After the Boat Blessing yesterday I had an opportunity to try a Virus Yole, something I have wanted to do for a while, when Steve kindly let me have a bash round the harbour in his.
The Yole is a really robust, stable, unsinkable boat, made of polyethylene which is tough but heavy at 55kg.
The design extremely cleverly thought out - the rails the sliding seat runs on extend the full length of the boat, for example, so it can instantly be converted into a double simply by adding another seat and moving the outriggers forward so an extra pair can be mounted. The outriggers swing inboard when not in use.
The hull is self-draining.
The only thing I really disliked was the seat, which is viciously concave and highly uncomfortable, though perhaps it was just the size of my bum. I also found the long rails encouraged me to move forward too far, but this could be corrected with practice.
The square stern throws up a lot of turbulence, which must slow the boat down a lot.
The flotation and self-bailing features must be very handy when rowing offshore, especially when launching into surf, and Yoles have been rowed for long distances offshore. One was rowed 800km from Dakar to the Islands of Cape Verde in 11 days. Apparently, he capsized three times, and both he and his monkey survived.
I personally prefer a lighter double-ended hull for higher speed with less effort in the sheltered waters I usually go out in, but the Virus Yole is certainly a practical boat for offshore.
Here's a pic of Steve in his Yole taken last summer.