Monday, 29 October 2012

French Style


Gavin Atkin, boat designer, blogger, musician, journalist (also contains lanolin, as Flanders said about Swann), sent me a link to the the Liteboat, a highly stylish new rowing boat created by French long-distance oarsman Mathieu Bonnier.
Gavin asks what I think.
Well, I hesitate to be rude about a boat created by someone who has far more experience of rowing through every kind of weather than I have, but the design treads on all my corns.
That reversed bow, for a start. There is no apparent functional reason for it. Indeed, you can actually see it piercing the waves and throwing water into the boat in the video. A well spread bow lifts the boat over the wave and prevents water coming in.
Then there is the wide open stern, intended to provide an easy exit for all that water coming unnecessarily over the bow. It must drag the boat back, especially with heavier rowers who will cause the stern to dip underwater every time they slide towards the stern. The self-bailing stern is the nastiest feature of the Virus Yole, in my opinion.
On the plus side, the hull is intrinsically buoyant and construction is by resin sandwich infusion with carbon bits for a very strong but light boat.
Bonnier says that he wanted a boat that is stable, light, easy to row, fast and car-toppable. "I looked in vain for this boat: she did not exist!" he says.
Yes she does, Mathieu. She is pictured up there, on the blog masthead. My Sprite Snarleyow.

3 comments:

Bursledon Blogger said...

I'm with you about that reverse stem, interesting that they chose a yacht designer rather than a dinghy designer for a rowing boat.

Laingdon Schmitt said...

I'm not sure that I've ever heard some one quote Michael Flanders, certainly not the line about containing lanolin! Humor was a higher art in his day.

Keith Webster said...

Reverse stems like that went outwith the Dreadnoughts, they have come back in as a fashion statement renameed an "Ax bow". little ability to lift to a wave coupled with a wide flat stern make for a wet slow rowing boat.