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Old 01-11-2010, 15:29   #1
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Rowing a Small Cruiser ?

We were at a marina yesterday and saw a small cruiser about 20' sloop rigged. We talked to the owner and asked if those were really oar locks on the gunwale. He told us that they were and showed up the oars (14' traditional wood). He said that the boat had been built in the 50's but that he didn't really know much more about it.

I was wondering about trying to row a small cruiser and if it would be a possible alternative to a small outboard?

I know that it would be a pain in any kind of wind but still it is an interesting idea.

Thoughts?
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Old 01-11-2010, 15:47   #2
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Aloha,
My friend with Bristol Channel Cutter had oars and no engine. When the wind dies and you're trying to make harbor it is an alternative. Also very good exercise! A skulling oar in an oarlock on the stern with a divers fin on the end is a good means of propulsion in a pinch.
kind regards,
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Old 01-11-2010, 15:59   #3
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Last summer as we were pulling into the marina (under power, as there was not a lick of breeze) there was a fellow on a ~20' sloop just off the end of the marina rowing his vessel towards his destination, perhaps another 1.5nm. We offered him a tow, as our first guess was that his kicker had failed; he politely explained that no, he just likes to row, and thank you, but he'd be fine. He'd attached flexible rope oarlocks around the lower aft shrouds and looped them over the oars, which appeared to be the standard 7' wooden oars one sees on row boats. He was making decent progress, though he had very low freeboard which I think would be a necessity.
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Old 01-11-2010, 16:56   #4
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Yes, you can row a surprisingly large boat but you won't get anywhere fast. Look at the outward bound or any other pulling boats around. They are a little less than 30' long and row at 2-3 knots with 4 people rowing and most people find that their bodies can take rowing 50% of the time for a normal length day. I have also rowed a few boats in the mid twenty foot range myself and it works okay if you are not trying to go anywhere quickly. It would not work to go into current or a headwind.

Something that is very important and briefly mentioned above is the geometry of the boat. The beam and freeboard need to have an appropriate ratio. If it gets rough, even on a good boat, you can't keep the blades out of the water on the recovery.
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Old 01-11-2010, 17:25   #5
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Can be done. Boat size and weather limiting.

b.
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Old 01-11-2010, 18:32   #6
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Check Atom Voyages | Improvement Projects, Page 3 , he likes to use a sculling oar on a Triton 28.
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Old 01-11-2010, 18:39   #7
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against any current or headwind it's really hard or next to impossible. im saying this as someone who has rowed A LOT. ive towed my boat with a smaller row dinghy, and that worked ok. it has a ton to do with the build of the boat.

personally i treat the engine as my "oh crap" button, when i need to get out of a situation or am tired of making no progress. oars don't work like that. i still row all over the place, but it's limiting (where i am now i can dinghy into land during the day but can't row back to the boat until nighttime cause the trades).

so yea, rowing is appropriate for some situations, just know it can't get you out of a pinch usually.
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Old 01-11-2010, 18:50   #8
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Joshua Slocum had oars fitted on Spray but seemed to require a tow when wind and current were not co operating. Dave
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Old 02-11-2010, 07:49   #9
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I keep a pair of 10' oars that break down into 5' segments on board. I use a rope to tie them to the jib winches. Makes about 2 knots headway on a 27ft. 7200 lb boat. Didn't test if I could get all the way back to the dock though. The one time I actually needed them a passing power boater had pity on me and offered me a tow back to my slip.
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Old 02-11-2010, 11:13   #10
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Thanks for the replies. Very interesting.
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