oar length for Chester Yawl

I recently purchased a used Chester Yawl that came with 8' oars. I found it very difficult to row. After the stroke it was difficult to get the oars back to start since I had to straighten my legs out to return them to the start position. The standard oar is suppose to be 7' 6". It just doesn't seem like 6" difference would be enough. I am 6' tall and everything else about the boat seems standard. Since I live in Alaska getting oars sent up that won't work is a concern. Will the 6" do the job or is there something else going on that I am missing?

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RE: oar length for Chester Yawl

Are you rowing with a sliding seat? If the answer is yes it sounds like a technique problem. The sequence for the power stroke is legs, back, arms. The recovery is the reverse. Arms, back, legs. You should not bend your legs on the recovery until your hands are past your knees. YouTube it,there are some good instructionals out there.



RE: oar length for Chester Yawl

It does not have sliding seat. On the recovery stroke I have  to straighten my legs out to get the oars out of the water and back to the start position. They advertise 7'6" oars which are just 6" shorter then the ones I have. Is that enough?

RE: oar length for Chester Yawl

8-footers are too long.  We've always used 7'6" oars, and yes, the aggregate 12-inch difference between 8's and 7.5's is the difference between fun and almost-unusable.

Various formulae exist to calculate oar length.  They tend to oversimplify the complex interplay between boat width, freeboard, oar length, oarlock height, seat height, footrest height, and the dimensions of the oarsman himself!  The common calc has the Chester Yawl with 6-1/2' oars, but when we tried it, the boat was a little underpowered and the handles swung too high during the stroke.

RE: oar length for Chester Yawl

Thank you very much. That is exactly what I needed.

RE: oar length for Chester Yawl

"That is exactly what I needed."

Well, maybe not. I cut my oars to 7'6" and I still had the same problem. Painful cutting those beautiful oars down...

I hate to cut too much since power will be lost. I have considered raising the oar locks or the sockets maybe 3". I find it frustrating to have to cut them down to 6 1/2 feet. I don't want to spend $1000 for a sliding seat, especially since I want to tow this behind my sailboat and the extended oar locks would be problematic.

Any other solutions??


RE: oar length for Chester Yawl

   hi -

late... this just caught my attention & hopefully you have not cut your oars down any more!!  

Remove the aft most floorboard and put it in the garage... Then place your foot rest directly onto the hull... Its the solution I came up with as a 6'3' guy. Lowers the legs perfectly and no more knee conflct...

You'll need to make a slight customization to the foot rest to allow it to lay properly  on the curved hullsection ( I added a light piece of wood, across the ottom edge closest to your heels). I then put 2 small holes in each bulhead for a line, running thru the foot rest holes... Add a cleat on a bulk head facing you to adjust the line / footrest fore & aft position and you're set.

works great

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