Friday 22 January 2010

West Mersea Duck Punts

Keyhaven potterer Brian Pearson has a new enthusiasm, the West Mersea Duck Punt, which he expects to be megafun for racing about the mudflats and he may be right and all. They are long (15ft), thin, flat bottomed and totally without fripperies like centreboards or rudders. This means they have to be steered by an oar, which usually has to be brought into vigorous action when going about.

They can also be rowed, as demonstrated in this picture from the West Mersea Town Regatta last year, and I expect they go reasonably fast.
When racing, the sailors seem to be able to row them facing forwards, which must be less than totally efficient but needs must if the wind dies, I suppose.
But it prompts a thought. What about racing duck punts over a course with an upwind leg where rowing was compulsory?
The boat would probably have to be a little beamier to allow the rowsailor to turn round on the thwart when changing from muscle to wind power. Or it could be run by a crew of two, one to row and steer and the other to tend to the sail. Perhaps a more traditional duck punt design such as Selway Fisher's Ruddy Duck Punt would be better, and its decks would make it less easy to swamp too.

PS - The main race at West Mersea regatta has to be rowed with two people and two oars, so most competitors row as a pair. It looks like tremendous fun. This year's regatta is on July 31.


Anonymous said...

This great close in video of a Duck Punt sailing around a yacht features tacks and gybes and more details of the boats.

Bit of a shock to find my enthusiasm outed! Nice to think I still have some!

I thought Chris you might like one of the rules of Duck Punts. The maximum length of oar is from the ground to the point of your nose. Quite an advantage for you!


Chris Partridge said...

The extra length of oar would only partly compensate for the added wetted area caused by the extra weight...

Rusty Knorr said...

I am building a Duck Punt in Seattle. Here is a link to my blog where you can follow my adventures being a first-time boat builder-
Wish me luck!