25 years of Class V boating in rafts and duckies but the first time in a wooden drift boat on anything other then portions of the Lower Salmon and Clearwater Rivers in Idaho. 5 years a a paddle and oar rig guide around the country. I have about 40 days all together on the oars on these two rivers with her. Should I run her like a raft but avoid the big wave trains?
Great a reading water so that's not an issue. She looks a lot like the boat doing the Green River but she is currently turned over getting a final paint job on the bottom and haven't figured out how to upload photos yet.
Decked or open?
Seems the Lower Salmon has big water.
...what's your experience on the Salmon? Do you hit the wavetrains? Seems that missing them might put you in rockier water (generally assuming that most wavetrains run down the green tongue).
My 16' McKenzie handles the wave trains fine, just keep pushing and avoid the holes.
I’m a little late to the show. If you’ve already made the trip tell us how it was. I took my decked Briggs down Deso last year at 18K. It was great fun and easy.
J. No decking and no floatation, which would make it much easier. Bailed out the boat more than once with a few needing immediate eddies while shifting back and forth to keep her from grabbing the eddy lines.
Part of this was we were carrying more than a bit of weight, we figured 300 lbs plus of gear once you figure 11 gallons of water, a larger and small cooler, a 40lb fire pan and our personal gear.
Steer Ridge was easy but I needed to bail after it, Joe Hutch at Cow Swim and Coal Creek as these 3 rapids I couldn't skirt around at 4,000 cfs and the last two had curlers that filled the boat up ankle deep upon entry into the rapid. At the exit to Coal Creek I actually bumped a subsurface rock that was likely 2-3 feet under water due to the water in the boat.
Were there a lot of curlers at 18K or big wave trains which she tends to float through even weighted down?
Need to figure out how to show a photo in this forum to get a few ideas and solutions.
Sorry all, I was packing up on the 24th after looking at how these types of boats handle on the Rogue River and felt I could do it with just a little trepidation as this was the first big water I took Dragon Bottom on. The Lower Salmon it turns out has smaller wave trains that can be avoided and definitely not the curlers that Deso Grey has at least at the cfs I was on then. On Deso we started at 4,000 cfs and I wouldn't want to try it much past 5,000 cfs.
My experience reading water was the difference between hitting a lot of partially or fully submerged rocks and getting swamped more than we did. I hit only one to the surprise of all on my trip and all the other boaters on the river and it was MY fault as I followed too closely to another boat going into the rapid and she tends to move faster than the rafts and raft have forgiveness while wooden boats don't.
No damage except that the varnish started flaking in the spot that I hit. As you can see the bottom has a 2nd bottom put on someone after 1972. Mark sanded, primed and painted it with Marine paint but it has peeled off in some spots. Is this because we live in a dry climate (Arizona) and she was wet for 7-8 days?
Do we, should we, fiberglass the bottom?
It was a blast and the comments, thumbs up and smiles were fun and broke even the grumpiest boaters into smiles.
We need to tweak a few things including adding a bit of floatation maybe under the seats? Will try again to fix the leaks/wood in the back compartments , one of which leaked when we bought it which I will take photos of shortly to ask questions.
I will continue tomorrow.
I'd consider large float bags instead of built-in flotation (unless you want to completely deck everything).
Look at what open canoeists do---they fill open volume with float bags and then put a spray cover over everything so a large wave generally gets washed overboard. Leave a small open area in your rower's compartment.
Fiberglass is a double-edged sword. Glass on the outside protects from superficial scuffs, but it also traps moisture if you get a medium scuff/scratch. If you take a big hit, glass on the outside does nothing--it's the tensile strength of glass on the inside that keeps a big rock from going all the way through your plywood floor.
Glad you had a great time!