Sunday, 8 July 2012

More on the Virus Yole

I was wondering if we were a bit harsh on the Virus Yole last week. It was definitely let down by its cheapo aluminium oars with their horrid plastic blades, and the wooden Macons I also tried weren't long enough either. 
So today I tried again with a pair of carbon fibre Macons. They were too long, being out of a standard sculling boat with a span (the distance between the rowlocks) of about 1.6m. The Virus has a span of 1.5m, and it is amazing the difference a mere 100mm can make. The overlap of the handles made sculling practically impossible.
I move the buttons as far together as possible to make the overlap tolerable. The oars were less well balanced as a result, but carbon fibres are so light it made little difference. It was a very clever feature of the Virus riggers that saved the day - the ability to adjust them vertically simply by turning the screw that holds them off the deck - you can see them under each rigger where it turns horizontal over the side of the boat. The screws meant I could adjust the handles to be high on the left hand and low on the right, so my hands passed nicely even when putting power on.
The boat feels a lot faster with the longer blades, but the hobby-horsing of the short hull still brings water in over that blunt transom, wasting lots of energy. She doesn't feel like a fast boat, although once I had got used to her she was getting to be a lot of fun...
....but that may have been that it wasn't raining for the first time in days....

4 comments:

Adrian said...

Hi Chris, I always enjoy your blog, which I know has a wide and knowledgable following, so can I canvas opinions from among your readers about the "ideal" crewed coastal rowing (or sculling) boat. No doubt you will sing the praises of the Solent Galley and west country men and women will say that nothing compares with a pilot gig, but we are looking for boats for the north Norfolk coast, where there is no tradition of competitive coastal rowing.
For those unfamiliar with the area, there are drying harbours, which are well used by dinghy sailors, who rarely venture over the bar into the North Sea, having plenty of room to play behind the protecting sand dunes.
Recently enthusiastic rowers have founded the Blakeney Rowing Club, which operates from the town sailing club site. But, wouldn't it be good if Wells, Brancaster, Morston and Blakeney could all have crews competing in similar boats. A similar model to the successful Scottish Coastal Rowing Association.
So what we want is a four (or six) man boat that is inexpensive, robust, seaworthy and fun.

Adrian said...

Hi Chris, I always enjoy your blog, which I know has a wide and knowledgable following, so can I canvas opinions from among your readers about the "ideal" crewed coastal rowing (or sculling) boat. No doubt you will sing the praises of the Solent Galley and west country men and women will say that nothing compares with a pilot gig, but we are looking for boats for the north Norfolk coast, where there is no tradition of competitive coastal rowing.
For those unfamiliar with the area, there are drying harbours, which are well used by dinghy sailors, who rarely venture over the bar into the North Sea, having plenty of room to play behind the protecting sand dunes.
Recently enthusiastic rowers have founded the Blakeney Rowing Club, which operates from the town sailing club site. But, wouldn't it be good if Wells, Brancaster, Morston and Blakeney could all have crews competing in similar boats. A similar model to the successful Scottish Coastal Rowing Association.
So what we want is a four (or six) man boat that is inexpensive, robust, seaworthy and fun.

John Alison said...

I've come over all defensive about my little Yole! Although not the fastest boat, a mate and I averaged over 4 knots from Norwich to Yarmouth in one stint. I find the plastic concave seats considerably less butt crippling than those in a scull.

It's enabled me to stay out on the water over the winter, often with an elderly mother wrapped up in a sawn-off garden chair strapped in the stern.

The stern does gurgle a bit - but although she doesn't run like a fine shell, momentum certainly doesn't die from stroke to stroke - although energy does going into making wash, given its relatively short length.

John Alison said...

I've come over all defensive about my little Yole! Although not the fastest boat, a mate and I averaged over 4 knots from Norwich to Yarmouth in one stint. I find the plastic concave seats considerably less butt crippling than those in a scull.

It's enabled me to stay out on the water over the winter, often with an elderly mother wrapped up in a sawn-off garden chair strapped in the stern.

The stern does gurgle a bit - but although she doesn't run like a fine shell, momentum certainly doesn't die from stroke to stroke - although energy does going into making wash, given its relatively short length.