forward facing oars

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forward facing oars

Post by Mullet » Sun Dec 11, 2011 3:57 pm

Hi everyone, What do row boat people think of forward facing oars. I've never seen or read of them in Wooden Boat magazine. I've never seen a picture of them in New England in wooden boat land. I have some on an old reel foot boat and I love them. Are they lame or something? Is it like talking about N'Sync at a Rolling Stones concert? I don't understand. Forgive me for my ignorance on the subject, I'm from the south were not many people row. Thanks

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Re: forward facing oars

Post by Trackhappy » Sun Dec 11, 2011 5:54 pm

I think forward facing oars are for a "Love Boat" :wink:

You don't have the same power pushing an oar forward as you doing pulling, as you can't brace your legs, however if your prime focus is a pretty Lady's eyes 2 feet in front of you, then powering through the water is probably not much of a concern...
By the time I have built a boat, I'll be ready to build a boat....

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Re: forward facing oars

Post by Bergy » Sun Dec 11, 2011 7:18 pm

Check out this site. Stand up facing forward rowing.
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Re: forward facing oars

Post by 1willie » Thu Jan 19, 2012 12:33 pm

Are you wanting to stand up or sit down? Consider this:

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Re: forward facing oars

Post by leakcheck » Thu Jan 19, 2012 7:24 pm

I think that thing is pretty cool! I guess you have to go left to go right, but other than that the learning curve would be very small.


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Re: forward facing oars

Post by koonaone » Mon Mar 19, 2012 5:47 pm

In 60 or 61 (I was 15 ish) my buddy George Pedlar was making 20 cents a pound for seal meat for the polar bears in stanley park zoo, vancouver, plus the 5 buck bounty for noses. He had a canvas covered cedar canoe and just couldn't get the knack of shooting them between the eyes, over his shoulder. So the boss of the zoo, Alan Best, turned him on to something from the english rowing, community. Nothing in your references seems to fit though. It was a more or less equilateral or maybe isosceles triange of wrought iron with the fulcrum well out from the gunnels, and a flatiron scissors sort of thing that reversed the thrust. Sorry not to be able to be of more concrete help.

Brainspurt: I wonder what the efficiencies would be like in an oar Pull, driving a hydraulic pump, with the pressure transfered to a hydraulic motor, which runs reverse oars? Well why not a big screw?

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Re: forward facing oars

Post by GC River Guide » Thu Mar 22, 2012 10:30 pm


I row facing forward most of the time. Most of the other guides in the Grand Canyon do as well. You do not get the same power but you also get to see where you are going. This can help when entering a class 5 rapid. A lot of it will come down to distance. If you are going for mileage than facing the rear of the boat is a given. If you are just puttering for the day why not face forward?
Our company uses 18' foam and glass dories and 18' AVON Pro inflatables. These have the same profile front or rear so resistance from hull design is immaterial. I always "push" unless a technical rapid dictates otherwise. The bottom line is I am too old to crane my neck around for 6-7 hours a day.
A lot of it is technique. It is pretty easy to pull a set of oars. Pushing requires a slightly different posture. I like to get my arms straight but not locked and use my torso to do the work ( think of the arm driving the wheel of a steam locomotive ). Never bending elbows unless making an adjustment or a move. Bending your arms will tire you out but your trunk has good power and what a fun way to get a flat stomach.
I am currently renovating a Sweet Caroline 20' to use in Grand Canyon and am setting up the seating to push or pull. In this case I need seats facing the oars from both directions since the Caroline has a transom.
Pushing is not only cool, it shows you have a bit more style than the guy who learned on a rowing machine at the gym :-).
Unless you are in a race or entering Lava Falls rapid why not push?
Rowing a hard boat is like eating dessert after pushing this pig 225 miles.
Rowing a hard boat is like eating dessert after pushing this pig 225 miles.
Facing the action, Class 3 rapid.
Facing the action, Class 3 rapid.

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