Princess Louisa Inlet, photo E. Wade

Information relating to oars, paddles, boats & rowing

Select the right size

To estimate oar length:

1/2 beam of boat in feet at oarlocks X 25/7, round the answer up to the nearest 6 inch increment if the boat is over 10 feet long , round down if the boat is under 10 feet long. ie a boat with a 48 inch beam, 12 foot length: 2X25- 50/7=7.14 feet. Round up to 7'6"

Other considerations:

Personal preference, some prefer to row with their hands overlapped, add 6 inches. Stowage, if the oars are used for auxilary propulsion only and must be stowed in a restricted place you may reduce the length by 6 inches . Reducing by more may compromise comfort and efficency too much.

Rate of stroke

The rate of stroke is directly affected by the outboard length of the oars. Longer outboard length, less strokes per minute shorter outboard length more strokes per minute. 24 to 30 per minute is a comfortable rate.

Sitka Spruce

The following is an exerpt from Canadian Woods and Their Properties and Uses, Third edition.

"Sitka Spruce - Picea stichensis (Bong.) Carr. Other names: tideland spruce, silver spruce

The Tree

Sitka spruce grows on moist sites on the coast of British Columbia attaining it's best growth on the Queen Charlotte Islands. It is normally 90-180 cm (3-6ft) in diameter and 45-60 m (150-200ft) high, but many larger trees, up to 350 cm (12ft) in diameter and up to 90 m (300ft) in height are found. Sitka spruce is best known for its long, clear stem, which produces considerable amounts of clear wood.

The Wood

General description; The wood is not as light in colour as the other spruces, but there is little difference between the sapwood and the heartwood. the colour ranges from creamy white to near white with a light pinkish tinge. The wood is usually straight grained, and large amounts of clear lumber are produced because of the size of the trees.

Weight; The wood is light in weight at 430 kg/m3 (27 lb/cu ft) when air-dry.

Strength; The wood has moderate strength properties but a high strength-to-weight ratio.

Processing; Sitka spruce dries readily. It is easily worked to a smooth finish, takes paint well and holds nails well. The heartwood is difficult to penetrate with preservatives.

Resistance to decay; Sitka spruce has low durability.

Uses; The principal uses are for general construction, shipbuilding, plywood, boxes and crates, and pulp. It is also used for millwork, musical insturments and ladder rails Sitka spruce was also once an important wood in airplane construction when wood was used for this purpose, because of its high strength-to- weight ratio and the availability of clear lumber in large sizes."

Tyee salmon fishing

Tyee a name for chinook salmon (also known as king or spring salmon) over thirty pounds. In Campbell River, B.C. on central Vancouver Island there is a run of very large spring salmon. Dating back to the 1920s the Campbell River Tyee club set strict rules for membership. To be a member you must catch a Tyee salmon from a row boat using an artificial lure with a single hook and the line used must break when subject to a 15 pound load. Many famous people have become members since Ned Painter began the club and many guides earn a good summer's pay rowing the fourteen foot lapstrake "painter skiffs" with a pair of fine quality spoon blade oars. Heres how its done. The boats are allowed to motor to the pool, the lines are prepared and the guests (one or two) set out their line and hold the rod. The guide rows with a short stroke teasing the lure through the water in Campbell River's famous Tyee Pool. When a fish strikes the fisherman pulls up hard on the line to set the hook and yells fish on! If the fish stays on the guide immediatly pulls 6 to 10 hard strokes on the oars to take up any slack in the line and hopefully cause the fish to turn and pull away from the boat keeping the line taught. The rest is up to the fisherman and if its a Tyee he or she is the next new member of the Tyee Club. Rowing puts the sport back in sport fishing.

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