For the last few weeks, since shortly after going aground in that storm, I’ve been rowing the dinghy to shore every day. Well…except when we were sitting aground we and just jumped from the boat onto the wall and walked in every day.
The first night going back to the boat, when we were sitting aground, I ran a little too close to shore. With the sun going down and not being familiar with the area, we ran into some rocks and destroyed the lower unit on the dinghy outboard.
Not Exactly How I Planned It
Before the storm hit I had planned on moving the Turtle closer to dock the next day. When we first got here we anchored out a little further than I’d like. I really wanted to be much closer since I’d be going in most days for work…and for Sparky. I also wanted to pull the outboard off the dinghy and start rowing again.
I’ve been on this real minimalist kick lately, so anything that requires more work, but isn’t entirely necessary needs to go. That includes generators and small outboards, that constantly need to be maintained, and break down at the worst possible moment.
The Benefits Of Rowing
Some people will say that you need to have a dinghy with an outboard. WRONG! There are plenty of people out there rowing to shore every day. Some of them are even much older than me. Like I said in my post about using a kayak as a dinghy there are a lot of factors to consider.
Where are you cruising or living aboard, how close to shore are you anchored, what kind of shape are you in, etc.
The last few months I spent on the hook in Miami, before I tied to a dock and started chartering, I was rowing in every day. That was a much longer row than I have now, and there were much stronger currents to deal with.
My Weapons Of Choice
Another thing to consider if you are planning on rowing every day is choosing the right gear. For the oars I went with the Carlisle Economy. Some real rowing enthusiast may argue that wood is the only way to go, but in my experience, most wood oars these days are garbage.
They’re either poorly designed or made of junk quality wood with varnish that doesn’t last. There are some really good wood oars out there, but they cost upwards of $200.
Aluminum oars will last a long time, without worrying about varnish wearing away and rotting. Yes you can re-varnish, but do I really want to maintain my oars? Remember that whole minimalist thing. The Carlisle oars also have very large blades that give you a lot of power.
Other Things To Consider
My oars are 6.5′ long, but ideally you want to size your oars to your dinghy. I went with 1 piece oars this time, because they flex less and give you more power. Last time I was rowing every day I had the exact same oars, but I got the 2 piece version, because they stored easier, and were easier to hide in the dinghy. An important feature in Miami, where things disappear if they’re not bolted down.
For the oarlocks I got the Scotty Strongback Oar Lock, because they were the smallest round locks I could find, so they fit the small diameter of the oars better. For aluminum oars you can also go with a clamp on lock, but I don’t really like them. Round locks are much more comfortable to row with since you can turn the oar freely, and for the same reason they give you better control.