Steering a Rowboat Without a Rudder at Night : LUSENET : Open-water rowing : One Thread

Hello all, especially Doug and Tom,

Since you have all been so helpful, here is another question.

I looked at a 17 ft. Whitehall rowboat in the "old design" (http:// and noticed no rudder. I've written to several historical groups, the USCG, Charlestown Watershed park rangers, etc. with no comment on the boat (let alone this question). I do not think it had a rudder. So, with Revere sitting on the stern sheet, how did the two watermen steer the rowboat? There is no historical account that suggests that he did anything more than than sit upright, still and quiet. Now, remember there was a formidable obstruction, The Somerset, "directly" in the path, and a strong crosscurrent since the Spring high tide was coming in. No verbal communications were allowed for fear of capture. Would the one waterman at the bow look over his shoulder frequently and use one of his oars as a rudder while the other rowed? It could get rather tricky with a current and circumnavigation in close quarters to the warship (which was winding in the tide!). Any thoughts?

Thanks, John

-- John C. Mannone (, December 11, 2002

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