Few row boats can be used as ‘oar cruisers’ without modification (Wellsford’s Walkabout (http://theoarcruising.blogspot.com/2016/01/whats-walkabout.html) is one exception).
Michalak’s Larsboat (http://www.duckworksbbs.com/plans/jim/larsboat/index.htm) is a boat that can be made into a very nice oar cruiser.
|Line Drawing for Larsboat by Jim Michalak|
Larsboat is Michalak’s very popular “Toto” design lengthened 30” (76cm) to an overall length of 15’ 6” (4.7m) but still 30” (76cm) wide. Jim presents Larsboat as a one- or two-person double-paddle canoe.
|Larsboat as a Double-paddle Canoe|
I built an 8:1 scale model and realized that it would make an oar cruiser with some additions, yet minimal changes to the basic design (no changes to the hull). Here is how I would see it.
|Model of a Larsboat Converted to an Oar Cruiser|
Note the mast lying on the bottom (fitting in the cockpit) and the mast partner on the forward edge of the cockpit. There is also a (pluggable) hole in the rear deck with a mast step on the bottom of the aft compartment. The idea of this is that a diamond shaped sail would be permanently attached to the mast and used as a downwind sail by placing the mast in the forward partner and running the two sheets back to cleats on the outside of the coaming. When anchored, the same sail would have the two clews together, with a sprit boom, sheeted tight and thus prevent the wild yawing that occurs when anchored with any wind.
Comparison of the Larsboat conversion to the Verio conversion found at:(http://theoarcruising.blogspot.com/2016/01/can-we-make-comfortable-oar-cruiser-in.html)
|Comparison of Oar Cruisers: Verio and Larsboat|
Specifically, the changes/additions to Larsboat are:
- Move the bulkheads to provide 6’ 6” (2m) of cockpit for sleeping and to support the end of the two decks
- Add crowned foredeck 4’ 11” (1.5m) long,
- …crowned afterdeck 3’ 6” (1.1m) and
- …side decks 4” (10cm) wide
- Provide hatch access to the two water-tight compartments either on the decks and/or on the bulkheads
- Add a reinforced coaming 4” (10cm) high on all four sides of the cockpit
- Use removable outriggers hooked onto the coamings to provide 4’ (1.2m) oarlock spread
- Provide framework for the custom ‘tent’. This framework could be
|Semi-permanent Bows as a Tent Frame|
These would stay mounted all the time (except when car-topping), with the tent in three pieces: The top, which could be partially rolled up to provide shade for the rower, and two sides, which would only be used at night.
2. A single ‘hinged’ bow (or two)…
|Hinged Bow(s) as a Tent Frame|
… which has the advantage of folding down inside the coaming. Remove the outriggers as done with all these alternatives, then hook the two sides and two ends over the bow(s) and coaming. One, or both ends would need a flap covered bug netting to enable ventilation and reduce condensation.
3. A single support held by the mast step and partner… Simple, but storing the strut would be a problem.
|Single Strut as a Tent Support|
The Larsboat, as designed, weighs about 60 pounds (27kg). With the modifications above, she would weigh about 80 pounds (36kg).
This oar cruiser would be fast, able to handle most any coast-wise waters and car-topped… a nice combination.
The iPhone alarm buzzed her awake at 4:00 am so she could be rowing by sunup on one of the longest days of the year… opened the insulated canister of oatmeal, nuts and dried fruit she had covered with boiling water the evening before… water was starting to heat for the green tea… ate breakfast along with a banana… retrieved a half-dozen energy bars, an orange, apple and 4 bottles of water from the aft compartment for the day’s fuel she’ll need, and stored all in ‘ready-bags’ hanging under the side decks.
Unhooked the tent, stored it in the forward compartment along with her sleeping pad, light blanket and luxurious feather pillow she always brought… washed out the breakfast canister, cup and spoon… While a fresh cup of water was coming to boil, she added a mix of beans, bacon bits and smidge of cayenne pepper to the canister, added the boiling water and put it aside for tonight’s hot dinner… put away the ‘soda-can’ alcohol stove in the utensil box and stored it in the aft compartment…pulled the anchor in, and after washing off the mud, tied it in chocks mounted on the forward bulkhead…
Untied the oars and set out in perfectly calm, windless waters, easy strokes initially, just as the sun came up. She thought; “Oh my God… thank you… it’s perfect.”
In the next blog, we’ll show a way to feather the oars with much less stress to the wrists.