Winter Oar Chores

Jan 17, 2014

It's hard to believe that the fall racing season is over and that most teams are gearing up for another exciting spring sprint season. College teams are getting together for preseason training, and those in the colder climates are most likely heading south to find rowable water and warmer temperatures. Winter camps for Masters are also popular as rowers of all ages and abilities gear up for the coming season.

Regardless of whether or not you are a college team with several sets of sweep oars, or a single sculler with only one pair of blades, this is the time of year you can do some general maintenance on your oars to make sure they are in proper working order for spring. You will be ready for that first sunny gorgeous day of rowing!

Some of these items may seem very obvious and straight forward, but we will list them so nothing is overlooked:

  1. Check your collars: Are they still in the correct position for your rig? Are they tight? Do not overtighten (the edges do not need to be flush with one another).
  2. Check your oar length: It's always good to double check the oar length with a tape measure, even if the sticker indicating length is in place. Heat, water, sunlight and other elements can fade the sticker, or even move it out of place, so its good to check its accuracy at the start of the season
  3. Blade Dings: It's not uncommon to have a few blades that suffer as a result of a bridge, dock or other boat getting in their way. Be precautious and look over all blades for small dings and dents that can be repaired before the problem worsens.
  4. For older oars (10 years older or more): If you are a program or athlete working on a budget and trying to stretch as much out of each oar as possible, we recommend you double check the following:
    • Sleeves: Inspect the sleeve for grooves or wearing in the area where the sleeve sits in the oarlock. If the sleeve has been worn down, it will be out of pitch, making it harder for the athlete to take a proper stroke. It is time to replace the sleeve if you have visible wearing.
    • 10cm hardware: If you have a set of oars that use 10cm hardware, then make sure that the handle still fits tight into the shaft. If you can wiggle the handle around in the shaft, even when it's tight, it's time to shim the wedges to prevent further wearing on the shaft.
    • Cracks in the shaft: It only takes one crab to create a small crack in the shaft that, over time, will grow and weaken the shaft. You may also find water in your oars as a result. Check the shaft thoroughly for cracks, on both sides, close to the sleeve (this is where most back stay cracks occur).

Most oar repairs are straight-forward and can be done in your boathouse with a few basic tools. Our website has directions and videos on how best to preform these repairs.

Not sure about how to do a repair? Let Concept2 CTS handle it for you. We visit numerous regattas throughout the year and provide excellent on-site repair service.

Get ready for spring!
The Concept2 Crew

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