oxford and boat wakes

I've never rowed outside of a gym, but I was thinking of purchasing a oxford kit or a chester yawl kit with a rowing seat.  I live on a saltwater river and I'm sure I will have to endure boat wakes from time to time.  Is this a problem with the oxford?  Is it virtually impossible to stay on the craft when rowing around motored boats?

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RE: oxford and boat wakes

I can't speak directly to whether the oxford would be ok with boat wakes, but I have a lot of experience with boat wakes in sailboats of various lengths. 

For every boat, there is a wake that will be a deck washer, if not worse.  I had a 26 ft MORC sailboat that took water in the hatches when a tug went by on the intracoastal waterway at hull speed...

 My opinion: build the boat you want. You can handle the wakes and occasionally get wet anyway. :-)

RE: oxford and boat wakes

JayC is right; for every boat .... 

And he's right about building the boat you want -- otherwise, what's the purpose?

That said, part of the answer is basic seamanship.  Generally speaking, you'll want to take those wakes on a quarter; most boats will do much better that way than taking them square on the bow or stern, or on the beam.  You'll also want to keep a weather eye out for boats throwing wakes, and learn how to read those wakes before they get to you.

And part of the answer is boat design. The more flare to the bow, the better the boat will rise to a sea, all other things considered.  Put another way, the less volume to the bow, the more it will tend to bury itself in chop.  And the wider the hull, the better it can take a sea on your beam, all things considered.  And the more freeboard, the better, again with the same caveat.  The Oxford has little flare, it's pretty narrow, and it's low in the water. The Chester yawl is better on all of these criteria.  Of course, the Oxford will surely be a lot faster, being longer and narrower.  On the other hand, the Chester can be used for more purposes, and its close cousin, the Whitehall, was famous for its seakeeping.

A reaonsable compromise for you might be the Annapolis wherry?  It should be more or less in the middle between the Oxford and the Chester in terms of seakeeping and performance.

RE: oxford and boat wakes

Like any rowing shell the Oxford is stabilized by the oars acting, in part, as outriggers. As long as you see the wake coming you should be fine. SEEYA Jack

RE: oxford and boat wakes

I have never rowed an Oxford Shell. I have rowed a Maas Aero and a Maas 24. These are both designed for open water rowing so I am thinking they may be a tad bit more stable than the Oxford. Both of these boats become increasingly more difficult to keep upright as the conditions get rough. By rough I mean 6"chop. Anything more and they are a real challenge to keep upright and make any headway. I flipped a 24 on water with wind texture by catching a crab with one oar. Instant swim. This is why I chose to build the Annapolis Wherry. I wanted a boat that was more forgiving than a full on shell. I have been very happy with my decision. I would suggest rowing a shell before building one to see if this is the type of rowing you want to do. Most shell rowers that I know go out early in the morning to get suitable conditions. Shells are fun and fast but there will be lots of times when you will not want to be out there in one. If you are only worried about boat wakes you can certainly get through them with a little practice.

RE: oxford and boat wakes

Thanks for your replies.  I wish it were possible to row them all before deciding.  I think the Annapolis Wherry is the right choice, since I have no experience.  It's still fast and light, and the river I'll row often has stretches with a 6" chop. (segments where the wind and river run the opposite or same direction).  Falling in the cold winter water is probably inevitable on the oxford shell.

Plus, when I stop at a sandbar or beach excursions, the Annapolis Wherry has room for rubber boots (winter beaching), picnic basket, binoculars, fishing poles, metal detector, etc...  Okay, I've decided based on your feedback.


The oxford shell is more of a summer ride where I live.



RE: oxford and boat wakes

I recently completed an oxford shell and started learning how to scull. I too had only used an indoor rower, Concept 3, prior to this. These sculls are very "tippy". As jackln mentioned you use the oars as outriggers. You will be approaching some wakes and have to view them over your shoulder while trying to maintain your rowing rythym. The Chester Yawl or Annapolis Wherry would be more stable. However when you master the art of sculling you really move almost effortlessly in the shell. I also bought the adapter kit to put the row wing in a canoe and practiced the sculling oar handling in the more stable canoe. You need to read about the art of sculling before you get in the shell.

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