Preview: Slow August – Easy Does It

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The steady sound of rowing marks the passing of a summer afternoon. So much imperfection (oarlocks, etc.) making up this perfect moment.

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21 Responses So Far to “Slow August – Easy Does It

  • Avatar

    Ed Altonji says:

    I just enjoyed the slow down, not minding the steady rhythmic clunking that only added to the point of the video. Kudos to the rower and crew who I hope know we enjoyed you taking us along with you! [Very good oarlock comments but sometimes it’s nice to just slow down the brain too.]

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    Allan Burke says:

    Steve, as a follow-up to this video which evoked many comments on oarlock styles, you might consider a serious look at “Gaco” oarlocks designed & made here in Australia & sold all over the world. The designer is a passionate rower which you will discover when you find his very interesting website & where he describes how he arrived at this design. As an occasional rower I discovered these when looking for an alternative to the lovely, but expensive & noisy bronze oarlocks I usually put on my boats & was instantly hooked on the design. Super strong, almost totally silent, smooth to use, designed to be kind to wooden oars & inexpensive.

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    Michael McEvoy says:

    A quick note on why you see pinned oars on guide boats and similar small craft from an old ‘bark-eater’ who grew up in the Adirondacks. Yes, you cannot feather your oars – whatta pain in a chop and believe you me Adirondack lakes do get a wicked short, steep chop – but there are three big advantages. One, you can cast on a swirl the split second a fish breaks surface with no fear of losing your oars. Two the fish came up for a bite not knowing you were even there because your oars were very nearly silent and three, when you have to portage – and yes, I know, nobody in coastal Maine is portaging their peapod – and you’re in a hurry you can leave the oars pinned and just tie off off the looms in the boat and take off overland. For open water rowing I like open locks and leathered spruce oars of the Culler pattern even though they are a lot of work, but worth it. But I still have a soft spot for pinned oars and if you’re wondering, a ‘bark-eater’ was the nickname for the Native Americans of the Adirondacks – the winter’s were long and food very hard to find! But today it just refers to the year-round ‘natives’.

    • Steve Stone

      Steve Stone says:

      Good points Michael. Good example of a reason for the enclosed/pinned oarlocks for specialized uses.

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    Gerrard O'Leary says:

    you have very lovely waterways there….is that Port Townsend…ish? Lovely video, cheers

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    Skip Leinau says:

    Noisy? That beautiful rhythmic rowing (& rower) was music to me & the scene candy for my eyes. A nice meditative moment.
    Many thanks.

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    Bruce Atkin says:

    So lovely to see (and hear) this peaceful summery video, while I’m sitting by the fire in the middle of an austral winter.

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    Bob Wallace says:

    Yeah- some of the noice is the oar and some the oarlock itself. I live on an Island where I usually row and over the years calculate 6000 miles back and forth so I sort of know. That pattern of oarlock usually has a fairly smooth face (to the oars) Best to have leathers and some times, if you’re willing you can bush the oarlock to knock back the noise. Ospreys get nervous with noisy oarlocks approaching.
    Further- at a recent sailorboaty rendezvous I was dismayed with the number of my compatriot sailors who have gone over to Inflatable things with small motors. No skills, no beauty, no heathfull exercise. Ugly things behind some times nice boats. I don’t like the trend.

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    Laurence Clement says:

    These videos are ALL wonderful. Thanks so much for doing them. They bring to mind so many great memories of living in Maine, and especially Brooklin, before I moved to Kansas in 1979.

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    Thomas Buzzi says:

    MUFFLE those oarlocks. Do you want the British to know we are coming?!?!? M’lady looks like a rower, no shoulder surgeries in HER future! Lovely. I shall row my Saturday Night Special sailboat after all. Thank you for the inspiration!

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    Mike McAllister says:

    Start off slow and ease up is perfect for a day like that. Love it. Thanks for the video to remind us of that.

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    Michael Carlson says:

    To me this is heaven. Growing up in West Falmouth on the Cape as a young boy, my
    dad and I would row out to our 24’ open boat set up for pulling lobster pots.
    At almost 59, still the best sound and most profound sense of calm I can remember.

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    Rick Thompson says:

    Lovely place to row. Am I the only one itching to put leathers on those oars? Both to stop the clanking and to save the looms….

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      Jennifer Read says:

      As someone who has grown up with pinned oarlocks, I’ve never used this open style. I watched the action and the rotating action of the pin in the socket is a triple jerk, not smooth. Is this normal? Is there no bushing? Is it because the loom isn’t round? Or the lack of leathers? I need to work on an oarlock system for my Penobscot, and don’t know which style of oarlock to go with. And then there’s the closed oarlock like a circle… And the need to learn how to feather!

      • Avatar

        Rick Zablocki says:

        I like closed oarlocks on the oars, but need collars to prevent them from sliding off (from experience). Helps me in choppy conditions, but I could probably use some rec rowing classes.

    • Steve Stone

      Steve Stone says:

      Hey everyone. Just some clarification on the oars and oarlocks:

      This is friend’s skiff we nicked from the dock, and it was also a hand-me-down gift to the current owner who hasn’t yet had time to fine tune things like the oarlock sockets. Currently the boat seems like one of those “just get it in the water because it works and we’ll worry about the small stuff over the winter” kinda thing.

      So it provides a very good off-ramp for a discussion on oars, oarlocks and oarlock sockets.

      We don’t recommend this style oarlock sockets for the obvious reasons you can see and hear in the video. We do recommend open oarlocks for rowing this kind of skiff in these conditions and for this type of use for many reasons, which we should do a video about. Those who know how to row well in these little dinghies mostly prefer the open oarlock for light recreational uses for a wide variety of reasons, and definitely not the enclosed round oarlocks that capture the oar.

      That said, there are good/sound specific uses/reasons for the round/captured/enclosed oarlocks as well, from fishing all the way to crew racing which has specialized enclosed oarlocks.

      If you feather your oars right when they’re in the water on these open oarlocks, you don’t get any of the up-and-down or popping-out action. See our “Rowing” video for instruction on how to keep an oar seated in the open lock, and see Havilah Hawlkins “advanced rowing” videos to see how he controls the boat in a variety of ways.

      These oars are ash so they don’t need (and shouldn’t have) leathers. Many years of use hardly shows wear on the loom of an ash oar. Softer spruce oars need leathers for sure. So much here in this small topic, perhaps we need a fourth video on rowing that focuses on gear?

      • Avatar

        Bob Wallace says:

        Yeah- I have used ash oars for years and sure, they don’t need the leathers so much but still somewhat noisey.


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