Raft down the Mississippi

Discussion in 'Boatbuilding' started by qwist04, Jan 18, 2005.

  1. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    Bigriverraft: By your comments I can believe you did the Mississippi. I know how the currents and turbulence can make handling hazardous. Planning ahead is good seamanship and the only safe way with a low powered vessel
     
  2. djwkd
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    djwkd Senior Member


    heheh. Amazon ;)
     
  3. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    The Amazon is not as hectic as the Mississippi
     
  4. Boston

    Boston Previous Member

    I have seriously thought of doing exactly that
    you would have to build either one sharp sharpie to make the crossing
    or build it there

    basically get as far upstream as I could go then slowly float back down and let it take all the time in the world
     
  5. djwkd
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    djwkd Senior Member

    This is going to turn into a 'Raft down the Amazon' thread now, isn't it?
    :p
     
  6. bigriverraft
    Joined: Aug 2009
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    Location: new york

    bigriverraft Junior Member

    Some Advice

    When I was gathering research for my Mississippi trip I was lucky enough to meet and talk with a number of people who had done the trip. They were kind enough to give me some valuable tips that made my trip much better. Here is some of the best advice I got.....
    1. Get a motor. There is a romantic ideal of a raft drifting with the current and we actually did drift a lot below St Louis. Above St Louis, behind the dams, there is often very little current. Combine that with a head wind and you may find yourself going upstream. Below St Louis the current is STRONG. If you are in any craft larger than a canoe or kayak you will need a motor. How big? We had a 9.9 which was enough provided we paid attention. The important thing is that you are able to maneuver. Above St Louis no one will bother you but below St Louis if the Coast Guard feels that you are a hazard to navigation they will order you off the river. It has happened to a number of rafters.
    2. Get a GPS. I gave sites for charts in post #164. Good charts are nice. Navigation is straightforward. The river is skinny and goes in one direction. There are milage posts along the bank. The GPS is not so much for navigation as for tracking weather. There is no way to spend 6-8 weeks on the river and not run into a thunderstorm. With the weather radio and the GPS we were able to track storms as they moved. On at least 3 occasions it enabled us to get to a good spot, anchor down and get ready before they hit. One had 80 mph gusts and hail. Bad enough while sheltered, no fun at all in the open.
    3. Pay Attention. It is easy to get lulled into a relaxed state, especially if the sun is hot. In places it is possible to see miles up and down the river. When you see an approaching tow boat you must immediately make plans..where are you going to pass? Do you look for a better spot or hold what you have? Don't get lulled into thinking it is miles away and there is plenty of time. They move faster than you think. Use all the time you have to get to a good place and give them plenty of room.
    4. Get a VHF. We had a small handheld one. It could scan channels and had weather stations on it. As I mentioned above, tracking weather was important. We could talk to lock masters and let them know we were coming. On occasion we could talk to tow captains and let them know where we were (a number told me they could NOT see me on radar). We could also talk to marinas and other boats. It costs about 100 bucks and was waterproof. It was well worth having.
    5. Don't be shy. If you need something, ask. Remember the old CCR song, Proud Mary, that said people on the river are happy to give? It was amazingly true. So many people helped us along the way. I found the people along the river to be quite generous. We were given free slips, free beers, free food and rides to town by total strangers. A tow captain even let us tie off to his barges during a violent thunderstorm. If you need something, just ask.
    Hope this helps....

    www.zannel.com/bigriverraft
     
  7. Boston

    Boston Previous Member

    there is a good chance that the first place I slip into the water with my retirement build is somewhere above st Louis Missouri. Its the closest water to me were I am now and land in Missouri is cheap, so I might just find something within dragging distance of the big muddy.

    al this info is really helpful cause Ill be hitting the water after 40 or so years away and my skills are bound to be a tad rusty

    thanks for all the tips

    B
     
  8. hoytedow
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    hoytedow Wood Butcher

    Except in the rainy season.
     
  9. Boston

    Boston Previous Member

    I also wonder about the amount of debris that comes down the Amazon in the rains
    I hear its a real hazard
     
  10. hoytedow
    Joined: Sep 2009
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    Location: North of Cuba

    hoytedow Wood Butcher

    The forest floor gets flooded. It is amazing.
     
  11. Boston

    Boston Previous Member

    ya a shallow draft boat is the only way to go
    kinda like on the Mississippi
     
  12. djwkd
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    djwkd Senior Member

    Or a shallow draft raft :)
    Rafter's designs seem like a really good way to go. With a few splash guard thingies (very technical language there) and a few tied together, your on to a winner! :)
     
  13. djwkd
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    djwkd Senior Member

    Sorry, Raftman1978 or whatever it is. His, anyway :)

    Maybe gonna try his design for my next raft build. After I finish this one. Only 16 nails from completion for this one, though! :p Well...a mixture of nails and screws.
     
  14. djwkd
    Joined: Jul 2006
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    Location: Newcastle-Upon-Tyne

    djwkd Senior Member

    @ryan112ryan - any more news on your project?
     

  15. djwkd
    Joined: Jul 2006
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    Location: Newcastle-Upon-Tyne

    djwkd Senior Member

    What about a vuvuzella? :p

    EDIT: sorry for posting so many posts without a reply!
     
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