My closest river is the Main Salmon and last year we made a September run of the Lower Gorges of the Main. As long as we were on the Salmon the river was stupendous. Great camps, great rapids and gorgeous canyons reminding me very strongly of the Inner Granite Gorge of the Colorado in the Grand Canyon. That changed jarringly once we got to the confluence with the Snake and had to go another 20 miles to get to the take-out at Heller Bar. The wind was continuous and upcanyon so we were rowing against it the entire way. To add to the misery about five miles down we entered an area of essentially slack water with very little current. That was tolerable, just barely, but the closer we got to Heller Bar the later in the day it got and the drunker and more obnoxious the jetboaters got. Two JOs decided to mess with my wife and her friend in kayaks by heading toward them at full speed side-by-side and just before they got to them they criss-crossed in front of them raising up a huge cross current nearly flipping them in flat water. That and others had tied up together and were shouting taunts at us as we struggled by them against the winds. I decided that I'd never put on that reach of river again unless and until I had a means of mitigating the misery of the Snake to the take-out.
My solution to the problem was to modify my frame by adding an axillary section to it behind the current frame that has a plate that I can attach an adjustable motor mount on that can be quickly raised and lowered as river conditions and depths require. The axillary frame makes contact with and pushes against my main frame, not against my rubber. It does not interfere with the way I load the rear area with my soft deck and gear, in fact it provides additional attachment points for tying gear down. There is a plate that I will mount a pedestal seat on to sit while I steer with the motor.
There is a group I boat with that already uses motors for 7 to 9 day private trips on the Grand Canyon that I intend to join with once I get this whole thing refined. That is the main factor that decided what motor I chose to mount on this. Basically anything beyond 10 HP they tell me is wasted fuel since you can only push so much weight so fast without planing. The Grand Canyon only allows the use of quieter, cleaner 4-stroke engines on the Colorado there so those two requirements were driving my choice. One of my friends who does the Grand has a Mercury that seems to push very hard for a 10 horse but they tell me that it weight nearly twice what some of the other motors they use do. The Hondas they have are light enough for a one person to lift and move about so I settled on a used Honda 10 horse 4-stroke that I picked up in Utah about a week ago. It was a great price but it had been mounted on a boat with remote control and a steering wheel so I had to scrounge up a tiller arm and mount it myself. I found one in Boise for a few bucks and just today got it connected to the throttle control and mounted. Now I have to get the motor mount itself attached to the frame, get the seat and mount it and put it on the water to see if it all holds together.
The idea is that I can push as many as six rafts at once with the motor, you don't have to go fast, you just have to go downstream which can be a challenge in the face of upcanyon winds like you find on both the Snake and the Grand Canyon.
Great idea. There is a significant difference in mounting a motor to a cat than to a self-bailer like mine. Gordo New