Monday 8 June 2009

Built for comfort, not speed

The two hardest working rowers in the HBBR fleet from Lechlade to Beale Park were probably me and Wayne Oliver in our flat-bottomed boats. Wayne was also burdened with a pair of short oars and the fact that he had left the rudder at home, so his boat Ever Hopeful would spin round on its axis rather than go forward.
Wayne's problems were lessened by the addition of the rudder, brought to him at Radcot Bridge on Monday. With the tiller lashed to the centre position, the boat went in a straight line quite nicely. And borrowing Chris Waite's long oars gave him a bit more heft, as shown above in Chris Perkins' picture. But he still had to labour heroically to complete the course.
The fundamental problem for both of us was the combination of a flat bottom and a wide transom that digs into the water, sucking the boat back. As you can see from this picture, Nessy leaves a carpet of turbulence in her wake.
This is the price we paid for the ease of construction, stability and capacious flat space for sleeping in that the designer, Conrad Natzio, built into both boats, the Sandpiper and Oystercatcher.
Richard Rooth's Inwe, in contrast, is a slippy double ender from Iain Oughtred (his Elf) and seems to be a joy to row with Richard's long, slender sea oars (pic by Chris Perkins).


Bursledon Blogger said...


sounds like a great trip - but beward flat bottom boats!!

Chris Partridge said...

My future boats will not be flat bottomed, but Nessy was a very easy introduction to boatbuilding and is outstandingly stable so a bit of extra effort rowing was well worth it.