Oar balance - questions - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 06-01-2013   #1
 
Yukon, Alabama
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 92
Oar balance - questions

I'm looking at 11 foot counter balanced oars. Unfortunately I need to order oars before the boat/frame are complete so trying to do the best we can upfront.

Looking at the Sawyer 11 foot MXS 2.5 lbs counter balanced, when I play with one it seems to me that the comfortable balance point is pretty close to 1/3 of the oar on the inside of the locks (46 inches). If I figure 4 inches between handles, that puts my oarlocks a full 96 inches apart which seems huge. Since many folks use 11 foot oars with much narrowing oar lock distances, I am now wondering if my subjective feel for the right balance of the oars is not normal.

I like the oars blades of course to drop into the water - but I prefer a relatively easy lift to get the oars blades out of the water. Nothing bothers me more than what I consider "heavy" oars requiring a lot of downward pressure to raise the blades out of the water. However, to get the balance I'm looking for, even with counter balance, requires a lot of the oar to be on the inside - and lots of distance between the oar locks. I need to add that this 18 foot raft will be mostly rowed on big flat water as opposed to most of you folks doing big whitewater.

Also, going by the 1/3 rd 2/3 rd "general rule of thumb" - 1/3rd of 11 foot oars would be 44 inches and with 4 inches between oar handles you have 92 inches. However, I hearing of folks using 11 foot oars with oarlock distance of much less and I'm assuming they aren't adding more weight to the handles than a counter balance already provides (the Sawyer CB is 2.5 pounds in the MXS) What am I missing? Thanks for listening.

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Old 06-01-2013   #2
 
cataraftgirl's Avatar
 
Sandy, Utah
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 3,344
A few questions that will help us with an answer.....
What's the length, width, and tube diameter of your boat? If it's a raft, do you know the center to center distance, or the width of your frame? Will your oar towers be fixed or adjustable? Will you row from a seat, dry box, cooler?

My dimensions on my raft are much smaller than yours, but the issue was similar. Longer oars felt better than shorter ones, but that made the 1/3 2/3 balance a little bit of a challenge. I use an NRS frame, so I got the taller 10 inch towers, and angled them outward to give me more width between the towers. This allowed me to get the balance right. I only angled them as far out as I could without having them go past a level position. Your counterbalance oars should eliminate or at least mostly eliminate the heavy oar problem. If your oars towers are fixed, then you will have to fudge a bit on balance.
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Old 06-01-2013   #3
 
East MT, WestMT, Both sides of the Yellowstone
Paddling Since: 09
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 1,158
I run 11'ers with out any CB and my oars are within an inch of the 1/3 in 2/3 out on my 18'x8' with 24" tubes. I'll go measure lock to lock.
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Old 06-01-2013   #4
 
East MT, WestMT, Both sides of the Yellowstone
Paddling Since: 09
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 1,158
94" CL oarlock to CL oarlock. 10" oar towers. It does make it hard to ship your oars but you can pull them in or lean to the side you need to ship and pull the other. As far as CB that is a Personal preference

Just measured my oar and I have 44" inside the boat. I think with 2.5lbs you will be happy. The cataract oars would have 4lbs CB in that length (old handles w/out the removable handle).
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Old 06-01-2013   #5
 
East MT, WestMT, Both sides of the Yellowstone
Paddling Since: 09
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 1,158
On another note I feel my towers could still come up an inch or so and just ordered pro-loks with an extra inch of riser.

Please post pics of your killer boat when she's done!!!
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Old 06-02-2013   #6
 
Yukon, Alabama
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 92
Thanks Spider - your measurements make sense and gives me some confidence I haven't gone off the deep (wide) end
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Old 06-02-2013   #7
 
East MT, WestMT, Both sides of the Yellowstone
Paddling Since: 09
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 1,158
Sawyer oars and pro-loks have a 15% off deal. Might be worth looking at. Avatard said the pro-loks are super smooth rowing and I think they would suit your non whitewater application. They are cheaper than conventional oarlock,wrap and stopper combos at 120$ a set.

I sit on a dry box with a poco pad folded in half maybe 8" off the frame FWIW. I am 5'8".
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