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Thread: Float hunt for a zodiac?

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    Member akjw7's Avatar
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    Default Float hunt for a zodiac?

    No money for a river raft, but I've always had the idea to do a float hunt with mine and a buddy's small zodiacs with little outboards. Anyone have any suggestions they don't mind sharing for good river to float? Not a fly in...

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    Member shphtr's Avatar
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    I'm not much of a water craft person but I think there is a sig. difference between an inflatable that takes a motor, and an inflatable used to float a river. While it may be possible to utilize a motorized inflatable to "float" a river it is prob not advisable due most importantly to the different construction esp. as relates to the bottom. No doubt if I am off base one of the reg. river runners will post a clarification with recommendations. Perhaps renting the appropriate craft might be a viable option?

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    Member akjw7's Avatar
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    well from a rowing point of view you're right on the money because zodiacs are not fun to row. Especially on a river. They just aren't set up for it - bad rower position, bad oars, hull not designed for it, etc.

    My vision is to actually not row and use the outboard for steerage...more or less just idle down the river. I've done this several times in the chena and it works great.

    So the only real problem is that the river can't be to horribly shallow or you'd be dragging prop a lot. Shallow spots here and there where you kick the motor up and line it through are not a problem but trying to float headwaters or certain shallow rivers might not be the best plan.

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    Quote Originally Posted by akjw7 View Post
    No money for a river raft, but I've always had the idea to do a float hunt with mine and a buddy's small zodiacs with little outboards. Anyone have any suggestions they don't mind sharing for good river to float? Not a fly in...
    I've done it, and though not ideal, it can be made to work. Here are the mods we used:

    If some of your route is shallow, leave the floorboards home and stretch a cargo net tight over the pontoons to carry your load.

    Forget the oars. Use good canoe paddles- a little longer than you would use in a canoe works best for reaches. That should tell you the limitations in rapid class you'll have to face. If it's too tough for canoes, you probably don't want to do it in a raft with canoe paddles.

    Wear hip boots most of the time so you can straddle the pontoon if you're trying to make time. Much easier to get a good stroke than if you are trying to sit inside the pontoon.

    No floorboards is going to limit your outboard weight and thrust. We used a Yamie 6 horse and that was plenty. Next time I might even take something smaller.

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    Member sbiinc's Avatar
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    Default without floorboards?

    brownbear, i've got tons of respect for you but not sure how you could do much without floorboards, how did you manage to keep the transom from folding up without the boards? or tearing the seams on the sides of the transom?

    i've had two zodiac style boats and both are pushed via the floor boards. although i have used both as rafts with canoe paddles and oars (sitting on the tubes like you refer to).

    b

    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    I've done it, and though not ideal, it can be made to work. Here are the mods we used:
    If some of your route is shallow, leave the floorboards home and stretch a cargo net tight over the pontoons to carry your load.
    and as a side note regards to the original question, a buddy and me made it about 40 river miles up the Wood with one of my zodiac's and a prop, although we had a lot of looks and remarks and did a considerable amount of dragging. There are more than a few rivers that would work in the interior if you're near FB, PM me and I'll be willing to share a few more.

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    Member akjw7's Avatar
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    why leave the floorboards out? just weight savings?

    My rig actually is an inflatable floor so no choice for me - it's always without floor boards!

    It would probably just be me and my buddy - each of us in our own small zodiac. For two reasons -

    first there isn't really enough room in either of our boats for two people and gear, let alone an animal.

    second it offers some reduncancy in gear (2 boats, 2 motors, 2 pumps, 2 repair kits, etc etc) which is always a big plus in my book

    Thanks for the offer sbiinc - I'll send you a PM.

    One note though, I'd much prefer a real one way float vs. going up river and then floating down...just because of the extra gas needed, the possibility of ruining a prop, and I think it's a lot more likely that I'd be competing with the jet boats then. A road accessible float that isn't really jet boat accessible is about perfect - if it exists!

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    Quote Originally Posted by sbiinc View Post
    brownbear, i've got tons of respect for you but not sure how you could do much without floorboards, how did you manage to keep the transom from folding up without the boards? or tearing the seams on the sides of the transom?

    i've had two zodiac style boats and both are pushed via the floor boards. although i have used both as rafts with canoe paddles and oars (sitting on the tubes like you refer to).

    b



    and as a side note regards to the original question, a buddy and me made it about 40 river miles up the Wood with one of my zodiac's and a prop, although we had a lot of looks and remarks and did a considerable amount of dragging. There are more than a few rivers that would work in the interior if you're near FB, PM me and I'll be willing to share a few more.
    Therer are rivers, and then there are rivers. I'm not talking tough rivers here with big rapids, and I'm talking drifts downstream rather than powered runs up and navigating tough rapids under power upstream or down. Shallows were more the hassle on our floats, as learned from previous floats in a conventional raft. We left the floorboards out to minimize drag in the shallows, and it worked well. I didn't say, but we used a couple of secions of 3" PVC as thwarts to tie the cargo netting onto. Getting it up off the floor and removing the floorboards vastly eased passage through the shallows.

    We only used the outboard to cross several miles of open water at the end of the float, in order to reach our pickup point. Worked well all around, but we never had the outboard much above an idle. Call it a motorized paddle. Running upstream as you did, I wouldn't think of leaving out the floorboards, and I'd probably be using a 40 horse rather than a 6.

    Hmmm. Let me specify that this is an older 13' Achilles rather than a true Zodiak. Its inflatable keel is quite a bit more substantial than the Zodiak, as I recall.

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    Member Fuse's Avatar
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    Default Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by akjw7 View Post

    second it offers some reduncancy in gear (2 boats, 2 motors, 2 pumps, 2 repair kits, etc etc) which is always a big plus in my book
    I've never done a float, but my buddies that do have all told me to pack as light as you can, and bring at least twice as many patch kits as you think you might need, and then bring some more if you have room.

    Fuse

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    Member sbiinc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    I didn't say, but we used a couple of secions of 3" PVC as thwarts to tie the cargo netting onto. Getting it up off the floor and removing the floorboards vastly eased passage through the shallows.
    We only used the outboard to cross several miles of open water at the end of the float, in order to reach our pickup point.
    ahh twarts, kinda wondered about the lack of rigidity between tubes too, might have to think about that next time i try to fly, maybe i could get away with just carrying my 6hp with me...

    so just for curiosity sake would you warrant a guess to how much weight you were able to carry that way?
    i had a mark iic loaded down with approximately 1600-2000lbs people and gear once but don't think i'd ever try that again (was on the Tanana)

    B

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by sbiinc View Post
    so just for curiosity sake would you warrant a guess to how much weight you were able to carry that way?
    B
    Never weighed it, and only a guess, but there were two of us plus gear going in on a single Beaver on floats. Booked two coming out, but we didn't max out the second one by any means. Easily could have managed the return with the second plane a 206. Who knows. Depending on the pilot and plane with all that open water, we might even have managed to get it all out in one Beaver, but it would have been close.

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    Default 16' zodiac, rowed often

    I had a 16' Zodiac w/ an air floor, and rowed it many times. I built a rowing frame out of 2.5" pvc (use ABS though; much tougher) and sat on a cooler. Had about 9' Carlile oars. I rowed in mostly class 1, but some 2 and an odd spot of 3. Rowed real well. Here is the frame being assembled; oar locks not on yet. I also used this in an Achilles, and put the frame in a 206 to fly in.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Member AlaskaTrueAdventure's Avatar
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    Question what direction?

    jklingel,

    When rowing your zodiak boat in class II or III rivers, do you mostly backrow, or mostly forward-row? And when backrowing ( more than forward-rowing) like most of us do in class II/III, what direction was the raised bow of your boat? Was your stern and transom in front of you or in back of you? And were you ever concerning with the amount of water that came into the boat over the transom? And did you ever have your motor on the transom while you were on the oars in that type of water?

    Interesting, using the craft for dual purposes...

    Dennis

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    I use a Watermaster for floating rivers for fly fishing. It weighs less than 50 lbs, can be taken on airplane for no extra charge and is rated for class IV waters. I would post a picture if I knew how, but it can be seen at http://www.bigskyinflatables.com

    It has no floor in the front and a cargo area in the back. Your feet and lower legs are actually in the water (waders when I fish). They come with fins so you can actually steer the boat with your legs and have your hands free. Two attached oars allow you to row when needed. You can buy an attachment for a motor mount if you want. IT has a capacity of 750lbs.

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