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Thread: Kent Rotchy's Oar Saddles- user reports

  1. #1
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Kent Rotchy's Oar Saddles- user reports

    Hi folks,

    There's been some discussion in the past about the Oar Saddle by Kent Rotchy's Rocking R Designs. Though I haven't used them yet, they seem like a pretty good idea to me and I'm wondering if any of you that have used them would care to comment. Here's what I'm looking for specifically:

    1. Ease of use. Were they stable or did they flex when you rowed?

    2. Overall cost. I know you have to buy the unit, then the oars, then Oar Rights, etc. plus you have to glue D-Rings on your boat. Was it worth it?

    3. If you had the chance to suggest a design change, what would it be?

    4. What kind of boat did you use them on? (round boat, cataraft, canoe, etc.)

    5. Have you used other similar setups, and / or how would you rate the Oar Saddle in comparison to other options?

    5. If your answer / assessment is qualified by experience on the water, how much experience do you have? This question isn't to minimize the experiences of new floaters, but you can understand that very experienced rafters will carry a little more weight. I hope this makes sense...

    For those who may consider this a fishing trip for bad news, it isn't. Kent is a friend (and will be accompanying me to SCI this year as he has the last three years). I think he has a good product and I'm trying to draw attention to it.

    -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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  2. #2

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    no user report here, just my take on them because i did look into them and give them some thought a while back...

    i think for the ik/canoe it's a good option to get oars on something that is traditionally paddled. however,you could just as easily buy side rails and short cross bars from NRS and accomplish the same or better effect and save yourself a good chunk of money though. with a nrs seat / cross bar you would have a more control and stronger stroke too with a more stable stance. you would have a slightly higher center of gravity but it's not a set up i'd be doing big whitewater in anyway. the weight savings seems pretty marginal to me since even a little super cub could fly a ik and frame/gear in without any issue.

    For the raft, I'd simply never use them. Rowing a loaded raft on a thwart as a seat and no foot bar is silly and very inefficient. A simple nrs longhorn frame is going to be 10 times more effective and comfortable to row and about $100 cheaper. again, the weight savings...who cares? i'd probably be in at least a 206 with a big raft and 20lbs difference isn't going to make or break anything. if for some reason, you are trimming ounces then removing the thwarts would balance out the added weight of the longhorn frame.

    my rafting experience is about 15 years and row class iv. done the grand canyon, multiple private trips down mf of the salmon,main salmon, remote wilderness alaska rivers,many,many rivers of colorado and wy...ect.

    anyway, not to poop on your parade but just calling it like i see it and like i said i think for the ik/canoe it's not a bad way to go.
    Last edited by indyjones; 11-02-2006 at 17:59.

  3. #3
    Member jeff p's Avatar
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    Thumbs up oar saddle

    I have used them on 2 occasions , 1st class III river on a canoe & found it worked like a charm very easy to set up,no problems with slipping or moving around 2nd time kinda a lazy river no big deal. Very simple rig & simple is good in my book they pack down light & small just the ticket. I also have a cataraft with frame & I will say for me traveling solo not having to bring the raft & setting up the frame is a big deal. I really like the idea of not having a frame on small crafts w/moderate loads I think if you like oars as opposed to paddles & want to "kis" this could be just what the doc ordered the only complaint in bigger water is it nice to have something solid to plant yout feet on when you really need to dig but w/moderate loads I found it to be no prob.
    All in all I think its a great product & would highly rec it.

  4. #4
    Member reilly's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Oar saddel

    I have a set for my Soar Levitator and they work great didn't need to add D rings cuz the Lev has many,They strap up nice and fast fit great into a cub nicely along with raft and gear,Haven't been in anything bigger than class2 but think the would handel just fine.I give them a big thumbs up.!

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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Oar Saddles on Bigger boats

    Quote Originally Posted by reilly View Post
    I have a set for my Soar Levitator and they work great didn't need to add D rings cuz the Lev has many,They strap up nice and fast fit great into a cub nicely along with raft and gear,Haven't been in anything bigger than class2 but think the would handel just fine.I give them a big thumbs up.!
    Reilly,

    This is the first time I've heard of them used on a larger boat; where did you sit and how did you brace your feet for rowing?

    Any photos?

    -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.
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    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
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  6. #6
    Member reilly's Avatar
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    Default Oar saddel on the Lev

    I sit on a cooler or a action packer w/pad and my feet fit pretty snug between the tubes and the floor,If I was float a higher class I would get a set of the glue down foot cups for more support with heavy loads.
    Have a few pics but can't get them to post ?? Im kinda new here>?

  7. #7
    Member Jeff Shannon's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Strahan View Post
    Reilly,

    This is the first time I've heard of them used on a larger boat; where did you sit and how did you brace your feet for rowing?

    Any photos?

    -Mike
    If that's the case then you're not paying much attention Mike. Myself and several others have shared plenty of pictures here of Oar Saddles mounted on Levitators...on threads that you started. My take on them is that I wouldn't even consider using a conventional frame again. They're extremely light weight, amazingly compact, and I was pleasantly surprised at how rigid they are. I thought that they would surely have some flex, but to the contrary they're rock solid. Well worth the price tag in my opinion. Kent's a great guy to do business with too. He's top notch all the way.

    Jeff

  8. #8
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Same question-

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Shannon View Post
    If that's the case then you're not paying much attention Mike...
    Yeah, you're probably right there. I've been really swamped lately. Four hours sleep last night and on the way to Seattle now... I was paying attention to the BOAT, not the means of conveyance.

    Same question to you though, a conventional frame integrates the oar stands, oarsman's seat, and a foot bar so you have good leverage for rowing. How did you work that with the Oar Saddle? I'm running into some objections from others on that basis and am trying to find out what users are doing with that.

    To reinforce what I said earlier, I do think Kent is doing a good job with this product, so much so that I am featuring it in my book. But I don't want all my positive feedback coming from one-time float hunters and such. Nothing wrong with that, but I'd like to see what some of the more experienced boat guys are saying too. What's your take on this aspect of it?

    -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

  9. #9

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    Jeff, I'm curious what type of frame you used before switching over to the Oar Saddles? Did it have a foot brace and a tractor style seat? Or a simple board style without a brace?
    examples:




    Mike, you could ask for opinions on places like boatertalk's rafting forum. Allot of guides and long time big water vets there. Also, mountainbuzz has a fair # of experienced rafters too. Doubt anyone has the frame but you could get more input. Tell them you are doing a book so you don't come off like a spammer and get railed.

    http://boatertalk.com/forum/RaftZone

    http://mountainbuzz.com/viewforum.ph...b9599d4758156c

  10. #10
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Other forums

    Quote Originally Posted by indyjones View Post
    ...Mike, you could ask for opinions on places like boatertalk's rafting forum...
    Yeah, there are other forums out there, but I barely have time for this one. The quality of this forum is really good and I want to put all my eggs in this particular basket if I'm going to do this.

    Besides, this forum has lots of Alaska float hunters, which is the main area I'm interested in.

    Thanks for the tip though!

    -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

  11. #11

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    I know your tired of me talking about this stuff but i'll throw in my .02 I felt the Oar Saddles are worth the money if someone is going to get into rafting, especially float hunting. I couldn't imagine having to have a bulky frame and regular oar locks, I guess you could say the Oar Saddles spoiled me. They are adjustable and lightweight and once they are lashed down they are solid as a rock. If and when I ever get around to buying a raft you can bet they will be added to it. Kent's got a good design and I don't know if he could improve on it but if anyone can it would be him.

  12. #12
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Not at all...

    Quote Originally Posted by AkHunter45 View Post
    I know your tired of me talking about this stuff but i'll throw in my .02 I felt the Oar Saddles are worth the money if someone is going to get into rafting, especially float hunting. I couldn't imagine having to have a bulky frame and regular oar locks, I guess you could say the Oar Saddles spoiled me. They are adjustable and lightweight and once they are lashed down they are solid as a rock. If and when I ever get around to buying a raft you can bet they will be added to it. Kent's got a good design and I don't know if he could improve on it but if anyone can it would be him.
    45,

    Thanks for chiming in on this one. A turn in the road that's happening with this thread is getting kind of interesting. Kent designed the Oar Saddle for inflatable canoes (I've spoken with him many times about his product and have featured it in my seminars), but I'm starting to run into folks that are using them on full-sized round boats.

    So... this has raised a question. With a regular frame like the ones posted by Indy (like the NRS Longhorn frame in his first photo), you have a seat, oar stands and foot bar all integrated into one unit. Collectively, the seat, oar stands and foot bar are called the "rowing station", and the beauty of that system is that all the parts work together to give you great leverage when you really have to reef on the oars.

    Some of the critics of the Oar Saddle system say that because there's no seat or footbar attached, the oarsman will move around in the boat. So the question is what are folks doing to prevent that? What are you sitting on, and where are you bracing your feet for leverage?

    There's another canoe frame out there, and the folks at Alaska Raft and Kayak have been really pushing this one. It's made by AIRE, and I'll post a photo below. This frame DOES integrate the entire rowing station together. It's made for their Traveler canoe, but it would work on other boats too. Retails for just shy of $350 and comes with the frame, a padded seat, oarlocks, oars, oar rights and oar sleeves. That's a pretty good value. I don't know the quality of the oars you get with this setup though.

    I like the Oar Saddle though; it's simple and compact.

    Anyway, an interesting topic...

    -Mike
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    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/
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    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
    "I have climbed my mountain, but I must still live my life." - Tenzig Norgay

  13. #13

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    I had gear stowed in front of me so thats what i used to brace myself but to be honest, I didn't find myself moving around to much. I sat on a cooler with a "cheesy" seat Larry made for me. If we would have had to take a frame and all that we would have had to bring a lot less food.........we ate reeeaaal good on this trip too!

  14. #14

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    AKhunter,

    what class runs are you doing with the oar saddles?

  15. #15
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Correcting myself

    Here I go correcting myself now (I wonder if I'll get as defensive as I do when others correct me? hmmmmm.....)

    I just noticed that the Traveler rowing setup DOES NOT have a footbar as I earlier said! So... Mr. Tracey Harmon, how does one avoid shooting forward out of the seat when reefing back on those oars?

    45, I'm liking the idea of bracing your feet against a dry bag or something, provided you strap the bag in real good. The cooler is a good idea for a seat, but I'd want to suspend it just off the floor if possible. Otherwise you can get impact damage if you run over a rock. Your inflatable floor will literally be pinched between a rock and a hard place (the bottom of the cooler). Lots of floor repairs have resulted from doing this (just thinking out loud here).

    I was thinking even if you ran a flat seat board that spanned the tubes and strapped to a D-ring on each side, this might work as a cheap seat. Maybe 3/4" plywood? I'd glue some closed-cell foam on it for warmth and comfort though. It would still be smaller than a regular frame.

    I think this thread is exposing some new ideas here.

    -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

  16. #16

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    mike,

    for the traveler aire frame w/o foot brace in the canoe/ik rig... aire does make glue on foot pegs that would help a great deal though not perfect.

    http://nrsweb.com/shop/product.asp?p...06&deptid=1135

  17. #17
    Member Jeff Shannon's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Strahan View Post
    Same question to you though, a conventional frame integrates the oar stands, oarsman's seat, and a foot bar so you have good leverage for rowing. How did you work that with the Oar Saddle?
    -Mike
    I have a mesh seat that Larry designed and set me up with. It connects to the D-rings on the Levitator and you can adjust the height by simply adjusting the tension of the straps. It seems to hold my arse in place pretty effectively. I lash the Oar Saddles down by connecting them to the D-rings on the outside of the raft and then on the inside I run long tension straps through the bailing holes in the floor and then back through the Oar Saddles. A quick and easy way to make a foot brace is just to take one of those same straps and run it through the bailer holes then across the floor and through the bailer holes on the other side and then back across and secured. Because there's so many bailer holes it's easy to adjust the location. Other options are footbars or glue in footcups. I've seen both on Kent and Larry's websites.


    indyjones,

    I've used the integral seat and footbar type rowing frames. I've never owned one myself, but I've used them enough on friends rafts to know that I don't see any advantage over the Oar Saddles which are lighter, more compact, and just as rigid in my opinion.

    Regardless, my opinion won't hold much weight because I'm a newcomer to the float hunting scene. I've floated/rowed a ton of river miles but the vast majority of it has been in a drift boat...one of the perks of growing up amid Montana's blue ribbon trout streams. The person with the real long term experience with float hunting and the Oar Saddles is Larry, but we all know how much he can contribute here.

    Over and out,

    Jeff

  18. #18
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Thanks!

    Thanks, Jeff-

    I appreciate your insights on the strap setup. The mesh seat sounds like a good idea for flyouts. I use a padded seat with a backrest on my cataraft, and I'm kinda spoiled with that backrest. Still, a mesh seat where weight is a factor isn't a bad idea at all.

    Lots of experience out there, don't discount yourself or the other folks on this forum. You might be surprised how long some of us have been at this game.

    -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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    Default

    I have never used one but two of my friends have, they both loved them. I took a look at them over at Wiggy's Alaska, he's got them. They seem to be a pretty simple but effective set up, I sure wish I had them went on went on my float trip, maybe next time.

  20. #20
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Wiggy's?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill S. View Post
    I have never used one but two of my friends have, they both loved them. I took a look at them over at Wiggy's Alaska, he's got them. They seem to be a pretty simple but effective set up, I sure wish I had them went on went on my float trip, maybe next time.
    Bill,

    I haven't been in Marc's shop in a while; is he broadening his product line into rafting gear? If so, what boats is he carrying?

    -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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