Ron Rantilla’s Odyssey 165 is an unusual rowboat for touring and exercise. It is specifically for use with his FrontRower, a drop-in forward-facing rowing system. With the oars fully supported by the rowing rig, there’s no need to make the boat wide enough to provide a workable span for conventional oarlocks, or stout enough to take the strain of rowing on the gunwales. The Odyssey has the proportions of a canoe, offers the same view over the bow, and is similarly efficient converting effort into forward progress.The FrontRower occupies a fair bit of space in the middle of the boat, but the ends have plenty of room for gear and I could easily imagine taking  extended cruises. With one's legs taking on the lion’s share of powering the oars, covering long distances with a heavily laden boat would save the hands, shoulders, and back wear and tear. There would also be a benefit in being able to keep the boat moving with legs alone while looking at charts or GPS, taking photos, and keeping well hydrated and fed.

Each oar comes apart at a joint just outboard of the hand grips, and it is easy enough to assemble and disassemble the the oars while afloat.photographs and video by the author

Each oar comes apart at a joint just outboard of the hand grips, and it is easy enough to assemble and disassemble the oars while afloat.

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