Sunday, 9 January 2011
HBBR meets at Dell Quay
It was a great day. The weather was crisp with blue skies and a moderate breeze. First on the water was George Isted with his beautifully made Pup (the Practical Boat Owner design).
Then Chris Waite, boat innovator supreme, took his auto-yuloh out, mounted on the transom of his tender Wishes Were.
There are many forward-facing rowing systems out there, but most are either too complex or not very effective or both. Chris's system relies, as most of his inventions do, on string, but it shows huge promise judging by the speed he was making against wind and tide in a short, fat boat. I particularly like the yuloh itself, laminated from contrasting woods.
The pedals pull the yuloh from side to side, automatically adjusting the blade to the correct pitch. Steering is done by pedalling more vigorously on the outside foot, but Chris is working on a design that would mount the yuloh on a rudder. The rudder would give instant control to the rower, and its motion would counteract the tendency of the oar to fishtail.
The next step is to install the auto yuloh on Octavia, Chris's skiff. Being longer, higher speeds should be attainable.
So the mechanism was removed from Wishes Were, which was promptly sold to Sarah for paddling round Chichester Harbour in the conventional facing-the-wrong-way manner.
To get a better idea of how well the auto-yuloh works, here is a short video: