Oars and Oar locks (pinned, ring or Y with oar rites)

Discussion in 'Watercraft' started by lastcall, May 24, 2013.

  1. I have an old Scadden McKenzie drifter 3X with two piece aluminum oars. (I also have a Buck's Bag South Fork with the same type of oars) I am thinking about getting some new oars, Scadden Power Stroke, Sawyers, Cataract or similar. The question I have is about the oar locks.

    There is a thread about pins as the oar lock. I can see where this would be handy because the oar would always be in the proper position when you needed to use it. However, having to drill a hole in the oar shaft means that you have a weak point where the oar can break. It also means that the oar position can never be changed.

    Then there is the ring oar lock. The oars are very adjustable but the rower must position the blade each time he uses it. I think that this would be the strongest oar-oar lock combination. It is also the hardest combination to loose if the oar lock is pined in below the socket like on my pontoons.

    The third type of is the open or 'Y' type of oar lock with oar rites. With this combination the oars a removable from the oar locks but the rower must rotate the oar until the oar rite is in position to slip into the oar lock before using. Because the oar lock is open on top it is not as strong as the ring type oar lock.

    So what have you found you like and dislike when using the different types of oar locks and why?

    Thanks for your comments and help in getting the best combination.

    Ed Dahl
  2. I have always used standard oar locks in my DB and toons with oar rights. I would cut the oar rights down so that it is easy to pull the oar in a little and feather the blades if needed.
  3. I agree. I've had problems with ring oar locks. I had an oar get stuck in the brush on the Yakima and it pulled right out of the oar lock. Recovery was a pretty interesting process. Now I use open locks and oar rites and haven't had any problems.

  4. Regarding the pin-through design of Scadden and other frameless boats: I have never been a fan of the design. Like you say, the hole through the oar shaft is a weak point, and drilling new oars isn't something I wanted to do. Fortunately, I discovered a solution from NW RIver Supply that offers the same benefits as pin-through design, without the problems. Basically, a clamped-on pin clip.


    The clip alone can be found here:


    Works great on those Scadden pin oarlocks.

  5. I think you may be using the wrong criteria to judge oars/oar locks. Ring-type oars locks are not used on (good) river watercraft or whitewater boats for a reason: oars that can not come out when needed (an oar is pinned or trapped on a rock, etc.) can flip a boat. Whitewater boaters actually carefully 'tune' their open oar locks so that the oar will pop out hopefully before the boat gets in trouble. Flipping a boat with a stuck oar is a concern with 'pinned' oars on Watermaster and Scadden type boats but one of the system components will often break first, by design. (Be careful 'beefing' up the components of these systems.)

    If you are worried about losing an oar that pops out, most people use a short cord/strap/retainer around the oar shaft so it doesn't float off. Be careful to keep it short (and carry a river knife) so it doesn't become a safety hazard and be sure it is not so strong that it can't break if needed. If the oar does float away, it's not that big a deal if you have a spare oar; simply pop it on and go fetch the runaway oar. There are very few rivers I float without a spare oar, spare oar lock, and spare retaining ring.

    For more info on open oar locks vs pin and clips, NRS has a good primer: http://www.nrsweb.com/frames/OarAccessories.asp?deptid=980&tn=48
    Dan Nelson and Ed Call like this.
  6. I agree with Freestone, I was drifting down the Ronde last year in my Scadden Assault and got into a shallow riffle. I was traveling somewhat side ways and my downstream oar got stuck on a rock. With regular oarlocks or pins and clips, the oar would come loose. With the locked in Scadden system my oar was stuck and my boat flipped up and nearly over. Luckily(?) the blade of my oar broke and I came free. I would rather lose an oar than flip over. Most all whitewater rafts carry an extra oar anyway, but you can certainly use leases on them for retention. Will use a different boat on the Ronde this year.

  7. Has anyone tried these on the Scadden or Watermasters? I'm wondering if the pins on the boats are the appropriate size for the clamps. If so looks like a simple solution to the danger of a permenantly affixed oar.
  8. You'll need the nylon bushing to beef up the diameter of the pin (and to provide a good free-pivot action) that's sold with the clamp/pin offered by NRS -- or something similar. Just call NRS and ask them if they can add the bushing set to the stand-alone clip set.
  9. Dan, are you doing this on an Assault? If so, do you have pics of what you did? My last large raft had pins and clips and they were huge compared to the pins on the Scadden. And my raft pins were fixed in place, unlike the Scadden pins. I would like to see some pics to see how this works.

  10. Wayne, I did this, but recently dumped the set up in favor of a simple NW River Supply frame system (thanks to Patrick Allen - http://www.washingtonflyfishing.com...most-done-with-the-scadden-assault-xxx.75001/)

    Here is my current set up -- most recently used yesterday on the Yakima to catch my second-biggest Yakima trout to date (biggest was a during a float with Derek Young a couple years ago). Assault XXX-frame  001.jpg

    Attached Files:

    Patrick Allen likes this.
  11. nice set up. I have the one person Assault. I recently purchased a Mini-Max and I am hoping to get a frame for it soon.

  12. Thanks All for the comments. I just checked the McKenzie and, suprise, it does have oar-rites.

  13. Dan the boat looks great, what oars are you using. They look like the sawyers with a different blade or did you buy the larger diameter oars to fit the oar locks? Very nice I constantly tinker with mine its really an addiction.

  14. Those are standard 2-piece Sawyer SSTs -- they are 7-foot but I'd like to get 8' or 8'6" for a little more reach. I also have the third-seat frame attachment if we get a friend who wants to go out.

    Oh, and that front seat is mounted on a Stanley toolbox I found at Lowe's. Puts Donna a little higher for better line control, while still having some storage capability. The box-and-seat unmounts from the frame easily (four T-nuts lock it down onto stainless bolts). The frame gets strapped to the roof of my Xterra and the boat, seat box, oars and misc gear go inside. NO trailer needed and we can be rigged and on the water in 30 minutes or less. Just as quick to get out and on the way home.
    Patrick Allen likes this.

  15. That is why I will never use a CARBON oar on any of my frameless models. The Lite Speed are made for this.
  16. Maybe I misspoke. I have the Lite speed oars from Dave, I thought they were Carbon fiber...

    Not sure I follow your logic here, unless you are hoping for the oar shaft to break before you flip.

  17. Wouldn't you?:) I have the Power Stroke as well, but I only use them on Framed models. I know the flip can happen there as well, or the brass oar lock gives way. I just think the Light Speeds are the way to go with frameless.
    Dan Nelson likes this.

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