Thursday, 14 May 2009
'Estrop' versus grommet
I’ve always rowed OB with a rope grommet holding the oar to the pin. I have now changed to an estrop, however, and am trying to ascertain the pros and cons of each.
When rowing there isn’t a marked difference though the grommet does seem to hold the oar to the pin more firmly. Comfortable rowing depends on the grommet or estrop having the correct tension—too loose and the oar’s all over the place. Tension varies as the rope stretches and the amount of stretch depends on the type of line and how wet the rope is. The estrop is adjustable and, having three turns of rope, stretches less than the grommet but a well-made grommet shouldn’t stretch beyond what is normal for the type of rope.
The most obvious advantage of the estrop over the grommet is that, being attached to the oar, it’s more difficult to lose. The last time I had an oar come off a pin the grommet plopped into the sea and sank. The other advantage is that when I take the oars off the pins and stow them in the boat for sailing in rougher weather, the estrop, with its long trailing end is good for attaching the oars to the thwart. This needs a picture to explain and I’ll post one soon.
For the moment I shall continue to row with estrops but in my heart I think I actually prefer grommets.