Steve Woods has moved away from Langstone (shame!) but will be coming down regularly to row (hooray!) and has stored his Virus Yole sliding seat scull in the boat park. So when I went for a row last night and no one else was around I simply had to take it out for a bit of a thrash.
The good thing about the Yole is that it is ready for action at a moment's notice. The aluminium outriggers fold into the boat, and Steve leaves the blades in the gates so all you have to do is swing the riggers out and you are good to go.
The wind was brisk (F5/6) and the tide had yet to cover the saltings properly so I ventured gingerly down the narrow channel. The bad thing about the Yole is its open transom, which is supposed to be self-draining but actually sucks water in when you slide the seat forwards in the recovery. It is very depressing watching all this water sloshing in and out of the boat, wasting energy and sucking you back.
And it seemed to be getting worse. The boat was settling down in the water and getting heavier. Turning was becoming a struggle.
Then I noticed a stray item being dragged in and out of the boat by the water, on the end of a bit of string. I had left the bung out...
Time for a swift return to the beach. God that boat was heavy - getting it back on the launching trailer needed muscles of Hercules. It took about ten minutes for the water to drain out.
That's the ugly part of the design. The bung hole is at the end of the skeg where the rower cannot see it, and the rotomoulded construction means you can't see the water coming in either. And when the penny finally drops, it is impossible to get to the narrow stern and put it in.
By this time Les had turned up so we went out in a Teifi skiff instead. No bung, no worries.