Sail and Oar

When I built my peapod as both a sailing and rowing boat I assumed, as someone who mainly sailed, that I would use it as a sailing boat. This I do – when there is wind, but when the wind drops I have been discovering that rowing can be fun too.

Earlier this summer we took Seapod to the West Coast and had a good weekend sailing from Toberonochy. Pictured her are Mary and myself in Seapod trying to keep ahead of both Ewan and Ken in Kelpie (his sprit rigged semi dory) and Adrian Morgan (enjoying a sail in an Oughtred Whilly boat). Humm.. This plywood boat stuff could be infectious you know.

Photo (c)Richard Pierce, 2010

After that weekend I realised that our oars, designed for an 8′ tender with a 4′ beam are, at 7′ 6″ just too short for Seapod (beam 5′ 3″). The relevant authorities suggested that an oar length of about 10′ would be suitable so I set to and made up a new pair in time for Crinan Classics. At Crinan the weather was dire and it blew old boots so we sailed a bit (between the gales) but failed to row. However, since then I have been getting into the habit of heading out for a row when there is no wind for sailing. The new oars make a huge difference to rowing pleasure.

Last sunday was a case in point. About 3 knots of breeze (at best), sunshine and a fair bit of tide running on the Forth. I got to the boat, dumped all the sailing gubbins on the ground and was on the water in 10 minutes. Rowing upstream – with the tide at this stage – I was overtaking yachts drifting nowhere. A stop after lunch at Limekilns, somewhere I had never visited while sailing, was a pleasant break and then I headed back downstream with the ebb. A quick play in the eddies round beamer rock (never been that close before) and a hard pull across the river against the tide and I was back on the slip. A bit sore perhaps – but a great afternoon on the river.

Rowing nowadays is so unusual I had a well meaning fisherman in a rib stop by and ask me if I was OK or did I need help. He must have thought that my engine had broken down (on a double ender?).