If you use a raft style rowing frame for a cataraft you will end up with raft style performance, slow, sluggish and BORING!
The true beauty of the QuadCatt cataraft frames is that they are so adaptable to the demands of the river environment wherever you are. If you want to “Run the Tum” when it is nothing but froth and a week later fly in to the upper Nahanni for a month long Canadian alpine sojourn, a QuadCatt modular cataraft frame will get you to both destinations in exceptional style.
Framing a QuadCatt is all about Balance, Power and Precision. Most boaters load the cataraft so that the bow and stern carry most of the weight and the central cockpit is essentially empty. WRONG! This style of loading creates a huge moment of inertia and the spin characteristics become abysmal. The two-part QuadCatt modular frame allows you to precisely match the frame to the cargo and water conditions.
Balance is Number One.
If you want the QuadCatt to really fly then you need to do a weight and balance analysis. The heaviest portion of the load needs to be in the center of the cataraft with the lighter duffle to the aft and the pilot cockpit bow forward. Center focused weight versus perimeter loading is analogous to an ice skater spinning slowly with arms extended and then spinning very quickly by pulling arms and legs into the body, close to the spin axis. If you are on an extended trip with a lot of cargo, load the food and kitchen gear [usually the heaviest part of the load] immediately behind the oarsman’s seat.
By placing the front cross bar of the rowing module even with the farthest forward D rings, the cargo area will be centered over the center of buoyancy of the QuadCatt. The cargo module should be positioned aft of the rowing module and should be loaded with the lighter equipment such as sleeping bags, tents and personal gear. The more concentrated the weight is over the center of buoyancy, the greater the responsiveness and stability of the QuadCatt, or any inflatable watercraft.
If you are day tripping with only the rowing module, position it on the QuadCatt so that the back of the seat lines up with the center D rings. A single cooler, dry box or gear barrel immediately behind the oarsman’s seat will provide both passenger seating and quick easy access to drinks, lunch and other on-the-river essentials. With this configuration, the heaviest portion of the load, which will be the pilot and passenger, is centered over the center of buoyancy and the spin performance will be lightning quick.
In both light and heavy load scenarios, The QuadCatt is best run with the pilot forward configuration. WHY? There are no passengers to block your view, no cargo to ram your knuckles into, and you will have an unhindered 180 degree swing of the oars for tucking either forward or aft. But mostly, it maximizes your control.
Power Is Number Two.
Force is equal to Mass x Fear of Death Squared.
Early day physicists probably did not run first descents down Class 5+ rivers. When your adrenalin rush equals the speed of the river current you need to get every last ounce of force from the business end of your oars. Just like the QuadCatt tubes and aluminum modular frame, the oars need to be strong, light and stiff.
The most efficient blades are the 8 inch wide variety but only if they are set up correctly. Understand that in your world of fluid form, all the energies flowing through the oars, frame, tubes, arms, legs, hands and feet must pass through your hips and lumbar, the power center of your watery universe. The QuadCatt cockpit needs to fit you like a glove. Read more about how to set up your QuadCatt for optimum performance.