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Discussion Starter #1
Hi there,

Pulled the trigger on my first drift boat. I was lucky enough to spend time in a few friends' boats and try different sizes and styles before making the purchase. Thanks, Todd, for the advice. I bought a used aluminum koffler boat that is 16 x 54 and in good shape. There were a couple of questions I had for the forum:

1) The boat has a center mount anchor rigging with a pulley/jam cleat. Most of the boats I've seen and rowed had the anchor line release rigged up the side via pulleys so that the rope was easily accessible to the rower. Do you recommend having this installed? Is it an easy DIY at home?

2) When anchoring do you rely on the jam cleat only to keep your boat from drifting into the main current? Seems like a big wind could easily push the boat into the main current and dislodge the rope from the jam cleat. Do you ever just tie it off? I know not to put any knots or tie off the anchor in swift water...

3) I am refinishing a pair of sawyer lights with marine spar varnish. For those that have done this, do you recommend putting any kevlar around the blades? Some people say it's great and some say don't bother.

Thank you,

Jesse
 

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1). My boat (Alumaweld) has the side pulley system and my buddies the center. Can't say I notice much difference between the two.

2) On occasion, like floating a dam controlled river where levels can go up quickly, I will pull the anchor up on the beach a fair ways. Other than that, I just make sure I have a decent bit of rope out. Learned the hard way back when I ran a raft that you want a good angle between the boat and the anchor. If the rope is straight down in the water, prepare to run for it.

The other thing that I have always done is tie a big knot in the end of the rope. I have a long rope and don't worry about it catching in a rapid, I have a knife for that if needed. More concerned about wind or someone's boot pulling the rope out of the cleat.
 

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I am sure the Kevlar adds some strength, but it isn't going to make a big difference as it will still flex enough to allow the blade to snap internally and it will make your blades less buoyant. If you did snap the blade though it may remain rigid enough to get you back to the take out where as without it, your in trouble.

Kevlar on the shafts can be nice if your in super fast water or rowing a heavier boat like a Power Drifter as it stiffens the shaft slightly giving you a bit more control, but still gives you some good flex as you have the wood shafts.

Was out at the Sawyer Factory a few weeks back picking up a truck load of oars to bring back here to Michigan, got to see how their oars are made, great guys.

Floor mounted anchors freeze up in sub freezing temps, I prefer the side mounted systems...
 

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My Clackacraft has the center floor-mounted anchor pulley. I like it because I can lift with my legs, rather than my back. I also use the pulley system sold by Clackacraft off the back to reduce the pulling weight of the anchor.

When I stop for fishing a run, I make sure the anchor has plenty of rope and is on the beach or dropped behind a rock. When I park the boat for an overnight camp on the Deschutes, I make sure that I tie the boat to something on shore. Often, to keep it swinging back and forth over rocks, I will connect both front and back to the shore. I always sleep better at night with my boat secured.

I have an older set of ash oars that I bought with my boat (in 1985). At that time, I put a rubber sleeve (made by Gull?) over the tip. I no longer use the ash oars because I have a set of Cataract oars, but they still function. The sleeves kept the oar blades from splitting, although there are cracks.

Mark
 

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Good point by Sinktip about the knot. When I'm running the big rapids on the Deschutes, I tie a very small overhand knot right next to the anchor release so I don't inadvertently release the anchor at the wrong time. The knot is small enough that I can't get my foot through it. It is untied when I am through the rapids and need the anchor again.

Mark
 

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The sidemount anchor is to allow a motor, not really to be better overall, just different. I wouldn't change it, but if so, contact Joe Koffler directly for parts.

Wooden blades eventually get dented or dinged, water gets in, and they rot. Kevlar edges delay this, but do not prevent. I'd use them until they die, then replace with composite blades, you can still have a wood shaft if you prefer but the composite blades are bomber.
 

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get yourself a Lee lock

not sure about side mount or center mount, but the leelock line lock is one of sweeter pieces of kit.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks.

I do like the center mount system but it's a bother to have to reach all the way back to the mount to release the anchor. I am thinking it would be nice to have the anchor rope affixed to some pulleys going up the right side of the boat towards the rower's position - I think this is how most drift boat anchors lines are affixed.

All in all it's a good problem to have in life.






The sidemount anchor is to allow a motor, not really to be better overall, just different. I wouldn't change it, but if so, contact Joe Koffler directly for parts.

Wooden blades eventually get dented or dinged, water gets in, and they rot. Kevlar edges delay this, but do not prevent. I'd use them until they die, then replace with composite blades, you can still have a wood shaft if you prefer but the composite blades are bomber.
 

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I wouldn't put a knot at the end of my anchor line. No way! I'd put a slip knot in the anchor line by the jam cleat so it keeps the anchor from releasing at the wrong time, but you can undo it just by pulling on the line. Years ago, I had an anchor come loose in a long, fast run, and gotten hung up mid-river. It seemed like an eternity to get the knife out to cut the line when the boat was rocking back and forth, ready to get sucked under. I'd rather lose the anchor and line than have my boat at the bottom of the river. No knots for me, thanks!

Agree about rotting blades due to water getting in under some kevlar or fiberglass coating. Water gets in easy, doesn't always leave as easily. As mentioned, I'd use them until they're toast, then get whatever else you want. I re-finished and re-wrapped my old Smoker (made by Sawyer) oars (which are at least 20 years old), and they're just as strong as they ever were.

I wouldn't change the jam cleat location because side-mount seems better. As stated, it's mounted on the gunwale and stern corner primarily to allow for motor to clear. Just use the floor mount, but throw a slip knot right behind the jam cleat once the anchor is up.

just my 2¢ worth
 

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Congratulations on the new boat! I had the same anchor set up as you when I first got my boat. Reaching back 20 times a day got old and made my back hurt. I went down to Koffler and got the around the rails system so I pull towards myself from rowers seat, I'm happy with it. It's a DIY install. Drill some holes, tighten some bolts. I have an additional cleat I picked up at bi mart next to me on the rowers seat for insurance, rope wraps thru three times not coming out. The lee-lock looks sweet, eventually will try one but can't buy in town. I wouldn't put a knot in my anchor rope. I have had the anchor come off in a rapid, rope got stuck, water rushing over my stern, got lucky and didn't swamp. Have heard of more than one death due to this. That's why I got the additional cleat. See you on the river!
 

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Jesse:
Sounds like you found a great boat!! Koffler's are awesome boats. You'll like that wider 54" bottom. Glad that even a "non-expert" like me could help you.

So on your boat, the jam cleat thingy is all the way in the back where the pulley is? Mine has another couple pulleys that routes the rope and jam cleat right in front of me when sitting in the rowing seat. This is the configuration I've seen most often. I've been relying on just the jam cleat to hold my anchor rope without putting any knots in the rope, but sounds like the slip knot deal is a good idea for extra insurance in keeping one's boat from drifting off without you. As already noted, leaving enough anchor rope out when parking your boat is also important. I learned that lesson from a friend who had his Clacka drift off from a sand bar last winter due to the wind picking up and not enough anchor rope played out to hold the boat back. Luckily the story had a good ending with a landowner downstream retrieving the boat and holding on to it until it's owner found out where it was.

Happy boating!

Todd
 

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I actually don't like to pull my anchor back up to the boat at every stop via the pulleys....it's a lot of work and then just gets dropped again. And with the shortened length of rope (as Todd mentioned), my issue was that as I was rowing down river and dropping anchor, it would go straight down and wouldnt' have enough scope to stop/hold the boat. Gotta have that "scope".

i put an anchor nest in the back and just keep it in there, with a bunch of line sitting free behind the rear bench (for anchor scope). when it's time to stop, I pull into the spot I want, jump off the oars, grab the anchor, and toss it as far upriver as I can. works pretty well. but dropping the anchor and letting line out works too.

congrats on the new boat, it'll make you very happy!
 

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If you're planning on anchoring in fast-er water, keep your anchor centered and add some pulleys to make picking it up easier. Yes, the side mount is for a motor but the reason to not do it is that your boat will swing side to side with any current. Some other tricks to deal with this are to turn your oars so that the blades are vertical and let them stay in the water , they'll act as rudders and stabilize the boat (this is for being on anchor in slightly fast water, not fast water)
 

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I've never tied a knot in my anchor line for any reason . The design is specifically implemented to facilitate the anchor line pulling clear in an emergency.
Knots swamp boats and many will reply that it's never been a problem and I submit if that is the case they never needed the knot.
Rope and lead is cheap , the boat , your belongings and potentially, your life and that of your passengers is far more valuable.
I've never had a rope slip my spar and that's including 11 years of guiding . Again , anything that puts the boat at the risk of swamping is counter intuitive. Trust that tool and utilize all of your rope to keep the boat where you want it.
Here's the rub , nearly every boat owner I know has had a boat drift off the anchor . SinkTip nailed it . Keep that rope long . When I anchor on the shore in windy conditions I also use rocks to reinforce the anchor .
Assume the worst is always imminent and be prepared to alleviate it.
In the meantime , have a blast !!
 

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Congrats on the new boat. You will have a blast. Lots of great advice here. I will add my 2 cents too.
I use a center mount anchor with a pulley system on the side to direct the rope around and to the front of the rower. Works great for me.
I also do not like knots in my anchor rope. do not want to hang the boat by accident in fast water. better to lose the rope and anchor rather than the boat or persons
The only time i tie off the boat is if i am leaving it alone on the beach in slack water. As added insurance, with the anchor securely placed, I may place a half hitch of rope around the locking cleat to secure the rope.
As for the oars. I would use the wood oars until they are done and then get a new pair with graphite shafts.
Congrats on the boat and happy drifting.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks, this has been a very helpful and fun discussion. I really appreciate the advice and encouragement. I'm fortunate to have such a great community of people willing to help me out.

Todd, we need more blog posts! I check your blog first thing in the morning anticipating a wonderful story (with pics!) about a little wang floating over some pocket water on a quiet stretch of emerald green water. Keep em' coming!

Jesse
 

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My first drift boat was a home built woody that was used mostly on still water. The jam cleat was mounted on the center mount arm. I found this arrangement to be a royal PITA. Fortunately, we are blessed with a number of boat bulders in our (Medford) area. I tracked down sources for the various parts needed & rigged up a floor mount Bose peddle anchor release system.

Although some critics dislike the peddle relaese, claiming cases of accidental releases, I rever had a problem with this system. And, as stated, a slip knot in the anchor rope is an added safety measure. I am also a big fan of the additional pulley in the system for a number of reasons. Although it requires twice as much rope, it reduces the effort of pulling the anchor by half, while also reducing, by half, the amount of pull on that Bose peddle. Should your anhcor become lodged on the bottom, rather than cutting your anchor rope, just release all of the rope out thrrough the peddle and all of the pulleys. All you will lose is your anchor & one pulley. The rope, being connected to the arm, is reteivable.

The next items on your list, besides a spare oar, is a set of oar tethers. Should an our pop out of the lock, you don't want to lose it! Our locks need to be "tuned" to fit your oars so that they will not pop out ezcept under extreme conditions.

If & when you consider up grades, I highly recommend Sawyer Square Tops & Cobra oar locks. Have them wrap the oar ropes an extra 18"
 

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Thanks, this has been a very helpful and fun discussion. I really appreciate the advice and encouragement. I'm fortunate to have such a great community of people willing to help me out.

Todd, we need more blog posts! I check your blog first thing in the morning anticipating a wonderful story (with pics!) about a little wang floating over some pocket water on a quiet stretch of emerald green water. Keep em' coming!

Jesse
Jesse:
Thanks man, I'm so honored that you like my blog and check it out from time to time. I need to get out fishing more to "make" more stories, hopefully one to include a foam thingy in the jaw of winter chrome! Actually any dry line winter chrome encounters are welcomed.

Keep me posted on how your journey with your boat goes, I'm still a new boat owner/user myself.

As we're approaching spring, my boat will be getting out to float soon as well. For some reason, just about all of my winter steelheading is from the bank.

Blessings,
Todd
 
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