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Thread: Rowing and oar questions

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Default Rowing and oar questions

    In order to participate in the Small Reach Regatta this year, I'm unexpectedly having to build a pair of oars and adapt my Fulmar for rowing. When I started the build we lived in St. Louis and the plan was to add a small outboard due to the flukey winds on most mid-western lakes so I never gave needing to row any thought.

    So, here's where I am:

    Iain Oughtred included a generic oar drawing in the plan set and combining that information with the Shaw and Tenney formula I need 10'-6" oars.

    Minuteman came over for a driveway sail last weekend and helpfully pointed out that the only obvious oar storage with my interior would be to leave the oars in the oarlocks and lash down the other end near the bow. The interior won't allow oars longer than 9'7" to be stowed.

    The thwart crosses the centerboard case at about 3/5 of the boat's length from the stern. A brief trial sitting on the top of the case itself to center myself fore and aft turned out to be surprisingly comfortable, if only for limited rowing. Is fore and aft location critical?

    If I do sit on the CB case to row, this locates the oarlocks in a good position for stowing as described above.

    Adapting the gunwales for rowing will be easiest using angled oarlock brackets and adding a small block on the interior side.

    I can make the oars without laminating but making two banana sticks concerns me. If I do laminate should I use TB III or epoxy?

    I have a nice 8+/4 slab of spruce ready to go and a short time frame to get the boat SRR ready.

    I have no idea which way to go with open or closed oarlocks.

    I really don't see me enjoying rowing a Fulmar just for the pleasure of it, so I'm going for a utilitarian solution here.


    I suspect my ideas have holes in them you could drive a truck through. Any pointing of me in the right direction will be appreciated.

    Mike
    "You may be orange, you may like hamburgers, and you may be a clown, but you sir are no Ronald McDonald" - John Stewart

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Rowing and oar questions

    There is no critical position for rowing but try to keep the transom out of the water. That will reduce the effort needed to drag the sea along behind the boat.
    If you sit on the CB case, make a seat that drops into place for greater comfort.
    If your spruce has good straight grain there should be no worry about it warping. However any waterproof glue will work as the oars will only become damp rather than soaking wet.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Rowing and oar questions

    Looking at utilitarian solutions I would be tempted to stick with the longest possible oars I could store inside the boat.,unless you are planning to row in the open ocean.
    Considering the size and displacement of the Fulmar chances are you will only row her for shorter distances and longer oars will just add to increasing fatigue due to the additional weight.
    I would recomend leaving the top part of the oar stock square ,which will help in balancing the oars.

    I use the open oar locks with the black rubberised collars , which are easily slipped on to the collars. My preference for your craft would be oar lock fittings mounted outside your gun whale rather than on top .which would need to be raised further in order to work properly.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Rowing and oar questions

    I'm running 8 foot sitka spruce oars on the Tammie Norrie and they are so light there is no need to have the square "balance" section inboard. I will row for 90 minutes quite often and there is no fatigue caused by outboard oar weight.
    As for or length I'd agree with the previous post, if you're not going to make a habit of rowing just make them as long as you can while fitting inside the boat.

    I use open rowlocks which work well and allow easy removal of the oar when coming alongside anything, the only thing to consider is to keep the oar lock high enough above the wales so the shaft doesn't hit the wale when lowering the oar into the water for the stroke. Mine did at first and they tried to lift out of the rowlock so I raised them 20mm.

    As for rowing position, in the Tammie Norrie I find the aft station faster and easier but in a head wind it's a real struggle due to freeboard catching too much wind so I sit at the forward station for that, slower but more control due I think to the bow being further into the water. I row alone generally.

    With that in mind if it's only a very rare occasion perhaps split the difference and create a central rowing station.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
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    Default Re: Rowing and oar questions

    The Shaw and Tenney formula is a good place to start but it doesn't take into account seat height and freeboard, which certainly influences optimal oar length. CLC has a handy one that does all the calculation when you enter the various data. https://www.clcboats.com/ext/screen-f781f4b64b.html

    Open oarlocks get my vote.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Rowing and oar questions

    All good suggestions above: open / Y-shaped oarlocks, long oars, do some testing with temp oarlock bases clamped to the gunwales before you install them permanently. I'd glue the oar lams with epoxy but that's just me, TBIII will work fine. I like to run a nylon cord around the lower edge of the oar blade, heavily coated with thickened epoxy, to protect against abrasion and impact.
    "The enemies of reason have a certain blind look."
    Doctor Jacquin to Lieutenant D'Hubert, in Ridley Scott's first major film _The Duellists_.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Rowing and oar questions

    I dialed up your 2015 pics. Looks like you have side seats and low decks in the ends, one CB thwart which maybe just right. Even though I could get my 10 footers inside my boat I never carry them there. I have a bit of webbing rigged ahead of the mast so I can stick them over the bow like a bowsprit. It looks like you could snake a webbing loop under the center board of your side benches, bundle the oars together and have another one up forward at the stem. Try it with a bit of 2x4. If you go with the shorter oars you may find the best way to row is with two people on the thwart as I think your boat is wide enough. Pin the rudder in place. Mount an oarlock socket on the transom for sculling as long as you have some thwarts. You may find you don't need the hassle of carrying an engine around. It doesn't look like your gunwale structure will be wide enough for a top mounted oarlock so you may need one that does the top and side. It should be about 8 inches to a foot aft of where you chose to sit. I don't know how much depth you have between the bench and the top of the gunwale. You need enough to be able to get the oars over your knees on the recovery.
    Last edited by Ben Fuller; 03-14-2019 at 07:07 AM. Reason: More info
    Ben Fuller
    Ran Tan, Liten Kuhling, Tipsy, Tippy, Josef W., Merry Mouth, Imp, Macavity, Look Far, Flash and a quiver of other 'yaks.
    "Bound fast is boatless man."

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Rowing and oar questions

    Ok guys, thanks. I'll do another driveway sail this weekend with a mockup of the oarlock location and some kind of reference for the waterline. Running the CLC calculator it looks like I'll need a 2-3 inch rise to get enough height between the thwart and the bottom of the oarlock so that will be one test. It also suggested 11' oars for a 6' beam, but I think I need to establish a rough location fore and aft and measure the beam there.

    I like your stowage idea Ben and thanks for digging up a photo (I posted from my phone). Here's what I'm working with for the interior:
    P1010612.jpg

    The "cockpit" between the decks is 9'-8" long and would allow me to store oars secured to the risers for the benches, but I think oars that length are just going to be too short.

    I do think my best bet will be the top and side mount oarlocks given how the gunwale is structured:
    P2070454.jpg
    Maybe I will get a bit lucky in that if I need to construct a riser to get the oarlocks high enough relative to the thwart, I can do so on the inboard side and reduce the effective beam without hitting the gunwales with the oars.

    I appreciate the ideas and keep 'em coming. My goal is to have a solid plan and get started in a couple weeks, after attending the Maine Boatbuilders Show to hopefully see some examples.

    Mike
    "You may be orange, you may like hamburgers, and you may be a clown, but you sir are no Ronald McDonald" - John Stewart

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Rowing and oar questions

    Oh yeah, the grain of my spruce stock is decent but not straight enough for me to be comfortable, so I'll be laminating.

    Mike
    "You may be orange, you may like hamburgers, and you may be a clown, but you sir are no Ronald McDonald" - John Stewart

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Rowing and oar questions

    It looks to me like with some creativity you could strap one oar to each mast. It will look odd as hell but length will not be an issue and they would be out of the way under sail.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Rowing and oar questions

    You may also find that you can put an oar on either side with the blade flat on the bow tank, for short intervals. Would interfere with the crew's butt if you have a crew on board, but I purely dislike things on the bottom as I am kind of clumsy and trip on stuff. I'd go for rowing on your existing thwart; make up a stretcher like a trapesce or rope wooden ladder rung that you lash to the rowing thwart unless you want to build something onto your floor boards. You have to have your feet anchored. I can't tell the height of the coaming off the benches; on RANTAN I needed some blocking about an inch high. It can be elegant.
    Ben Fuller
    Ran Tan, Liten Kuhling, Tipsy, Tippy, Josef W., Merry Mouth, Imp, Macavity, Look Far, Flash and a quiver of other 'yaks.
    "Bound fast is boatless man."

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Rowing and oar questions

    2 sets of open top mounted locks will allow you to carry oars of any length with each one in 2 locks and a lanyard or velcro strap between the locks to hold them down. Also, that way, if you pull them down tight they are never rattling around getting scratched and dented.

    Make them too long, then after using them for a bit cut them to the best length.
    Last edited by Gib Etheridge; 03-14-2019 at 11:24 AM.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Rowing and oar questions

    Try temp oarlock bases clamped to the gunwales WHILE IN THE WATER. I suspect you'll need to raise them on tall bases to keep the oar handles from hitting your legs when rowing -- particularly if you use even a thin foam pad for a seat (highly recommended).

    Here's my rather rough bases for my Cosine Wherry -

    "The enemies of reason have a certain blind look."
    Doctor Jacquin to Lieutenant D'Hubert, in Ridley Scott's first major film _The Duellists_.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Rowing and oar questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Gib Etheridge View Post
    2 sets of open top mounted locks will allow you to carry oars of any length with each one in 2 locks and a lanyard or velcro strap between the locks to hold them down. Also, that way, if you pull them down tight they are never rattling around getting scratched and dented.

    Make them too long, then after using them for a bit cut them to the best length.
    See how you sail the boat before trying this; I actually sit on the rail which has been designed for that with toe straps to help, so carrying oars on the rail like some do is pretty much out of the question if you want to hike at all. With straps I can pull mine down as a "bowsprit" and they are locked into place. I'd also try to rescue the boat with the oars outboard before committing to it. might be easy, might be hard, I don't know.
    Ben Fuller
    Ran Tan, Liten Kuhling, Tipsy, Tippy, Josef W., Merry Mouth, Imp, Macavity, Look Far, Flash and a quiver of other 'yaks.
    "Bound fast is boatless man."

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Rowing and oar questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Fuller View Post
    You may also find that you can put an oar on either side with the blade flat on the bow tank, for short intervals.
    This is what I do in my boat--it works very well. Oars are more important than passengers.

    Tom
    You don't have to be prepared as long as you're willing to suffer the consequences.

    www.tompamperin.com

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Rowing and oar questions

    Thanks guys. Several comments bring up things to consider that I hadn't thought of and I appreciate the help.

    I think I will make a set of temporary risers that can be clamped to the gunwales and experiment with the final position on the water. Since the Fulmar is designed to plane, I'd like to keep the option of riding the rail open and I will be trying various storage positions that will keep the oars out of my way.

    Once I have the oars made and temporary risers clamped on I'll post some pics for another round of suggestions.

    Mike
    "You may be orange, you may like hamburgers, and you may be a clown, but you sir are no Ronald McDonald" - John Stewart

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