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Thread: Alaskan Jet Ranger Oarlock Height & Oar Length?

  1. #1
    Member BluNosDav's Avatar
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    Question Alaskan Jet Ranger Oarlock Height & Oar Length?

    Picked up an Alaskan Jet Ranger 401 with a nice jet, but no oars . . . .

    Even though the biggest draw for getting an AJR, is running upstream on the jet.
    I'd still like to spend the return trip, drifting quietly downstream using oars.
    AJR's come with built-in oarlocks, but, they sure look wide and tall!
    They measure 67" wide and 11" above the 15" diameter side tubes of the raft.

    What length oars are you using? What size blades are at the end of your oars?
    How are they working out? Has anyone modified (shortened) the vertical mounts?
    Did you choose the right size the first time, or would you swap 'em out, if you could?
    Did you choose slightly shorter oars for use on narrow creeks, where AJR's excel?
    Or slightly longer oars, for maximum control on wide waters?
    Did other factor's affect your oar decision?

    Thanx in advance for your help, Dave.
    "Luckily, enforcement reads these forums, and likely will peruse this one...Especially after a link of it is forwarded to them....." - AlaskaHippie.

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    Hey Dave,
    I don't have jet ranger but may be able to help a little any how.
    A rough rule of thumb is 1/3 of the oar inside the locks.
    So that at 67" spread on your locks would put you at around 8' oars +/-
    If your seat or oarlock height tells you need longer oars than that because your oars are at your forehead when pulling you might want to change those, because a too blade heavy oar just ain't fun on a long trip.
    Myself I would not let anything dictate oar length other than oarlock spread, oarlock height above water and seat height above water.
    I have screwed this up more often than not when building frames and like to do water trials before committing to oarlock height.
    Don't forget to think when your boat is loaded to the gills because it changes things some as well.
    Hope this helps.

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    Member BluNosDav's Avatar
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    Thanx oyster. Your rule-of-thumb does result in an oar of 8-ft 5-in length. Which sounds pretty reasonable.
    A couple other "rules" that I've run across here on AOD and elsewhere are:

    1.8 times the width of the oar-locks: which would equate to 10 foot oars (seems pretty long?)
    and
    half the length of the boat in feet +1: which would give 7.5 foot oars (seems a bit short?)

    Funny thing about all of these formulas, is that none of them take into account, the height of the oar-locks above the rower's seat, or above the water? Here are a couple photos of the AJR's frames & oar-locks:
    Attachment 67833
    Attachment 67834

    These oar-locks are about a foot higher than the rowers seat. Which just seems kinda high, compared to other raft frame set-ups that I've rowed? Looks like a simple job to cut the vertical tubes down to suit me, if I decide to go that route. But, I'll test 'em as is first.

    Still hoping to hear from some AJR drivers, and learn what they've learned, about oars.

    Thanx, Dave.
    "Luckily, enforcement reads these forums, and likely will peruse this one...Especially after a link of it is forwarded to them....." - AlaskaHippie.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BluNosDav View Post
    Thanx oyster. Your rule-of-thumb does result in an oar of 8-ft 5-in length. Which sounds pretty reasonable.
    A couple other "rules" that I've run across here on AOD and elsewhere are:

    1.8 times the width of the oar-locks: which would equate to 10 foot oars (seems pretty long?)
    and
    half the length of the boat in feet +1: which would give 7.5 foot oars (seems a bit short?)

    Funny thing about all of these formulas, is that none of them take into account, the height of the oar-locks above the rower's seat, or above the water? Here are a couple photos of the AJR's frames & oar-locks:
    Attachment 67833
    Attachment 67834

    These oar-locks are about a foot higher than the rowers seat. Which just seems kinda high, compared to other raft frame set-ups that I've rowed? Looks like a simple job to cut the vertical tubes down to suit me, if I decide to go that route. But, I'll test 'em as is first.

    Still hoping to hear from some AJR drivers, and learn what they've learned, about oars.

    Thanx, Dave.
    Hey Dave,
    your attachments would not open for me.
    Testing in the water with your heaviest load before you commit I feel is prudent.
    One last thing,if your oarlocks or seat are not adjustable fore and aft, that could dictate how much space you have between the grips of the oars.
    Because you don't want them to hang up on your life jacket or try to pitch you out of the boat or pin you to your seat.

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    Member BluNosDav's Avatar
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    Thanx again oyster. Yes, the oar-locks are adjustable fore & aft, about a foot either way. So, I should be able to set them in a location that's right for rowing from either the front or back seat, depending on wether I want to float downstream, bow first or stern first? I'll try to insert the photos again:

    AJR 401 Oar-Locks.jpg
    AJR 401 Oar-Locks side.jpg

    Which begs the question; AJR drivers, which way do you float/row downstream, forwards or backwards?
    Since no AJR owners haven't joined in yet . . . . other inflatable sportboat guys, feel free to speak up.

    Also, a question for all you rafters; for a boat this size, 13ft long x 57" wide, with a load of less than 1000#. Which size oar-blades are best: 26" x 8.5" wide, or 26" x 6.5" wide?

    Thanx in advance for your replies, Dave.
    "Luckily, enforcement reads these forums, and likely will peruse this one...Especially after a link of it is forwarded to them....." - AlaskaHippie.

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    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    I like to go down stream bow first.



    "I refuse to let the things I can't do stop me from doing the things I can"
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    Member DanC's Avatar
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    Hi Dave,

    In answer to your question whether anyone has shortened the vertical oarlock stand, that is the first modification I did to mine. I don't recall how much I cut off and can't access the boat right now but I would suggest that you start with two inches and see how that feels to you. I like a rigid system and the extra height did not feel right to me. I also prefer a longer oar than most people do because I tend to put power in my strokes, but since I do not intend to row major whitewater in my Jet Ranger I am using standard 8 ft Carlisle shafts with the wider outfitter blades. I also have 1 ft extensions but since the Jet Ranger is mostly used on shallow rivers, have not used the extensions. There is plenty of room for adjustment fore and aft plus where you place your butt on the seat to accomodate a variety of conditions.

    I hope this helps. I am new to Jet Rangers but have lots of big water experience in big heavy boats.

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    Hard to tell for sure but in stid2677's picture it looks like the oar handles are higher than preferred for a good solid stroke. Cutting the oarlock height an inch or two would get those down to to work better. Other options could be to lift the seat height to match the handles or use longer oars or load down the boat until the oars are angled flatter to reach the water. Adjusting oarlock height is usually the best plan.

    Of course the picture could just be deceiving and he has the oar blades farther in the water than needed.

    8.5" or 6.5" wide blades are mostly a matter of personal choice. If you have a real strong back the wide blades can give you better purchase and most people I see out there use them. I don't think it matters much though and the few times I've used the narrow blades I think I preferred them.

  9. #9
    Member Colby Jack's Avatar
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    I prefer to row with my bow downstream as well, but I face downstream. I also use the 8' Carlisle fiberglass oars, but I am ready to upgrade to thinner, lighter carbon alternatives. I have the 6.5" I believe, and find that my wife and kids can manage them easier than the 8.5s.

  10. #10

    Default Alaska Series HD Oar lock System for 430AJR inflatable Jet Boat

    Quote Originally Posted by BluNosDav View Post
    Thanx oyster. Your rule-of-thumb does result in an oar of 8-ft 5-in length. Which sounds pretty reasonable.
    A couple other "rules" that I've run across here on AOD and elsewhere are:

    1.8 times the width of the oar-locks: which would equate to 10 foot oars (seems pretty long?)
    and
    half the length of the boat in feet +1: which would give 7.5 foot oars (seems a bit short?)

    Funny thing about all of these formulas, is that none of them take into account, the height of the oar-locks above the rower's seat, or above the water? Here are a couple photos of the AJR's frames & oar-locks:
    Attachment 67833
    Attachment 67834

    These oar-locks are about a foot higher than the rowers seat. Which just seems kinda high, compared to other raft frame set-ups that I've rowed? Looks like a simple job to cut the vertical tubes down to suit me, if I decide to go that route. But, I'll test 'em as is first.

    Still hoping to hear from some AJR drivers, and learn what they've learned, about oars.

    Thanx, Dave.
    The Alaska Series HD oar lock system is designed so you can tilt the oar locks outward to give you more width between the oarlocks. So itís important to have the F3 knuckles mounted correctly.
    (Dave has the F3 knuckles facing correctly, Sidís oarlocks need to be turned around so he can widen the distance between his oar locks)
    The Alaska Series AJR Inflatable Jet boats are on the narrow side so the HD oar lock is design with the tall oar stands to allow for more width and more leverage on your oars.

    I use 8' whitewater oars on this boat with the 6" blades to fit into the loop blade holders.

    Good boating!

    Jim King

    Alaska Series Inflatable Boats,
    The Toughest Bottoms in the Business,
    River Rafts, Catarafts, Inflatable Kayaks,
    Inflatable Canoes, Inflatable Sport Boats,
    Inflatable Jet Boats, Tenders and Dinghies.

    WWW.alaskaseries.com (907)248-2900
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