Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Western MA & Maine
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As someone who primarily rows a hard dinghy but has a (Mercury) inflatable for cruises crossing open water, I second the notion of longer is better because the tubes do get in the way. I don't own an outboard because I don't want to have to maintain it, carry gas, etc.
I made a pair with some 1-1/2" sq. oak and plywood blades reinforced with fiberglass. If making again, I would make longer. Mercury oars are 61 - 62". Ones I made are 69".
Rows OK, but not in any kind of breeze.