how do I choose oars?

greenspun.com : LUSENET : Open-water rowing : One Thread

Hello again everyone!

It is not definite yet, but it looks likely that I will be purchasing a used 18' Wenonah Sundowner canoe. If you'll remember from the previous thread, I intend to scull with this canoe -- as well as paddle it. This particular canoe is already equipped with a drop-in fixed-seat rowing unit -- but no oars. Unfortunately, I don't know the brand of the rowing unit.

I'll be adding a Piantedosi Ro-Wing (sliding seat) at a later date, but I'm assuming that the fixed-seat rig will require different oars. How do I pick the right oars for the fixed-seat rig?

Also, since I'm asking questions anyway -- I also intend to paddle this canoe solo, using a drop-in center seat and possibly a double canoe/kayak paddle. How do I choose the proper length for a double paddle?

Any info would be welcomed!

And incidentally, I found this quote while surfing -- thought it was very encouraging:

""That Canoe-kayak paddle is great! In three days, I solo paddled my 18 Sundowner 40 miles. When I came to a wide open expanse on Insula Lake, two paddlers in their Minnesota II advised me not to cross against the 15 mph wind. Much to their surprise, I crossed anyway, keeping even with them and staying on course."

Danny Korpi ~ Eveleth, MN"

http://www.canoegear.com/paddles/paddles3.html

-- Ione Smith (amazondoc@mindspring.com), June 08, 2004

Answers

Oar length, in part its user peference. But the basic forumula, see the Shaw and Tenny website..(25 * ((width/2 + 2)/7)) where the width is in inches will give you a place to start. Longer will have a crossed grip, shorter no overlap. So measure the fixed seat oarlocks and have fun! -Gary-

-- Gary Powell (gwpowell@hotmail.com), June 09, 2004.

Thanks Gary! Helpful as ever. :-)

Is "width" here the width of the vessel, or the width at the oarlocks?

-- Ione Smith (amazondoc@mindspring.com), June 09, 2004.


Woops, duh, you already said oarlocks. It's late, I'm braindead. ;-) Thanks again!

-- Ione Smith (amazondoc@mindspring.com), June 09, 2004.

Dear Ione,

The 18' Sundowner is not a bad choice, if you get it for the right price. It should work pretty well where you are, or just about anywhere, as long as you keep in mind that it is a canoe. The oar length guidelines on the Shaw and Tenney website should be viewed as "guidelines". Using their formula you won't go too far wrong but, using it, you may not get the perfect oars. Having designed many rowing craft (and canoes) of varying beams and depths, I would think that you can't do much better than a pair of S and T spoons. Shaw and Tenney oars are well designed and always represent a great value. Take their advice when they recommend sewn-on leathers with collars. With these oars there should be little, or no, handle overlap in your canoe. Also, oars of that length will stow away without too much difficulty when you decide it's time to paddle. Good luck.

Yours,

Andre

-- Andre de Bardelaben (middlepath@aol.com), June 09, 2004.


Dear Ione,

In reading over my response, I discovered that I had forgotten to recommend a specific length of oars. I meant to say 7 foot Shaw and Tenney spoon oars. Sorry about that.

Yours,

Andre

-- Andre de Bardelaben (middlepath@aol.com), June 09, 2004.



Thanks guys! The oarlocks are 45" apart, so that works out to roughly 7'3", give or take. I'll check out the Shaw and Tenney site!

-- Ione Smith (amazondoc@mindspring.com), June 09, 2004.

Another site you might like to look at:

http://www.lucidstyle.com/islandoars/

They have canoe paddles as well. (Cavet emptor, I haven't bought anything from them.) -Gary-

-- Gary Powell (gwpowell@hotmail.com), June 09, 2004.


Dear Ione,

A boat with a 45" oarlock spread can definitely handle 7.5' Shaw and Tenney spoons, with no overlap. Depending on the socket height, your boat can possibly even take 8s.

Yours,

Andre

-- Andre de Bardelaben (middlepath@aol.com), June 09, 2004.


The Shaw & Tenney formula is given with an overlap of 2" per oar. What is the formula if we do not want overlap (i.e 1" between the 2 handles when horizontal). Overlap is probably efficient wih practice, but no overlap is more confortable. Any comments. Thanks

-- Jan (mjan@voila.fr), June 10, 2004.

Dear Ione,

I kind of overlooked the part of your question regarding a double bladed paddle for your canoe. A typical kayak paddle is around 7 feet in length. Tandem canoes are generally wider and deeper than kayaks. For this reason, double bladed paddles used in tandem canoes should be about 9 feet long. I should point out that a 9 foot paddle is a bit long to stow when you are rowing. There are some good take apart paddles out there. I should also mention that there are single blade paddling techniques that can be very useful for propelling your canoe in tight quarters. At some point you might find it worthwhile to learn these elegant skills.

Yours,

Andre

-- Andre de Bardelaben (middlepath@aol.com), June 10, 2004.



Thanks Andre!

I am buying both double and single paddles, and I do intend to learn both techniques (in fact, I'm taking my first paddling class next Thursday night!). I was able to find good guides for buying the proper size of single paddle, so I didn't need to ask about that -- but I couldn't find a sizing guide for the double paddles, which is why I did ask about that one. :-)

The same company that sells the drop-in seat I'm looking at also sells two-piece double paddles at 9 feet, so I may buy that. I can also get one much cheaper on ebay at roughly 8 1/2 feet, if I'm converting properly (238 cm). I'm sure the ebay ones are very poor quality, but they would probably suffice until I figured out what I really wanted. I have read that the single-piece double paddles are of better quality, so I may end up with one of those eventually -- and since I drive a full-sized van and will be using it in an 18' canoe, transporting one shouldn't be all that difficult. But We Shall See.

Thanks for the sizing info! The Big Day is today -- I'll let you know if I walk away a winner at the end of the auction. ;-)

-- Ione Smith (amazondoc@mindspring.com), June 10, 2004.


Update:

I am now the proud owner of a used 18' Sundowner -- along with stationary rowing rig, Yakima gunwale brackets, and handy-dandy thwart bag. ;-) Now, onto oars and paddles -- then sculling rig. :-)

Thanks again to everyone for all your great advice!

-- Ione Smith (amazondoc@mindspring.com), June 10, 2004.


Congradulations Ione!

See if you can borrow a double canoe or kayak paddle before you buy one. I have 7ft kayak paddle (because I also have a kayak) that I used one day in my canoe. I didn't really like it much because everytime I lift one end of the paddle out of the water, the water on the paddle ran down the shaft and onto me. Dip, drip, dip, drip... With a regular canoe paddle the wet end stays down. On a warm day or wearing gloves its not so bad but.. (And in my kayak I expect to get wet..) -Gary-

-- Gary Powell (gwpowell@hotmail.com), June 11, 2004.


Hey there Gary --

Did you think that the kayak paddle was long enough to be useful? I can buy a 238cm double paddle off of ebay very cheaply, just to try out the concept before investing in a good paddle -- but I haven't been sure that it would be long enough to be of any use. I believe it has drip guards for the water issue. ;-)

-- Ione Smith (amazondoc@mindspring.com), June 11, 2004.


Hi Ione,

The kayak paddle was sort of useful. I'd seen a dad and two kids out in a canoe, he was in the middle and guiding the paddling of the kids by using the kayak paddle to keep the boat on course. But as I think back on it it, it really was too short. It makes you lean over the side too much to get the blade in the water, (Which turns the canoe toward that side as it curved.) I'd invest in a good canoe paddle first though. -Gary-

-- Gary Powell (gwpowell@hotmail.com), June 14, 2004.



i don reach hereoooooooo

-- maga maga (magaaaa@yamoo.com), July 30, 2004.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ