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Discussion Starter #1
I realize this is totally subjective, but maybe there's some experienced advice out there.

I've liked my hands close together when setting up my oars on my 16' Hyside, the ends of the oar grips not more than a few inches apart. I've never experienced any significant crowding issues with my body or pfd, and I really like this setup when rowing alternating forward strokes.

So today I took my new 12.5' cat out to the lake, with Dave's Madcattr loaner frame, to try some different set ups. I set the seat and oar tower positions according to the recommendations, and everything felt pretty good, and similar to my big raft setup. Found that the ends of the oars kept bumping into my pfd (yes I wore it on a Lake (to see how it felt with the high back chair)) and I felt really cramped both rowing forward and backward.

Tried moving the oar towers farther forward but felt way too stretched out - good for pulling but ltd reach for forward strokes.

In the end my favorite set up was with the ends of the oars about 12-14" apart.

Anyone have any thoughts, advice, comments? Thx.
 

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I don't get it either. My guess would be tower height and or oar length? I row the way do and haven't had that issue. Do you like the high back chair? I used a friends set up once on a MS trip and I didn't like his. Maybe it changed your posture enough that your PDF is now in the way? Just some thoughts.


Jim
 

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Were you rowing from a seat or from a dry box on your Hyside raft? I agree with Sembob that the seat may be part of the problem. I also agree that tower height and oar length are a major factor. When I have changed boats with different frames I've had to tinker a lot with tower height and width relative to oar length. You said you could move the towers forward, how about wider apart?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Were you rowing from a seat or from a dry box on your Hyside raft? I agree with Sembob that the seat may be part of the problem. I also agree that tower height and oar length are a major factor. When I have changed boats with different frames I've had to tinker a lot with tower height and width relative to oar length. You said you could move the towers forward, how about wider apart?
On a cooler with a pad on my Hyside. The seat on the cat is clearly higher. The oar towers can't be moved wider on this current frame, but I could consider that, if necessary, when he builds my frame next spring.

I may add PVC spacer and raise the clip height. But right now the oar handle height feels pretty good.
 

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Since I spent most of my time rowing commercial, and we didn't have assigned boats, all our frames were set to a single dimension and we each learned to adjust to to the oar set up individually.

That said, our towers (pins) were set so that the ends of the oars only had about an "1 between them. Sticking your thumbs on the ends of the oars was a guaranteed way of discovering whole new levels of pain.

For me, I needed to sit so that; a) When I reached forward for a full pull, I was leaning forward comfortably, but not doubled over b) At the end of a stroke I was not being forced to bend my elbows; I wanted full power through out the stroke, using my back and legs, and not my arms c) When I was pulling/pushing the oar was level with my chest; I did not want to have to reach up or down to pull d) I needed to be able to easily hook the end of the oar under my leg without squirming around, and could get it out from under my knee easily. e) When i shipped my oar I didn't need to lean back out of the way.

This sounds complicated but really isn't; we sat on a 2X6 board with bags loaded in tarps behind; I'd load the bags right up to the edge of my seat, and then squash them back to get things comfortable.

It sounds as if you need to move your towers slightly forward and get your oar height moved around a bit. In the end you fine tune the fit with your seat (how come we never used seats; those boards got HARD) position.

But whatever you do, train yourself to keep your thumbs off the ends of those oars; no matter what oar lock system you use, if you row with your thumbs on the end of the oar you will eventually smash a thumb, and it will HURT.
 

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On a cooler with a pad on my Hyside. The seat on the cat is clearly higher. The oar towers can't be moved wider on this current frame, but I could consider that, if necessary, when he builds my frame next spring.

I may add PVC spacer and raise the clip height. But right now the oar handle height feels pretty good.
The more you can mess around with it now, the happier you'll be when you get your frame built. I know that taller and wider towers helped me when I was setting up my 12 foot raft last year. On my 14 foot raft I have enough width to stay with the medium towers. I like about 3-4 inches give or take between my oar handles, and I like to push/pull from right about upper boob level.....or where you'd throw a jab punch from if you were boxing. That's the sweet spot for me. On my cataraft I always rowed from a seat. I'm getting used to rowing from a box on the raft. There's something to be said for the seat, as it always put's you in the same position every time.
 

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The other way to figure out your setup is to try other people's. It was through rowing other people's rigs and rentals that I got to know what I like and what I don't. I run my oars with about 12" between the handles. It works for me - good power, good body position and the oars will clear me in case they get pushed either forward or aft of me.
 

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Hey, what about your avatar photo? :)
"The other way to figure out your setup is to try other people's. It was through rowing other people's rigs and rentals that I got to know what I like and what I don't."
 
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