Close-quarters rowing

 

I grew up in canoes where you can easily move the boat 5 or 6 inches forward, backward, or sideways with just a flick of the wrist.  My Skerry is the first row boat I’ve ever had and it seems that within 6-7 feet of the destination (the time when you need the most control) the oars become useless if not a liability. Do you have to just aim for the dock, stow the oars and ram it, or is there some technique to control the boat all the way in?  Coming alongside through close quarters seems almost impossible to me.

Hooper


6 replies:

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RE: Close-quarters rowing

I am more of a salor tha a rowe, but my approach is to use the oars to get close to the dock with some speed, bring the oars aboard the boat, then use the tiller to steer to the dock. I also have a cheap collapseable paddle/boathook combo that I can use in close.

   

RE: Close-quarters rowing

   While the Dory isn't exactly like your Skerry it's probably close enough. A cheapo SUP paddle from works great for me. All your old canoe strokes are available, skulls, prys, draws, cross stroke, Js - everything.

 

Useful for getting away from the dock too if the breeze isn't helping.

RE: Close-quarters rowing

Sculling sidewise ("falling leaf" stroke) toward a dock with the offside oar in the oarlock works with a bit of practice.  Ship the oar on the side toward the dock, of course, and get it out of the way.

Sometimes I'll gently row in backward, putting the stern toward the dock, perhaps at an angle, if the rudder is rigged, though I ususlly ship the rudder altogether if I'm rowing my Passagemaker Dinghy.  Rowing backward allows one to see full time so as to time things better, gently flicking one oar or the other as needed, and generally puts you in a better position to grab the dock and get the dock lines in play.  This is a good approach if the dock is crowded.

With some more practice, one can learn to come alongside by approaching at an angle with some way on, smartly shipping the oar closest to the dock, and using the offside oar as a brake and steering oar to bring the boat parallel to the dock as she coasts in.  This is best used in a situation where one isn't trying to "parallel park" in a space not much longer than a boatlength.

You do want to be careful you don't get cocky about this and start trying to show off.  "Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall."  God gives men boats to keep them humble.  <;-)

.....Michael

 

RE: Close-quarters rowing

 

Thanks guys.  Sounds like “all of the above” would be good to have available although I’m not excited about carrying yet another piece of equipment as would be required to use a paddle.  I have discovered rowing backwards and that does help a lot.  I think I accidentally discovered sculling sideways with one oar, but I couldn’t make it work the next time I tried.  So that’s “a thing” huh.  I’m going to try to get that figured out.  I found a nice creek this morning that I would have gone into, but the oars wouldn’t fit.  I guess you just need a canoe for that. (or carry a paddle)   

Hooper

RE: Close-quarters rowing

áááExperiment to find that scull stroke again. I'm still experimenting with my skerry. I mostly am sailing it so I have the rudder rigged which makes a different boat. With no rudder, the skerry is quite agile. I'm working on the docking thing to but usually ship the inside oar and work just the outside.

RE: Close-quarters rowing

   An oar can be used as a top heavy paddle if needed. Also some really good videos on what a talented oarsperson can do are on Off Center Harbor. You might have to pay, but the vidoes are fantastic. You can definately parellel park a rowboat sculling the outside oar and they show you how.

Joel

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