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Thread: Mirror for rowboat?

  1. #1
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    Default Mirror for rowboat?

    I'd like to outfit my rowing boat with a mirror to see where I'm going. Any suggestions?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Mirror for rowboat?

    I've tried a few different mirrors over the years. Plain flat was not enough field of view. A motorcycle convex mirror was too curved, objects were too small to see. The best has been a ski boat rear view mirror intended to mount on the windshield, a big mirror with just enough convex for a good view. I put it on a stick which clamps to the coaming on my boat.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Mirror for rowboat?

    Thanks for the advice. Just what I needed.
    Those are some nice looking boats in the background. Do you know what they are?

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Mirror for rowboat?

    These are some of the local TSCA folk, launching for a row on the Napa River. The boat on the right is a Natoma Skiff, a light car toppable rowboat designed by John DeLapp. Just at the ramp looks like Ed Foster's custom double ender, his own design I think.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Mirror for rowboat?

    Many sailors have learned the low-light vision trick of looking out the corner of the eye due to greater concentration of rods for periferal vision. This can be used to advantage for rowing even in full light. With practice most people can learn to 'blink look' out 100 degrees.

    So I row turning my head as I reach the end of a stroke. Side to side, left on a stroke and right on the next stroke, in crowded space but every other stroke or even less if clear open water.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Mirror for rowboat?

    Go to a few auto parts stores and look through their selection of clip-on wide-angle rear view mirrors. I found a nice wide one at Advance Auto Parts. Then build a short mast to hold it and you're all set!
    I made a mast just a bit higher than my sitting height so I could see over my head. It works pretty well, but I still need to look around from time to time!
    Last edited by Rob Hazard; 06-29-2022 at 05:06 PM.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Mirror for rowboat?

    I have a Ski-Image mirror which helps some, but I really need to work on making a habit of looking over my shoulder regularly.

    https://th.bing.com/th/id/OP.aXsskoz...4&c=7&dpr=1.43

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  8. #8
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    Default Re: Mirror for rowboat?

    Overland, I would recommend starting with an inexpensive "ski boat" mirror which Autonomous recommended, and are found in many places like Cabelas and Bass Pro type sites. I am currently using this exact Ski Image mirror. A good wide angle view is an important consideration. Being able to mount the mirror close to eye level is another.

    https://www.cabelas.com/shop/en/over...B&gclsrc=aw.ds

    A pic of my rowing mirror setup. Always a work in progress...

    IMG_6193.jpg

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Mirror for rowboat?

    A friend of mine uses a little clip-on bicycle mirror, the kind that clips on your glasses/sunglasses. Many of us past a certain age discover that our head doesn't rotate as far as it used to.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Mirror for rowboat?

    I've used the mirrors MushCreek describes. Great if you have glasses on.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Mirror for rowboat?

    An old VW bus mirror is about perfect. A 1/2" dowel into the mount goes into my aftermost oarlock socket. But the people doing this seriously rig a short mast with two mirrors, convex and plain, over their heads and on centerilne.
    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: Mirror for rowboat?

    Quote Originally Posted by Autonomous View Post
    I have a Ski-Image mirror which helps some, but I really need to work on making a habit of looking over my shoulder regularly.
    Interesting--do you mean to say that having a mirror means you end up not bothering to look?

    I've always done without a mirror. A few tricks help:

    1. Looking over your shoulder (alternating shoulders) every now and then.
    2. Having a boat that tracks well.
    3. In open water, having a compass on the thwart beside me to hold a course.
    4. Using ranges whenever possible. Even a slow-moving cloud far away can be the more distant object.

    Tom
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  13. #13
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    Default Re: Mirror for rowboat?

    I have used all Wi-Tom's tricks, including having a second mount for my hand-bearing compass on the aft compartment bulkhead, which I use as a rowing compass.

    However, I finally added a mirror on a stick to Fire-Drake's kit, for close quarters. It would have helped to prevent running into a certain rock on the north coast of BC while I was "hugging the shoreline" to avoid a contrary current.
    Alex

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  14. #14
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    Default Re: Mirror for rowboat?

    I don't need a mirror. SWMBO sits in the stern seat of the dinghy and directs me with subtle hand signals. A couple of days ago, whilst rowing out to the mooring, she got distracted by something and neglected to do her job and I came within inches of colliding with FESTIVUS at WOT (is WOT possible when under oars?). I dipped my port oar, pulled smartly on the starboard oar and came alongside nicely. Almost as if planned. I would like to try those bicycle mirrors.

  15. #15
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    Default

    A lot of my rowing is on narrow winding sloughs, often tucked within an oar length of a rip rap levee to stay in the wind shadow. Trees, pilings and docks come up along the levee, without a mirror I would be hitting a lot more stuff.
    That said, on a light wind day, sometimes I close my eyes and try to sense direction by the feel of the wind and sounds of ripples on the shore. 5 minutes is a long time doing that...

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Mirror for rowboat?

    I think it's WOO - Wide Open Oar...

    Probably wanna stay PC & not go with Wide Open Paddle.

    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Mirror for rowboat?

    Two hours ago I was rowing along a shoreline in the upper reaches of Casco Bay when somebody thoughtlessly left a rock ledge right in my path. The nerve!
    Thus proving that even with a pretty good mirror setup you actually do still have to pay attention to where you're going!

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Mirror for rowboat?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Hazard View Post
    Two hours ago I was rowing along a shoreline in the upper reaches of Casco Bay when somebody thoughtlessly left a rock ledge right in my path. The nerve!
    Thus proving that even with a pretty good mirror setup you actually do still have to pay attention to where you're going!
    They hide them underwater too! DAMHIKT...
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

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