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Old 06-16-2013
JonEisberg JonEisberg is offline
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Re: Motor vs Rowing inflatable dinghy...

Really nice to hear some folks still enjoy rowing their tenders, such a simple, practical pleasure appears to becoming a lost art among today's crowd out there...

Rowing has been one of my most enduring passions, as a kid growing up on Barnegat Bay I practically LIVED aboard the 8' pram my dad built for me that carried me on my initial waterborne adventures... Rowing remains by far my favorite form of exercise, rowing with a sliding seat rig and competition-length sculls affords as good a workout as I can handle, and the most beautiful boat I currently own is one of these gems from Chesapeake Light Craft...



Gotta disagree with those who insist rowing an inflatable is too difficult... My Avon Lite RIB rows quite nicely, no comparison to a hard dink of course, but the deep vee bottom really helps... Flat-bottomed roll-ups like yours are more difficult to manage, but it sounds as if you're doing just fine... Does yours have some form of inflatable keel between the slatted floorboards and the bottom, to give it a bit more shape? If not, you might want to experiment with the insertion of something to give it a bit more deadrise. It will track better, and help diminish the suction effect which is one of the major downsides of towing a flat-bottomed inflatable...

For those with Avon-style oarlocks, Tom Zydler has an interesting piece in the latest CRUISING WORLD on his clever solution to beefing them up, and convert them to use with conventional oarlocks... Well worth a look...

Your "calculation" of an 8' oar length sounds a bit long to me, something closer to 6.5 or 7 feet sounds about right... 2-piece oars like the ones you show from Carlisle are pretty much a must for cruising, Caviness makes nice ones, as well... I'd suggest you look around for some spoon blades as opposed to flat blades, they will enhance the power of your stroke... Finally, learn to 'feather' your oars as you row, that is a much more effective technique, especially in a bit more wind or chop...

I'm now using this pair from West Marine that are fully adjustable... Other than the fact that a couple of small components have shown a tendency to rust, I'm pretty happy with them...

WEST MARINE Adjustable Aluminum Oars at West Marine



As for an engine, I've been using a Honda 2 HP for several years now... Some folks seem to find them rather cranky, and others have a bit of difficulty dealing with the centrifugal clutch, but I've had good luck with mine, and find it suits my style of cruising very nicely... Their primary drawback, being air-cooled, is their rather annoying noise... They are pretty loud when run at anything much beyond idle, and if I were buying again now, I'd probably have a close look at a Suzuki 2.5... But whatever you do, I'd suggest you keep the size of any engine modest - I've long been on the record here and elsewhere in my belief that one of the most common mistakes many cruisers are making today, is their tendency to becoming 'over-boated' when it comes to the size, power, and speed of their tenders...

Enjoy yourself, and keep on rowing... It really is a shame the activity is disappearing from the scene, a leisurely row through an anchorage or mooring field has traditionally been one of the most pleasant ways to meet other sailors and make new acquaintances, seems a pity comparatively few seem to bother doing so anymore...

Last edited by JonEisberg; 06-16-2013 at 09:29 AM.
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