The NRS Clearwater Drifter (Field and Stream)
Check out this drift boat… no really… look closer… can you tell what makes it special? It’s a drift boat. No, it’s an inflatable raft. Actually, it’s both—an inflatable watercraft that has a frame and is shaped like a dory. This boat generated a lot of buzz at IFTD, and actually won a “Best of Show” award in the watercraft category.
It’s inflatable. The Clearwater Drifter ($5995 MSRP) is made of drop stitch PVC, can be inflated to around 9 psi, which creates a rigid, framed dory that offers the ability to bounce off rocks like a rubber raft, yet track quietly and silently like a drift boat. It’s 17 feet long, and 82 inches wide at the beam between oarlocks.
The boat is made of drop stitch PVC. The cool part is that it can be shipped via UPS in a surprisingly small box, frame and all. What that really means is that it can be broken down and stored in the corner of a garage, or transported to the river in the back of an SUV or station wagon. You don’t need to trailer it, but you could. If you’re someone like me who has always wanted a drift boat, but has never been able to convince the Mrs. to let me take up garage space or store a dory by the house, this might just be your ticket. If you’re stuck between choosing a raft or a drift boat, this might be a happy compromise.
Because the Clearwater Drifter purportedly offers some of the advantages of both worlds—namely the ability to bounce off rocks like a raft, and the maneuverability, fish-ability, and open space of a dory. (It’s 18-feet long and 82-inches wide when inflated to around 9 psi.) It’s definitely priced more than the average raft at just under $6,000 retail. And I’m not entirely sure how a light (300 pounds) higher-profile boat like this would handle on windy days
I’m not sure how a boat that light will do in a heavy upstream wind (no boat I’ve rowed does great in a wind like that)… but I can see the immediate appeal for many anglers. This is the drift boat for the guy who can’t talk his wife into letting him dedicate a space in the garage, or leave it under a tarp in front of the house.
The model shown in the article is a prototype, and production models won’t be available until 2013!!!!!!!