Arwen's meanderings

Hi everyone and welcome to my dinghy cruising blog about my John Welsford designed 'navigator' named Arwen. Built over three years, Arwen was launched in August 2007. She is a standing lug yawl 14' 6" in length. This blog records our dinghy cruising voyages together around the coastal waters of SW England.
Arwen has an associated YouTube channel so visit to find our most recent cruises and click subscribe.
On this blog you will find posts about dinghy cruising locations, accounts of our voyages, maintenance tips and 'How to's' ranging from rigging standing lug sails and building galley boxes to using 'anchor buddies' and creating 'pilotage notes'. I hope you find something that inspires you to get out on the water in your boat. Drop us a comment and happy sailing.
Steve and Arwen

Friday, 19 July 2019

building wooden oars for a sailing dinghy 7

How do you store your oars on your wooden sail boat?

At the moment mine are stored along Arwen's side decks. Each oar sits in its respective rowlock and the blades overhang the transom. These new blades could do that but they will overhang the transom by nearly 3'.

I guess that is OK - the starboard side one will interfere with the outboard (on its bracket) though - when I turn the tiller/outboard for steering.

I will need to add some clip in bracket for the end of the loom above the blade to clip into so that the oars don't bounce off the side deck as well in rougher seas. An alternative is to design some form of small swinging outrigger that can lock in place, so that during sailing, the oar blades and lower looms are held a few inches outboard of the gunwales. I have never seen such an arrangement but I cant see why it wouldn't work.

I could store the oars the other way round so that the blades are alongside the bowsprit. I have tried that in the past and the jib sheets kept getting snagged so I would have to take a careful look at this arrangement again. It would be a neater option but then I would have to move the paddle and find somewhere else to store that (since it lies along the port fore deck and side deck area).

I would be very interested in how any of  you store your oars on your boat. Please let me know by dropping me a comment in the box below. 

In the meantime - finishing decisions made - painted oars. White looms and burgundy blades and counterweights - the same colour as Arwen's sheer plank. I was going with all white looms and a bluebell colour for the blades that would match in with Arwen's floating seat cushions but her indoors laughed so much at the suggestion of colour matching oars with seat cushions that she put me off the idea! I honestly thought she would pass out with asphyxiation bought on by nonstop laughter!

Two coats of undercoat, two top coats.
The paint is exterior gloss paint - nothing special - not from a known boat paint range.
I am working on the principle that they will need regular touching up and painting annually so exterior gloss is the cheapest way of doing it.
The blades and counterweights will be International Toplac - burgundy colour. 

handles will be bare wood

undercoat on for the burgundy paint


Steve-the-Wargamer said... the cabin.. quarter berth to be precise.. :o)

steve said...

Oh to have a cabin 😂

Alastair said...

Your comment about the oars fouling the motor: surely the point of having the new, correctly sized, oars is that you won't need the motor. If you intend to use the motor what is wrong with the old oars?

steve said...

Are you prejudiced against outboards Alastair?
Some purists row and sail and that is fine, an amazing skill set, inspirational to us all. Some sail and use outboard and that is fine and skilful and they have amazing adventures - as inspirational too. Some sail, row and use outboard and that too is actually fine; they have freedom of choice to meet whatever circumstances they face.
Some sailors are exceptionally skilful completing amazing voyages under just sail and oar. Some are less skilful and really just enjoy a potter on the water - enough skill to be safe and not a danger to themselves or others but like the reassurance of oars, paddle and outboard on board.
Dinghy cruisers are surely a broad enough church to accommodate all. I choose to have all three on board. The outboard is there when I need to be back somewhere for an appointment or family commitment, when I have had enough of sailing and rowing or when I am too tired or feeling a bit poorly to focus on sailing or rowing and just want to reach journey end more quickly.
The old oars were a tad too short to be properly fit for purpose. Usable but not comfortable; and there was much joy and learning to be had in fashioning one's own set of oars for the first time. however rustic they may have turned out :)

Alastair said...

No prejudice as far as outboards are concerned. My other boat is a motor cruiser. I just didn't understand why you had built a pair of oars which are difficult to stow if you weren't going to use them.
My observations indicate that if you take the outboard as a reassurance it is likely that the oars will get very little use. YMMV.

steve said...

Phew....I was getting worried 😁 in reality I tend to use outboard very little now normally if not feeling so good....or if I have to be back by a certain time. I tend to motor out of and back into QABand that is about it. Arwen wasn't designed for long rowing by any means.