In preparation for the coming season, the Monomoy's oars, 10 in all, are neatly laid out in the framing bay beside the 24-foot Launch. Yesterday, I stripped their leathers and gave each a cursory sanding. A few have a rather interesting problem, easily solved.
The ash oars each weigh between 14 and 17 pounds, and are 12-feet long. The looms, where they pass through the oarlocks, are all different sizes. A few of them don't fit too well through the jaws of the oarlock. This is a job for - da, dada DA - trusty block plane. I plan on shaving the big ones down a bit tonight before I start prepping them for paint. The thing I find interesting about all this is the variation from piece to piece. It's a direct result of being hand made AND mass-produced. And while it may be impossible to determine who made them and when (they could be as old as the boat, dating to 1951) it is interesting to think of a time when these were in such demand that they were churned out. It wasn't that long ago.
So a shave for some of them, then some primer, and we get to start the paint relay. Thin coats for durability, many many times over for a thick barrier to protect the aging ash from the effects of sea and weather. Then re-leathering - an interesting process. Those who have crewed the Monomoy will remember the subtle tendency of the old leathers to creep milimeter by millimeter up the loom. We'll fix that. And with the shave some will get, I expect no more cursing after "TOSS!"
On a final note this morning, word is passing down that we can expect an updated schedule soon - including weekly training sessions and new events in April. I'll post more about that as soon as it's official.