Latest News: Forums Technical Which length of oars for Wayfarer?

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  • #25011
    Sylvain Caro

    Hi everybody,

    Here I am from France again, with a new question 🙂

    Does anybody knows which is the best length for long oars for a Wayfarer?
    To be able to paddle with both of them, and to scull with one oar too…

    And so a second question : I probably won’t like to make holes on the wood, but does anyone knows which is the best place to put de oarlocks on the gunwales…?

    But, finally, maybe it is not necessary to paddle, so to make holes, if sculling is good enough? (I never practise sculling with an oar so)

    Many french thanks!




    Andrew Morrice

    Sylvain, I suspect that if you search back through the forum for “oars” and “rowlocks” you will find numerous very helpful discussions on these points.  The basic answers are 1) “very long” – last time I calculated the ideal oar length it came out somewhere between 10 and 12 feet which is unfeasible.  Most people compromise at 8ft.  2) there are reinforcing pads under the side decks where the rowlocks can be fitted.  Again a read around old forum posts will give you more details.  3) serious sculling would require  rowlock on the transom.

    I am contemplating putting “rowing” on the cruising conference this year, or at least a topic called “what are the uses of oars on a wayfarer and where can I put them?!”

    hope this helps

    Boris.  Cruising Sec.  W6330.

    Sylvain Caro


    Thank you for your answer, it gives me a good view of it.
    I didn’t know that there are reinforcing pads under the side decks where the rowlocks can be fitted, so… I didn’t looked for it 😀
    This sounds perfect, but I’m still a little bit reticent to make some holes threw the deck…
    About the lenght , wow, for dure 10 or 12 feets is impossible to carry onboard!
    I’ll lookk for the key words you gave to me on the old topics…

    Have a nice afternoon


    Bob Harland

    Our oars are 2.61m (about 8′ 6” ) it is the longest that will stow in a wooden wayfarer. You might just manage this in a GRP boat or not – as the thwart is thicker.

    Rowing with one oar works quite well, for instance to supplement speed from the sails when the breeze is light. Also two people can row side by side as long as the tiller is held central (and there are not too many obstacles to bump into).
    And of course one fit person with two oars is fine.
    We use heat-shrink plastic sleeving on the oars to allow for the variation in position on the rowlocks.

    As Boris says there should be some reinforcing pads under the side deck, it is best to get the rowlocks close to the gunwale – so probably not in the middle of the pad!

    Hope that helps

    Other uses for oars – with a couple of short extensions they do very well for the tent side frames

    Sylvain Caro

    Hi Bob,

    I just read your answer, I hadn’t seen it!!
    So, many thanks to you for it!!

    Stephen Foxall

    The Wayfarer span between rowlocks is 69inches. The inboard loom length is 36.5inches. Multiply this by 25 and divide by 7 gives 130.35. To the nearest 6inch increment gives 130inches, say 11ft or 335cm each oar. This is the ideal oar length but they would be impossible to store. 8ft., 243cm For Mk1 GRP or perhaps 8ft6in, 259cmfor the wooden boat.

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