rowing an OT 133 ???

Hi all, New to the board, I’ve been lurking to my amusement and edification. I got a screaming deal on an OT Disco 133 “row” model. Took her down MO’s Eleven Point River for her maiden voyage and loved every minute of it. Great initial and secondary stability, and a great little “poor man’s drift boat” which is what I had in mind with the purchase. I love my ‘toon for fishing solo, but this rig let’s me bring my pretty fishing partner.

However, I haven’t rowed it yet. I brought along my 7’ ’toon oars and open oar locks, but it was instantly obvious this wouldn’t work. The oar stops and something about the geometry of the boat and/or locks would create some horrible leverage on the gunwales and wouldn’t work at all. I think the pivot point was just way too high off the water. Additionally, because the distance between oar locks is so much narrower on the canoe than the ’toon, I would have had to adjust the oar sleeves and stops or have the oars crossing in front of me. I was doing this all streamside (bought the boat that morning, this was a road trip) and I didn’t have the tools with me to attach the clamp on oar locks supplied with the boat, so… we just paddled.

Questions: I have a lot of rowing and WW experience in ‘toons/rafts/drift boats. Will the plastic gunwales and oarlocks be able to take some hard rowing in current? Is the narrower spread between oars a serious mechanical disadvantage? Is there an optimum oar length you’d recommend (I’ve got 7’ oars and am worried the 4-5” I’ll have to move them out to allow for the narrower hull will make for awkward rowing) or should I just spring for one of the Spring Creek rowing attachments? Sorry for the long post. Thanks in advance for any replies!

What is a 'toon
I don’t know what a 'toon is. But I thinkn 7 foot oars will work for your boat. If I’m correct the boat is 40 inches wide. Once you attach the oar lock soockets to your boat you will be able to use any oars with open oar locks or you can use the Old Town clamp on oar locks. With 7 foot oars you may want to add counter weights near the handles. 6.5 foot oars might be a little better for you if you don’t like the 7 footers.

'Toon is an abbreviation for pontoon,
The pontoon boat he refers to is probably the kind in which you sit up pretty high and the pontoons are inflatable. Used by lots of fly fishermen, especially on small lakes and even rivers with Class II, some III rivers. Bad on big lakes, though, you get blown around a lot.

Thanks jerlfletcher
I’ve those “toons” in stores but I’ve never seen one in a river. They don’t llok very capable to me and i wonder we someone would rather have a canoe instead. Have you ever used one?

rowing rigs
ok i never tried this, but ive considered getting a cheap canoe and converting it into a fitness/camping rowboat. and i’d go with some sort of a rowing rig that clamps/bolts onto the canoe gunwales, this spreads out the distance between the oarlocks and gives you normal geometry. and i think also takes the torquing pressure off the gunwales. something like this or just build your own if you’re handy enough, i would.

No, haven’t used one, always been a
canoe/kayak/or flat bottom man myself. Actually, the things seem to be quite good on moving water in smaller rivers, light, easy to manuever and those long oars give you some power. Fly fishermen especially like them because the make for a great casting platform, being so high off the water. good pond boats from what I hear. I prefer the lower profile of my kayak, though, whether with fly or casting gear.

try the row-wing

its a bit more expensive, and you will have to buy “real” rowing oars, but it provides an optimal motion. ( lots of rowing clubs are getting rid of their “macon” style oars, and you may be able to pick up a good used set for about $25 -$100

I would recommend the sliding rigger design for any boat smaller than 18 feet in length as the sliding seat will cause your boat to hobby horse as your weight shifts

Some info
I must admit I’m not at all clear about some of the problems you describe. You say the pivot point is too high and the oarlocks are made of plastic? Those things don’t sound good to me. A typical canoe oarlock that works fine would be a fixed attachement to the oar (a U-shaped yoke that utilizes a pin through the oar shaft to attach the shaft to the yoke), and the vertical pivot pin on the base of the yoke would fit into an oarlock socket that bolts right to the gunwale. This socket should be flush with the top of gunwale or thereabouts, not up high as you describe. All these parts are typically made of brass or aluminum, not plastic. Oarlocks consisting of a circular plastic ring are basically toys and will perform as such. You can use more elaborate oarlocks that allow the blade to be feathered, but for the use you describe, I think that just makes things more complex and probably more expensive than they need to be. It’s also tough to grab a pair of oars in a split second to make an adjustment in boat position while fighting a fish, etc, if they can slide in and out, as well as spin in the oarlock. Fixed oarlocks work well for fishing.

I can’t recall the “standard” ratio of inboard to outboard lenght on oars for this type of use, but I can tell you that with 7-foot oars on your boat, there may be just a tiny bit of overlap at the handles. If you use 8-foot oars having the “standard” ratio of inboard to outboard length, and you’ll get 6 or 8 inches of overlap at the handles when the oars are horizontal and sticking straight out (less overlap when they are angled down into the water). There’s nothing wrong with having a little overlap at the handles. Once you get used to it, you might prefer it that way (I do). I certainly would NOT use oars that are any shorter than 7 feet, unless you are on some very tiny creeks. Go any shorter than that, and the blades pass through too much of a partial circle instead of pulling more closely in-line with your direction of travel.

The plastic or vinyl gunwales on an Old Town are plenty strong enough for this type of rowing if the oarlocks are of the type described above.

As to sliding seat rigs (or sliding oarlock mounts), I always catch flack for saying they aren’t needed for your basic “getting-around” stule of rowing, but here’s a clear case where you don’t need them. You already said you want to use this as a drift boat, so you’ll probably be doing more maneuvering from one fishing spot to the next than mile-after-mile high-speed cruising, and in that case I’d ignore any sliding-seat or sliding-rig advise.

I Had An OT 133 Set Up For Rowing
It worked real well, once set up, and I could turn 360 degrees in place!

One person can row faster than one person can paddle, but two can paddle faster than one can row.

I used 6.5’ oars and fixed the oars so they did not cross to avoid smashed fingers. You lose some leverage that way, but who needs smashed fingers?

Believe me, you can really haul on those oars.