too heavy for my boat : LUSENET : Open-water rowing : One Thread

I'm too heavy for my sculling wherry. I have a hard time getting oars out of the water on the recovery. iwas told to shim the riggers at the the gunwale and bend the rigger to eliminate negative pitch. would someone explain how I go about eliminating the pitch,and what is pitch? Would using shorter oars help with this problem?


John Mayfield

-- john mayfield (, August 28, 2002


Pitch is a general term for the deviation of the oarlock from the vertical. When used by itself, pitch is taken to mean slanting the top of the oarlock towards the stern of the boat. Negative pitch means having the oarlock slanting towards the front of the boat. Inboard/Outboard pitch refers to slanting the top of the oarlock in towards the boat (inboard) or out away from the boat (outboard).

By shimming the rigger at the hull (placing washers or some such on the lower bolt) you will induce some inboard pitch to the oarlock. Personally, I would try rowing with this inboard pitch before I tried correcting it. Some people swear that oarlocks should be pitched 2 degrees outboard, some swear that oarlocks should have zero outboard pitch. This isn't the most critical adjustment.

The adjustment that IS critical is the fore and aft pitch. This needs to be set to around five degrees. Negative pitch will make it so that your oar digs way down into the water on the drive. Different pitch on either side of the boat will cause the boat to dip to one side during the drive.

To adjust the pitch correctly, you will need to buy or borrow a pitchmeter. Without access to a pitchmeter, I strongly recommend against trying to alter your pitch. I can conceive of a way, using a level, to bend the oarlocks back to zero inboard pitch, but I would be very concerned about inadvertently messing up the fore and aft pitch while doing so.


-- Doug Kidder (, August 28, 2002.

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