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The Length of oars for a ship's boat (edited by admin)

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G'day again i was wondering if someone could tell me the length of oars for a ships boat. the ship itself is 500 mm long approx. The boat on deck is 70 mm I'm trying to get a number in mm on how long the oars should be for the70 mm boat. Thanks

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Snowy, I went through this saga with my Endeavour build.  I am about to lose the internet connection here as a new system is being fitted today - fingers crossed all goes well :)


If i get a chance to find this I will update this post but otherwise I will do so after reconnection.  in the meantime try looking for The Boats of Men of War by "May" .


A search through the forums may also bring up a few answers as it has been raised on several occasions.


[Edit: a quick search found this, but there is more definitive info avail. 





Edited by BANYAN
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Thanks. I'll look into that and I'll put the title of subject in i didn't know that thanks again.to blue ensign it's the amati adventure in 1in 60 scale its my first wood ship and I'm trying to make it look great I'm hooked.


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Looking good Snow, and you seem to be enjoying your first build, which is the prime objective of getting into this fascinating activity. :)


If your ships boat is 70mm in length it scales to a small boat of around 14 feet, so as finger in the wind job I would say oars of between 7' to 8' in length which scales to 40mm.

You could try the formula based on width between the oarlocks/tholes;

Firstly measure the width of your boat in mm between the oarlocks and scale up to full size eg:  scale width 20mm;  multiply by 60 then divide  by 25.4  = full size in inches. (47.24")

The formula is then:

Divide by 2, then add 2 inches. take this number, multiply by 25, divide by 7, and that's your approximate answer in inches. multiply this by 25.4 and divide by 60 to give the scale length in mm. for your model.


Hope this helps rather than confuses:rolleyes:




Edited by Blue Ensign
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  • 1 year later...

The Index for NRJ  vol.25  1979

has a reprint of data from Secretary's Monthly Letter  #6  July 1948

Specifications for oar of various boats of theUSN for the year 1900


there is a diagram and a table.  There are 15 data points for each oar and 10 different oars.


I trust that it is a part of CD 1


It may produce an anacronism for an earlier time,  but at least the oar would be a real oar.

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‘This is from “Standard Designs for Boats of the United States Navy” (1900) by Chief Constructor Phillip Hitchborn, USN


For a 14ft Dinghy oars to be either 9ft-0in or 10ft-0in length overall.

For a 9 foot oar:

blade-  3ft long x 5-3/8in wide at the tip

loom dia at leather- 2-1/8in

handle- 5in Long x 1/3/8in dia

The loom tapers to 1-3/8in at the junction with the blade.

The blade is 1/2 in thick at the tip.


My information from Steele was taken from information printed in the NRJ and is now filed away.  I’ll try to find it tomorrow.




Edited by Roger Pellett
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Here is an online copy of The Elements and Practice of Rigging And Seamanship, 1794..


 I didn't see anything about oars..  I'm still looking..


This appears to be what we are looking for.  


The Elements and Practice of Rigging, Seamanship, and Naval Tactics


It is a four volume set, but further googling provided information about oars in volume one.


There are excerpts here:  GoogleBooks


But no complete free version that I can find.

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