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Old 06-30-2009   #21
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 27
Agree that it's a personal thing -- you prefer oar rights or you don't, and trying it both ways is a great way to decide.

I've seen folks cut down the standard oar rights, eliminating a portion of the tongue -- cut back to the "G" in "Grant's" or thereabouts. The idea seems to be that's enough to use the rights when you wish, or pull the oar out far enough to not engage the oar right.

There's also "new" convertible oar rights; here's a link: Convertible Oar Right

Me: I learned 20+ years ago to row without them, and prefer donuts (but also agree that the whole feathering thing is mostly in a rower's psyche -- the boat catches far more wind, and I've missed my fair share of "need it now" power strokes. Anyway...). My wife prefers the oar rights. Thinking I'll give the convertibles a shot to see if we can have the best of both worlds.

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Old 06-30-2009   #22
Pugetopolis, Washington
Paddling Since: 96
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 767
Sawyer Polecats,ropewrap,and donuts make me happy.

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Old 06-30-2009   #23
aka The Curmudgeon
captishmael's Avatar
Hopelessly Stuck in Yesterday, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1994
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 322
When I started rafting, I went bare, didn't like it when I'd lose track of my oar orientation in a rapid and grab what felt like air when what I needed was a big ol' handfull of water. I suppose that would have improved with time. I got Oar Rights as a remedy, and liked them a lot. When I got a second boat, I equipped it with Thole Pins and clips, just to try them. I like them slightly better than locks and Oar Rights. Pins (with stirrups) are definitely better when you pop an oar. Don't feel quite as nice when your oar is in the proper place, though.
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Old 06-30-2009   #24
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SE, Wyoming
Paddling Since: 1986
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 1,098
You ought to be getting the sense that there's no absolute right setup.

As far as the advantages of feathering while rowing flatwater and long trips being in my head, GTFOH. Having earned my way most of my adult life through physical work outdoors, I'm pretty aware of the difference between stress and ease.

One aspect that's key to rowing open locks is knowing where your blades are, which takes a strong and yet sensitive grip. One of the first things I did after taking the O-Rights off my Carlisles was to peel off the foam grips and rough up the plastic ones, so I could feel any movement.

The wood oars I now like (Gull from NZ) come varnished with bare wood grips, and I love 'em. (If you want generic foam grips, shoot me a PM— I'll mail you a set, no charge.)
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Old 06-30-2009   #25
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Walterville, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1977
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 559
Originally Posted by Chip View Post
with bare wood grips, and I love 'em.
Gotta agree with Chip. Just bought a pair of Cataracts with wooden handles instead of the foam grips. I believe Sawyer can set you up the same way.
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Old 06-30-2009   #26
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2001
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 212
I'm of the opinion that oar rights are nothing but training wheels. I think all the arguments that they're good in big water, keep you always in place for a power stroke, and may prevent a flip are total bullshit. If you don't know the position of your blade when you're in the shit then you don't have enough experience rowing. The benefit of being able to feather your blade in current to maintain complete control of your oar far outweighs anything else. As someone else said, if you don't have control of your oars, you're just a passenger. As far as feathering blades above the water... One, feathering as your blades exit the water makes for less resistance and a more efficient stroke. Two, feathering the blades on a windy day over ten to fifteen miles makes a difference... that's a fact, not imagination.
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Old 06-30-2009   #27
Rainy Northwest, Washington
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 460
Oar rights as training wheels.

Originally Posted by JHimick View Post
I'm of the opinion that oar rights are nothing but training wheels. .
Amen, Brother. My kids don't need oar rights, and they are 11 and 13. Seriously, you soon get a feel for where your blades are. If you don't have that yet, you aren't ready to row anything hard.

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Old 06-30-2009   #28
timbuktu, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1998
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 679
Wow, those are some strong opinions, I'm going to take mine off and try it again. Due to work and family stuff I'd taken a couple of years off the river before I bought my latest boat. I just got the oars locks with the whole package, more or less because they were thrown in. I guess it's been quite sometime since I've tried it without. Never had a problem without them, just never noticed that I hate them. I'm going to take them off and see.
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Old 06-30-2009   #29
Rainy Northwest, Washington
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 460
Originally Posted by yarmonymatoid View Post
Wow, those are some strong opinions,
Well, yeah. Weak opinions would be a waste of electrons.
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Old 07-01-2009   #30
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Greeley, Colorado
Paddling Since: 84
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 137
Originally Posted by Dave Frank View Post
I just got the convertibles. I really like not having the trainers most times, but when it gets bigger i love to be locked in at least as I learn. It can be really hard to disengage that upstream oar if you get it sideways. I got sideways with a sideways up stream oar in the royal gorge a few weeks and got pulled right out of the boat. Fortunately I had squeezed my oarlocks in the vice that morning and the downstream one held in the lock and I was able to pull my self back in with it.

With the convertibles, you can flip 'em right in at the top of a rapid if you feel the need. I assume I will get over that feeling with some more "untrained" experience.
Dave, I'm a bit embarrassed to admit we paddled together the other day. Oar locks? You come across ass such a bad ass. Ditch the training wheels. Please tell me you don't use tethers. I don't dare throw my secrets out to the public, but since we are now friends, throw me a call. Good times on the creek the other day. Took the Sotar IK down the next day. Riot!


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