Since 1978 I have been fortunate to sail wooden boats. In 2006 I set out to find a Drascombe Longboat Cruiser for single-handed expedition sailing. This is the continuing story of how it came to be, our adventures, notes on the maritime world and other things I don't want to forget...

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Annie's Sculling Oar

The sculling oar I use on Annie is a modification of a design I was given in Cedar Key a few years ago by Alan Hall, a friend and Drascombe Coaster sailor from the mountains of Georgia. It is a long 12' 5" oar with a bent blade. I made it out of lumber yard spruce... two 2x4s for the shaft and a 1x6 for the blade. The blade drops 5 degrees from the line of the shaft. That helps me to keep the blade down in the water.

Steering with the sculling oar. Photo by Steve Early.

Alan and Ann Hall at Cedar Key. Photo by Ron Hodinett, WCTSS.

It was glued up with WEST epoxy and reinforced with bronze ring shank nails. The blade is 5 1/2" wide. 

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Transom mounted sculling oars are common to Drascombes especially Luggers, Longboats and Coasters. I remade the sculling lock more robust by adding additional teak reinforcement, a larger oarlock that the one furnished and braided a tarred marlin lanyard to prevent the oar from jumping the lock. Marlin was also added to the inside of the lock to fill it out.

The chafing leather is more than required for I have moved the bearing point to get the best balance while sculling from the cockpit. 

The oar is actually more important for steering. Although the rudder kicks up, you cannot retract it if aground. The lower portion tucks up underneath the hull. The drill is to pull up the rudder and scull steer when shallow water is detected. I do that by dropping the centerboard, holding the hauling line and when the board hits ground and the line slacks I pull the rudder. The centerboard is deeper, warns first and gives me time for the tiller to oar move. What can I say.... it's a Drascombe thing.

Photo by Melinda Penkava,


  1. Hi Curt,
    Nice to see this story online, and to see you again, if only virtually. Are you coming to Cedar Key in May? March 24, six of us will take three boats, my Coaster, Tosh's Sea Pearl and Jim and H's Longboat, down the Suwannee from Branford to Cedar Key. It's our first trip together in about six years. Last one was Cape Lookout NC. I'm excited. hope to see you and Eleanor soon.
    Alan Hall

  2. Hi Alan'
    Thanks for the reply. I will be getting ready for our Europe camping trip and will miss the West Coast events. Have a great sail and I will get up with you again some time for sure in the future...
    Best, Curt

  3. I have interest in putting a schulling oar on transom of my Allied 2 she's 32 ' Does a 14 foot oar sound like right length?