One of the things I’ll have to do differently this year on the Everglades Challenge is row. With Clarity, we paddled, one on each ama, but Discovery, being a monohull, with oarlocks, will be rowed. She looks to row fairly well, too… in fact, one of the reasons I traded for her was so that I would have a GOOD dinghy for the eventual large sailboat… one that could row, sail, or (gasping petro-fumigational-dino-burning abomination) even motor.
Having said that, one of the things I don’t have a lot of experience with is rowing. I’ve been sailing since I was 3, canoeing since about 7, and kayaking for about
15 years, but my experience with rowing mostly revolves around rowing beat up
aluminum Lund skiffs out to the mooring where our Pearson Lark was waiting for
me, bobbing gently on Lake Waconia. In other words, I have no really evolved rowing skill set!
Discovery is equipped with telescopic aluminum shafted oars (5′ to 6.5′), and as the boat originally came with 6.4′ oars, I have the length covered. These are not cheapie oars designed for inexpensive inflatables… the quality seems to be pretty good. The collars (I can’t really call them leathers, since they are plastic) are moveable, and the oars telescope via dual pushbuttons. The oarlocks are heavy round bronze ones (dang, each one weighs as much as 4 ProBars!!) and my main debate is whether to replace them with plastic ones, get a set of the clamp on ones (can’t feather the oars, but I can’t lose the oarlocks, either!), or just stick with what I have. Bear in mind that I’m NOT racing to Key Largo, I’m in it for the adventure (and for as much time away from my cellphone as possible!), so I will only be rowing when needed.
I’m leaning towards the clamp on style oarlocks, because they’ll be pretty much foolproof, even in rough weather and/or exhausted skipperage, but I’d certainly like opinions from more accomplished rowers.