I’m considering ordering oar building plans from CLC but am wondering what sized oars are best suited for my Passagemaker Standard—currently under construction. Not sure if this is based on the rowers height, or other factors, or simply what I’m rowing. I am about 6’ 3”.

Thanks for any ideas from forum dwellers.



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RE: Oars

CLC recommend 8' oars for this boat, which is what we bought for our Passagemaker Take-Apart Winkle.  These have worked out well for us in practice.  There is a photo of Winkle with my son rowing her in a pretty good breeze and chop in the current month's photo contest, if you want to go there and have a look:


Can't miss her; red buoy in the background.  Heck, give her your vote, if you think the photo worthy. <;-)  That photo is also in the Passagemaker Take-Apart photo gallery, currently #8 of 57 in the slideshow.

Shaw & Tenney used to recomment the following formula for approximate sizing of oars for ordinary rowing boats:

     (((Span/2) + 2) x 25) / 7 = Approximate Oar Length

I make the Passagemaker's spread at the oarlocks as 53 inches, which would yield:

     (((53/2) + 2) x 25) / 7 = about 101-3/4" = a bit less'n 8-1/2'

For the Passagemaker, being a fairly beamy sort of rowboat in proportion to her freeboard, rounding down (to 8') rather than up (to 8-1/2') makes some sense, to make sure we're pulling into our chests rather than our belly buttons.  That might be more important for you, if your height makes you a bit long in the torso.

John recently wrote a very good technical piece on the subject of rowing ergonomics:


((A+B)+9) x 1.34 = oar length in inches
  where A = beam at oarlocks in inches
           B = the distance from the water to the bottom surface of the oarlock
            in inches (freeboard)

...which would get us:

((53+11)+9) x 1.34 = approximately 97-3/4"

...again sensibly rounded down slightly to 8'.

I just found an online calculator which I think John and his web wizards cooked up to do the math:


There's a button to get to that if you go into where you'd order oars which CLC sells.

Heck, if you're makin' your own, start with 8-footers, see how that works, and make a custom length pair if you think something longer or shorter would work better for you.

Remember to have fun!  We think she's a great little rowboat.



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