Rowing effort question - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 08-02-2016   #1
 
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Wheat Ridge, Colorado
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Rowing effort question

Rafted alongside a friend in his 13' NRS hypalon raft with a full DRE fishing frame and sawyer oars. My boat, on the other hand, is a 13' NRS PVC outlaw with a homebuilt wood frame. I sit on the wood and row my 8' oars with 6" oar towers bolted to the 2x8 wood rail.

With each boat fully loaded with people and gear, his boat was waaay heavier than mine.

Now here's the issue. He was able to sit in his captain's chair with his long sawyer oars and lightly back row to stay in place. I, on the other hand, got washed downstream unless I put my entire body into back rowing.

The only things I could think of was that the heavier boat held in the water better (but seems counter intuitive), he's way stronger than me, or his longer oars and better rowing angle gave him a big advantage. I want what he has. Thoughts?

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Old 08-02-2016   #2
 
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A few things at play here. Were the oars the same length? Also - the floor has a lot to do with tracking, speed and catching water as does the tubes.

You said he has an Outlaw - can I assume you have an Otter? Geometrically - those are pretty much the same rafts - and material won't have that great affect on it.

Another factor is bow to stern loading.

Bottom line - you said he was WAY heavier than you which means he was drawing way more water which could allow him to remain in an eddy that has a slower current moving below.

Without seeing the boats in the specific spot (unless this was in many different spots) it will be hard to come up with a definitive answer.
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Old 08-02-2016   #3
 
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Agree with the above.

I think that the length of oars is a pretty crucial piece of information needed. From your post referring to your friends oars as "long" I'll assume they were at a minimum longer than yours.

Longer oars make a large difference. Oars are of course simply a lever used to move the boat. The longer the lever arm (assuming similair distances from the point of effort (your hand) to the fulcrum (oar tower)) directly equates to greater force exerted on the water.

Oar blade orientation also has a large effect. You did not mention what type of oars locks you both use. I have noticed the the ability to 'feather' the oars in an open lock produces more power than that of a fixed oar (pin & clip style).

I think that physical strength is the least likely element in play here. Unless your friend in Hercules, he won't be able to lightly use his arms and achieve greater force that you throwing your weight into each stroke.

Lastly, the current is a big factor. If you are both in downstream current the heavier boat will tend to carry faster downstream, suggesting to me that either your friend used the current more to his advantage.

I guess a combination of the above occurred with minimal emphasis on the physical strength part
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Old 08-02-2016   #4
 
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I have the outlaw, he has some other NRS boat, which I'm pretty sure is hypalon but I didn't notice which model it was.

I'd guess his oars were probably 9'ers. Much lighter than mine, too. He's running the DRE San Juan fishing frame, not sure if that geometry equates to better leverage. But I'd assume so. And open locks.

On second thought, my oars are 7'ers. I have 1' extensions that I didn't have on. So he had 2 more feet than me on his oars. I also have open oar locks.

I'm not talking about holding in eddies. I'm talking middle of a run, he could hold his boat in place while his passengers fished. I'd try the same thing and didn't have the physical strength to keep the boat in place. I beat him to the take out by about an hour on a day-long float because I couldn't hang in runs to fish.

Guys, I think all the evidence is now pointing to my stubbly little oars. Thanks for helping me think this through.
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Old 08-02-2016   #5
 
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I would say #1 would be oars and then I would also say boat balance. A raft in the current that is drawing more water towards the downstream side will have a much larger catch than one that is "flat" on the water. Think of it like when you put your hand outside the window parallel to the ground versus with your fingertips down.

That being said - the above chances when the upstream tube starts to catch water but being lower than the upstream side. This can especially make a difference when your raft side tube is perpendicular to the current.
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Old 08-02-2016   #6
 
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The only factor I haven't seen mentioned is the river itself. Were you in the exact same current? Perhaps your friend has a knack for finding the slower water. I know you're newer to rafting. I think the more miles you have under your belt the more you'll be able to read the water.

The longer oars will make a difference in your ability to have a longer stroke, but don't forget to factor in unevenness you put on the far end of the see-saw when you extend your oar. I know when I put extenders on my non-counter balanced oars it made a noticeable difference in the force I have to exert to bring the oar to the top of the stroke.

And I am aware I'm T'ing up the gutter jokes about long strokes. Some strokes are longer than others!
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Old 08-02-2016   #7
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Read_N_Run View Post
I would say #1 would be oars and then I would also say boat balance. A raft in the current that is drawing more water towards the downstream side will have a much larger catch than one that is "flat" on the water. Think of it like when you put your hand outside the window parallel to the ground versus with your fingertips down.

That being said - the above chances when the upstream tube starts to catch water but being lower than the upstream side. This can especially make a difference when your raft side tube is perpendicular to the current.

Ahh, this is a great point. I think I was more weight forward, with the guy up front leaning on the front tube to fish, and my cooler being mounted towards the front. I'm sure this is a major part of the equation.

And I really do think we were rowing very similar water when I made the comparisons. Both my buddies, who have rowed plenty, made the same comparisons I did when they had their turns on the oars.
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Old 08-02-2016   #8
 
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I forgot to add that my oars are Carlisle work horses and compared to his are very heavy. I can't imagine that oar weight would make any difference in this respect, would it?
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Old 08-02-2016   #9
 
Minturn, Colorado
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fishingraft View Post
I forgot to add that my oars are Carlisle work horses and compared to his are very heavy. I can't imagine that oar weight would make any difference in this respect, would it?

The oars I use (sawyer) are much much heavier than any Carlisle oar I have seen. I don't think weight of oar has anything to do with it. I agree with the mention of being able to read, find, and use "slack" water to your advantage. In my experience the Carlisles are flimsy, and much of your power is lost through the flex of a floppy oar.


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Old 08-02-2016   #10
 
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Originally Posted by Sherpa9543 View Post
The oars I use (sawyer) are much much heavier than any Carlisle oar I have seen. I don't think weight of oar has anything to do with it. I agree with the mention of being able to read, find, and use "slack" water to your advantage. In my experience the Carlisles are flimsy, and much of your power is lost through the flex of a floppy oar.


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Maybe my perception of weight has a lot to do with the balance of the oar in the oarlock. I feel like mine are more off balance than his, which makes them feel heavier in my hands, and causes me to make possibly inaccurate statements about oar weights on Internet forums.
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