The Row Wing is a device for converting any canoe or skiff into a sliding seat rowing boat. Designed by Gary Piantedosi, Olympic oarsman and MIT engineer, it is a strong, lightweight, and reliable unit. The basic machine utilizes a monorail track and tubular rigger. The monorail is formed of 6061 aluminum extruded from our own custom die. It is designed as a flanged box-beam with radiused longitudinal tracks. The rail is stiff and light and designed so the tracks are protected along each side. This feature allows for unlimited variations of mounting systems for the wheels do not ride below or above the monorail. We designed and had custom tooling fabricated to produce precision screw-machined delrin sheaves. (Molded wheels were rejected for they invariably have a tab from the injection gate or a flash from the mold parting line which produces a bumpy and noisy ride.) The delrin sheaves are mounted on precision ground, sealed, grease-packed, stainless steel ball bearings. These assemblies are bolted to a carriage for the sliding seat. We use six such ball bearing assemblies: four are load carrying and two are captive. We guarantee you will not find a smoother, truer-tracking, or quieter sliding seat for any price.
The rigger wing is formed from 1.25" OD 6061 T6 aluminum. A rigger plate extruded from our own custom die is welded to the center of the wing. The heavy wall thickness of the rigger tube (.125") and design engineering incorporated in the rigger plate combine in such a way that the resulting junction is reliably strong and free of stress risers and fatigue points. The rigger plate is bolted to captive nuts in the bottom of the monorail. The result is an extremely stiff rigger system. The rotational and torsional stiffness of the rigger is enhanced by stern-stays. The stern-stays affix to a tower on the monorail allowing them to clear the gunwales.
The oarlocks are molded of fiberglass reinforced nylon and incorporate an adjustable locking gate. The locks swivel on our own custom screw-machined stainless steel pins. The pins attach to the rigger tube by means of rigger 'knuckles' extruded from our own custom die. This system produces a rigid non-slip fixture fully adjustable for load (spread between locks), fore and aft pitch (for blade control), and height.
The foot stretchers (foot pads) are independently adjustable for each leg infinitely along the length of the monorail. The footplates are also adjustable for height (depth below seat) and foot size. The Row Wing will comfortably fit children to seven-footers.
The Row Wing is uniquely suited for converting canoes into sliding seat sculling boats. We have been awarded patents for the way our unit clamps into the canoe. The gunwale clamp is a 2" section of 'C' shaped 6061 aluminum extruded from our own custom die. It has been designed to ring whatever gunwale rails are encountered and compress on the hull. Clamp foot-pads (three other custom extrusions) are provided in angled sets to accommodate various gunwale angles. The pads are fitted with thin rubber cushions with an extremely high coefficient of friction. The clamps will not slip or twist nor will they mar your hull. Adjustable along the length of the rigger are tube clamps (yet another custom extrusion). These pieces can be secured at any point to accommodate any gunwale widths. Their purpose is to provide the round rigger tube with a flange which may be bolted to threaded holes in the gunwale clamps thereby securing the rig in the canoe.
This system is not meant to support your weight on the gunwales. At either end of the monorail are leveling legs with padded feet which are height adjustable. They make up the distance between the bottom of the monorail and the floor of your hull, thus supporting your weight. It is necessary to remove a thwart, or thwarts (usually fastened with nuts and bolts) to properly position the Row Wing in your canoe but an additional patented feature is that the rigger wing functions as a replacement thwart.
A canoe has a fine displacement hull that tracks very well. The craft jumps and runs with each stroke. The broad waterline absorbs the pulsing without hobby-horsing. A canoe is an excellent rowing platform and with the 9'8" oars functioning as outriggers, you will marvel at the subsequent stability.
The greatest advantage canoes have over other sculling boats, however, is their ability to accommodate passengers or gear. If you have trouble finding a paddling partner, consider how much easier it would be to find a passenger. By shifting the Row Wing fore or aft, you can position the passengers in the stern, the bow, or both. The unit takes up little space in the canoe and can be easily walked by. If the maneuvering gets tight or the water fast, you can always go to the bow and stern and paddle.
After considerable research and testing, we developed the angles, relative heights, and leverage points to insure a solid and direct application of power. The resulting rowing stroke is smooth and efficient. In the final analysis, a canoe fitted with the Row Wing offers the recreational and health benefits of a traditional rowing shell at a fraction of the cost, plus much more.
The gunwale clamping system is the most versatile mounting system we manufacture. The Row Wing mounts without modifying your canoe or skiff. The clamps may be fitted at any point along the length of the gunwale for infinite adjustments to the trim depending on the number or placement of passengers or conditions. The gunwale clamp secures the rigger .625" over the gunwale. The accompanying leveling leg kit we provide allows the rig to fit gunwale heights ranging from 9" to 17". Deeper hulls can be accommodated with additional extender plates.
An alternative to the gunwale clamping system is the gunwale plate system. With this kit you must secure a captive nut plate to your gunwale rail. This plate is made of anodized aluminum with a press-fit stainless nut (it will not push-out or torque-out). You can wood-screw or rivet these plates along your gunwale rails at set locations then use the rigger tube clamps to attach the Row Wing. You bolt through the tube clamp into the captive nut. As with the gunwale clamp system the rigger clamp can be adjusted along the length of the outrigger to accommodate gunwale widths ranging from 26" to 60". This system secures the rigger .125" over the gunwale. The same leveling leg system is employed at both ends of the monorail to support your weight. The advantages of this system are: a) a cleaner look, b) pre-set gunwale positions, and c) it's less expensive than gunwale clamps. The disadvantages are: a) having to physically modify your canoe and b) being restricted to certain rowing stations.
The ROW WING is not limited to being a canoe conversion, nor is it limited to gunwale clamping attachments. The rigger wing is independently strong enough to stand free and clear of the gunwales. This ability allows us to offer the ROW WING as a sliding rigger system. With this design the rigger and your feet travel back and forth while your torso is stationary. The advantage of this system is that you do not have the weight of your torso shifting back and forth causing shorter and finer boats or sailboards to hobby-horse. The disadvantage of this system is that because the rigger is moving we obviously cannot affix it with gunwale clamps or gunwale plates. This rig must mount to the floor or ribs by means of our stanchion kit or deck plate kit. The stanchions will support the monorail 4" off the bottom of the boat. A typical mounting format would involve bonding wooden stringers (1" wide x .75" tall x 60" long, for example) to the bottom parallel to the keel. You would then wood-screw four nut plates to the stringers. The stanchions would affix to these nut plates with hand-knobs. The stanchions are slotted so the hand-knobs only have to be 'backed-off', not removed, to install and remove the unit.
Monorail brackets and deck plates function in much the same manner as stanchions except that instead of the boat bottom they would mount on the ribs, seats, decks, or combings. You also have the option of mounting the sliding seat ROW WING using the stanchion kit or deck plates. In these situations, the rigger would pass over the gunwales. The advantages to these mounting systems are simplicity, styling, and reduced cost. The disadvantages are a lack of flexibility and the inability of the rigger to substitute as a replacement thwart.