Oar rig with paddlers, teach me something... - Mountain Buzz

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Old 01-27-2012   #1
Riverton, Utah
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 343
Oar rig with paddlers, teach me something...

Ok, I see several setups where an oar rig has passengers that also paddle with there own paddles. I've never done that... we either do an oar rig and have passengers or we all do paddles.

I can see where having paddlers with an oar rig would allow for more speed/force into the lines. What other advantages/disadvantages are there? Just gives the passengers something to do? Fills their hands so they can't hold on so they have a greater chance of going swimming?

Just curious, thinking it might be something I would like to try.

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Old 01-27-2012   #2
Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1975
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 536
it gives people who don't know any better something to do and feel like they are contributing. that's the cold truth 99% of the time.

a person with a paddle can be doing the exact opposite stroke that's useful and it's barely noticeable and easily compensated for with oars. just reality.

i do hand them out in super tight stuff where oars can become largely useless and to help push off rocks,ect. and they can't hurt if you have a big hit coming up too...providing the paddlers aren't stroking like pansies anyway.

just my humble opinion.
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Old 01-27-2012   #3
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portland, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 2,191
You are referring to center mount gear frame, not stern mount? There usually isnt a lot of space for comfortable paddlers on a gear frame

I think two extra paddlers wouldnt help much compared to the fixed oars. Maybe enough to offset their added weight.

I added a stern mount to my paddle boat years ago specifically so i didnt have to bark out orders and hope the paddlers responded. I could just react and not give a shit what they did or didn't do
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Old 01-28-2012   #4
Jenks, Oklahoma
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,736
I have had too much fun rowing a Super Puma with two paddlers in the front. The Numbers and Browns Canyon become a hoot even at low levels with this setup. Position the little raft with the oars then add in paddle strokes as needed when squeezing between rocks. This opens up kayak type runs to rafts.

When it comes to the bigger gear haulers, paddlers not as much help except on up river windy days or taking a hit. On windy days I will take all the help I can find.
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Old 01-28-2012   #5
Haley Station, Ontario
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 82
We used to run eight paddler and with a stern mount on the Kicking Horse in BC. The paddlers give you enough weight and power to charge through some bigger water that I would probably otherwise back ferry around. The really only provide forward power (and 'power' is a relative term....) but it makes yelling commands easy. Forward. Stop.

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Old 01-28-2012   #6
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Baytopia, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1876
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 1,853
it's pretty simply really. do you want to row around dead weight? give them a paddle and they can at least help out a during a windy day or punching a hole. since you have the oars you'll be doing most of the steering so just call all forward or all back when you need it.
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Old 01-28-2012   #7
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i am damn near positive front paddlers kept us from flipping or at least going for a nasty surf session in ladle on the selway at high water. Dropping into one of those holes the oars had no purchase in the aerated backwash but the paddlers found greenwater up front and pulled us out. i agree that forward and stop commands are about all you need. sometimes if i miss a stroke or want help turning i'll call left/right side only. usually its a name, if bob is on the left ill just say bob only, forward. I think it helps a lot with forward momentum if they are good paddlers. I'll definitely charge bigger stuff if i have good paddlers in the front. you do have to make sure and pad out the frame to make it reasonably comfortable, stable and safe for the paddlers. also sometimes you have to remind them to just hold on if you are expecting a bump. as far as them swimming easier, i think a paddle dug in hard at the right time will hold you in the boat as good as anything.
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Old 01-30-2012   #8
Lakewood, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 31
I totally love having a paddler at each corner of my oar rig. It keeps them in tune with the river, it keeps them warmer than just sitting. It is like a forward and backward gear for my raft so it helps punch big holes and gives us added momentum in the big holes and added slowiong in relation to the current power. They can also help keep you off the rocks in some situations. And, they can use the extension of the paddles to help draw in a swimmer.
Commands are easy. Forward or backward one or two strokes is usually enough. Sometimes they are inexperienced and will keep paddling as their side of the boat comes around to put us into shore or a rock. Just train your paddlers to do one or two strokes and stop.
My 2 cents worth.
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Old 01-30-2012   #9
Conifer, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1998
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 61
I use a stern frame often when I am in big water or when it is imperative that I need to maintain control of the boat.

In High water it allows me to have a full crew, but if a big lateral clears out one side of the boat it is not mayhem trying to maintain boat control and pick up the pieces.

I love using this is the strategy on Shoshone over 9k when commercial rafts will not touch it.

The stern frame often gets on low volume but committing runs: First time down the upper Animas Silverton to Tacoma we ran the 24 miles in one day and had 3 guys, so when debating R3 the stern frame won out. Even with taking moderate lines and scouting the big drops the wilderness factor required to maintain control despite the gnarr. It also allows one person could navigate rock gardens and allow the paddlers to rest but when needed paddlers are enlisted to power into holes and make tight moves.

Center frame was great on cataract canyon, gear in the rear, then having paddlers up front to drive momentum and make the one move wonder on BD II.

Experiment, not for all or all situations. I find it much more enjoyable to paddle guide but if I am on the oars any passengers will have paddles to offset their weight.
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