Rowing Outrigger Plans/Spec?


New Member
I would like to fabricate out of wood a rowing outrigger for my canoe. Does anyone know of a site or information concerning the construction of this system? I know the general layout, but I'm more interested in the dimensions. I bought oar scockets, locks and 6.5 ft. oars from Old Town and an adjustable yolk/seat from Spring Creek. Thanks for any help.

Bud, I have some photo's that should help and a couple of links that I will forward in an email to you this evening... You might also look up stuff on this site about AMA's...
CYA, Joe
Rowing outriggers/foot brace


I built a very successful bolt-in rowing outrigger/foot brace unit for an Alumacraft 17' canoe I use for river fishing. It allows me to row back upstream with about twice the speed one can paddle. Simple to build and purely utilitarian for the Alumacraft, you could use the basic concept and dress it up for a woody. I don't have pictures, so I'll try to describe it.

I took out the middle thwart of the canoe and installed a standard ash and cane canoe seat in it's place. That allows me to sit in the middle of the canoe facing the stern. If you have the Spring Creek seat, you're all set for that.

Approximately 2' astern of the rear edge of the new seat, I drilled a 1/4" hole down through each gunwale. The Alumacraft has a single metal flange gunwale, but for a woody, you'd want to drill through the largest gunwale. I placed two pieces of 1 x 3 x 36" ash on the gunwales over the holes and running at approximately a 45-degree angle jutting out so the ash outriggers were pointed out toward the bow of the canoe. I drilled corresponding 1/4" holes in each ash outrigger directly over the holes in the gunwale. I inserted a 1/4" x 2" carriage bolt down through each ash piece and through the gunwale hole beneath and secured them with wingnuts. That placed the outer end of the ash outriggers almost adjacent to the rear edge of the seat. Those outer ends would serve as the mountings for the oarlocks. If it hurts too much to drill into your wood gunwalwes, some type of clamping system would hold the outriggers onto the gunwales.

The other ends of the outriggers were inside the canoe about at the position of my feet when I was seated in the middle "rowing seat." The outriggers met each other near my feet.

I then made a 3/4" plywood foot brace that was 10" wide and about 13" high (a little more than the amidship depth of the Alumacraft). I temporarily clamped the foot brace piece at a 10-degree angle backward at my foot position when seated in the rowing seat. That piece would serve as a foot brace to push against when rowing.

Where the foot brace intersected the ash outriggers, I transferred that 10 degree angle line to the ends of the ash outriggers, then trimmed off the inside ends of the outriggers at 80 degrees accordingly. I put the plywood piece back into it's position at the inside ends of the outriggers and scribed a line on the bottom of the 10" plywood piece the exact curvature of the bottom of the canoe. Removing the plywood, I cut the scribed line using the 10 degree angle so the bottom surface of the foot brace would sit flush on the bottom of the canoe.

I then epoxy coated everything and attached the foot brace to the inside cut ends of the two outriggers. I used 3" deck screws (two in each outrigger) to hold the foot brace to the outriggers. In use, your feet are powerfully pushing on the brace and the only thing holding the brace to the outrigger ends are these screws and the bottom of the canoe.

To get the oarlocks at a comfortable height for rowing, I found I needed to raise the mounting about 1-1/2" above the outriggers. Alternately, I could have lowered the seat 1-1/2" to achieve the same effect. I simply glued on 3" x 3" 1-1/2" blocks on the outer ends of the outriggers. I drilled 5/8" holes in the center of each block and pressed a 5/8" OD 1/2" ID plastic bushing into the holes. The oarlocks with 1/2" pins drop nicely into the bushings.

The two 1/4" bolts are the only attachments necessary and the unit bolts/unbolts to the canoe in under a minute.

I found that 6'6" oars worked nicely, but I really could have used 7' oars to advantage.

The canoe absolutely flies with the lightweight aluminum oars, easily reaching it's maximum hull speed with little exertion. Pulling a little harder trying for more speed starts to sink the stern of the canoe as the Alumacraft tries to climb its own bow wave.

Sorry for the wordy description but the Alumacraft's up north at my cabin under a couple feet of snow. A picture would have been worth 1000 words.

bud, if you go to gle-l marine s website and look at their design catalogue under rowing boats look at their sculling skiff and the plans for their dropin seat and rowing rig. they also sell the hardware. the skiff is pretty cool also