Subject: Re: Oars for my Wayfarer/reply

From: Richard C Harrington <>

Date: Wed, 3 Apr 2002 23:50:28 -0500





Excellent report.  I took a quick look through my copies of "Wooden Boat"

and "Messing About In Boats" but unfortunately was unable to locate an

advertisement by "Tendercraft".  The oars are probably made in Vancouver.

 They sound like a good deal.  I gather that these break down into the

same two piece arrangement as the others.  Otherwise you need to explain

to me how you intend to stow them.


Since the oars need to be finished I would think that the leathers will

be installed by yourself and not the manufacturer.  Leather placement is

critical.  Left up to own devices the manufacturer will put the leathers

too high--they are not accustom to making oars for a boat with a six-foot



Yes, you need to use flush with the deck oar sockets which are slightly

(not too much) raised. (The raising helps prevent having the oars rubbing

on the rubrail.)  Also, beneath the deck a good large solid block needs

to be glued (glassed) in place to provide support and stiffness.  The

cyclic motion and strain caused by rowing will quickly destroy a poorly

mounted socket--through bolts are the best.  The sockets need to go as

far out as possible (close to the rubrail), but be very careful and check

you underneath clearance before making the holes, otherwise you may fall

too close to the edge of the block or even jam up against the inside of

the boat.  (Mine are about 2-1/2" in from the edge of the deck [not the

rubrail], but my boat is wooden which is a different situation.)  My

sockets are raised about 1/2" to 3/4" above the deck (the actual flat

boss the oarlock rests upon.)  I would suggest trying 3/4", for example,

if the socket stands up 1/4" you need a 1/2" spacer between it and the



With 10" leathers the center of the leathers should be approximately 32"

from the ends of the handle.  This is a compromise as it doesn't allow

the oars to come into the body as much as one would desire but is

necessary to thusly in order to have enough oar outside the boat to reach

the water.


Position the sockets (fore and aft) 10" aft of the back edge of the

center thwart.  This seams to be a fairly standard dimension for the

average person's comfort.


I store my oars along the inside of the cockpit above the side benches

with the handles almost touching the forward bulkhead.  They are tied in

with shockcord and clips.  In my case the longest oar that will fit into

this space (allowing 1" to 2" clearance) is 8' - 9".  In order to do this

with a FRP boat you will have to do something like what Ken Jenen did,

cut away all or some of the FRP skirt that supports the front bench.  A

nine foot oar WILL NOT FIT!  (See attached photo.)


I hope I haven't caused you problems.  Please keep working with me until

we get this all happily settled to your satisfaction.


Best wishes--DICK 


On Wed, 3 Apr 2002 20:10:51 -0500 "Tom Lee" <>



> Hi Dick-

> Thought I'd give you an update. My wife thought I should invest the money on

> an outboard so she can tell me to start the motor when she's had enough

> sailing. Almost did, found a 1 1/2 hp that only weighed 12 pounds but it

> didn't pass the test. I learned it sounds like a weed-eater. Can you

> imagine, I  wouldn't want to be caught using it but with that much noise how

> could I avoid it. Forget about it!  And then there's the stowage and

> gasoline. Back to the oars...


> All my research indicated some of those river rafters oars are built strong

> enough to take anything we Wayfarers dish out. The aluminum versions have

> internal reinforcement and are vinyl clad. A 10' oar can be broken down to a

> 7' shaft with a 3' removable blade. Cost was $50 more than wooden oars.

> Same thing goes with the fiberglass and carbon fiber versions except they

> would run $150.00 more than wood. If I didn't have a MK 1 with all that

> beautiful mahogany I would probably go that way. However...

> The choice of wood didn't come easy either. Your advise has been greatly

> appreciated. I ordered 9' Spoons, Sitka Spruce w/closed brass oarlocks

> (sound familiar?) The vendor suggested I use Top mount oarlock sockets

> mounted on a wood block to increase the height above the deck, and securing

> it with through bolts.  I hope it wasn't a mistake but I ended up ordering the oars and

> hardware from a Canadian company called Tendercraft in Toronto. The oars are

> furnished bare wood. I have to do the finishing, but they were close to

> $100.00 less than Shaw and Tenney. I hope I'll be happy with these

> decisions. If not, it sure wasn't for a lack of trying.


> 1.) Just a few final questions. Do you have any suggestions for how thick to

> make the wood spacers to clear the deck with the oars.

> 2.) Didn't I see somewhere on a website a picture of the way you store your

> oars on Blue Mist?


> My thanks and appreciation to both you and Grame Geddes for your thoughtful

> responses.

> Tom Lee

> MK 1, #3446

> West Michigan USA


> <paste>


> Tom,


> If you really expect to be doing much rowing you will find that the

> lighter well balanced spruce oars are the way to go.  The drawback is

> that they will cost around $200 (for the pair) <snip>