short oars vs. Long oars : LUSENET : Open-water rowing : One Thread

If the leverage ratio is the same what are the performance difference between short oars vs. long oars? For example in a canoe with the oar sockets mounted on the gunwales (short oars) or the use of outriggers (long oars) .

-- Steven Tolle (, May 31, 2003


Longer oars will sweep through a smaller angle, for a given length of pull, than shorter oars. Therefore, longer oars will exert more force in the direction you want to go; in other words, they will be more efficient under ideal conditions.

At some point the windage and inertia of longer oars will waste more energy than is saved by their smaller arc. With racing single sculls, oar length is usually less than 300 cm and the span is limited to about 160 cm.

-- John Swensen (, June 02, 2003.

short oars means you'd have a short stroke (higher stroke rate required to maintain a given speed but you'd have a light feel)

long oars means long strokes (low stroke rate to maintain speed - heavier feel)

BUT THIS ASSUMES THE BLADES ARE THE SAME.... i've been playing around with big blade areas on short oars

i have 6ft big blades that move my boat way more efficiently than my 7ft traditional blades because they substantially reduce the splipage of the oar through the water.

John Welsford had a great article on it on his web site .... try a google search for his name and "scientific oars" hopefully it's still on the web.

He feels generally most people are probably most comfortable rowing at about 20 to 26 strokes/minute .... you should try to chose your oars so you fall in that range while getting good boat speed.


-- mike reiner (, September 15, 2003.

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