Oars, oars, oars - Mountain Buzz

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Old 04-24-2008   #1
Randaddy's Avatar
Eastern Slope, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 2,466
Oars, oars, oars

So I need some advice, and as always, I am willing to listen to a bunch of homeless alcoholics.

So I bought a mini-me and I'm getting a sweet little frame for it so I can roll solo or with a special lady (Yes, by special lady I mean labrador...) I need oars for this. I have heard that some people use 8' oars for the mini me. Anyone have any experience with this? Has anyone used the breakdown carlisle oars? My car is a shoe-box. Any frame/towers/locks advice for a little boat would be appreciated too.

Part deaux: I need oars for my Canyon trip. I will be buying a 15-16' boat, probably Hyside or NRS. How long do people like their oars? Is 9' a good length? How do you determine what is the right size?

Now here's the kicker: I want the oars I get for the mini-me to be my spares. So say I get 8' oars and put the 1' extenders on. This gives me 9' oars. What if I want longer? (or shorter oars for the mini-me?) So, you get the picture, I might find myself with spare oars that are breakdown with extensions on them. Is this a problem? I rowed Westy with extended oars last weekend, but I don't have any idea how long they were. They seemed pretty solid.

Any advice is welcome. Thanks!

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Old 04-24-2008   #2
no tengo
mania's Avatar
Baytopia, Colorado
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The magic formula is roughly one third of our oar should be on the inside of the oarlock and two thirds on the outside. so it very much depends on the width of your frame and how far apart you like your handles when you row. other people have studied the physics of this and it works real well. don't f*ck with physics.
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Old 04-24-2008   #3
Denver, Colorado
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my experience

Go with the 9ers. I've got a 13' otter and went with the 8' oars originally and found myself standing up and missing strokes. The difference is huge. Plan on buying 3 oars for your rig, if your on an overnighter and something breaks you don't want to ruin your trip with one good oar and one bush league paddle.

Here's the scenario, your thinking about how small your car is and how much easier it would be with smaller oars. Those oars may have to stick out the window when your driving down the road. It's worth it.

While my understanding of physics is limited mostly to gravity, the stuff mania is saying is legit.

If you don't believe it, get the smaller oars. Save the receipt.
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Old 04-24-2008   #4
the fort, Colorado
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nrs has fit lists, oar sizing guides, etc., on their website. might give that a shot.
By the waterside I will lay my head.
Listen to the river sing sweet songs to rock my soul.
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Old 04-24-2008   #5
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C. Springs, Colorado
Join Date: Aug 2004
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I have 8' oars for my mini-mee. With my frame set up, they work great. The frame is narrow enough that any longer oars wear you out from the counter balance. What Mania is talking about holds true. How wide is your frame?
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Old 04-24-2008   #6
Golden, Colorado
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the other general rule of thumb is that a oar should be around 2/3 the length of your raft...

so a 9ft mini-me=

9 X .66 = 6ft (don't think carlisle makes them that short for the heavy duty ones and 8' sounds kinda huge to me for such a dinghy.

16 x .66= 10.5

and as mania say allot of this depends on width of your frame and boat. it's just an indicator. personal preference needs to be factored too. taller people like me tend to like longer oars vs. shorter folk liking shorter oars.

I run 11ft ers on my 16fter but I like long oars. For a big water run like the GC you may like them for their power and ability to give you a strong brace. Downside for some is they are heavy if you are a sally.

Also, the carlisle breakdown oars work fine. Are they great feeling oars? No but they get the job done. I use them cuz I do a fly out type trip at least once a year and they are perfect for that stuff where they need to fit in small planes,ect
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Old 04-24-2008   #7
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Durango, Colorado
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I was playing with a mini me last weekend on the Animas and the first thing I said was that I would prefer 9' oars. The ones that were on it were 8' and I felt like they weren't close enough and I couldn't get a lot of leverage in the water.
ECJohnson would probably concur considering he may have had the inaugural flip on Smelter this year in the mini me on that run.

Sorry Ethan-I couldn't resist.
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Old 04-25-2008   #8
Dave Frank's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
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Just say no to 8 foot oars. I'm no rafting expert, but length of the boat shouldn't matter nearly as much as frame width. Oars are for strength and leverage. If you put your handle such that you less than 1/3 to the inside, it really gets no leverage. I cant' imagine wanting less than a full 10 footer on a GC rig, so get 9s for the mm and extensions to make them into spares.

Keep your frame as wide as is practical. You don't want the oarlocks way out in space, bouncing off of rocks. A commonly overlooked spare item is the oar tower. if you flip in shallows expect to f*** them up. I keep meaning to kep 2 in my kit.

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Old 04-25-2008   #9
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boulder, Colorado
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I ran into a guy on the upper c last week in a mini me he had 8 foot oars and said he thought they were to short and wished he had 9ers
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Old 04-25-2008   #10
Join Date: Feb 2004
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Go with 10' oars on the 16' raft. You will need two spares for the Grand Canyon, a total of four oars per boat. Be wary of putting on more than one extender. Get 8' oars for the Mini Me, put one foot extenders on them and use them as your GC spares. Chances are, with oar tethers, you will never need to use your spare oars in the Grand Canyon.

I agree with Dave Frank that oar locks and towers get bent pretty easily. I don't have a spare oar tower in my kit, but I always carry a spare oar lock.

Not sure what to say about the size of your car affecting the length of your oars.
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