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Thread: An alternative to the Oar Saddle!

  1. #1
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default An Oar Saddle Alternative!

    Okay, folks, I have been hearing rumors of a product designed to compete with Kent Rotchy's Oar Saddle. The Oar Saddle, for those who don't know, is a product Kent designed to provide a secure base from which to row an inflatable canoe.

    SOAR has developed a competing device they call the "Row Saddle", and it's $100 - $200 cheaper than the Oar Saddle, depending on which Oar Saddle you're looking at. HERE'S A LINK to a writeup on the product, written by its designer, Larry Laba (the owner of SOAR Inflatables).

    While the Row Saddle is bulkier than the Oar Saddle, the fact that the cost of the unit is considerably less will certainly get the attention of those purchasing a rowing setup for their inflatable canoe. I should also mention that both units will work on some rafts as well, eliminating the need for a full frame in limited situations.

    Note that in whitewater situations you will want to run your raft with a frame that offers an integrated seat, oar stands / pins, and a foot bar. Collectively these three items are known as the rowing station, and in heavy water they must be rigid for the best efficiency. This applies to both inflatable canoes and rafts.

    It's nice to have another option! I'm attaching a photo of the Row Saddle below.

    Regards,

    -Mike
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    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
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  2. #2

    Default Heavy Duty Oar Lock System

    I've been using this Bolt on oar system for about 4 years now.
    I designed the HD Oar lock system for my sport boats but the bolt mount bushings can be glued onto any PVC based fabrics.

    http://www.alaskaseries.com/heavy%20...k%20system.htm
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  3. #3

    Default

    Still looks bulkier than the Oar Saddles and being held together with pins seems like a cheap way of doing things. What happens if you run into a sweeper and it hits those aluminum tubes? Looks like it would bend quite easily. What the weight on those as compared to the Oar Saddles?

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    Default New Row Saddle

    Hi Folks,
    Larry Laba (SOAR Inflatables) here. I'm glad to see Mike's post about our new Row Saddle, but allow me a couple clarifications.

    I am not the designer of the Row Saddle. The Row Saddle was designed independently of SOAR by a raft frame builder and an engineer in the Rogue River region of Oregon.

    The Row Saddle was not designed to compete w/ the Oar Saddle. Last summer there was a shortage of Oar Saddles and someone contacted the folks in Oregon. They came up w/ this design on their own.

    AkHunter45: Before you question the viability of the pins, etc. please hold all judgment until you have a chance to see it in person at the Anchorage Sportsmens Expo. I am certain that you will be impressed by how compact, durable, and quiet the Row Saddle is.

    Kent Rotchy developed a wonderful product, and hopefully this takes his Oar Saddle concept another step further to helping float hunters achieve success in their floats.

  5. #5

    Default

    My bad, didn't mean to come off as judgemental, just an observation is all.

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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by soarman View Post
    Hi Folks,
    Larry Laba (SOAR Inflatables) here. I'm glad to see Mike's post about our new Row Saddle, but allow me a couple clarifications.

    I am not the designer of the Row Saddle. The Row Saddle was designed independently of SOAR by a raft frame builder and an engineer in the Rogue River region of Oregon.

    The Row Saddle was not designed to compete w/ the Oar Saddle. Last summer there was a shortage of Oar Saddles and someone contacted the folks in Oregon. They came up w/ this design on their own.

    AkHunter45: Before you question the viability of the pins, etc. please hold all judgment until you have a chance to see it in person at the Anchorage Sportsmens Expo. I am certain that you will be impressed by how compact, durable, and quiet the Row Saddle is.

    Kent Rotchy developed a wonderful product, and hopefully this takes his Oar Saddle concept another step further to helping float hunters achieve success in their floats.
    Mr. Laba,

    Thanks for chiming in on this. As always, the picture is more complete with input directly from the source. It was good speaking with you today on the phone and I look forward to seeing you again at the Sportsman Show this April in Anchorage.

    I appreciate the clarification on the Row Saddle and share your optimism of taking a good design to the next level. Best of luck with this; it's a great concept that has a broader application to regular round boats as well.

    I hope you have time to write in here more often!

    Regards,

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
    Web Address: http://alaskaoutdoorssupersite.com/hunt-planner/
    Mob: 1 (907) 229-4501
    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
    "I have climbed my mountain, but I must still live my life." - Tenzig Norgay

  7. #7
    Moderator Alaskacanoe's Avatar
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    Default Canoe with oars

    I like the way people are thinking, coming up with ideas to propell and control inflatables, We have talked before about how paddling an inflatable canoe can be difficult due to the width of the tubes. Rowing is probably the best option for many of these inflatable canoes.
    I have seen the Oar saddle, and thought it was nice, but kinda bulky for air travel in Alaska. I like the idea of a take down, or take apart system such as Larry is suggesting, and I like Jims idea of the Glued on rowing pin setup, this seems like a great system to me.
    With the more rigid inflatables now days,because we can get them tighter due to better and stronger materials and methods of construction.. I see that attaching these rowing devices to the tubes in viable.
    I hope to see these units, and also hear from people that use them.
    If you have experiences either good or not.. let us know how you feel, and what could even make them better in your opinion.
    I have seen in the past few years, that folks are getting off the main rivers, and trying those little feeder rivers that previously have been off limits to many due to equipment not being designed for narrow and shallow venues. Hunters and fisherman are looking at any little blue line on the map as a potential float nowdays, and this is a boon for those that want to get into places seldom ever visited.
    I myself will be doing such trips in the near future. I will float some places that before I flew over and said... " too small for my equipment".
    Thanks to all of you that think out of the box, and those that have that "I can figure out how to do it mentality".
    I will be in the market for skinny, light, strong and able to haul a fair load.. and the equipment to control it.
    Max
    When you come to a fork in the trail, take it!

    Rentals for Canoes, Kayaks, Rafts, boats serving the Kenai canoe trail system and the Kenai river for over 15 years. www.alaskacanoetrips.com

  8. #8
    Member jeff p's Avatar
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    Default Oar Saddle

    Quote Originally Posted by Alaskacanoe View Post
    II have seen the Oar saddle, and thought it was nice, but kinda bulky for air travel in Alaska.Max
    I am not sure if you looked at the oar saddle real good or maybe you have never had a set in your hands, they take apart to nothing more than just the saddle with easy wing nuts to disassemble from the oar lock towers. They pack so flat the fit anywhere really. Another plus is that is about the only connections they have.

    Really, I think one may be able to copy the oar saddle but I highly doubt anyone will make any signifigant improvements over the original. With all of the different pieces & parts in this copy of Kents design, I can just hear my self quietly squeaking down the river or looking for that pin, did anyone see where i sat that pin down?
    Also on a side note I know that the Original Oar Saddle fits a varity of tube diameters & seems to have a much bigger footprint on the tube than does this copy version.

    I will keep an open mind but I think this one is kinda be like having a pack like a Barneys but as we all know its just not the same!

  9. #9
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    Default

    Jeff,
    I did not mean to disparage the original Oar Saddle at all. Kent Rotchy really created a wonderful product for the end user. I know it breaks down to a small pack. Those of you who own the Oar Saddle, keep them and guard them w/ your life. You've got a great product.

    Most of the improvements were made from a manufacturing standpoint. One of the reasons the original Oar Saddle is no longer available is because it is very labor intensive and costly to build. Like many great ideas, it was not possible to lower mfg costs and turn a profit for the effort involved.

    The new Row Saddle solves many issues from a mfg point of view, plus it costs a lot less to produce, saves the consumer $100, and works just as well.
    Larry

  10. #10
    Member jeff p's Avatar
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    Default Oar Saddle

    Larry,
    Thanks for taking the time to respond here. I am confused though, is it my understanding that the Oar Saddle is NLA? I was under the impression that Larry Bartlett had acquired the company & is going to be bringing it to market at a lower price that was offered in the past.

    I have used the Oar Sadlle for countless hrs. on the river & it sure seems like if LB can bring this to market for less it would be the way the to go it really is a wonderfull product.

    Again thanks for stopping in Jeff

  11. #11

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    Jeff, I believe Larry is working on a lighter prototype of the Oar Saddle, I don't think he's phasing it out.

  12. #12
    Moderator Alaskacanoe's Avatar
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    Default Never used the oar saddles

    I have just looked at them at the sports show...
    How much do they weigh?
    why would anyone want to make them smaller or lighter if they already are small enough?
    When it comes to fly out float trips, I try to use the lightest gear possible that will perform in all weathers , and space is always a concern.
    It was not always that way back 20 years ago... I used to use a Dehaviland Otter on floats to go on my float trips, but as the hourly rates for such planes far exceeded pay raises for most of the worlds population, for me and my pals,, It comes down to gettting a smaller plane, and packing alot lighter...
    I used to take steaks, and pop etc on the plane years ago,, now I take no liquids except the fuel to cook, and I don't take the heavy foods like I used to either. To go from 2,000 lb limit for an Otter to 1200 lb limit for a 206, with the same crew, makes you suck it up a bit more on the extra stuff.
    Ounces now make the diverence when it comes to the whole package of gear. Like oars etc. Composite vs. heavier plastic covered aluminum shafts.
    If someone can shave lbs or ounces without any loss to the strength integrity of the device, then that is a bonus. The same would hold true for any rowing device beit an oar saddle or what ever...
    Alaska remote rivers are much different animal than the lower 48 river trips,,,, Unless you are doing a river trip on the road system, then Airplanes are usually the only other vehicle of convience.. Equipment that is standard fare down in oregon is much to heavy and bulky for Alaska use...,, (such as the big aluminum boxes you see on the rigs down there.),,,
    just my opion though
    its like the rules some of the parks are trying to go to with the bear proof containers etc.... they are bulky, heavy and in my opion about useless....

    Max
    When you come to a fork in the trail, take it!

    Rentals for Canoes, Kayaks, Rafts, boats serving the Kenai canoe trail system and the Kenai river for over 15 years. www.alaskacanoetrips.com

  13. #13
    Member jeff p's Avatar
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    Default New Oar Saddle

    Was able to use the new & improved oar saddle this past sept. & I must say they are a dream in simplicity and use. They pack down small extremely light & no pins or clips to use. I have enclosed a few pics for anyone who hasnt seem them to get a look.

    I thought it might be of use to anyone comparing A rowing platform.
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    Default Larry Laba

    (Hit the wrong *&^% button; message disappeared, I think. Sorry if it appears twice.) It is nice to have a moment to comment on the Row Saddles. Good design, plenty strong, break down nicely, light weight. If anyone breaks a pin, he/she is an ape w/ 14' oars and stuck in a log jam. Not a worry. HOWEVER, my partner just bought a pair and did not assemble them until we were in the field. I was amazed at how atrocious the alignment of the pins/holes was. Quality control was dead asleep on his pair. Had we not had 16 penny nails to DRIVE/POUND in instead of the pins, we would have been screwed. A gent on the Pristine forum said his friend had the same problem. I hope you have tightened up the quality control, as a good product w/ less than satisfactory QC is not needed by anyone I know.

  15. #15
    Member jeff p's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jklingel View Post
    (Hit the wrong *&^% button; message disappeared, I think. Sorry if it appears twice.) It is nice to have a moment to comment on the Row Saddles. Good design, plenty strong, break down nicely, light weight. If anyone breaks a pin, he/she is an ape w/ 14' oars and stuck in a log jam. Not a worry. HOWEVER, my partner just bought a pair and did not assemble them until we were in the field. I was amazed at how atrocious the alignment of the pins/holes was. Quality control was dead asleep on his pair. Had we not had 16 penny nails to DRIVE/POUND in instead of the pins, we would have been screwed. A gent on the Pristine forum said his friend had the same problem. I hope you have tightened up the quality control, as a good product w/ less than satisfactory QC is not needed by anyone I know.
    I am not sure what you are saying the post kinda looks like it ran together or something. Are you saying the Row Saddle didnt work well or the pins in it where giving you problems.

    I dont think you are referring to the Oar Saddle as it doesnt have all those joints & pins like that other thing does.

  16. #16

    Default

    Looks like he was saying the holes for the pins didn't line up correctly Jeff. If that's the case there must be some kind of mixup or something or they are not checking their product before it leaves the shop, not accusing, just guessing here. I'll be interested to see what actually happened with this new setup.

  17. #17
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default The problem as I see it...

    Kent Rotchy did an excellent job of engineering the original Oar Saddle. But with Kent out of the picture, an effort to reduce production costs has, in my opinion, resulted in an inferior product. Hopefully the original Oar Saddle design can make a comeback.

    I am attaching two images to support what I'm saying. The first one is the "Row Saddle", by SOAR. The problem I see with this design is bulk. Alaska floaters want something light, simple, and compact. They are generally willing to pay a higher price to get that (but not always). The SOAR design is a huge step away from both the compact design and light weight of the original Oar Saddle. The second photo, the "new" Oar Saddle, has what I believe to be an inherent design weakness, the tendency of the two legs of the oar stand itself to splay apart under pressure. The arrows in the photo show the direction of pull on the oar tower when the device is secured to the tubes; it's a simple matter of physics. This could be resolved with the installation of a welded plate where you see the red polygon. This would give the new design the stability it needs. Of course it remains to be seen whether this plate would bring the new Oar Saddle close to the weight of the original design.

    -Mike
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    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
    Web Address: http://alaskaoutdoorssupersite.com/hunt-planner/
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  18. #18
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default A possible remedy-

    There's another idea that has not been tried yet, as far as I know (this is a freebie for someone out there with the inclination to try it). There's an aluminum fitting that goes inside the end of a piece of aluminum pipe (the same pipe used on the NRS frames), which is designed to support either an oarlock or a pin setup. I've seen them on Jim King's frames, and Star Inflatables has them on their frames too (see photo). Why not weld a short stick of aluminum pipe onto an "H" shaped base plate (made of aircraft-grade aluminum or such). At each lobe of the "H", slots could be cut for straps, similar to the original Oar Saddle base plate. Now, I was told by Dan Lingo of Northwest River Supplies, that the cast aluminum fitting will develop a wobble over time, because of wear between it and the pipe (they have used these fittings in the past, but no longer carry them). Their remedy was to shoot some liquid nails into the end of the pipe before inserting the fitting and drilling for the bolt that holds it in.

    How about it, folks?

    -Mike
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    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
    Web Address: http://alaskaoutdoorssupersite.com/hunt-planner/
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  19. #19
    Member jeff p's Avatar
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    Default Surprised by negativity

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Strahan View Post
    Kent Rotchy did an excellent job of engineering the original Oar Saddle. But with Kent out of the picture, an effort to reduce production costs has, in my opinion, resulted in an inferior product. Hopefully the original Oar Saddle design can make a comeback.

    I am attaching two images to support what I'm saying. The first one is the "Row Saddle", by SOAR. The problem I see with this design is bulk. Alaska floaters want something light, simple, and compact. They are generally willing to pay a higher price to get that (but not always). The SOAR design is a huge step away from both the compact design and light weight of the original Oar Saddle. The second photo, the "new" Oar Saddle, has what I believe to be an inherent design weakness, the tendency of the two legs of the oar stand itself to splay apart under pressure. The arrows in the photo show the direction of pull on the oar tower when the device is secured to the tubes; it's a simple matter of physics. This could be resolved with the installation of a welded plate where you see the red polygon. This would give the new design the stability it needs. Of course it remains to be seen whether this plate would bring the new Oar Saddle close to the weight of the original design.

    -Mike
    Mike,
    You know you have proclaimed this to be an inferior product, I am going to have to ask what you are basing this on? When you where using one did you have problems with it? This is a HUGE claim you are making on this product! I need to hear more. My "simple matter of physics" are a bit rusty but please enlighten me & others who have used this design without ZERO splaying of the Oar Saddle. I will tell you I pulled & pushed these things for 11 days & nearly broke my oars but not once did the Oar Saddle "splay". I would be surprised if I ever heard anyone who has used them say that.

    Just on a side note, I am not sure how much input Kent Rotchy had on this new design but I do know that he was in the boat with the prototype during its devolpment stage. I really hate to even bring his name into it as he has moved on to other interests I believe. I just know I am real glad someone picked up his product & has taken it to the next level.

  20. #20
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Comments for Jeff P-

    Quote Originally Posted by jeff p View Post
    Mike,
    You know you have proclaimed this to be an inferior product, I am going to have to ask what you are basing this on? When you where using one did you have problems with it? This is a HUGE claim you are making on this product! I need to hear more. My "simple matter of physics" are a bit rusty but please enlighten me & others who have used this design without ZERO splaying of the Oar Saddle. I will tell you I pulled & pushed these things for 11 days & nearly broke my oars but not once did the Oar Saddle "splay". I would be surprised if I ever heard anyone who has used them say that.

    Just on a side note, I am not sure how much input Kent Rotchy had on this new design but I do know that he was in the boat with the prototype during its devolpment stage. I really hate to even bring his name into it as he has moved on to other interests I believe. I just know I am real glad someone picked up his product & has taken it to the next level.
    Hello Jeff,

    I'm seeing some heat in your post. I'm sorry if you were offended by something I said; That was not my intention at all. I was merely offering my opinion on the design.

    I believe the new design was developed because the original was costly to produce, not because someone found a way to make it better. This information came to me from Kent, who is a personal friend. The splaying issue I mentioned is merely my opinion, based on the way it is built. Your experiences clearly were different. I would venture that I could bend it by hand, though admittedly I have not attempted to do so. I should mention that this issue could happen both on the river and off the river, during shipping. In a nutshell, I do not see this new design as a step forward in terms of quality. The original was rock-solid, and I question the wisdom of splitting the base plate. I have heard that it is cheaper on the retail side, though. Do you have pricing info?

    Again, no offense intended! It's just a product review.

    Regards,

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
    Web Address: http://alaskaoutdoorssupersite.com/hunt-planner/
    Mob: 1 (907) 229-4501
    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
    "I have climbed my mountain, but I must still live my life." - Tenzig Norgay

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