Raft down the Mississippi

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

  1. Steve W
    Joined: Jul 2004
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    Location: Duluth, Minnesota

    Steve W Senior Member

    Just curious, could a sea anchor or drouge be used to utilize the current to help you along the way, it may be more useful than a sail, i once read of a big catamaran with a parachute sea anchor deployed making way against the wind off the coast of california.Im not saying it would work, just asking as ive never seen it suggested. I would think that a couple of large sweeps that you could use standing up would develop more power than sit down oars.

  2. michael pierzga
    Joined: Dec 2008
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    Location: spain

    michael pierzga Senior Member

    I suppose if you were trying to make progress downstream, against the wind , a sea anchor could offer some advantage.

    Stand up oars, manned by numerous slaves , are the only way to go with a big bulky craft.
  3. Steve W
    Joined: Jul 2004
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    Location: Duluth, Minnesota

    Steve W Senior Member

    It just seems to me that you are already using the current to take you downstream so why not take advantage of an underwater sail so to speak for a little more speed, i would liken it to going downwind on a sailboat under bare spars vs putting up a sail, any sail is going to help. The problem with drifting down a river is that the wind at times may be against you,an underwater sail like a parachute may be enough to make the difference between progress or waiting it out at anchor.

  4. Manie B
    Joined: Sep 2006
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    Manie B Senior Member

    in theory it works - BUT ONLY IN CLEAN CLEAR WATER

    when I was screaming down the river at 8 knots the thought of an underwater parachute hooking onto a submerged tree and voilently swinging me around, also changed my idea of that.
  5. bigriverraft
    Joined: Aug 2009
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    Location: new york

    bigriverraft Junior Member

    sea anchor

    I found a sea anchor to be a great asset in the Lower Mississippi. It would really help hold the raft in the current and helped negate the effect of the wind. Often the wind would be from the side and would tend to blow us out of the channel. We started off with two buckets but found some more on the shore and ended up with six. It made a big difference. The buckets floated at the surface so I wasn't worried about them hanging up. BTW I knew from my sailing days to always have a "rope wrench" ie a sharp knife handy...had a divers type knife in a scabbard hung up near the tiller but never used it. A rope on the back end of the buckets made them easy to trip and haul in which we did whenever we saw a tow. I highly recommend a sea anchor for anybody on a raft.

  6. willdeh2
    Joined: Apr 2011
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    willdeh2 Junior Member

    The thing I would say about this "sea anchor" as you guys call it is that it would need to be something that's relatively easy to get out of the water when you need to move. There is a considerable amount of debris on the river that could damage something. There were many times when we would just float along and look up to find a tree, or a buoy or something else in the way, glad to have an engine at those times!

    From Baton Rouge south, there are huge container ships and plenty of barge traffic, it's no place for a pleasure craft, the huge ships and barges don't really care if you're in the way and you need to be ready to move when it comes time. Here's a picture or two to show what I mean.

    Attached Files:

  7. qwist04
    Joined: Jan 2005
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    Location: Twin Cities, MN

    qwist04 Junior Member

    Just thought I'd pipe in as the originator of this thread. I never did make the trip back in 2005, but eight years later it's finally happening. Unfortunately I ditched the raft idea -- I now live in New York City, which makes it hard to construct a raft and bring it to the Mississippi. But my fiance and I will be starting at the headwaters in Lake Itasca by canoe this Memorial Weekend. We'll be blogging from http://www.travelingriversideblog.com if y'all are interested in following our adventure.
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