Monday, May 22, 2017

A simple remedy to the rowing issue

Simple things usually work best. That's what I believe, anyway.

So, when I was trying to decide how to remedy the problem of the oars hitting the side of the boat and getting knocked out of the oarlocks, I looked for the simplest possible solution.

The goal was to raise the oarlocks enough to give the oar adequate clearance over the sheer... without having to move the oarlock sockets and drill more holes in the sheer clamps.

This is what I came up with:

Half-inch spacers that I made from scrap mahogany. These raise the oarlocks about as high as possible, while still leaving enough of the shaft in the oarlock socket for the whole thing to function well.

It's not a perfect solution, as the oars do still rub against the side of the boat slightly — that is, if you're rowing from the rear thwart. From the forward thwart, (which is a better rowing position, anyway) the oars clear the side of the boat just fine. For as little as I expect to be rowing this boat, I believe this arrangement will work just fine.


  1. Use longer oars... this will reduce the angle of the oars entering the water.
    And/Or, move the locks to the outside of the gunnel and use thru bolts with nut caps rather than screws for the horizontal fasteners (going through the old screw holes) Result will be that oars will not hit the gunnel and the locks will be MUCH stronger (screwed in locks always, eventually, will loosen.

  2. Tom,

    Thank you for your comment, (and I like your rowing blog, by the way!)

    Yes, I agree with you on all points. I particularly like your idea about using the old screw holes to through-bolt the oarlocks from the outside. That would certainly minimize the new holes I'd have to drill in the sheer clamp.

    If I find that I'm still getting frustrated with the spacers, I think implementing your suggestion would be a logical next step.

    As it is, I only expect to be rowing this boat on rare occasions. It is first and foremost an outboard boat. The oars are really just to indulge my occasional whim to row. I like to get into quiet little corners of the lake, cut the motor off, and just enjoy the peacefulness of it all. Those are the times I use the oars, to move the boat around as needed.

    (And, of course, in the event of an engine failure while I'm on the water)

  3. Nice solution Mike, and if it doesn't fit the bill, there is the solution suggested by Tom. The spacers do look good.