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Thread: Which way-nose or tail?

  1. #1
    Member e45colt's Avatar
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    Default Which way-nose or tail?

    My question concerns which way is the best to float a zodiac style boat downriver. I have a 12ft Achilles that I have used a couple of years.......always floated nose first in the past. My thinking was that the flat transom would be great for the current to push against and it is..........but I got caught on a submerged rock right at the transom(I heard it scrape bottom for the length of the boat), but it caught at the junction of the keel and transom.
    2 seconds later my boat is so full of water I could not even spit more in. The now captive flat transom allowed the current to swell into the boat in the-blink-of-an-eye. All is well as I managed to lumber to the bank and drain everything out (side note-waterproof bags are only waterproof when they are closed). I have floated many times this way but now I wonder if floating butt-first might be better. Haven't tried it yet.

    What say you?

    e45colt

  2. #2
    Member AKRoadkill's Avatar
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    Default

    I'd do it with the boat pointing upstream. That way you can throw the anchor to stop quicker, and it'll be easier to control by rowing/paddling.

  3. #3
    Moderator Alaskacanoe's Avatar
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    Default zodiak type boats

    The inflatable sports boats are not well suited for drifting like a double ender raft or cat, but I have done it plenty... I drift the kenai sometimes in a sport boat that is 13 feet long..
    I drift sideways,,,, I like to row from the nose area, and I like to position myself so the bow is always facing away from the outside bank... This way I have a good visual of my distance from the shoreline and can easily row myself away from it.
    The only time I would be rowing my sport boat in the straight down the river or up river position was if it was extremely narrow and I had to..
    As far as hanging up on rocks etc.. this is the price you pay for the semi V of the transom on sport boats.. Shallow rivers are not good places for attempting drifts with these boats.... I actually have completely torn the transom out of a Zodiak one time by drifting a shallow braided river with mine...
    anyway,,,sideways is the way I like to drift rivers in mine..
    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

  4. #4
    Member AlaskaTrueAdventure's Avatar
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    Default Bow in back...

    I would put the bow of the boat in back of me, so the stern transom is in front of me, if I did it. And I also would raft at 45 to 90 degrees to the current, like normal rafting. And I would plan on pulling back much more than pushing forward. But I would not do it, except in very mellow water. I just have this sickning vision of (only) class II (++) rapids filling the boat over the transom before my eyes.

    So I'm a fan of using rafts to raft. I would prefer a sport-boat for, well, boating.
    I have had a few lengthy cold water immersion experiences, where my will to live was tested. Therefore, I tend, nowadays, to think about family, kids, future grandkids, and such. Lets be safe out there.

    Dennis
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    Member e45colt's Avatar
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    Default Bow-in-back-from now on

    I think I will follow those who know more by experience than I. Thanks for sharing you wisdom and glad you are alive to share it!

    e45colt

  6. #6
    Member Colby Jack's Avatar
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    Default What about the PT???

    I have a Power Traveler and have brought this question up before with no answer, so thank you for bringing up! I am planning to run my PT as much as possible this summer on every piece of water I can find.

    I was thinking that by having the bow collide with turbulent waters and offending boulders I would be able to travel over and through them more easily.

    My boat may be a bit different, IIRC the Zodiac keel protrudes below the floor by quite a bit, whereas my boat has a smooth bottom. Plus, I'm not fond of the idea of putting my shiny new outboard in harms way.

    I like the idea of floating sideways. I'll just have to see what feels more comfortable as I get more time in my sportboat.

  7. #7
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Sportboats on moving water

    I've said before that sportboats are not well-suited for drift trips, especially in shallow water. The experience of the original poster is one reason, and should illustrate the extreme hazard of attempting it. When things go bad on moving water, whether it's from issues like this, lines left overboard, improper loading, poor navigation, or poor downstream scouting, they can go badly very fast; often before even a skilled oarsman can respond appropriately. Use the right boat for the river, or as I tell folks in my seminars, "let the river choose the boat".

    As to the Power Traveler, I would be especially careful. The idea of floating the boat sideways is particularly problematic if you broach against something. The boat has a very narrow footprint and will overturn before you can say "Michael Phelps", and you'll get the chance to try out your breast stroke fully clothed.

    Hope it helps!

    -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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    Thumbs up Back in the Day

    Back in the Day... lots of drifting was done in Brit Avons and French Zodiacs... reason being, it's what folks had. Much of the design and premium fabric that existed 40 years ago was just that --- an Avon or Zodiac Sportboat. There were some double-ended rafts, but not commonplace.

    On river's with shallows or when requiring portability, people pulled the floorboards then hammock-slinged, burrito-tarped, and tied their gear in. Early row-frames were made of wood and kinda squatty to row. BUT these boats worked... We made them work - pressing them into multiple duty while exploring Alaska's rivers. We knew of the transom issues on river trips and accepted the shortcomings. We just made due & lived w/ the limitations making up for them by craft and skill. We knew how to make, care, or repair that style of boat getting from put-in to take-out. We simply did not have all the Jelly-bean assortment of inflatables from A to Z quality of today.

    --- Reminiscent to an extent - Back when Alaska was wild, you had to have some concept of what you were doing, where you were headed and be self reliant in yourself with the equipment you had.

    So on to your real question - How To?

    NOT talking easier, deeper water class zippo to class 2 that has plenty of visibility, few hazards little waves and so on.....

    OK that said - If you are rowing --- drifting shallows or negotiating rocks, maybe some waves, around turns, avoiding various river hazards... You float with the bow facing in the downstream direction and you sit facing downstream as well. You use the sportboat just like you would the double-ender raft w/ similar ferry angles or variations and such trying to work along with the force vectors of the flow. You row having the transom behind your seated position & bow generally downstream despite having to deal with the less efficient backstroking that is less effective having the flat board transom.

    You should not be drifting downstream facing the transom with the hard transom leading your charge down river. This mode is for best hull efficiency 'only' when you are on flat water... row across a lake or bay etc.

    You also are not to intentionally be 90 degrees to the direction of the flow. This is not the way to drift a river with any complexity in any boat-type. You also do not need floorboards or the keel inflated to drift. Tho' those are nice extras if you drift a spell then have to power up and cross a piece of slow water, lake, or sea.

    Today, we have much more suitable options to float Alaska's rivers. Safer, easier, less wear & tear, just better all the way around. Inflatables like rafts, catarafts, kayaks, and canoes provide more for the river runner than a sportboat ever will. Nevertheless, it might just be all you have (just like the ol' days in Alaska), and just as back then they can provide some multi-purpose use. Realize the limitations and be careful.

    You can always be creative - Buy a 2 thwart set up for the inside of the boat. This will increase rigidity, safety and displace water if it starts to swamp your boat. Another option is to attach a thwart to the back of the transom.

  9. #9
    Moderator Alaskacanoe's Avatar
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    Default fishing from

    your sport boat or raft on a river that is easy to navigate, I have my boat at 90 degrees for fishing.
    You also are not to intentionally be 90 degrees to the direction of the flow. This is not the way to drift a river with any complexity in any boat-type. You also do not need floorboards or the keel inflated to drift. Tho' those are nice extras if you drift a spell then have to power up and cross a piece of slow water, lake, or sea.
    This for me is the best way to fish more poles.
    If in a canoe or narrow boat, No.. I won't do that.
    If you have ever drifted for Kings,, that is the standard way to drift.. at 90 degrees to the bank...
    In my short time floating rivers with inflatables, (1967 ).. I have never yet had a problem drifting with my boat at 90 degrees on waters such as the Kenai river, or lower 48 rivers like the Green River. In fact, I don't know if I have ever heard of anyone having a problem doing this...
    someone fill me in please..

    Max
    Last edited by Alaskacanoe; 02-23-2009 at 20:53. Reason: add stuff
    When you come to a fork in the trail, take it!

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    Talking read the post & listed 'quote' again

    I qualified these specifics in my post quite clearly!

    Drift Fishing along super easy floats,,, do whatever and make adjustments to course as need be.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alaskacanoe View Post
    your sport boat or raft on a river that is easy to navigate, I have my boat at 90 degrees for fishing.

    This for me is the best way to fish more poles.
    If in a canoe or narrow boat, No.. I won't do that.
    If you have ever drifted for Kings,, that is the standard way to drift.. at 90 degrees to the bank...
    In my short time floating rivers with inflatables, (1967 ).. I have never yet had a problem drifting with my boat at 90 degrees on waters such as the Kenai river, or lower 48 rivers like the Green River. In fact, I don't know if I have ever heard of anyone having a problem doing this...
    someone fill me in please..

    Max

  11. #11
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alaskacanoe View Post
    your sport boat or raft on a river that is easy to navigate, I have my boat at 90 degrees for fishing.

    This for me is the best way to fish more poles.
    If in a canoe or narrow boat, No.. I won't do that.
    If you have ever drifted for Kings,, that is the standard way to drift.. at 90 degrees to the bank...
    In my short time floating rivers with inflatables, (1967 ).. I have never yet had a problem drifting with my boat at 90 degrees on waters such as the Kenai river, or lower 48 rivers like the Green River. In fact, I don't know if I have ever heard of anyone having a problem doing this...
    someone fill me in please..

    Max
    Hi Max,

    Well, as you know not all rivers are equal. The lower Kenai is a completely different animal than the upper river, or the Matanuska (one guy was talking about taking a sportboat through Lion's Head a while back).... but the original poster didn't clarify what kind of water he was talking about. He did mention hanging up on a rock and nearly ripping his transom off while drifting (a difficult thing to do on the lower Kenai) though, so I assumed he was talking about a swift shallow river. On a river like that I would not recommend a sport boat. At all.

    Now, if we're talking about the lower Kenai, yeah, bring it on. I would float that in most any type of boat. Shoot, I'd float it on a couple of inner tubes with a hunk of plywood between them. And yes, drifting sideways with the outboard idling is the standard drift tactic for kings in that area. But I would not generally recommend a sideways drift on a faster, shallow river where impact with the bottom was a possibility.

    Hope that clarifies what I was trying to say... maybe it would have made more sense to everyone if we knew what kind of water the guy was floating...

    -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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  12. #12
    Member e45colt's Avatar
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    Default Water clarified

    I should of stated this in my original post but it's the Little Su usually after salmon are in it.

    Thanks for all of the input and help from everyone.

    Ed

  13. #13
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by e45colt View Post
    I should of stated this in my original post but it's the Little Su usually after salmon are in it.

    Thanks for all of the input and help from everyone.

    Ed
    The Lil' Su isn't too bad for drifting a sportboat (assuming you're below the highway), but the real hazard there involves the jet boats blasting up and down that river. I would have my outboard idling the entire time and be ready to pull over to let those guys by. They don't know you're there, and will be on top of you as soon as they see you.

    -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

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