, does someone have a link to a clearinghouse of available raft frame fittings?

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    Default

    The frame for a catacanoe doesn't really need to support gear as it can all go in the bottom of the canoes. And it only needs to provide a motor mount if that is needed, and a lot of time it isn't. Providing a mount for a rowers seat, oar stands, and firmly locating the canoes together are its main functions. But just how firm the canoes need to be tied together is partly determined by the water conditions, and partly by how much looseness one might be tolerant of.

    My short little 10' catacanoe has a 2' long frame in the center section -- just long enough to hold the seat and oarstands. I tie the tubes together fore and aft with a couple straps. If I needed it stiffer I would just add a cross bar to the straps, no need to tie them into the central frame section. I think this would work fine for a longer catacanoe as well. There would be some flex at both ends, but some flex can be good in whitewater.

    Here's a link to Hollaender speed rail fittings. http://www.hollaender.com/index.cfm?page=speedrail

    They can be used on the 1.25" scedule 40 alluminum pipe that is often used for raft frames. Jim King, of Alaska Series boats sells some heavier duty versions of these fittings. And AK Raft and Kayak sells the NRS LowPro fittings that can be found at: http://www.nrsweb.com/shop/product_list.asp?deptid=1178 The anodized alluminum pipe can be found at Alaska Steel for a little more than $80 for a 20' stick. Non anodized is a little less.

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    Quote Originally Posted by slow reflection View Post
    .
    This makes sense. The problem I see is I sit much closer to the water than your cat does so my blades can not come out of the water as far. The other problem is my legs currently go straight out wich is uncomfortable after a long rowing day. I have preaty much made up my mind that I am going to raise the frame I just wanted to here from other users. If they dont work I can cut them back off. One other question as far as oar length is there a general rule such as 1/3 of the oar inside of the oar lock 2/3 out side? or should it be closer to 50/50. Thanks for the comments.

    I'd echo Jim's comments... It would make more sense to me to increase the height of your Oar Stands, not your seat, at least at first..

    Whats the diameter of the cata-canoe tubes?

    Jim's kinda familiar with my little Jack's Plastic Cutthroat that I customized for WW use... Its can't be that different in basic dimensions...
    It only has 16' tubes and I am very close to the water... Adding the standard height NRS oar stands was a big improvement over the original frame level oarlocks (kinda like a standard outcast fish-cat setup)... Gave more room for my knee's and allowed me to get the blades farther out of the water when necessary...

    Although if I did it again, I would use the Tall NRS oar-stands instead of the standards....

    I use the 7.5 ft oars with 1 ft extensions..

  13. #13

    Default

    thankyou for your input. I am going to raise both the seat and the oar locks by adding anouther tube higher up just like fish cat caterafts have, it will be cheap, strong, and look nice. If it does not work I will cut them off.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Strutz View Post
    The frame for a catacanoe doesn't really need to support gear as it can all go in the bottom of the canoes. And it only needs to provide a motor mount if that is needed, and a lot of time it isn't. Providing a mount for a rowers seat, oar stands, and firmly locating the canoes together are its main functions. But just how firm the canoes need to be tied together is partly determined by the water conditions, and partly by how much looseness one might be tolerant of.
    I was thinking that the framework arrangement might not allow suspending the gear in the void between the tubes as I did with my moose, at least over the full length of each canoe. I do agree there's a lot of room for meat and gear between each canoe's tubes.

    Thanks for the frame info and links, btw.

    -Jerry

  15. #15

    Default frame modifications

    Here are some photos of the changes I made to my cata canoe frame. I raised the seat height and the oar lock height about 9 inches. I figure at this height the blades should be out of the water about the same distance as a average size cataraft with 24 inch tubes. I also had a chance to weigh some of the pieces to give everyone a idea of the weight. It should be noted I built this frame for comfort and not for light weight. If I want to go light weight I will take the two rafts as seperate units. Basic frame weight with rowing seat and oar locks is 67 lbs. High seat post and swivel seat weight is 11 lbs. Low seat base and swivel seat weight is 8 lbs. Heavyest single piece weights 16 lbs. Longest piece is 7 1/2 ft. Frame width (oar lock to oar lock) is 8 ft. I am using 10 ft oars (tip of handle to tip of blade).
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  16. #16

    Default more photos

    here are a couple more
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    Default

    Interesting.

    I'm wondering if the oar stands are too high, but perhaps it's just the angle of the photo that's fooling my eyes. With 10' oars I think I would have brought the oar stands in a bit too, but I see you have canted them out. 8' of frame is pretty wide for ten footers. If you decide the oars are too short, give me a call. I have an unused pair of extensions in my shed.

    Either way, let us know how this works when you get it into the water.

  18. #18

    Cool

    I'm wondering if the oar stands are too high, but perhaps it's just the angle of the photo that's fooling my eyes. With 10' oars I think I would have brought the oar stands in a bit too, but I see you have canted them out. 8' of frame is pretty wide for ten footers
    I canted the oar locks out because it seemed to me there was to much oar outboard of the oar lock before. There now is 4 ft inboard and 6 ft outboard. The oar locks will be either even with the out side of the raft or maybe stick out a couple of inches at the most. If the oar stands are to high I have a set of the low ones I will put on (they were the ones I origanally started with). I find it is really hard to know untill after the boat is in the water. I will find out this spring. If it doesent work......I will be the guy you see on the bank with the hack saw.
    Last edited by slow reflection; 11-28-2008 at 18:19. Reason: wron quote

  19. #19
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Good Stuff!

    Quote Originally Posted by slow reflection View Post
    I canted the oar locks out because it seemed to me there was to much oar outboard of the oar lock before. There now is 4 ft inboard and 6 ft outboard. The oar locks will be either even with the out side of the raft or maybe stick out a couple of inches at the most. If the oar stands are to high I have a set of the low ones I will put on (they were the ones I origanally started with). I find it is really hard to know untill after the boat is in the water. I will find out this spring. If it doesent work......I will be the guy you see on the bank with the hack saw.
    Looks like nice work, just a few questions.

    Have you considered using electrical conduit instead of the aluminum pipe?

    Did you consider just bending the seat bar pipe to create the elevation instead of welding the riser on?

    Did you consider dispensing with the cast aluminum oar stand and going with a drilled and sleeved socket for your oarlocks?

    All of these would result in significant weight reductinos and possible lower cost. Just wondering what other options you may have considered.

    It's great to see someone out there trying something new...

    Best regards,

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
    Web Address: http://alaskaoutdoorssupersite.com/hunt-planner/
    Mob: 1 (907) 229-4501
    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
    "I have climbed my mountain, but I must still live my life." - Tenzig Norgay

  20. #20

    Default

    Have you considered using electrical conduit instead of the aluminum pipe?

    Did you consider just bending the seat bar pipe to create the elevation instead of welding the riser on?

    Did you consider dispensing with the cast aluminum oar stand and going with a drilled and sleeved socket for your oarlocks?

    All of these would result in significant weight reductinos and possible lower cost. Just wondering what other options you may have considered.

    Never heard of using coduit. I did not want to bend the seat bar because I would loose the support to my tubes in that area. I have thought about using sleeved sockets (that is what I did on my small frame) I may do this when I finally decide on the correct oar lock height. Your right about cost because I think I'm up near 1000.00 dollars in the frame now. (includes oars, seats, and mistakes.

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