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Jack

Spindrift 12 Oar Length

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Jack    0

Hi All,

Just about finished my Spindrift 12 and was wondering about your thoughts on oar lengths. In the plans it suggests an oar length of 6 to 6.5 feet but the guy at my local boat shop said that you would probably want about 8 feet. I am now confused and after some input from people who have rowed one of these little boats. Thanks .

Jack.

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Howard    39

Take a look at this site.....it has a complex formula you can use to estimate your oar length (who knew it was that complicated):

http://www.shawandtenney.com/wooden-rowing-oars.htm

I have 7 footers for my Spindrift 10n and have always felt they were a bit long. I would guess 7 to 7.5 feet might be about right for a 12. Best option would be to borrow some and try them before buying. Or make your own, which will likely perform better than most of the affordable commercial ones will.

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Hirilonde    168

It all depends on what the oars will be doing most of the time. I find I want them on the short side as I am often sailing and they store more easily. But if you row a lot longer ones are more efficient. I find that 6.5' is good for rowing my Spindrift 9 but 5.5' store more easily. So I would think 6.5' on the short end and 8' on the long end would be right for a Spindrift 12.

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Howard    39

Outside of oar length, there are two other important measurements. One is how far to have the oarlocks situated aft of the rowing position. My 10n plans call for 9 1/2 inches aft and as the S&T diagram shows, at least 8 inches minimum. The other is the height of the oarlocks, relative to the seated position of the rower. Best rule of thumb I've seen is to have them about belly button high when held level. Mine are lower than that and it has always seemed a bit awkward. I initially attributed that to longer oars, but now realize there just isn't enough room to lower the inboard handle ends enough to lift the blades off the water so they don't trip (unless you feather them).

One solution I have seen used on a friends dinghy is simply to install an elevation block where the oar locks go. Interesting that this was done on a molded poly plastic boat. They actually molded in a high area on top of the wales that resembles the small, elevated blocks used to mount thole pins on. Doing something similar might be a good way to customize the height to rower when the seat position is fixed.

Something else I didn't do, but probably would on another boat if rowing a lot was in the plans, would be to glue some type of rib on the sole, aft of the rowing seat. Something to brace my feet against. Without that, the arms have to do most of the work.

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Hirilonde    168

Good points Howard. A similar concern is oarlock height when you use a gunwale guard (canvas covered foam cushioning). The oar locks socket need be a slight bit higher than the gunwale guard or the oar rubs on it while rowing. Guess how I learned this? ;)

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okie geo    0

whoops, I got to thinking about my last reply and realized I made a mistake in fractions. The general rule of oar length being 2x with width of the boat is good. I got it from Karl Stambaugh's book "Good Skiffs". But the bit about how much of the oar is inboard and how much is outboard was stated incorrectly in my last post. The inboard part of the oar would be 1/4th the total length of the oar, not 1/3. The general rule above of course assumes you want to maximize rowing efficiency and does not consider other factors like storage of the oars.

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