Fix seat and out riggers on canoes : LUSENET : Open-water rowing : One Thread

Does any one use an out rigger and row their canoe from a fixed seat. My current canoe is 40 inches wide but the next one I plan to by is 35 inches wide. With 7 foot oars, I think Id like the oarlocks at about 44 to 48 inches apart. I row the canoe in surf and white water and calm lakes. Any suggesstions would be a great help.

-- Frank Ladd (, April 19, 2002


My rowing canoe currently has a sliding seat, but I started out with a fixed seat and 8 ft.oars, and it worked OK. According to the Shaw and Tenny formula: 7' oars are about right for 43" oarlock spread. Getting the seat position relative to the oarlocks (height and fore-aft)is also important, as is a footbrace in the floor of the canoe.

-- Kim Apel (, April 19, 2002.

Dear Frank:

I'm tweaking my system right now so I can't give you conclusive information just yet. I'm not into sliding seats or feathering. And I don't want to make any modifications to the canoe (so I can continue to use it as a canoe.) I'm using commercially available wooden outriggers, giving me a distance between oarlocks of approximately 58" which is fine for my 8' oars (breakdown models so I can transport them easily). I added oarlock extensions to raise the oarlocks, because in the swells and chop of my bay the oars kept "snagging" on waves. Once I did that I found that I had to stiffen the outrigger with 3/8" aluminum because of the torque I was now placing on the outrigger. (The oarlock and extension become a lever, so to speak.) I'm using a commercially available plastic seat, which works just fine. However, I'm working on a design for a seat that can fold up so it will be more transportable. You have to work on seat position, the height of the oarlocks and the distance between the oarlock centerline and your body to find your comfort level. One note. Normally, you have to move the seat so it is closer to the wind, otherwise it's difficult to control the canoe (which is true of any rowboat). I'd be interested in any new information you can bring to this subject. Regards.

-- M. J. EPSTEIN (, June 28, 2002.

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