Tag Archives: rowing


World’s most seaworthy birdhouse.


Stupid barn swallows.

Oarlock Retainer, Part II

oarlock retainerI went to the lake a couple of weeks ago, and I got to try out my new home-madeĀ  oarlock retainers:

I suppose this post would be a little more informative if I had had some problems, but in fact they worked just as I had anticipated. They dropped easily through the oarlock socket, and then the crossbar settled into its level position. From the rowing position they were completely invisible, and as you can probably see from the photo, they didn’t interfere in the lease with the function of the oarlock.

oarlock retainerI then tested what happened when the oarlock was pulled up out of the socket, and the oarlock hung from the retainer. (If I’d though of this five years ago, I wouldn’t have lost that first oarlock at Fort Morgan).

oarlock retainer

oarlock retainer

Originally uploaded by ted_major

Years ago, when I first launched my sailboat, I took it to Fort Morgan on the Alabama Gulf coast. As My father and I were rowing out from the boat ramp into Mobile Bay, one of us caught a wave and the oar lock went over. Bought a small trolling motor shortly thereafter and haven’t really used the oars much.

More recently, however, I built a rowboat, and I’ve been using split rings to keep the oarlocks in the socket (learned my lesson!). I liked the idea of oarlock chains, but paying nearly as much for the chains as I paid for the oarlocks offended my tightwad sensibilities.

Here’s my new solution: a bit of takeout chopstick (one chopstick made enough for three retainers, enough for my new pair of oarlocks and my orphaned extra), some tarred marline, and a bit of sail twine for whippings. I used an anchor bend on the oarlock and a topsail halyard bend on the stick, but I don’t think the knots are critical. I hope to get out on the water this weekend, so action photographs should follow soon.

Rowing on Highland Lake


Originally uploaded by ted_major

My favorite spot on the lake–at the end of the “Fishing Slough,” a no-wake zone, so it’s safe from the jet skis, and shallow enough to be interesting. On this day, there were swarms of dragonflies buzzing around the reeds.

Black Warrior at Dawn


Originally uploaded by ted_major

Not long ago, I took my camera with me on an early morning walk along the river in Tuscaloosa. I regularly see the UA rowing crew out practicing, and occasionally see someone in a single shell. I spotted him that morning, and I’m especially happy with the way this shot turned out.

I recently picked up a Minolta Hi-Matic 7s rangefinder camera, and I’m having fun taking photos with film again. There’s a bit of a learning curve, and focusing is still hard with the dim old rangefinder, but I like the results I’m getting. (The photo in the header was taken the same morning, and you can see the rowing team going by.)