Refinishing an Annapolis Wherry

I have recently become the owner of a used Annapolis Wherry with a slide seat row rig and would like to refinish the paint and varnish.

I am curious to know if it is possible to stain the interior a darker shade after sanding off the varnish.

Also, the tecnique required to row smoothly is more difficult than I had imagined.  I am having issues at full extension pushing the oars low enough to get the blades out of the water.  I am 6 ft 4 in and about 190 lbs or so.  Is it a setup issue? Oar locks not high enough off the water, or foot stretchers in the wrong position?  Any idea aside from book where I could locate this information?  



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RE: Refinishing an Annapolis Wherry


If the Wherry was built according to instructions the entire interior will be coated with epoxy before applying varnish. Also the bottom and bilge panels will have been fiberglassed. It's not possible, therefore, to sand off the varnish and stain the wood. You could try to tint the varnish but then you have the problem of getting it on evenly.



RE: Refinishing an Annapolis Wherry

   About the issue getting the oars out of the water: it does sound as if the oarlocks might be low.  A small adjustment can make a big difference--try putting a spacer or two under each oarlock. 

That being said, the biggest thing you could do to improve your experience would be to take a learn-to-row class at a local rowing club, assuming that you have one in your area.  Sliding seat rowing is not especially intuitive, and learning proper form will make it more fun and efficient.

RE: Refinishing an Annapolis Wherry

   Here is a video I watched a few times to improve my rowing.

RE: Refinishing an Annapolis Wherry

   I figured that was the case in regard to the varnish, thanks a bunch.


As far as the oarlocks, when I look closely I see some white, or clear pieces under the rotating part, are these the spacers? One side has four, or maybe five I believe, and they other 2 or so.  Am I looking in the right place? Can more be had?

RE: Refinishing an Annapolis Wherry

  The shims under the oarlocks sound correct as you describe them. One side has more than the other to allow for the handle overlap. What is the rowing unit and what do you have for oars? I assume you're rotating the oars to flat when you pull them from the water? There should be plenty of clearance with the Wherry because the sides are so high. 

Here is another video of a wherry in action. This is the same setup that I have on my boat and it works well; Piantedosi sliding seat unit, Concept 2 oars and oar locks.

RE: Refinishing an Annapolis Wherry


I have the same setup you do. I am rotating the oars flat, the issue is when my legs are stretched out the oar handles are up near my thighs, I cant push the handles  down far enough to get the blades out of the water. To do so I have to start sliding forward and they are catching.  The only way I can complete a stroke is to go halfway and it feels very unatural


I am curious then, if it is simply tecnique, but it doesnt necesarily feel like it.


Thank you,



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