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A Gear Shift for Oars, Courtesy of Chris Cunningham, Small Boats Monthly

Sunday, January 15, 2017

CATCH: Ocean Rowing Boats

Probably the ultimate in ‘oar cruising’… crossing oceans. This portfolio contains hundreds of photos of many of the boats that have done that.

I’ve selected just five of the photos and have included the names of the people rowing.

Interesting designs…


Tim Welford & Dom Mee



Roz Savage















Anne Quemere

















Jean Lukes















James Fitzgerald & Kevin Biggar















Are these people tough? Crazy? Inspiring? What's your opinion?

6 comments:

  1. I'm always struggling with windage on my low freeboard row cruiser, even in mostly protected coastal waters. It's a big influence on where the boat can go at any decent speed. When I see these high profile rowboats, which are traveling in the high winds of the open ocean
    (https://earth.nullschool.net/#current/wind/isobaric/1000hPa/orthographic=-177.63,18.08,375),
    it just seems that most of the passage must be powered by the winds and the currents. I assume you try to row towards the favorable conditions, then ride the trades to your destination. Not saying that is easy, but how much of the passage is powered by oars?

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    1. Rick, that's a really interesting site you linked... You can tell what kind of winds Howard Rice is dealing with right now...

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  2. Aspiration for individual achievement can be a powerful driving force . I believe it may be enhanced in my view when the scene is clarified ( in the case of solo rowers )by the individuals relationship with the elements. I have always felt an elation of spirits when land has slipped away from view ....only to be matched on occasions when landfall becomes evident. I do admire those lone rowers with a tinge of envy.

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  3. Rick, the fifth of the five photos in the post is the only one of all the photos in this site that has low freeboard on the ends... I'd be curious about how he did vs. most of the other boths which to me must be a 'bear' to row in a wind... Bolger's Ocean Rower (forget which book it is in) is very low profile with only the center 5 or 6 feet up to about shoulder height... I'm surprised no one has jumped on that design to do the ocean race...

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    1. It's the 4th photo of Jean Lukes I was referring to... And Bolger's Ocean Crossing Rowboat is in "Folding Schooner..." book.

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  4. Brooks-Bartlett... For me, it's not so much envy as it is 'awe'...
    I can certainly understand the 'elation of spirits' when the land disappears... and then when it reappears... Thanks for the insight!

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