Placement of oar locks : LUSENET : Open-water rowing : One Thread

I'm adding a set of oar locks to my dory for river work. The new oarlocks will be on the other side of the seat (forward), so that when I sit facing the bow and row, I'll be going "backwards" through the current but effectively holding the boat in place. Now the question arrises is where to put the oar locks. In part its not critical as the seat is on a track and I can drill new holes to move it, but is there a recommended seat to oarlock measurement other than it feels right? (As in I drilled the holes for the oar locks and it doesn't feel right to make swiss cheese of the gunnel repositioning them...)

The other issue is one of weight balance, as in I think I want the seat farily far back so that the weight in the boat is well distributed with another person on the forward seat. Bow slightly out and stern also not buried deep in the water. So moving the seat is less of an option than I would perfer.

Suggestions? seat middle + palm to elbow length + 1? Books to look in?


-- Gary Powell (, June 11, 2003


Dear Gary,

Getting the geometry right in a fixed seat boat is as much art as science. That explains, in part, why we see so many rowing sleds in boats that are totally unsuited to sliding seat rowing. In some cases the designers/builders just gave up in frustration. This topic has been dealt with a number of times on this site. Please see "Placement of seats in a new boat" under Boats. The answers provide some pretty good guidelines. Good luck.



-- Andre de Bardelaben (, June 11, 2003.

Plus I got these nice emails from Tony:

From: Tony Patroni

From the front edge of the seat 11.75"to the edge of the oarlock where the oar hits when you're pulling (that's the load bearing face) From the front edge of the seat to a footrest is 28-32" Tony

Does it matter whether you are tall or not?

Thats for about 5'8 to 6' you gotta play with the number if you're taller or shorter. Tony THat's what So. Jersey surfboats dimensions a

-- Gary Powell (, June 12, 2003.

well i know it's been a couple months since you asked but...

how do your old oarlocks feel.... how far are they from the seat?? that's an obvious initial referance point that you can use for starters...

the other option is there's a company called Scotty plastics up here in Canada that makes oarlocks that look like the small letter "p" that are really inexpensive (ie under $15 canadian) but are pretty indestructable.

i have them and have expermented with rowing them as "p"'s where the hoops face the stern or "q"'s where the hoops face the bow.... and i definately prefer the "p" configuration.... if you can get a set of them and see which feels better using you're old oarlock sockets that'd give you two settings to try without having to drill any holes... can't find the scotties?? then make your own out of some metal rod and rope... ie the rod would be the pin and you tie the oar to to it... try one side then the other...

once you've tried that you'll have a better idea of what works for you and your boat.... not a 6ft 2 inch goon like me in a narrow HHoff rowboat... ie 13 inches from the front of the seat to the socket plus my scotties in the "p" position...



-- mike Reiner (, September 15, 2003.

Well after playing around in the garage for long time, and measuring and rowing and measuring again, I realized that the clearance under the oars was the most important consideration. I have a sailing dory and the centerboard and the mainsheet block limit the position forward, the seat location full back is the other limiting factor. I went with 14" so that my knees don't colide with the oars. I can adjust the seat and may yet do so. I've got a peg and hole arrangement so it isn't too hard to add another hole. -Gary-

-- Gary Powell (, September 15, 2003.

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