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Posted by wayne nicol 
December 07, 2015 02:12PM
hi , new here to the forum.
my name is wayne, and i live out on the Queen Charlotte Islands, out in the Pacific North West- just below Ak in fact.
really keen on the beavertail boats- as recommended by Sandy,
i will be using it as a boat for hunting trips in the north up here, as apposed to canoes. i can load more camp gear( and meat too one hopes!)- one fella can fish while another fella rows
my questions are :
1) some of the time will be spent on some pretty big /long lakes- how will the beavertail perform on the flat water.
2)can the entire boat be built from the synthetic material?
3)will it be lighter- with the extra glass?
4)and if so what would the recommended glass lay up be?

i think i am going to want to build the boat very simply- with no interior compartments or fittings- simply thwarts/bench seats, so that space is unencumbered,no decks etc etc
many thanks all
some awesome boats on here- all the builds!

Re: beavertail
December 07, 2015 03:38PM
Two things to consider if you plan on rowing long distances in a drift boat; one, the longer the waterline or portion of the hull in the water the more speed the hull can obtain. two, drift boats have a lot of windage or area exposed to wind.

To expand on number one a hull with a longer water line and smooth entry and exit lines has the ability to be rowed with less effort than a hull with a shorter waterline. A sharp end at the stern also reduces drag hence less effort. Less effort is important because you work less to go further. A drift boat is designed to avoid obstacles because of the rocker that keeps the bow and stern out of the water. While handy in a river you hope not to have many obstacles to avoid in lakes or oceans. That same ability means that you also have to correct the course often to row in a straight line, the more control corrections you have to make the more effort required.

The rocker and corresponding bow that rises out of the water provides a large sail that on rivers makes downstream travel harder when the wind blows. Again more effort to travel the same distance. To double the speed of an object you have to use four times the energy rather than twice the energy. So the more of the hull exposed to wind can mean a great deal of energy may have to be expended to travel in windy conditions.

A a large load of gear and meat also increases the work or energy required. You can either expend the energy rowing or hunting as most of us have limited reserves to work with.

All boats are a compromise of design aspects. You stated a. I have a heavy and perhaps even heavier load to carry. b. You are boating on long lakes. c. Only one of you may be rowing so at any one time you can only use half the power you have available.

You may want to consider what boats the Natives that spent thousands of years developed for human powered travel in your area. They were able to optimize the vehicles (boats) for travel in your area. I'll bet you will find boats with long hull lines, reasonably broad beam or width, very low windage, and hulls with sharp entry and exit points amongst other characteristics.

You didn't state whether or not you will be only rowing or using some form of motive power like a gasoline engine or electric motor. That will also make a difference but the more efficient your vessel is the less fuel or battery power you would have to use.

While it isn't a drift boat a boat designed to sail can utilize a free source of power, the wind. You can carry a lot of gear in the appropriate sailboat, you can use the wind to travel both directions and you could both fish! There are several sailboats that can also be rowed if the wind isn't available. You might want to look at woodenboatforum.com. There are many discussions on sail and oar boats, their design their construction, their advantages and disadvantages.

I hope this helps, I'm sure that there will be many other viewpoints that will be shared. The laws of physics that you have to observe can't be broken, however if you observe those laws and use them to your advantage the boat you end up with will better fit the intended uses. You might also find like many of use that you need several different boats!

Rick N
Re: beavertail
December 07, 2015 06:28PM
I'm Chicago. Cell phone poking. Rick said most of it
Re: beavertail
December 08, 2015 03:35AM
thanks for that. the rivers i want to run up here in Northern Bc- are meandering, with usually numerous small and bigger lakes along the way.
but with two weeks worth of gear- 2 people, a moose and say a caribou or a bear- it would be quite a load.
any other suggestions for boats.
thinking about freighter canoes- maybe partially decked.

but would still need a drift boat for some of the other faster rivers :)
can never have enough boats ...right?!?
i have two sail boats in the yard, a tin skiff, and working on a fourth boat!

many thanks
Re: beavertail
December 08, 2015 04:17AM
Here you go:<)


Just Kidding!

What do others use?
Re: beavertail
December 08, 2015 05:18AM
LMAO :) :)
jet boats, rubber rafts, canoes- a whole assortment!!
got info back regarding river conditions- looks like its going to be two freighter canoes, probably set up with a small frame and oars- not paddles
Re: beavertail
December 08, 2015 05:31AM
There is nothing wrong with Sandy's Beavertail, in the right place!

Re: beavertail
December 08, 2015 06:21AM
absolutely- just need the right boat for the right river!! :)
Re: beavertail
December 08, 2015 03:53PM
Down here in Idaho, back in the 80's, a fellow by the name of Clancy Reese built a boat that might be just your ticket if you are wanting to avoid a motor....
It is described in the book Anything Worth Doing. On the cover are two shots of the boat in question. It is an elongated whitewater dory that had a removable keel board, sail, and rudder. It is slimmer looking and more stretched (supporting Rick's thoughts above) than most whitewater craft but it was built to take a beating. Clancy built it as a hybrid because he intended to navigate down the entire Salmon River of Idaho and then use wind power to help him down the Lower Snake and Columbia Rivers across their massive flat water run of the river reservoirs. You might enjoy the book. It is pretty epic and gives some insight into the craft he used. Running the entire Salmon River from Stanley, Id down to the mouth of the Salmon he ran some ferocious whitewater! Then to the ocean and he even crossed the Columbia River Bar. The dory looked to have some capacity to store gear!

I suggest this particular craft for your consideration if you are set on human power and not using a motor. It was an elegant solution and a hell of a story.
Re: beavertail
December 08, 2015 09:39PM
I don't have Roger Fletcher's book in front of me, but Zane Grey's Rogue River driver is laid out in it. Sounds like what everyone is talking about above. Maybe take a look at that?
Re: beavertail
December 08, 2015 09:58PM
NW school of wooden boat building made a traditional rogue river driver. I think Fletcher's design is for ply.
Re: beavertail
December 09, 2015 01:05AM
Here is a link to the book mentioned above. There is a picture of Clancy, Jon Barker, and another boatman. The boat in the picture sure looks like a Briggs. Jon Barker's father was an outfitter and his sons Jon and Jacque ran the Lower Main Salmon back in the day when I did. We often joked around with J & J and visited with them on the river as we were on the river at the same time. He and his brother also went on to ski patrol at Crystal Mountain in Washington. Someday I will tell a story about that someday.

Anyway I remember stories about Jon's trip from the top of the Salmon to the ocean. This is the first mention in print I have seen of it. I will have to get the book.

I think that both Jon and Jacque still have their fathers outfitting business to this day.


Re: beavertail
December 09, 2015 05:22AM
Wow! Thanks Rick. That is a sweet link you conjured. Although I said "back in the 80's" it was obviously later. Clancy died in 1996. I don't have the book anymore but their Source to Mouth epic adventure was a few years before. I did my first Main Salmon float in August 1995. I read the book not long ago, and I didn't think my timeline overlapped with those die hard souls. Rick's obviously did. I cannot get the thought of Whiplash rapid out of my mind, although I have never seen it raging at anything approaching 96,000 cfs! In Rick's link, Jo speaks of Jon Barker's obsession with Slide rapid. I share that fascination but in a different light. Chinook salmon actually stop migrating up through Slide at flows about 60,000 cfs...they can't do it until some higher flow when a sneak forms for them! As a fisheries biologist and an angler, I have a lot of interest in that phenomenon. As a whitewater enthusiast I get the urge to empty my bladder at about 25,000 cfs. That shizzz is BIG! I once saw a large, long aluminum drift boat on a Lower Salmon float. I leap-frogged the boat for a few days passing it on the left or visa-versa. One day down around Eagle Creek I rowed past it on the right. It was a wreck! The whole right side looked like it was side swiped by a semi! I asked the Indian rowing the boat, "who hit your boat?" He shook his head and looked me in the eye and said "Slide,...30,000 cfs", then looked down river and kept rowing.
Re: beavertail
December 10, 2015 05:47PM
I once led a group of friends on an early July float on the Lower Main. We were mainly a group of friends from Eastern Washington University. I was leading raft trips for Spokane Community College and the guys and gals that were my guides were the boatmen on the trip. I can't recall the water flow levels as we put in at Hammer creek. It was somewhere in the mid-teens. we enjoyed several warm sunny days of floating, big splashy rapids and a few adult beverages.

I have a friend that had done Slide Rapid at very high levels on a J-Rig with a bridge pontoons attached to each side. A considerable amount of floatation. For those conditions you don't use straps to keep your rig together, only trucker chains. I remembered his story of going through Slide and having the assembly almost torn apart and a good friend disappearing underneath. Fortunately they were able to retrieve him safely. It's been too many years to remember the water level but it was 60,000+. With those memories in mind we approached Slide.

For those folks that haven't floated the Lower Main Slide Rapid was formed when a large rock slide constricted the narrow canyon into an even smaller slot. So you have a narrow V-shaped canyon that is now even smaller than it was previously. As water levels raise the waves form a large wave train and drop into the large pool on the downstream side of Slide. The pool is much wider creating a classic pool and drop rapid. As the water drops the wave train increases in size. That part isn't so bad. On either side of slide the rocks form large lateral waves that form waves that hit the wave train at about 45 degrees. Mother Nature didn't place these waves at the same place on each side so when the water flows down the river in an inconsistent manner the wave also surges and the right hand side wave can curl back on the wave in a random pattern and flip boats at will. At higher water levels the waves are huge and the surges even more unpredictable.

We pulled over to scout Slide. A jet boat was tied to the rock next to us. They said that seven boats had flipped that day and that one passenger has floated several miles to the mouth of the Salmon where it meets the Snake. That must of been quite a ride. A few years prior when the water was higher than the day we floated the river rumors were that 49 boats were lost or sunk with the high water present that year. The pucker factor was now getting higher.

We hiked up the rock slide and looked at the rapid. The surging V-wave from the right was inconsistent and frightening.

We decided that Dennis, Rich and Monica would go first. They pushed off and headed for the top of the rapid. Dennis lined up the raft with skill, setting up on the intended line very accurately. With apprehension we watched the raft travel down the tongue of the rapid. An oar stroke here or there and Dennis rose up the first wave. So far, so good. Tension was so thick you could have spread it with a knife. The slowness of the approach to a rapid contrasted greatly with the speed of the descent. In what seemed like a blink of an eye the lateral wave, their raft and the top of the biggest wave came together. The unpredictable surging proved to be their downfall or should I say their upset. The rafts right side lifted up until it flipped.

I don't remember exactly how Dennis and Rich got the raft to the left side of the river. What I do remember was Monica was out of the raft and was floating downstream. This was her first river trip and we were all worried. I have never crossed a rock slide with greater speed. A couple of us traveled down the left hand side of the river until we approached a cliff that stopped our progress. The only way around was to jump in the river and swim. Tom and I are now about 150 feet downstream from the bottom of the rapid on the pool portion of the river. Wearing an Extrasport HIfloat PFD I jumped in to the still surging water. As I was pulled down my only thought was to reach towards the surface. With what must of been great luck my hand found Tom's pocket on his cutoffs. His head was barely above water and I was pulling him down. Somehow we managed to both reach the surface and clamber out. The hydraulics formed by Slide are incredible.

By now Monica had been rescued and was being brought back up to join the group. I wish I could remember how she got back to us. We regrouped and felt very thankful that we were all okay.

We still had two rafts to get past Slide. None of the guides wanted to replicate Dennis, Rich's and Monica's experiences. Our choices were limited. We all knew about lining rafts past an obstacle so we set out to unload the first raft, and collect our longest, strong ropes. With ropes tied to the bow and stern rings we brought the raft to the side of Slide. Great apprehension faced us as we let the boat down the side of the river. The pull of the current was far greater than anything we had ever felt. We were all experienced rock climbers and knew how to belay a climber. The power of the river was immense and it was very difficult to control the raft. I still have a scar on my back from a rope burn when the rope was pulled through my hands. We got the raft to a secure location where we hoped we could reattach the frame and reload it.

Now what do we do, we still had a third raft to get past Slide. The first two tries while eventually successful, will never be though of as the best way to get down a rapid. A portage up and over the huge rock slide was the only thing we could think of to do. The rocks that form the rock slide vary in size from your average boulder to a small box truck. A large load of gear was slowly moved up, over, and down to our intended loading area. We deflated the raft, rolled it up and tied the load to one of the guy's backs. With slowness and care two of us grabbed a side of the raft and guided the load bearer through the jumble of rocks.

Finally we had passed Slide. Unfortunately we still had to reload the rafts and move on downstream. With great difficulty we endeavored to load the rafts as they rose up and down two to three feet in time with the surging water off the edge of semi truck trailer sized rock. This was a task none of had ever dreamed of nor trained for.

At this point it had taken several hours to accomplish these tasks. We loaded up everyone and rowed a short distance down river. Remember the surging water? It had one more surprise for us. Dennis's raft had been tied to rocks and the surging water had rubbed a hole in the side. Fortunately it was sunk but now we had to transfer that rafts load to the other two, tow the last raft down to the closest beach / campsite we could find. A small patch of sand never looked so good. The basalt rocks that haven't been polished smooth are very sharp and don't make good campsites so the small patch of sand we stopped at looked wonderful.

Our beer supply was reduced greatly that night and the wet spaghetti noodles eventually cooked up. Our beer supply was being rapidly depleted as we retold the stories of the day over and over. At about 11 PM we all realized that we still had a raft to patch. I am sure glad that the Bostic raft repair glue didn't bond my beard and skin to the raft permanently when I fell asleep on the patch!

We were very pleased that the rest of the trip was far less eventful. I haven't spoken to many of the participants in a decade or two. I will bet however that they, like I haven't forgotten that river trip.

The remarkable thing about Slide Rapid is at water levels under eight or nine thousand feet per second it is a section of almost flat water. I floated the Lower Main many more times but never so early in the season and never at that flow. Did you know that you can fill a Campways Miwok raft with several hundred gallons of water and it will stick to the waves in Slide Rapid much better?

Slide Rapid at a variety of flows is the star of many YouTube videos so you can see it for your self. There is one that illustrates what Slide looks like at 80,000 CFS.

After hearing about Jon Barkers long trip a couple of us want to replicate as much of it as we could. So in one season in three separate trip we floated the Middle Fork, the Main Salmon and the Lower Main Salmon to the Snake. We put in at the end of each previous trip although it was a month or two later. Not the same as Jon's adventure but sure enjoyed it.

That's my story and I am sticking to it.

Rick N
Re: beavertail
December 11, 2015 07:26AM
Thanks for sharing Rick!
Re: beavertail
December 11, 2015 02:12PM
Good story Rick. I did a google image search on Slide Rapid. And saw some of what you are talking about.

There are also photos of near vertical open drift boats climbing those big waves. That just doesn't make sense. I wonder if there is an un-tapped market for third party Lavro and ClackaCraft retro-fits. So aspiring wave runners could make an open boat decked. Even tightly stretched backpack nylon would be a lot better than open.

A decked dory doesn't keep you from flipping, if you get sideways into a big hole and over you go. But it sure does help to keep it maneuverable instead of swamped. Which helps to keep from getting flipped in the first place.
Re: beavertail
December 11, 2015 08:59PM
Grand Canyon Dories used to and probably still does run the Lower Main. They were an infrequent site but sure were beautiful. The article I attached below is another story of Slide. Curt Chang mentioned in the story used to come and buy a lot of outdoor gear from a store where I worked in Spokane. A quiet but very nice guy I became friends with. The Grand Canyon was a wonderful experience but so is the Lower Main. Get that new boat built and we will do it together!


Re: beavertail
December 16, 2015 09:40PM
Wayne, I just got the book mentioned previously from our local library. It is a great story that I can relate to as I was also a riverguide and boatman at the same time as Clancy and Jon. I didn't fall as far down the rabbit hole as they did. I at least came back to town and ended up with real jobs. However the river still does call me!

When Clancy made his boat he took a sailboat someone gave him and he used like Sandy does as a form to attach plywood to and then stitch and glue the pieces and panels together. After removing the sheetrock screws he patched the holes and I assumed he painted the boat. The sailboat was chosen as an initial pattern because on the speed run they planned on using a sail when possible. The boat had a centerboard that could be dropped when required. It might actually be an interesting plan for a boat for your travels. It doesn't have the rocker that a traditional driftboat has but Clancy had the strength to maneuver it as needed. I have only read a few pages but will pass on more info as I read more.

Rick N
Re: beavertail
December 16, 2015 11:22PM
Wayne, I just got the book mentioned previously from our local library. It is a great story that I can relate to as I was also a riverguide and boatman at the same time as Clancy and Jon. I didn't fall as far down the rabbit hole as they did. I at least came back to town and ended up with real jobs. However the river still does call me!

When Clancy made his boat he took a sailboat someone gave him and he used like Sandy does as a form to attach plywood to and then stitch and glue the pieces and panels together. After removing the sheetrock screws he patched the holes and I assumed he painted the boat. The sailboat was chosen as an initial pattern because on the speed run they planned on using a sail when possible. The boat had a centerboard that could be dropped when required. It might actually be an interesting plan for a boat for your travels. It doesn't have the rocker that a traditional driftboat has but Clancy had the strength to maneuver it as needed. I have only read a few pages but will pass on more info as I read more.

Rick N
Re: beavertail
December 17, 2015 03:08PM
I liked the book so much I sat down and finished it in a quick burst of reading. No more details on the design, however a lot more on the journeys it, Clancy Reese and Jon Barker undertook. I was riveted to my seat. It helps to have traveled many of the same paths or should I say waterways the trio traveled. Some of you may enjoy the exploits and adventures presented within the pages.

I have to also recommend Kevin Fedarko's book, The Emerald Mile. It is another good book on rivers and river guides, the life style that drives them and the experiences and attitudes that form thier and my ties to the river environment.

Rick N
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