Saturday, 20 February 2010

Why Rowing is Better than Sailing

Don't get me wrong, I love sailing and I aim to do a lot more of it when I finally get my sail-assisted Bee rowboat under construction. But look at the picture above. See those tiny little sails? If you can't, click for an enlargement.
They are fellow-members of the Dinghy Cruising Association, and though we all set out from Bedhampton at the same time, I took this picture from the Kench, a
over a mile ahead.
Here they are, arriving. Finally! And waving me off when I discovered I was so cold I would not be able to bend my knees enough to get back in the boat if I didn't go right away.
I had the advantage of the field, of course. The wind was light and right on the nose, ideal for rowing but not so good for the dinghies which had to tack, rather slowly. They were a lot faster on the way back, but still not as fast as me.
Of course, I will get my comeuppance when we go out in a good F5 with the wind against the tide, when they will go jolly fast and I will go home. But today, rowing was better than sailing. Also warmer.
Martin Corrick has been trying to establish the right length of oars for his Topper Cruz, so I lent him a pair of 10ft Plastimos. They are obviously too long. Martin said they were much better than the 7ft ones he got with the boat, but very tiring because of the outboard length. So he is now in the market for a pair of 8ft 6in-ish oars at a reasonable price.


Anonymous said...

I realise there are lots of methods of determining correct oar length available, but I found this site very useful in understanding the various methods,one of which includes freeboard. All the various methods are graphically plotted on the same plot so that's quite useful.


Anonymous said...

I had a bit of a problem determining oar balance, changing from an inboard length where the oars missed each other (and the oar was not too well balanced, a bit heavy to push down), to an overlap of about 4 inches or so. To try out my new loom length, I cut a long strip of cardboard box to the right width, wrapped and taped it to the outboard side of the existing button, so I could get the feel of the sweep of the oar before the trouble of shifting the button and leather, or whatever plastic equivalent may be installed on the oar. I use Scotty plastic oar-collars on my spoons. I find that if you can balance the oar, sometimes an oar a bit longer than the recommended length can work out, but the shorter oars will be better if you are rowing in chop rather than smooth water.

Brian's suggested site is one of my favourites, especially where the author talks about what "breaks" wooden boats.


ChrisP said...

Hey Chris:
Mike Davenport of writes:
I just read your rowing vs sailing post. Spot on.
I did this one on rowing vs mountain biking ( a while ago.
Great minds think alike!!