Rowlocks. So many boats have them, or need them, but so little choice. Or so it seems to me. In the restoration of my Mirror dinghy I now come to fitting rowlocks and mounting pads, and I have discovered that I seem to have some obsessive, compulsive disorder about rowlocks. Too big, too small, too floppy, too lumpy, too bumpy, too expensive, etc. This disorder surprises me since I don't actually do a lot of rowing. But what if I did, my OCDed mind asks...
So, since some of you folk are rather clued up on your rowing (sculling?), I thought I'd ask opinions on favourite rowlocks.
The 2 (galvanised) types I've looked at so far are below. The Trident one is a large crutch with a flat socket - so wear will be transferred to the wooden mounting socket -perhaps not ideal? The Force 4 one has a deep socket, which is good, but will necessitate quite a large hole in the mounting pad.
On 2 Nov 2014 at 2:33, AdrianG [via UK HBBR Forum] wrote:
> The 2 (galvanised) types I've looked at so far are below. The Trident
> one is a large crutch with a flat socket - so wear will be transferred
> to the wooden mounting socket -perhaps not ideal? The Force 4 one has
> a deep socket, which is good, but will necessitate quite a large hole
> in the mounting pad.
Re the Trident rowlocks: I had a similar problem with possible wear
on my yuloh where the wooden oar sits on the steel ball. I drilled
out an over-sized hole in the oar and filled it with epoxy, then
drilled the epoxy to the required size. This works well but
eventually shows some wear after several seasons, when I simply fill
the hole with epoxy and drill out to the required size again.
Not tried it with rowlocks, but I would expect it to work.
Sail when you can, row when you must, motor
when you have to be at work in the morning.
The rowlocks concerned are a nice shape, there’s a higher side that helps me (an incompetent oarsman) keep the oars in the rowlock. Probably a name fqor that pattern or feature, if anyone know’s it I’d love to be educated.
Was actually looking to see if I could find them again, they were an e-bay supplier but they’re not coming up when I search. The same rowlocks do appear on Amazon but accompanied by the ’not in stock and we don’t know if they’ll ever be in stock again' message.
Thanks for the thoughts and tips, chaps. Yes, I also saw the rowlocks on Amazon (gosh, what don't they sell? Well, stainless steel rowlocks, I guess) - I shall keep my eyes peeled and no doubt continue to build my collection of rowlocks.
I'm mildly surprised that thole pins haven't been mentioned yet. There's still time...
Hi, Steve. Thanks for that. Yes, the Gaco oarlocks are most interesting - though I'm perplexed as to how you unship oars swiftly, since they're fully wrapped by the oarlocks (which I would expect to be secured reasonably closely to their sockets with lanyards). I can only imagine that you swing the oars in before faffing around withdrawing them from the oarlocks. What could possibly go wrong? I guess Americans don't row Mirror dinghies much?
"This disorder surprises me since I don't actually do a lot of rowing. But what if I did, my OCDed mind asks..."
Adrian...forgive me for being blunt, but the reason why you don't do a lot of rowing is that a Mirror dinghy is no pleasure to row. Which is not surprising, as it is designed for sailing. So just fit a pair of plastic rowlocks (£2.50 each from Marine Superstore) and consider the job done.
Then start building a real rowing boat like this:
You know you want to...
PS I had a pair of the GACO rowlocks and they are great to row with, holding the blades in place firmly and with little friction. Unfortunately the fact that you have to lift the rowlocks out of the holes every time you ship oars become tiresome after a while and eventually the catch at the top failed so I had to saw it in half to get it off the oar.
Hi, Chris P. Wise words regarding plastic rowlocks, your oar-someness. But what if my Mirror and I have an adventure (italics to be read in an A.A.Milne style) and I need to put some oomph into it when when sailing isn't possible, I ask myself? (I must stop reading that Jack de Crow book)
And thanks for the link, CW - many examples for my collection there.
P.S. Nice Oughtred Mole there. Yes, I want to. In the meantime...
If you do have an adventula (AA Milne Voice Emulator Courtesy IBM) you will find it much more helpful if you have optimised the rowing position with a nice strong footrest positioned so your bum is in the middle of the thwart, and the rowlocks at the right distance from the thwart. Then you will be able to exert the maximum power.
And you will need a pair of long oars for the greatest leverage - the beam of a Mirror is 4ft 7in which would imply an optimum oar length of about 9ft.
The rowlocks really won't make a lot of difference unless you are Steve Redgrave and so strong you can break cheap plastic ones.
Unfortunately, the footplate will get in the way when you are not rowing, and 9ft oars won't fit in a Mirror. Which is why all sailing dinghies have a pair of virgin Plastimos with the price label still on lying in the bottom of the boat, and plastic rowlocks.
Storing nine foot oars on a mirror dinghy.
Buy two spare sockets and rollocks and fit them to your bow transom.
Store your oars by shoving the handleybits out through the spare rollocks with the paddleybits in the normal rollocks so that they come together at a jaunty point and you can sit there pretending you've got a proper bow.
Even short Plastimo oars are a pain in the proverbial on the floor of a mirror, by the time you've got them out from under the thwart the tide will have gone out. Then you'll have to find somewhere to store the dagger board.
Thanks for the input, chaps. Having rowed with the usual short affairs I too came to the conclusion that 9 feet or so would be ideal - I'm pleased to see that that agrees with your estimate, Chris. Which does present a bit of a storage issue for an 11 foot-ish dinghy. Fortunately not a problem thanks to your top tip, Grum. Perhaps I can utilise them as dual bowsprits? Or quay probes?
So placky rowlocks it could be, with a little warning label forbidding Mr Redgrave from having a go.
I would prefer oarlocks that are fixed to the oars so they don't jump out, But then I'm useless at rowing.
As for storing the oars, strap them to the mast or side stays! it's what we often do with quant poles for yachts on the Norfolk broads..
Just to put my oar in so to speak. Here are the ones l have screwed to my as yet unused boat, so can't say how well they perform, or indeed how long before they snap and leave me drifting on the Leeds and Liverpool.
Bought them a few months ago off eBay, had a look but can't see them now. From somewhere in the USA where they call them north river oarlocks. Cost about £20ish inc p&p.