Oars can easily become damaged if they are not protected from metal oarlocks, and they are commonly outfitted with sewn-on leathers or slipped-on rubber sleeves. Skipper’s father, Cap’n Jack, chose a different approach: he liked to wrap the oarlocks with small-diameter cord as a method of protection. The cord is much cheaper than a set of sleeves or leathers, and wrapping is much faster than sewing—an oarlock can be wrapped in minutes—and won’t damage the wood in the way nailed-on leathers do.The oarlocks on Skipper’s 1980 Drascombe Lugger have been wrapped with cord for almost 40 years now, and they are holding up great. The cord cushions the oar and provides a little friction to help keep the oar from slipping out of the oarlock. Another benefit of wrapping an oarlock is that it reduces rowing noise and, overall, the cord-wrapped oarlock looks very shipshape.

Photographs by the authors

The wrap starts with the end of the cord on the outside of one horn, squeezed tight by the first several turns.

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