Making a small sailboat into a rower : LUSENET : Open-water rowing : One Thread

I am looking at the castlecraft super snark as a inexpensive boat to learn to sail but I was also thinks of adding some angle oarsockets to be able to row it for some lake fishing. Given it is 11' long with a 3'2" beam about where would I put the oarloacks. I more than likely would ne kneeing or seating on a cushion to row as there is no seat and do not want to put a fixed one in really.


-- Rich Egan (, November 12, 2004


I think you could do it easily. At 38 inches you could mount oar locks on the outer edge of the hull and have a pretty good spead for 61/2 foot oars. Don't sit on too thick of a cushion or you won't have room to get the oars back and forth over your knees. If it is really hard to keep the oars from banging your knees then you could set the oar locks up on blocks to raise them a few inches.

-- Frank Ladd (, November 12, 2004.

Thanks, given a length of 11 feet would you have an idea as to where to place the oar sockets?

-- Rich (, November 13, 2004.

Maybe some marine architech will answer this better than I, but you need the oarlocks between 11 & 13 inches from the front edge of your "seat". Given that you have a cushion to sit on it therefore isn't critical, cause you can always adjust the cushions.

The next bit is where to sit, with a sailboat, you've got gear in the way but ideally you'd like the boat to be "balanced" with you sitting near the center of gravity, or slightly behind it. This isn't necessarily the midpoint of the distance between the bow and stern. The idea is that you'd like the bow to raise just slightly yet not have the stern squat in the water when you row. There is of course some hobby horsing as you row anyway but you'll have less if you're slightly aft of the C of G. If you're in front of it, the boat will feel like it's "plowing" instead of lifting over the water. If you are at the exact midpoint it will rock on every stroke.

So how the heck are you going to figure this out? I'd take it down to the local lake, sit in it (or put someone else in it) and look at it. First with no one in it for a reference point, then with you in it. If you were planning on rowing with the mast up, hang a weight on the halyard, most masts are raked aft, and measure the distance from mast to weight. Then when you are sitting in the boat you can see where the same balance point is. You'd like the weight just a tad aft of neutral (unloaded boat) when you are sitting in the rowing position.

Now the centerboard and mainsheet gear may make all of this a nice mind exercise as you may not have that much space to choose from. In which case, don't worry. Just make sure you have clearance to move your arms in a full rowing stroke without smacking your knuckles on the gear or the coaming. You probably aren't going to be rowing for miles anyway.


-- Gary Powell (, November 13, 2004.

This may not work for you but one crude trick that I have used when there isn't a spotter available to help sight the waterline to determine seat position is to throw a gallon or two of water into the boat. Note or mark where the water puddles with the boat floating on its correct lines, then climb in, sit down and move about until the puddle is about where it was. My boat had some rocker in the bottom which may have helped. Another thing you can do is c-clamp the oarlocks into position and row for a while. Adjust as necessary until it feels right and then attach permanently.

Good luck. Jon

-- Jon Aborn (, November 15, 2004.

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