Chester Yawl oarlock locations

I'm about to mount the oarlock risers and fix the locations for the 3 rowing positions in my Chester Yawl. I want to make sure that the locations will allow two adults to row the boat in tandem.

The plans I have (see below) only give a dimension to the centre oarlock position, leaving me to guess where to position the fore and aft oarlocks.


Looking at positioning the 2x seats and 2x foot stretchers in the boat makes it seem like longitudinal space for 2x adult rowers will be quite tight and when I see plans/images like the beautiful ones from I wonder if the aft rower actually uses a foot stretcher when rowing tandem, or just rests their feet against the aft seat? (the aft set of oarlocks shown in this image seem too far aft to use a foot stretcher).

So, my questions are for anyone who has built a CY and rowed it with two adult rowers: where did you position your fore and aft rowlocks? and do I need a 2nd foot stretcher, or will I only ever use one in practice?

Many thanks

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RE: Chester Yawl oarlock locations

The chester yawl has forward and aft bulkeheads on which the bow and aft seats rest. It has two ribs, forward and aft.

On my CY, I have three sets of oarlocks positioned as follow (risers on top of inwales):

The center of the fore oarlock is located 27" forward of the center of the aft rib.

The center of the mid oarlock is located 11" forward of the center of the aft rib.

The center of the aft oralock is located 16.5" aft of the center of the aft rib.

When rowing with two people, I use two seats and two foot braces. The adjustment is needed for different leg lengths, and it is not fun to have one rower constantly pushing on your seat back whith his/her feet. 

RE: Chester Yawl oarlock locations

 Here is a picture (if I manage to post it) for a visual of the oarlocks:

RE: Chester Yawl oarlock locations

Many thanks Eric. You boat is a real beauty! I can only hope mine turns out anywhere near as nice as that. I have the all-important paint and varnish finishes ahead of me...

Thank you very much for your measurements. I haven't tried marking them on my boat yet, but just doing the basic maths they are quite interesting. As I see it, the spacing between your fore and mid rowlocks is 27-11 = 16" and the spacing between your mid and aft rowlocks is 11+16.5 = 27". So your mid rowlock is a lot closer to the forward rowlock than the aft one. The plans I've seen (see my OP above) show them pretty much equally spaced, but without measurements. I'll be interested to see where your mid rowlock position compares to the distance shown on the official CLC plans I posted above.

I am encouraged that you seem to be quite happily rowing the boat with two adults. I look forward to doing that.

Many thanks again for your help, and congratulations on such a beautiful boat.

RE: Chester Yawl oarlock locations

My aplogies, Giles!

I made a typo that I should have picked up on, before hitting send: the forward oarllock location is at 37" from the center of the aft rib (not 27). The rest is correct at 11 and 16 1/2, respectively.

Despite being CNC cut, all of our boats are ever so slightly different, and mine was an earlier kit, without alignment tabs for the ribs and bulkheads, so while the relative positions are likely accuate, the position of my aft rib, as referenced, may be slightly different than yours. I took a diagonal measurement from the bow to the port forward oarlock, and the distance is 83", exactly.

The CY rows easily with 1, 2, or 3 people (a stretch, but still easy to row). I have had two adults at fore and aft oarlock stations, plus a 10 year old on the bow seat, no problems. We were at 445 Ibs and the bottom of the top plank, amidship was 1" submerged (not much freeboard left, but the lake was warm, dead calm and we were only doing a straight cruise and back to the dock with life jackets on).

Sometimes I pop the Piantedosi row seat into the boat and go solo with the 9' oars and she glides like in a dream.

I will caution you, however that with more than one person, she becomes sensitive to trim and you want to make sure the heavier load is aft, in order to keep the skeg in the water.

I was taking passengers for a ride around the lake, switching people every so often, and I made the mistake to stay put and let one of the heavier passengers sit in the forward position. It was extremely challenging to track and as the wind picked up, it was impossible (skeg out of water). Otherwise, as long as you pay attention to that detail, she rows and tracks like she is on rails ... a true pleasure on a placid lake. I also took her into the ocean (along the shore, of course) and she performed beautifully with some waves and 12 kts of wind.

Thank you for the kind words, and post a photo as you finish yours. I am sure you are going to love it!

RE: Chester Yawl oarlock locations

Hi Eric

Many thanks for double checking. Correction noted. I'll mark these positions and see how they look this weekend.

Warm water sounds like a useful criterion for rowing the CY with 3 aboard...!

I am also planning on having a sliding seat option (for when it is just me!) although I have bought the kit to construct the Angus Rowboats version I'm saving that, and building the sculling oars (also using Angus Rowboats design) until after I have the CY afloat...

I'll post photos once I have something photo-worthy.

Thanks again for your help. Greatly appreciated.

RE: Chester Yawl oarlock locations

Hi Eric

I tried marking the locations you gave above on the boat. It seems that my aft rib is in a slightly different position than yours (maybe by a couple of inches) so the diagonal measurement from the bow was very helpful.

I'm now quite clear on the location for the forward oarlocks and the mid oarlock position you gave was about 3 inches aft of the location given on the CLC plans (above), so I don't have too far to go wrong there.

However the aft oarlock location still has me puzzled. In the photo below I have positioned the oarlock risers in the location of the measurement you gave above. I have also put the foot brace in the aft-most slots in the floor. To me the relative position of the oarlock and foot brace doesn't make any sense, as they are more or less in the same line.