Raft down the Mississippi

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

  1. Frosty

    Frosty Previous Member

    Never even thought about it, just saw your name and jumped in.
    Errmmm slightly interested ,--what do you do? build a big flooting thing, get a stick and push off. This will take you all the way down the mississippi. A bit like Tom Soyer novel?
    So the question is I guess how big your floating thing is. Sounds like some one could make money renting good ones out then dragging them all the way back by road for some one else to have a go.

    Hey now Im interested.
     
  2. rafter
    Joined: Jun 2006
    Posts: 14
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    Location: Minnesota

    rafter Junior Member

    Just some info....

    > To live to tell about it. Like I said, just take
    > your time :) Its safe,
    > trust me, you just need that old fear and respect
    > thing to keep it safe.

    >
    > Size: 16X16, the little house was 8X8, right in the
    > middle. I was a little
    > floating square!
    >
    > Motor: 15 HP 2 stroke main, and a 1969 4HP back up.
    > 15 was ran wide open,
    > 14 hours or so a day!! Would go through a little
    > more than a gallon an hour.
    >
    > Sleep: WHatever suited me, but the raft was the
    > coolest, easy, and most fun.
    > I could set up my tent on the roof of the house if I
    > wanted. When I left the
    > raft alone, Id set up the tent anyway so thiefs
    > would not know if I was
    > there!!
    >
    > Mosquitos: When under way no problem, but as SOON
    > AS I STOPPED, they were
    > everywhere. I had a good bug plan though: I could
    > roll down my huge
    > mosquito nets (from military) down all 4 sides of my
    > little house before I'd
    > stop, and use clothes pins to pinch all the areas
    > bugs could get in. worked
    > awsome.
    >
    > Food: I had a base supply pre purchased for the
    > whole month, but food is
    > easy to get. I had a cooler of ice the whole time!!
    >
    > I had neither rudder or keel, just used the motor.
    > and trusted to use a
    > backup!
    >
    > Constuction will take a long time to explain.
    > Basically like the vilma b.
    > two pontoons connected by 2x4's. sort of bad design
    > though, too close to the
    > water, I was always getting waves overboard, minor
    > nuisance. Never in real
    > deanger as it floated on styrofoam.

    Well I had some special problems. I'm in the
    > > military and they would only
    > > give me one month off. So, I had to come up with
    > a
    > > plan to launch, travel,
    > > and recover in a month. Basically I came to the
    > > conclusion that you can have
    > > either a lot of money, a lot of time, or a lot of
    > > creativity, the later of
    > > the two the neutrinos had. I had little time, so
    > I
    > > had to spend extra money
    > > to get it done fast enough, which meant motor and
    > > gas money. If you are
    > > creative enough, money becomes less of an issue,
    > for
    > > example fund raising or
    > > going and getting used parts etc etc. But what I
    > > did was built a mock up in
    > > my garage, actually the entire thing, which could
    > be
    > > disassembled in around 7
    > > major pieces, which could then be loaded on a car
    > > hauler (small 16 foot
    > > trailer) borrowed from a friend. We timed it and
    > > were able to assemble it on
    > > location ( at North Mississippi Park in
    > Minneapolis)
    > > in like a half an
    > > hour!!! Then I shoved off and we were under way.
    > > We even did a test run an
    > > a small lake near Duluth. YOu see, I had to drive
    > > it from Duluth to
    > > Minneapolis.
    > > YOu have to start at Minneapolis because that is
    > the
    > > start of the Navigation
    > > Channel. THis means that the rest of the 27 or so
    > > Damns are lockable, or
    > > passable.
    > > Other design considerations: YOu want 360 degree
    > > field of vision from a
    > > sitting position
    > > Consider wind action on your boat, winds can get
    > > nasty, and can blow you into
    > > danger if you get caught in them, the trick here
    > is
    > > if you have time, stay
    > > put!!! Just chill out and read for another day.
    > I
    > > just kept pushing no
    > > matter what the weather and it was more difficult
    > > then it had to be.
    > > You need very good manuverability, in high winds
    > > too.
    > > You should have comm with barge traffic, locks,
    > > pleasure boaters, etc etc
    > > Its cheap and well worth it. I'd recommend a
    > water
    > > proof unit, as I had to
    > > buy another one when a crazy storm knocked out my
    > > 100 dollar unit.
    > > I had a problem with waves coming over my bow.
    > THis
    > > was because my motor was
    > > pushing me too fast. I alway had water on the
    > deck.
    > > I wish I could show you
    > > what little video I have, but I'm deployed now
    > until
    > > August. Maybe I can
    > > copy some and send it to you when I return.
    > > Consider catavation of the engine (coming out of
    > > water) in large waves.
    > > If you use a motor, there is a 300 or so mile
    > > portion where resupply of fuel
    > > is not available, so you will need a minimum of
    > 300
    > > mile range! I had to
    > > carry about 50 gallons on board
    > > uh....THere was a lot more....but I'm going to go
    > > for now,, please absolutly
    > > feel free to send me all of your questions. You
    > > will need to start in
    > > minneapolis unless you can portage your raft.
    > > Have a recovery plan. I had a lot of police interaction so
    > have
    > > all of your records, ID,
    > > boat liscense, etc. I got pulled over over 20
    > > times, but I was 100% legal.
    > > I can go over legal stuff with you if you want at
    > a
    > > later date too.
    > > I know the coast guard called me a month or so
    > > later questioning if I was OK
    > > or not. > > Ok, I'm off for now. I'm in Kyrgyzstan, old
    > > Russia!!! Can you believe that?
     
  3. rafter
    Joined: Jun 2006
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    Location: Minnesota

    rafter Junior Member

    Some other reading

    Old Glory
    Mississippi Solo
    Floating down the country
    One Good Story

    And another one (cant remember the name) of someone who skulled down it, and actually all the way back up the Atlantic. I have it at home but I'm not there for another month... Maybe "on the water"

    I've always dreamed of writing about it, I mean with purpose, to try to sell a book but I can never get it started. So many people want to hear the whole story, maybe I should try, as there is plenty to tell, as you can imagine. My only regrets are that I didnt take enough time. I NEVER got bored. 3 or more months would be just fine, even encouraged. The more time the better. I had to push too far, too hard, and that took away from the experience. I dont know how many times I was invited to go here or there, and had to turn them down saying, "ahh yeah, I've gotta make 75 miles today and I'm only 'round 50." or watch some cool little town drift by but not have made enough. Something to think about.
     
  4. CaptainTweak
    Joined: Jul 2006
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    Location: Kansas

    CaptainTweak Junior Member

    thats some very good advice and im glad you posted it. people need to hear things like this.
     
  5. djwkd
    Joined: Jul 2006
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    Location: Newcastle-Upon-Tyne

    djwkd Senior Member

    i would reccomend putting on something so you can fit some sort of thick polythene while your sleeping.
     
  6. djwkd
    Joined: Jul 2006
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    Location: Newcastle-Upon-Tyne

    djwkd Senior Member

    whats the best size for styrofoam blocks for a 17' shanty boat,would these be OK?THE SIZE IS 7 3/8 INCHES BY 4 1/16 INCHES AND 1 INCH THICK
     
  7. kapnD
    Joined: Jan 2003
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    Location: hawaii, usa

    kapnD Senior Member

    I'd be looking for something a little larger...say a couple of pieces 17' long by 4'wide and probably a tad thicker than the inch you mentioned. google displacement
     
  8. djwkd
    Joined: Jul 2006
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    Location: Newcastle-Upon-Tyne

    djwkd Senior Member

    where could i get them from?
     
  9. djwkd
    Joined: Jul 2006
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    Location: Newcastle-Upon-Tyne

    djwkd Senior Member

    rafter,you back now,possibly post some pics and/or videos of your raft then?
     
  10. rafter
    Joined: Jun 2006
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    Location: Minnesota

    rafter Junior Member

    hey folks

    Naw, I'm not back yet, but less than 10 days unless some rotators break down. I cant keep track of this post because they blocked the website at work but we have a coffee shop on base with internet cafe (can you believe that?) Anyway I will try to post pics as soon as possible.
    The foam I used was the plain jane white home insulation stuff. I bought one sheet of 4X8 stuff (I think it may have been one inch thick? I'd have to refer to my notes back home) Anyway I was worried that it would take on water and sink so I tested a chunk in my bathtub weighted down with a rock for a month and it's closed cell and didnt take on a bit of water and floated just fine. There is no need to buy expensive blue insulation. Whats great is you can build a non water tight shell to hold it in and you would have to be broken into a million pieces to sink. Hit a sunken rock and rip out 5 feet of your bottom? you wont die, hopefully. I dont know, I Just felt safer then trying to displace water by building air tight chambers that could be punctured. Wait till you see a picture though, this thing looks hilarious and built by a seething mass of five year olds.
    THere is a concern for the enviroment and its: OK now what the heck do I do with this stuff when I'm done?

    I have all my figures at home but basically I had 2 4X16 foot pontoons that were only a 2X12" tall. This was fine floatation wise but way too close to the water as I'd get water on deck all of the time. This was safe as far as no chance at all of sinking but just wet and slippery deck (I guess that's unsafe as muddy miss. is very very slick when on deck) So do the math to figure out how many cubic feet that is but check this out: I had a 16X16 foot raft with like 50 gallons of fuel, 50 gallons of water, the weight of the raft itself, 2 motors, a BBq, 120 cans of beer, all the food for a month, etc etc the list goes on forever and I could float in 2 inches of water. I had basically no draft at all (with the motor pulled up) This was great as I could beach it wherever but you must worry about the wildly fluctuating river levels post Cairo. Generally I would say it was not advisable to tie up to shore in the lower mississippi as you could get stranded by lowering water levels overnight, and once my overweight beast was stuck....it was stuck. Talk to river boat captains and they would have a lot more knowledge about this then me, as I always played it safe and allowed myself 4 feet or so to play with either by sight or using my ore to check depth and then just anchoring in a slough or up a tributary for cleaner water and no current.

    Welp, I'm going to check this when I get home. Good luck on anyone who's thinking about this!
     
  11. djwkd
    Joined: Jul 2006
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    Location: Newcastle-Upon-Tyne

    djwkd Senior Member

    ok thanks what unit was it that had to get replaced on your raft? oh and when you get back...could you post some plans possibly???oh and (no dont worry this post isnt never ending) where did you get the plainjane insulation?oh and..........LOL
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2006
  12. Seafarer24
    Joined: May 2005
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    Location: Tampa Bay

    Seafarer24 Sunset Chaser

  13. rafter
    Joined: Jun 2006
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    Location: Minnesota

    rafter Junior Member

    Almost home!!

    I'm relieved of duty and just waiting for a plane home. The insulation is from Mendards or home depot. It is big 4X8' sheets in varying thickness. My design was ultra crude and very ugly. You could take time and build something hydrodynamic (is that a real word?) and nice to look at, use broken up chunks of foam in your pontoons, and then that liquid foam stuff to fill in all of the empty space. Picture those old rock and poured cement foundations they use for barns.
    I was really cheap and used OSB for decking. DONT do this. It held up for a month, but the constant wave action on the bottom would pull the little shaved pieces off, but as far as the glue that holds the sheets together, that held. I would spend extra money and use real plywood that had no problems at all. I do have video that will make you laugh and I will try to post it when I get home and back into college on the 4th.
    Nate
     
  14. djwkd
    Joined: Jul 2006
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    Location: Newcastle-Upon-Tyne

    djwkd Senior Member

    although if your going to sea in asia or indonesia (at least i think its indonesia)you want to be in an ugly boat,to lower the risks of pirates!

    (check this link-http://www.boatdesign.net/forums/showthread.php?t=4049)
    it isnt a joke,they call them pirates but really there more of murdeerers and theives and armed robbers)although i dont know if the philipines is the worst but someone ran into two lots of pirates in a one hour trip:!::eek: :(

    also,i found some liquid foam and just need to know if it causes health problems or not,as it is cheap.
     

  15. rafter
    Joined: Jun 2006
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    Location: Minnesota

    rafter Junior Member

    I think you can check something called MSDS? or check online and of course the label.
     
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