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Thread: Talk to me about row-cruising

  1. #36
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    Default Re: Talk to me about row-cruising

    One more--narrow channel "rowing":

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

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  2. #37
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    Default Re: Talk to me about row-cruising

    OK, I'll start. I've always liked human powered outdoor adventure travel, hiking and mountaineering when I was a kid in the PNW, then cyclotouring in New England and California. Sea kayaking was fun until my back gave out, then I took up the rowing as mentioned. I have done some sailing, but never found it as interesting as many do. I like the simplicity of rowing, sailing takes a lot more gear. Sailing also feels more dangerous, I would want to put in a lot of time to get really good at it before doing big trips and I do not really have the time. I don't even have the time to do all the rowing trips I'd like to do, just some of the estuaries, lakes and rivers on the US west coast would take the rest of my life. The exercise of rowing also eases the back pain, that alone is a big motivator.
    I like the quiet interactions with nature when rowing, gliding along near shore where the animals from land and from the sea tend to congregate. Just in the local marshes there are otter, beaver, rising sturgeon, and all the birds passing through the flyway. One drawback is facing backwards you sometimes miss things, forward standing rowing is not as powerful but lets you see more.
    Rowing works in almost any wind condition in the protected Delta. I can row with no wind, into the wind, across the wind or downwind. You see very few sailboats in the smaller channels, they are too winding and shallow for decent sailing.
    I also like the rivers, a wide stream like the Sacramento without rapids makes for great drift travel with oars. A stable enough boat allows standing fly casting for the shad or salmon.
    Edit - Tom got in first!

  3. #38
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    Default Re: Talk to me about row-cruising

    The Teifi skiff here in the UK is regarded as a fast open water rower, and its also 3 ft waterline beam.

    Gartside with alot of experience with these pitches his with a waterline beam about 2.5ft give or take depending on the wether you want it really fast, or a bit more stable.

    So Kurylko's Alaska would be a pretty solid choice: looking at the free study plans it's got 3 ft beam waterline. Thing with a V bottom is the lighter you load it the narrower it' beam waterline gets. So it's not far off and it's got a full rig and foils shown. Its double the weight though. That might be a good enough rower when it takes you and good enough sailer to only need one boat. It's basically a Whitehall.

    I'd want to be pushing closer to 20ft, say 18 ft LOA minimum to get efficiency, and inter oarlock span seems to be about 158-160cm/ 5'3" with all performance sculls. Reducing the boats beam to cut windage means a narrow oarlock beam or fitting small outriggers or a full rigger beam. That starts to cost a bit, so there is a choice there.

    I think the rowcruising version of Clint's Drake, the Drake 19, looks pretty optimum all round...maybe a bit wider in the gunwale beam and put up with the increased windage. You can fixed seat or drop a rigger in for sliding seat use, and the CNC kit is cut for it. 6mm occume rather than 4mm on the race boats. Storage and a foredeck and a clean sleeping platform. Rig maybe a bit big but that's not a problem.



    Gartside's open water rower is a beauty. Also in a previous Watercraft.



    The latest Watercraft magazine has his newest one inside and on the cover. The plans will be on discount this month if you want them from him. Its a bit shorter and he says a bit more stable for those looking for that.



    The Elf/ Elfyn's look delightfull. One built in the UK got pulled out to increase the waterline. The small St Ayles skiff: the Wemys Skiff would be worth perusal too. I'd try to build some thing long though: I think my Bangor Packet is 20ft.
    Last edited by Edward Pearson; 11-17-2020 at 06:52 AM.

  4. #39
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    Default Re: Talk to me about row-cruising

    ABOUT?

    Really, I prefer canoes or kayaks. But, several years ago I hurt my back and I havenít been able to paddle the same, since. I canít roll a kayak reliably anymore, for example, and prying in a canoe makes me white out, so I donít trust myself for long periods or on trips in either.

    Fixed seat (I havenít had the opportunity to row sliding seat since being hurt, but I suspect the changing hip angle may make that painful for me...) rowing doesnít seem to bother me at all.

    Of course, everybody knows that a bad back is caused by a weak front, right? Barring crushing or bending injuries, like mine, most bad backs are simply weakened fronts.

    Anywho. We donít have great, or even good, sailing anywhere near here. Sailing is something I took up after I got hurt, because it allowed me to travel across the lakes, again.

    Rowing came later than the sailing, and I havenít been doing it for long, but it suits me well. Iíve raced my entire life, and at this point I am generally in no particular hurry to get anywhere. The rhythmic motions tend to quiet my brain, too, like when Iím swimming; which, I like to row with single tholes so I have to concentrate on rowing, which makes my dumb brain shut up.

    Rowboats are simple like canoes, which may be their best quality. Boat, sticks, floaty bit, and go!

    The few nights I have spent on a rowboat were likely less than romantic to most folk. Waking up under that little tent, though, and sitting up and rowing into the first calm light, with just the clonky thonk chunk of wood on wood, and the drippy slurp of the thin oar blades as they make and leave a series of dimples that lead into the past...

  5. #40
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    Default Re: Talk to me about row-cruising

    Quote Originally Posted by amish rob View Post
    ABOUT?

    Really, I prefer canoes or kayaks. But, several years ago I hurt my back and I haven’t been able to paddle the same, since. I can’t roll a kayak reliably anymore, for example, and prying in a canoe makes me white out, so I don’t trust myself for long periods or on trips in either.

    Fixed seat (I haven’t had the opportunity to row sliding seat since being hurt, but I suspect the changing hip angle may make that painful for me...) rowing doesn’t seem to bother me at all.

    Of course, everybody knows that a bad back is caused by a weak front, right? Barring crushing or bending injuries, like mine, most bad backs are simply weakened fronts.

    Anywho. We don’t have great, or even good, sailing anywhere near here. Sailing is something I took up after I got hurt, because it allowed me to travel across the lakes, again.

    Rowing came later than the sailing, and I haven’t been doing it for long, but it suits me well. I’ve raced my entire life, and at this point I am generally in no particular hurry to get anywhere. The rhythmic motions tend to quiet my brain, too, like when I’m swimming; which, I like to row with single tholes so I have to concentrate on rowing, which makes my dumb brain shut up.

    Rowboats are simple like canoes, which may be their best quality. Boat, sticks, floaty bit, and go!

    The few nights I have spent on a rowboat were likely less than romantic to most folk. Waking up under that little tent, though, and sitting up and rowing into the first calm light, with just the clonky thonk chunk of wood on wood, and the drippy slurp of the thin oar blades as they make and leave a series of dimples that lead into the past...
    I know I am a bit of a stuck record on this but have you ever tried Venetian, stand-up, rowing? I found it a real breath of fresh air after a lot of fixed seat rowing - such a natural posture (and no chafing!). I could row literally all day with no issues or regrets the morning after part from those related to the grappa.

  6. #41
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    Default Re: Talk to me about row-cruising

    Quote Originally Posted by Edward Pearson View Post
    So Kurylko's Alaska would be a pretty solid choice: looking at the free study plans it's got 3 ft beam waterline. Thing with a V bottom is the lighter you load it the narrower it' beam waterline gets. So it's not far off and it's got a full rig and foils shown. Its double the weight though. That might be a good enough rower when it takes you and good enough sailer to only need one boat. It's basically a Whitehall.
    Yes to all of the above based on my own experience. Alaska is a heavy boat--not a high-speed rower. A realistic all-day average speed for a fully loaded Alaska in flat water probably tops out at 3 mph, or perhaps a touch under. That said, it's about that fast, and that easy to row, whether it's empty, or carrying gear for 2-3 weeks of cruising.

    With a max displacement of 1,100 lbs, and a hull weight approaching 300 lbs empty, it is a pleasant load hauling machine that runs well at a low-moderate pace, and can't move faster at all no matter how hard you try. The flip side is, once moving, it carries a fair bit of momentum and doesn't need a lot of effort. It can handle chop OK; I'd prefer it to a light boat there, I think.

    It's quite capacious for solo cruising, with a very large sleeping platform. Also a decent sailer--and far better than decent off the wind.

    Tom
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  7. #42
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    Default Re: Talk to me about row-cruising

    Quote Originally Posted by Clarkey View Post
    I know I am a bit of a stuck record on this but have you ever tried Venetian, stand-up, rowing? I found it a real breath of fresh air after a lot of fixed seat rowing - such a natural posture (and no chafing!). I could row literally all day with no issues or regrets the morning after part from those related to the grappa.
    Iíve never had a boat large enough that I could stand up and row, I donít think. Iíve got tiny boats with low sides and relatively narrow bottoms.

    Iíd love a boat large enough to stand and row. Iíve done quite a bit of kneeling and rowing facing forward, in much the same manner, Iíd guess, and itís awesome.

    The duck punt actually rows pretty well that way.

  8. #43
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    Default Re: Talk to me about row-cruising

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian McColgin View Post
    But back East I lived on a boat and Leeward was more a tender except for one epic row in companion with another dory Hyannis to Madaket (Nantucket) to Cape Pogue (Chappaquiddick Island) and back.
    Now that sounds like an adventure! Have you written about the trip anywhere?

  9. #44
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    Default Re: Talk to me about row-cruising

    Have you seen Tom Clarke's blog on oar cruising? It's a bit odd, he goes to a lot of work detailing various boats that could be used and builds little models of many of the boats. Although I'm not sure how much he actually gets out on the water, there is some useful stuff: http://theoarcruising.blogspot.com/

  10. #45
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    Default Re: Talk to me about row-cruising

    Quote Originally Posted by amish rob View Post
    Iíve never had a boat large enough that I could stand up and row, I donít think. Iíve got tiny boats with low sides and relatively narrow bottoms.

    Iíd love a boat large enough to stand and row. Iíve done quite a bit of kneeling and rowing facing forward, in much the same manner, Iíd guess, and itís awesome.

    The duck punt actually rows pretty well that way.
    Interestingly the smallest common Venetian boat is a duck punt - the s'ciopon. It is almost exactly the same size as the Mersea punt and carries the mother of all punt guns.



    The very smallest seems to be the 'Saltafossi' at about 10'. Neither of them are what you would call seaboats though!


  11. #46
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    Default Re: Talk to me about row-cruising

    Great, thanks! Now I have to suss out some extra tall oarlock deals to plug into the thole rails of the punt.

    And, thanks for the info! Those are neat boats I had no idea about.

  12. #47
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    Default Re: Talk to me about row-cruising

    Thanks to Clarkey I put some tall oarlocks on the Walkabout:


  13. #48
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    Default Re: Talk to me about row-cruising

    Quote Originally Posted by amish rob View Post
    Great, thanks! Now I have to suss out some extra tall oarlock deals to plug into the thole rails of the punt.

    And, thanks for the info! Those are neat boats I had no idea about.
    Rowing with crossed oars like in the first photo is insanely tricky (I never got remotely close to success despite several attempts with an excellent teacher) and it might be difficult to get enough spread between the rowlocks in a duck punt. There is another way though, from the other side of the Adriatic - the Batana from Rovinj (which is a sea boat):


  14. #49
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    Default Re: Talk to me about row-cruising

    OK< this is what I'd hoped the thread would turn into! Thanks everybody!

    I should add the issue about storage. Until about a week ago, the front yard was completely available. If you've look at my "I'm building a rudder" or "I'm building a windvane" threads you'll have seen my front yard. It's separated from the street by a low fence and a small planting bed, but people can easily just walk up on the driveway. Until last week, I had about 24 feet on the diagonal in which to work. So I'd thought about bringing the Piper home to work on her, since she's exactly 24 feet LOA. The skerry, on it's trailer was about 17 feet and it fit in there just fine, and left me room to work. Now the Mrs. has planted small shrubs around the periphery, which she'd threatened to do for literally years, but she finally got around to it. Now I have about 19 feet to work with.

    So honestly, something on the order of 17 feet long, including the trailer, is what I've got to work with. Drake REALLY appeals, it sure does, I just think Drake is a touch too long for my storage space.

    I know about Toms oar-cruising blog, I've got it bookmarked. It's interesting to me that he's pretty keen on the Butler Pacific Gun Dory.

    I would sure like to see that Gartside 16 footer.


    Oh, displacement.... I weigh 300 pounds. My wife is about 140. So were we to go out for an evening row, that would make a payload of 440. Truth is, though, I bet she'd rather paddle her own kayak!

    I'm a backpacker, lo these 50 years. I can't imagine needing more than about 60 pounds of kit to oar-cruise for 5 days. OK. go hog wild. 70 pounds. I mean, I backpack for 4-5 days with 42 pounds on my back.

  15. #50
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    Default Re: Talk to me about row-cruising

    Quote Originally Posted by Alan H View Post
    I'm a backpacker, lo these 50 years. I can't imagine needing more than about 60 pounds of kit to oar-cruise for 5 days. OK. go hog wild. 70 pounds. I mean, I backpack for 4-5 days with 42 pounds on my back.
    Yes--I came to sail/oar travel after years of long-distance backpacking in steep terrain. Even small boats seem luxurious by comparison.

    Where you might need the weight, though, is carrying drinking water for salt water cruising. Not a problem for me in the Great Lakes, but I'm forced to pack differently on the coasts, especially in hot weather, if I want to do my usual "avoid marinas and civilized contacts" routine.

    Tom
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  16. #51
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    Default Re: Talk to me about row-cruising

    Quote Originally Posted by rgthom View Post
    Thanks to Clarkey I put some tall oarlocks on the Walkabout:

    Looks very comfortable, and practical--do you use the same oars, or longer ones?

    Tom
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  17. #52
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    Default Re: Talk to me about row-cruising

    I can use the same 9' 6" oars but have fit 6" extensions which is better.

  18. #53
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    Default Re: Talk to me about row-cruising

    Since Clarkey is on board here, and just to make sure you have not ruled one out, how about a pattino style row cruising catamaran? With a tent on the platform, the ability to row standing or seated, low windage and great stability, one of these should work very well on the Delta.

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    Default Re: Talk to me about row-cruising

    Teifi skiff is a beauty! I see that there's a Scottish Teifi Skiff championship! Oh man, that really appeals. It's a bit long, though. From the Shropshire Adventure Rowing Club... "https://www.adventurerowingclub.co.uk/new-boat-ordered"... 18 foot, two person, four oar, COXED (there's a cockswain) rowing skiffs. oh that would be FUN fun fun. But not the boat for what I have in mind here, locally.



    What a great two-up open water rower, though!
    Last edited by Alan H; 11-17-2020 at 03:48 PM.

  20. #55
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    Default Re: Talk to me about row-cruising

    Quote Originally Posted by rgthom View Post
    Since Clarkey is on board here, and just to make sure you have not ruled one out, how about a pattino style row cruising catamaran? With a tent on the platform, the ability to row standing or seated, low windage and great stability, one of these should work very well on the Delta.
    [
    Hullo!....never seen one of those! Intriguing!

    EDIT...a little searching about reveals that narrow-ish...or even not-so-narrow catamarans for rowing are kind of a THING. Looks like they do duty as off-the-beach lifeboats in Italy, for example.
    Last edited by Alan H; 11-17-2020 at 03:58 PM.

  21. #56
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    Default Re: Talk to me about row-cruising

    Quote Originally Posted by rgthom View Post
    Since Clarkey is on board here, and just to make sure you have not ruled one out, how about a pattino style row cruising catamaran? With a tent on the platform, the ability to row standing or seated, low windage and great stability, one of these should work very well on the Delta.
    Damn you!

  22. #57
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    Default Re: Talk to me about row-cruising

    No, damn Clarkey! He's the one who keeps bringing all these interesting euro-boats to the forum .

  23. #58
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    Default Re: Talk to me about row-cruising

    Quote Originally Posted by rgthom View Post
    No, damn Clarkey! He's the one who keeps bringing all these interesting euro-boats to the forum .
    I had almost forgotten about the pattini. Is that the plural? Hahaha.

    The Fam has been planning a new punt to replace large barge, but maybe a cat?

  24. #59
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    Default Re: Talk to me about row-cruising

    I just splurged and bought the plans for Joe Doblers "Lissa". Twenty measley bucks. pffft. For this I get full-size patterns for most of the parts and 24 pages of instructions? sheesh.

    lissa-4.jpg

    I can probably do some modifications and use the old skerry sail I still have, if I want to rig it for sailing, which I'm very much not sure of.
    Last edited by Alan H; 11-17-2020 at 07:22 PM.

  25. #60
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    Default Re: Talk to me about row-cruising

    Quote Originally Posted by Alan H View Post
    I'm a backpacker, lo these 50 years. I can't imagine needing more than about 60 pounds of kit to oar-cruise for 5 days. OK. go hog wild. 70 pounds. I mean, I backpack for 4-5 days with 42 pounds on my back.
    You're forgetting about kit the boat needs if you are going cruising; flares, throw line, fenders, bailing bucket, lifejacket (I know, I know, you'll be wearing it), binoculars, boat compass, VHF maybe, extra lines, anchor and rode (maybe with chain), lead line, horn - it all adds up.

    You don't carry any of that when backpacking, at least I don't, especially not the anchor.
    Alex

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  26. #61
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    Default Re: Talk to me about row-cruising

    ^ And water! Backpacking, you can melt snow or boil water from a stream. But, I see you are a coastal person, so you may need to carry your water. It's heavy.

    Kevin
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    Default Re: Talk to me about row-cruising

    With regard to fixed seat vs sliding seat:

    I cruised for 10 years with fixed seat sail and oar boats, first a Kurylko Alaska like Tom P's, then my own 18' design which is wider, deeper and heavier. With the heavier boat I even completed about 650 nm of the Inside Passage from Victoria to Prince Rupert, of which distance I rowed about 60%, due to lack of wind. My back did get a little sore on some of those 8-9 hour days and I rubbed my butt raw towards the end of the second season.

    Last year I built a removable sliding seat rig that drops into place over the central rowing thwart with no other modifications - same oars, same oarlocks. This summer's cruise was the first time I used it for any distance. I found, like Ben Fuller, that it did make the rowing easier for the same speed. It's still a lot of work though if you are rowing for a long stretch. The longest rowing day this trip entailed 5 hours of rowing at about 22 strokes per minute. At the end of that time I noticed my hips and knees were a little sore and when I did the math in my head, I realized I had done the equivalent of nearly 7,600 shallow knee bends. My back was fine though.

    Conclusion? For the long, long days, the sliding seat rig is worth it.
    Alex

    "ďI am but mad north-north-west. When the wind is southerly, I know a hawk from a handsawĒ " Hamlet, Act 2, Scene 2 - Shakespeare

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  28. #63
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    Default Re: Talk to me about row-cruising

    somehow nobody mentioned the actual "row cruiser" by Colin Angus? A lightweight, boat made for sliding seat rowing with a built in cabin? There is also a sailing rig that uses outriggers too.

    rc2.jpg
    RowCruiser1.jpg
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    Default Re: Talk to me about row-cruising

    Quote Originally Posted by AJZimm View Post
    With regard to fixed seat vs sliding seat:

    I cruised for 10 years with fixed seat sail and oar boats, first a Kurylko Alaska like Tom P's, then my own 18' design which is wider, deeper and heavier. With the heavier boat I even completed about 650 nm of the Inside Passage from Victoria to Prince Rupert, of which distance I rowed about 60%, due to lack of wind. My back did get a little sore on some of those 8-9 hour days and I rubbed my butt raw towards the end of the second season.

    Last year I built a removable sliding seat rig that drops into place over the central rowing thwart with no other modifications - same oars, same oarlocks. This summer's cruise was the first time I used it for any distance. I found, like Ben Fuller, that it did make the rowing easier for the same speed. It's still a lot of work though if you are rowing for a long stretch. The longest rowing day this trip entailed 5 hours of rowing at about 22 strokes per minute. At the end of that time I noticed my hips and knees were a little sore and when I did the math in my head, I realized I had done the equivalent of nearly 7,600 shallow knee bends. My back was fine though.

    Conclusion? For the long, long days, the sliding seat rig is worth it.
    Thanks for this! This is helpful to know!

  30. #65
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    Default Re: Talk to me about row-cruising

    Quote Originally Posted by Art Haberland View Post
    somehow nobody mentioned the actual "row cruiser" by Colin Angus? A lightweight, boat made for sliding seat rowing with a built in cabin? There is also a sailing rig that uses outriggers too.

    rc2.jpg
    RowCruiser1.jpg
    Mentioned--and rejected--by the OP back in #9 because of the claustrophobic sleeping cabin.

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    Default Re: Talk to me about row-cruising

    Quote Originally Posted by AJZimm View Post
    You're forgetting about kit the boat needs if you are going cruising; flares, throw line, fenders, bailing bucket, lifejacket (I know, I know, you'll be wearing it), binoculars, boat compass, VHF maybe, extra lines, anchor and rode (maybe with chain), lead line, horn - it all adds up.

    You don't carry any of that when backpacking, at least I don't, especially not the anchor.
    Somewhere back there, someone talked about a boat that weighed 300 pounds and was freightering around 1100 pounds of people and gear. That's what I was referring to. I mean, sure...that 60-70 pounds might be on the light side, but I absolutely cannot conceive of carrying significantly more than pounds of kit.

    A pint is a pound, a gallon weighs 8 pounds. Two gallons is 16 pounds. Two gallons of water is more than enough for two days cruising, and there's nowhere I'll be doing where I'll go more than two days without being somewhere to stop and pick up a gallon or two of potable water. The anchor is probably an 8 pounder. Add in six feet of chain and fifty feet of line, that's another 8 pounds. 16...32 pounds. Add that to my 40, we're at 72 pounds. OK...I can see 100 pounds.

    But not 1100. pounds! I suspect that the 1100 pounds included the boat and the rower, so pull 500 pounds out of that number. That still leaves 600 pounds of "stuff". If someone were a guide, and ferrying a mess of gear for a party of 5-6 across a lake, then...sure. Or if it was mom, dad and three kids in their 18 foot wherry, then yeah. OK...I can see it.

    But me, by myself? No.
    Last edited by Alan H; 11-17-2020 at 09:25 PM.

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    Default Re: Talk to me about row-cruising

    OK, now...

    What DON'T you like about cruising under oar? No experience is utterly delightful every single second you are doing it. What challenges and unpleasantness do you deal with?

  33. #68
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    Default Re: Talk to me about row-cruising

    Realizing that the current is too strong, I'm too tired, and I'm going to end up some place else.

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    Default Re: Talk to me about row-cruising

    Don't like:

    Sore hands. Blisters hurt, but even when I have calluses built up my hands are the weakest link. They ache before the rest of me is ready to stop.

    No backup. Rowing is usually the backup for sail or motor. I carry spare oars, but an injury could be a problem. Has not happened yet...

    Can't multitask. When rowing you are the engine and the steering. Calm conditions are fine, but if you need to be on the oars to keep the boat safe it's hard to also drink, eat, pee or use the radio.

    Low power. 1/4 hp can be a problem in high winds mainly, currents can be predicted and managed.

    Powerboats. They always want to slow when passing, from low wake planing speed to just at max displacement speed, generating huge wakes. Then they ask if you need a tow.

  35. #70
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    northwestern Wisconsin
    Posts
    8,671

    Default Re: Talk to me about row-cruising

    Quote Originally Posted by Alan H View Post
    Somewhere back there, someone talked about a boat that weighed 300 pounds and was freightering around 1100 pounds of people and gear. That's what I was referring to. I mean, sure...that 60-70 pounds might be on the light side, but I absolutely cannot conceive of carrying significantly more than pounds of kit.
    ...
    But not 1100. pounds! I suspect that the 1100 pounds included the boat and the rower, so pull 500 pounds out of that number. That still leaves 600 pounds of "stuff". If someone were a guide, and ferrying a mess of gear for a party of 5-6 across a lake, then...sure. Or if it was mom, dad and three kids in their 18 foot wherry, then yeah. OK...I can see it.

    But me, by myself? No.
    I agree--an Alaska can carry far more than you'd need unless you are doing a looooong stretch without resupply on salt water, with limited opportunities to get fresh water. I'm not recommending anyone SHOULD max out the displacement. Still, let's consider some numbers:

    Boat: 300 lbs.
    Me: 200 lbs.
    Sailing rig: 25 lbs.
    Oars: 10 lbs.
    Anchors, chain, rode: 25 lbs.
    Ballast: 50 lbs.
    Lines/spares/tools: 25 lbs.
    Safety gear: 25 lbs.

    That's 660 lbs. so far, without fresh water. Add 5 days drinking water: 40 lbs.

    There's 700 lbs, without any camping gear, food, or books. Or crew (another 200, plus more gear). That brings you pretty close to the 1,100 lbs max displacement right there.

    Things do add up aboard a small boat, even for someone with a fairly minimalist approach. On long backpacking trips I eventually reached a point where I'd go without a stove or tent, and carry enough food to go two weeks without a stop to resupply.

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

    www.tompamperin.com

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