Decided on a set of Rocky Mountain Raft tubes, 14' x 22". Found a deal on some 9' Cataraft oars. Since I have to upgrade my oarlocks to accept the larger diameter oar, got me to thinking about pins. Anybody have any thoughts? Pros & cons?
I had pins and clips on the raft I recently sold. The biggest drawback is it is much more difficult to ship the oars, or pull them in and lay them across the boat to get them out of the water when you pull up to shore or moving down a lazy flowing section. I've had them bump off in a rocky section and they are pretty easy to reset on the pin when that happens, but it takes more effort, sometimes two hands to jam them back in. They feel real secure when cranking on the oars. If I get another raft though, I will get the oarlocks and oarrights.
Oarlocks all the way... with oar rights. I don't actually use the oar rights for rowing, I place them high up on the wraps and use them to align the blade when my hands are off the oar. That way when I grab for them I know the blades are right and I don't have fumble around to align them. The extra second or two it gives me in getting a good power stroke in has saved a lot of gelcoat.
I have rope-wrapped oars (easy to do yourself) with brass oarlocks and the setup is much easier to row than with oars with pins & clips. Less clanking, smoother strokes, and easier to ship oars. I have a big boat and oar rights take a lot of stress off the arms when rowing in strong currents. Have yet to find a need for oar feathering (am I missing out on something revolutionary?). Oar rights keep the oar the blades straight when I let the oars hang when anchored. This helps keep the boat track straight rather than wander about.