Monday, 24 November 2008

New sculling boat at Earl's Court

An exciting new rowing boat is being launched at the Sail, Power and Watersports Show at Earls Court this week. Paul Zink writes from lovely Clovelly in Devon:

Hello Chris,

I've recently picked up your blog from earlier this year on sliding riggers. Did you get round to setting up a boat with a sliding rigger?

I have been sculling with a sliding rigger on the open sea for the past four years. Apart from its slightly better performance on flat water it has proved to be greatly superior in rough conditions. With the fixed seat, one feels much more part of the boat, resulting in greater stability, control and ability to maintain a good rhythm.

I was looking for a sporty sculling boat providing a good balance between speed, stability and general seaworthiness. I was not able to find anything that met all my criteria so I set about building my own. I have now built three boats, the second with modifications on the first and the third a complete redesign based on lessons from the first two. The first boat was fitted with a sliding rigger taken off of a standard production boat but after a few months suffered a metal fatigue problem and broke. Boats 2 and 3 have a rigger to my own design.

General reaction to my boat has been such that I have teamed up with a business partner (also a rowing enthusiast) and we are in the process of putting it into production. You can find more details on We will be exhibiting at the Earls Court Boat Show (stand Q16) this week. If you happen to be at the show please look for me for a chat about sliding riggers and boats in general.

Paul Zink

I have yet to try a sliding rigger boat, but they have lots of advantages over sliding seats and my next boat will have sliding riggers. When they were introduced in the 1980s they were banned by rowing's governing body, FISA, because they started winning everything.
But the main advantage from a recreational and sea rowing perspective is that the weight of the rower stays fixed in the boat, eliminating the pitching movement that a sliding seat causes.
Judging by the photos, the Clovelly Scull is a very seaworthy boat indeed and Peter seems confident out there in the Bristol Channel off the rocky North Devon coast.
The Clovelly Scull is a high-tech machine, made from polyester glass foam sandwich and selling at £3700 (inc VAT but exc carriage) if ordered at the show. A unique optional extra is the bipod supporting a front-view mirror and a GPS.
But what really sells it for me is this shot of the Clovelly Scull returning from a trip to Lundy Island, just visible on the horizon fifteen miles away. Perfect.

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