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Thread: Anyone have a field report on the Pro Pioneer?

  1. #1
    Member mainer_in_ak's Avatar
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    Default Anyone have a field report on the Pro Pioneer?

    I hit that handy lil search button and read some older threads on the Pro Pioneer. It was some great reading. I had found one thread where Mr. Strahan had tested it with a host other inflatable canoes, very interesting study. I find the pro pioneer to be an excellent boat for fly-in/float out hunts. All I need to convince me a little more would be some field reports from owners....I'd like to here the postives and the negatives of your boat, thanks.

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    I would ask the people on

    http://www.pristineventures.com/cgi/...board/board.pl.

    They real like the Pro pioneer.

    I also help Strahan when he did the test.

  3. #3
    Member RANGER RICK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mainer_in_ak View Post
    I hit that handy lil search button and read some older threads on the Pro Pioneer. It was some great reading. I had found one thread where Mr. Strahan had tested it with a host other inflatable canoes, very interesting study. I find the pro pioneer to be an excellent boat for fly-in/float out hunts. All I need to convince me a little more would be some field reports from owners....I'd like to here the postives and the negatives of your boat, thanks.

    Ok I will start .
    I currently have one PP and the second one should be sent any day now .
    My wife and I are doing a fly in float hunt this year for moose and caribou .
    I have been on a couple fly in float hunts and have had a great time .
    The PP are great for what they were designed for , hauling out big loads and small creeks and shallow water not to mention they go over beaver dams quite well .
    The first trip was a 120 mile 12 day hunt with two PP and we had not one problem.
    When I research a river for a float hunt I try to make sure I will not hit long areas of class 2 or more .
    I like class 1 and little amounts of 2 with the PP.
    I am not a wave junkie !!!!!

    I do not have any complaints at all .
    I like them so much I purchased a second one .
    Last edited by RANGER RICK; 11-10-2009 at 15:06.
    Practice does not make perfect !!!!!
    Perfect Practice makes perfect !!!!!!!!!!


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  4. #4
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Pro Pioneer

    Mainer,

    If I were to sum up my comments on the PP, they would be as follows:

    PROS

    • Big load hauler.
    • Stable.
    • Relatively inexpensive.
    • Lots of tiedowns.
    • Open bow and stern area (increases available load distribution space)
    • Ample handles and other user-friendly features.
    • Rubber material (Hypalon and neoprene) allow the boat to be packed up more tightly than a plastic (PVC / urethane) hull.
    • Good service. I have heard anecdotally that customer service out of Fairbanks has been very good.

    CONS

    • Neoprene bottom grabs when wet (car tires are neoprene for this reason). This is a consideration in shallow water. Plastic doesn't do this (some canoes are made of plastic materials).
    • Arched bottom (bow and stern are lower and will bottom out before the middle does. When going downriver, your bow will impact the bottom first, and allow the boat to swing around out of position).
    • Hull design plows more than other designs (pushes water, requiring greater effort to row or paddle with load).
    • Heavy (at 80# for the boat alone, there are better options for pack-in trips).
    • Availability issues (the boat is imported, and may not always be in stock).
    • Limited color selection (hope you like blue...). Not a major issue for most folks though.


    There are enough of them on the Alaska market now, that you can occasionally find one on Craiglist.

    GRABNER

    You may not be aware that Metzler, a German boat company, was the original designer of what eventually became the Pro Pioneer. Metzler sold the design and materials to Grabner (another German company) when they went out of business. The Grabner boat was copied into the SOAR S-16, and the Pro Pioneer is essentially a "Super-Sized" S-16.

    Grabner XR Trekking (the original design, which was purchased from Metzler)

    Grabner Outside (smaller canoe, traditional shape to reduce splashing)

    Grabner Adventure Team (the largest inflatable canoe on the market; a bit of overkill actually)

    For those interested in the canoe report, it can be found AT THIS LINK. I took quite a bit of heat from the PP crowd over that test, because we were not able to run the boats with actual meat and hunting gear aboard. That was baffling to me, because the test results were favorable to the PP. In my defense, I did my best under the circumstances, and the actual testers are very experienced canoeists (Jack Mosby was at that time canoeing over 1,000 miles a year across Alaska). I figured they were smart enough to know what we would have been dealing with if we had meat, antlers and camping gear aboard.

    Nobody has attempted a similar test since, with similarly-qualified operators, in actual field conditions. There's a certain amount of subjectivity to such tests, but I think we reduced that by the lack of bias among the testers themselves. For my part, I tried to limit my comments to reporting their observations.

    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.
    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

  5. #5
    Member RANGER RICK's Avatar
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    Mike

    Hello

    I will have to agree with

    ""Neoprene bottom grabs when wet (car tires are neoprene for this reason). This is a consideration in shallow water. Plastic doesn't do this (some canoes are made of plastic materials)""

    It will grab a rock if you are shallow and go over it , ask me how I know !!!!
    I will also agree that it would be heavy to pack to a river if you had to !!!
    Lucky for me all my fly ins land either on the bank of the river and or within 30 yards of a small creek .

    I have had to portage about 200 yards when we faced a huge log jam and I am glad there was two of us to carry an empty PP . Had to make five trips to get er done.

    RR
    Practice does not make perfect !!!!!
    Perfect Practice makes perfect !!!!!!!!!!


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  6. #6
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RANGER RICK View Post
    Mike

    Hello

    I will have to agree with

    ""Neoprene bottom grabs when wet (car tires are neoprene for this reason). This is a consideration in shallow water. Plastic doesn't do this (some canoes are made of plastic materials)""

    It will grab a rock if you are shallow and go over it , ask me how I know !!!!
    I will also agree that it would be heavy to pack to a river if you had to !!!
    Lucky for me all my fly ins land either on the bank of the river and or within 30 yards of a small creek .

    I have had to portage about 200 yards when we faced a huge log jam and I am glad there was two of us to carry an empty PP . Had to make five trips to get er done.

    RR
    Rick,

    Nice photos! Now, tell the truth... that pic of the skinny little "creek"... I've had more water than that running off my driveway during breakup! Is that in the gutter in front of your house? Sheesh! I'd rather have wheels under my boat in that situation...

    I don't know what I'm whining about with the weight issue anyway... Henry Passerini and I once dragged a fully-rigged Leopard cataraft through the woods to get around a jam on the Dishna. Now THAT was entertainment, and he even paid for the privilege!



    Don't tell anyone, but (Mike steps in closer, whispering...) I might even buy one of those canoe thingys one day...

    -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
    Member AKFishOn's Avatar
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    Default PP in action

    Took one in 2007 for Bear, drop the PP out of a 185 on an island, landed in another area and walked about 8 miles to the boat. A few days later we began the trip out, 26 portages, three boat rolls, and one nice black bear later we made it out. We started treating the boat nice, careful about brush etc... But with the large number of portages we then resorted to dragging it over piles of sweepers, brush, dropping down a small cliff, dragging across devils club and the raft just kept on performing. Oh yeah the boat rolls two were in very shallow areas with very swift water, and a simple get out and flip back over. One was a late night, should have stopped hours early, came around the corner to face a massive strainer, partner bailed over the side and push the up rive tube down, the rest was a quick dump in cold water at 11 at night. Great trip and great boat for this purpose, I'd love to do the trip again.
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  8. #8
    Member RANGER RICK's Avatar
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    Mike

    Yep that little water was our starting point way up top of a mountain far far away
    and many miles from anywhere but the water did get bigger as we made our way down river , here is a picture of bigger water first thing in the morning.
    Here is the log jam we had to portage around not as bad as AKFishOn went through .
    Are you kidding me 26 portages !!!! Did you have any time to hunt ???
    You are da man for sure .
    I like back water small creek hunting but that many portages would of wore me completely out, my hat is off to you .

    I hope the hunt my wife and I are doing this fall will be an easy hunt and no portages but if we have to we will do it together and take out time and enjoy it with plenty of pictures.

    Remember on the long trips don't forget the monkey !!!!

    RR





    Last edited by RANGER RICK; 11-10-2009 at 15:06.
    Practice does not make perfect !!!!!
    Perfect Practice makes perfect !!!!!!!!!!


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    The pioneer can be backpacked, but you have to go slow. I did a walk-in float-out for moose this fall - I packed/hunted my way inland off the road for four days, settled on a hunt location and humped the raft down to the small/rowdy river, shot the moose, and floated out in four hours. The trip out was half placid and half white-knuckled with lots of boulders. I high-centered the boat a time or two out in the middle of the fast water but was able to free myself with some careful paddle-prying on the riverbottom rocks. River was too narrow and pack-in too long to bother with the oar kit, so I used the canoe paddle.

    With about a thousand pounds of payload (moose, gear, me), there was a whole lot of reserve buoyancy. Would be fun to really load it up on a quieter river and see how it does.

  10. #10
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vek View Post
    The pioneer can be backpacked, but you have to go slow...
    I had to smile at that comment; I've said the same thing about moose quarters!

    Do you have any pics of your trip you could share? Sounds interesting.

    -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

    Default Here's one

    http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...ad.php?t=56748

    Here's one I have for sale if someone is interested. Looking for comments also.

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    Why do you guys constantly misrepresnet the SOAR products? The Pro Pioneer and the Levitator have URETHANE coated bottoms NOT Neoprene bottoms. Yes Neoprene is stickier on the rocks as you both well know. But you both continue to bash the SOAR line of rafts while trying to enhance YOUR line of rafts behind theirs. Something fishy is going on all you peoples of the Ak in the the AOD Forums Network.


    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Strahan View Post
    Mainer,

    If I were to sum up my comments on the PP, they would be as follows:

    PROS

    • Big load hauler.
    • Stable.
    • Relatively inexpensive.
    • Lots of tiedowns.
    • Open bow and stern area (increases available load distribution space)
    • Ample handles and other user-friendly features.
    • Rubber material (Hypalon and neoprene) allow the boat to be packed up more tightly than a plastic (PVC / urethane) hull.
    • Good service. I have heard anecdotally that customer service out of Fairbanks has been very good.
    CONS

    • Neoprene bottom grabs when wet (car tires are neoprene for this reason). This is a consideration in shallow water. Plastic doesn't do this (some canoes are made of plastic materials).
    • Arched bottom (bow and stern are lower and will bottom out before the middle does. When going downriver, your bow will impact the bottom first, and allow the boat to swing around out of position).
    • Hull design plows more than other designs (pushes water, requiring greater effort to row or paddle with load).
    • Heavy (at 80# for the boat alone, there are better options for pack-in trips).
    • Availability issues (the boat is imported, and may not always be in stock).
    • Limited color selection (hope you like blue...). Not a major issue for most folks though.

    There are enough of them on the Alaska market now, that you can occasionally find one on Craiglist.

    GRABNER

    You may not be aware that Metzler, a German boat company, was the original designer of what eventually became the Pro Pioneer. Metzler sold the design and materials to Grabner (another German company) when they went out of business. The Grabner boat was copied into the SOAR S-16, and the Pro Pioneer is essentially a "Super-Sized" S-16.

    Grabner XR Trekking (the original design, which was purchased from Metzler)

    Grabner Outside (smaller canoe, traditional shape to reduce splashing)

    Grabner Adventure Team (the largest inflatable canoe on the market; a bit of overkill actually)

    For those interested in the canoe report, it can be found AT THIS LINK. I took quite a bit of heat from the PP crowd over that test, because we were not able to run the boats with actual meat and hunting gear aboard. That was baffling to me, because the test results were favorable to the PP. In my defense, I did my best under the circumstances, and the actual testers are very experienced canoeists (Jack Mosby was at that time canoeing over 1,000 miles a year across Alaska). I figured they were smart enough to know what we would have been dealing with if we had meat, antlers and camping gear aboard.

    Nobody has attempted a similar test since, with similarly-qualified operators, in actual field conditions. There's a certain amount of subjectivity to such tests, but I think we reduced that by the lack of bias among the testers themselves. For my part, I tried to limit my comments to reporting their observations.

    Hope it helps!

    -Mike

  13. #13
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bushboy View Post
    Why do you guys constantly misrepresnet the SOAR products? The Pro Pioneer and the Levitator have URETHANE coated bottoms NOT Neoprene bottoms. Yes Neoprene is stickier on the rocks as you both well know. But you both continue to bash the SOAR line of rafts while trying to enhance YOUR line of rafts behind theirs. Something fishy is going on all you peoples of the Ak in the the AOD Forums Network.
    Bush,

    I don't sell inflatable boats, and I have nothing to gain one way or the other in recommending a particular brand. So there's no agenda here, and no intentional misrepresentation going on here at all.

    If the PP has a urethane bottom, this is the first I've heard of it. I checked PV's site and SOAR's site, and could find no mention of this. Do you have documentation? If it DOES have a urethane bottom, this is a nice plus.

    Please post any links you have of a factual nature, that support your claim, and I'd be happy to check it out.

    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

  14. #14
    Member RANGER RICK's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Well my wife and I floated the Kenai this weekend with our PP .
    We started at Cooper landing boat launch and took out at Jims landing .
    It took us 21/2 hours yes we were pushing it .
    My wife is getting all the stick time she can with the PP for our upcoming fly in moose hunting float trip , she is a natural for sure .
    I loaded it up with lots of gear to mimic a float hunt .
    Had about 700 pounds total with gear and bodies and she did great .
    She is a wave junkie for sure !!!! I am more apt to go around waves if I can avoid them but not her she aimed right for them .
    I did raise my arms and holler like we were on a roller coaster , she got a kick out of that .
    I would post pictures but since I put the camera in my side pocket on my rain jacket (which I did not need !! ) rather than my shirt pocket I smashed it !!!!

    The PP did well as I expected it would.

    RR
    Practice does not make perfect !!!!!
    Perfect Practice makes perfect !!!!!!!!!!


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    Member Formerly Montana Bob's Avatar
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    Default Little help

    I picked up my PP last week from Larry and got the package which included the Oar Saddles. What I found is that I will need to add some "D" rings to secure them as it looks like I have a newer version than is on the site showing the installation
    Question I have is for the owners of the PP.
    Where do you prefer to sit when having 2 people on board and your the paddler. I don't want to mount but one set ( 2 on each side) of D rings on the exterior and am wondering where (You) put them and how you like your choice and if you had it to do over again where would be the choice place and why or if they came installed already is it the best location.
    Also what Mods have you done if any?
    Thanks
    Fish IT! Hunt IT! or *#%@ IT!

  16. #16
    Member mainer_in_ak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bushboy View Post
    Why do you guys constantly misrepresnet the SOAR products? The Pro Pioneer and the Levitator have URETHANE coated bottoms NOT Neoprene bottoms. Yes Neoprene is stickier on the rocks as you both well know. But you both continue to bash the SOAR line of rafts while trying to enhance YOUR line of rafts behind theirs. Something fishy is going on all you peoples of the Ak in the the AOD Forums Network.

    Wow dude! Calm ur hormones. If you type in Pro Pioneer in the handy dandy search button....not only will you find a wealth of knowledge and a "historical paper trail", but you will find nothing but praise for the boat. Maybe you should try this method out before you pass judgment. The pro pioneer was actually fairly and objectively tested and outperformed when compared against others. Everything stated in this thread have been fair and objective reports by those who have used them. Refer to this link: http://adventuresports.com/kayaks/soar/faq.htm

    If you read the FAQ titled "how strong is a soar boat?" .....they actually state that a SOAR boat is coated with neoprene ON THE BOTTOM. Do words taste good? (joke)

  17. #17
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default D-Ring Location

    Quote Originally Posted by Formerly Montana Bob View Post
    I picked up my PP last week from Larry and got the package which included the Oar Saddles. What I found is that I will need to add some "D" rings to secure them as it looks like I have a newer version than is on the site showing the installation
    Question I have is for the owners of the PP.
    Where do you prefer to sit when having 2 people on board and your the paddler. I don't want to mount but one set ( 2 on each side) of D rings on the exterior and am wondering where (You) put them and how you like your choice and if you had it to do over again where would be the choice place and why or if they came installed already is it the best location.
    Also what Mods have you done if any?
    Thanks
    Bob,

    The usual practice with oar boats is to position your oarlocks at about the midpoint of the boat. This allows you to spin the boat properly, and makes it much easier to control. On rare occasions you'll see whitewater catarafts rigged with the rowing station aft of the midpoint, but this is done for reasons that don't apply in a hunting situation (if that's why you bought your boat. If you rig in the middle, the bulk of your gear will go in the rear of the boat, behind the oarsman, to balance out the weight of your passenger.

    If you're in Fairbanks and Larry does not have time to install your D-rings, you might give Blue Moose Rafting a shout. If you want to do it yourself, and you're not totally familiar with the process, I suggest giving Tracey Harmon a shout at Alaska Raft and Kayak, or at least read his excellent article, "A Patch In Time". It covers patching your boat, but the same process is used to install D-rings. Be sure to install the rings so they pull against each other when you strap your Oar Saddles on. Congrats on the new boat, and on those Oar Saddles! You can use them on other inflatable boats too!

    Best regards,

    -Mike

    -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

  18. #18
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by mainer_in_ak View Post
    Wow dude! Calm ur hormones. If you type in Pro Pioneer in the handy dandy search button....not only will you find a wealth of knowledge and a "historical paper trail", but you will find nothing but praise for the boat. Maybe you should try this method out before you pass judgment. The pro pioneer was actually fairly and objectively tested and outperformed when compared against others. Everything stated in this thread have been fair and objective reports by those who have used them. Refer to this link: http://adventuresports.com/kayaks/soar/faq.htm

    If you read the FAQ titled "how strong is a soar boat?" .....they actually state that a SOAR boat is coated with neoprene ON THE BOTTOM. Do words taste good? (joke)
    Mainer,

    Thanks for posting the link. I missed the neoprene comment on SOAR's site. I think the info is a little dated though. I know that SOAR builds the Levitator, which has a urethane-coated bottom. I'm pretty sure the PP has neoprene, but was looking for confirmation in print. I'm 99% sure it is neoprene, as you said.

    The PP fared well in our Inflatable Canoe Test as well; no bashing going on here at all...and I posted my results back in 2004.

    -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

  19. #19
    Member Formerly Montana Bob's Avatar
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    Default Pro Pioneer

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Strahan View Post
    Bob,

    The usual practice with oar boats is to position your oarlocks at about the midpoint of the boat. This allows you to spin the boat properly, and makes it much easier to control. On rare occasions you'll see whitewater catarafts rigged with the rowing station aft of the midpoint, but this is done for reasons that don't apply in a hunting situation (if that's why you bought your boat. If you rig in the middle, the bulk of your gear will go in the rear of the boat, behind the oarsman, to balance out the weight of your passenger.

    If you're in Fairbanks and Larry does not have time to install your D-rings, you might give Blue Moose Rafting a shout. If you want to do it yourself, and you're not totally familiar with the process, I suggest giving Tracey Harmon a shout at Alaska Raft and Kayak, or at least read his excellent article, "A Patch In Time". It covers patching your boat, but the same process is used to install D-rings. Be sure to install the rings so they pull against each other when you strap your Oar Saddles on. Congrats on the new boat, and on those Oar Saddles! You can use them on other inflatable boats too!

    Best regards,

    -Mike

    -Mike
    I was only up in Fairbanks for a weeks worth of work and we did a quick float of the Chena to check it out and not time for much else.
    I did pick up the adhesive and accelerator ( Cliftons) in Fairbanks and am going to install them myself.
    I was a D ring short and did check Alaska Raft and Kayak's site online as well as found the directions for the installation. I'll stop by there Saturday get some more advice on installation as well as another D ring.
    Thanks
    Fish IT! Hunt IT! or *#%@ IT!

  20. #20
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    Mike wanted some photos - here they are. I packed the meat low in the boat suspended just off the floor (poor ventilation), because the float out was quick and rowdy. Very stable with the meat riding so low. Note that the loaded photo shows lots of available displacement remaining, with 700lbs of moose and 80lbs of gear onboard. Poncho on front was my attempt at a spray shield for busting through standing waves, and it worked, for the most part.
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