Forward facing rowing system feedback?

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by kayaker50, Dec 12, 2009.

  1. kayaker50
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    kayaker50 Junior Member

    Does anyone have any experience with one of these: http://www.forwardfacingrowingsystem.com/
    Rowing would be a lot more fun if you could see where you were going. But I'm not confident in one of these things holding up over the years. Any input would be welcome. Thanks, Chip.
     
  2. TeddyDiver
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    TeddyDiver Gollywobbler

  3. Squidly-Diddly
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    Squidly-Diddly Senior Member

    I'd expect the oar ends would be the weak link.

    And that you might need to replace oars but the $500 hardware would be OK.

    I'd like to try making my own out of 6061 aluminum.

    Maybe add auto radiator-hose clamps to prevent the oar ends from splitting.

    I noticed there isn't any instructions or layout for use with sliding seat.

    I also didn't see how the oars are dismounted or installed. Can they be popped off the boat and folded in half, or are they semi-permanent?

    For some reason I'd want this on a canoe.
     
  4. Easy Rider
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    Easy Rider Senior Member

    Front Rower

    If you are still interested I own one. It's robust but light weight like a kevlar kayak. I have the optional oars w protected blade edges. If you weigh 275lbs and are quite fit you may need to be a bit careful w it. As for lasting .. I don't think it was intended to leave the FR outside, other than Weathering I think it will last very well. All the wood is beautifully finnished cherry. Engineering and workmanship are superb. I would sell mine as I don't use it much but I live in Alaska. See the website www.frontrower.co

    Easy Rider
     
  5. kayaker50
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    kayaker50 Junior Member

    easyrider, I assume you have the type that is a sliding chair coupled to a pulley system? The one I was asking about is a cantilever system that mounts on the gun'l. Thanks though. Chip.
     
  6. Easy Rider
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    Easy Rider Senior Member

    No .. not at all. You didn't look at my reference and I didn't look at yours. I have a "Front Rower". See www.frontrower.com. Your'e but stays stationary and your hands and feet reciprocate. This rowing machine is designed to be inserted into a canoe w a beam of 36" or less. I am familiar w the articulated oarlock system. Very slow compared to the "Front Rower" See the website. Can go faster than kayaks. When you see Ron Rontilla youv'e found the right place.

    Easy Rider
     
  7. nordvindcrew
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    nordvindcrew Senior Member

    front rower

    I've seen the front rower in several races. It goes with the sliding seat boats as a class thing. It is good enough to have won the 21 mile Blackburn Challange with an incredibly fast time. It looks really complicated with a lot of bits and pieces. Reliability would be my first concern, but the unit looks to be made with quality materials and hardware. Seeing where you are going would be a real bonus after missing a few turns in different races and losing a place or two as a result.
     
  8. kayaker50
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    kayaker50 Junior Member

    Nordvindcrew, thanks. I am more interrested in the one that is just an S-shaped piece of metal that attaches to the rowlocks. It doesn't take up space inside the boat so I can take my cooler, fishing rods, etc. fChip.
     
  9. Easy Rider
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    Easy Rider Senior Member

    K50,
    I'm going to get one of those too. I have a 10' Whitehall type rowboat that I like to use around the harbor and up the river a bit. Of course the row boat is snail slow compared to the Front Rower but I often leave the row boat in the slip w the 30' Willard so it's handy. When boats get really small handy gets big.

    Easy Rider
     
  10. kayaker50
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    kayaker50 Junior Member

    Easy Rider, I'd be really interrested to know how you like it when you get one.
    I own several kayaks and a stitch-and-glue dory. The kayaks are nice because you can see where you're going, but the dory is much faster, hence I can go further in a day and explore more places. Once a boat gets big enough, paddling becomes impractical and rowing is the only option. So I'm hoping to get the best of both worlds- sightseeing advantages of kayaks and speed/distance advantages of a dory.
    I would mate the front row system to a twin hull row boat about 16 feet long with enough freeboard to be safe in open water. Chip.
     
  11. Easy Rider
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    Easy Rider Senior Member

    Kayak,
    The Front Rower Requires a 36" beam or less and a depth of about 12 - 14" - in a word --- canoe. Your dory will be at least too wide. The articulated oars I suspect may be a bit strange as the geometry of the pins and rods are probably not linear. They say the blades move 15% faster. I haven't tried the system yet but I'm at least 99% sure I'm going to get one and I'll not be using it until next spring. Have you seen both their websites?

    Easy Rider
     
  12. ancient kayaker
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    ancient kayaker aka Terry Haines

    I think they are a great idea, the only drawback in my case is, I would want to use them for auxiliary propulsion on a small sailboat and they would likely be difficult to unship and stow for sailing. Not a problem for a rowboat though. It would be great to try out on a canoe/kayak but I guess that would involve outriggers, at which point the simplicity of a canoe or kayak starts to be lost.
     
  13. Easy Rider
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    Easy Rider Senior Member

    they are a great idea

    Kayak,
    OK? what system do you refer to???? Front Rower won't work at all on your sail boat so I suppose that is what you mean. And if your'e going to use your dink as a tug you would probably want a traditional rear facing system. It's not clear you've seen the web site for both these systems.
    Front Rower........ <www.frontrower.com
    Forwd face row sys........ <www.forwardfacingrowingsystem.com
    FFRS is in Gig Harbor Wa.
     
  14. ancient kayaker
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    ancient kayaker aka Terry Haines

    I've seen them before but I had forgotten about the front rower. As you say, a great idea, at least for a full-time rowboat.

    I cartop my boats so these systems would have to be detachable, apart from that factor it would be a nice thing to try. A kayak might not provide enough cockpit space, they tend to provide for only a minimum of body and leg movement.

    It might also be difficult to squeeze onto my homebuilt canoes which are more like open kayaks and are used with double paddles, but they have more space for body and leg motion. I am going to look into it. They are 26.5" (67.3 mm) beam at the gunnels and around 20 lb weight so they can be skittish in a blow.
     

  15. kayaker50
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    kayaker50 Junior Member

    Easy Rider, yes I've been to both websites and the you-tube video link Tedydiver posted. It's confusing to discuss both since the names are so similar, but the systems are so different. I suggest one be called 'articulated oarlocks' and the other 'wooden pulley system' or something like that.

    The wooden pulley system looks like it would be superb for exercise, but not so hot for touring/birdwatching/fishing/hunting etc. The only system I am interested in is the articulated oarlocks because they don't seem to take up any cockpit space. But as Squddly-diddly points out, if they aren't able to be easily removed I couldn't use them because I have to cartop/trailer everywhere. Also, the website for the articulated oarlocks has a couple of short videos, and the rower in the video seems a little unsure of himself- his rowing motion is not smooth at all. Teddydiver's youtube post shows a much more competent looking rower though.

    But my main concern with the articulated oarlocks would be longevity. It looks like the design is strong in the forward-to-aft plane so it could take lots of powerful strokes with no problem, but I worry about the vertical axis and the wear and tear over time of lifting the oars and slicing them back down into the water.

    Ancient kayaker, have you considered a sculling oar (single oar sticking out of the transom) for your sailboat. I used one on my dory for a while with mixed results. It had to be as long as the dory (16 feet) to work so storage was a problem for me. I suspect if I could sit nearer the transom I could make a much shorter sculling oar perform OK, and my dory is way too tippy to stand up in. My final sculling oar design had a D-handle so I could scull one-handed while facing forward, but I could only get about 2 knots out of it. If you could sit near the transom and speed isn't a concern, it may be worth looking into.

    Chip.
     
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