Wednesday 31 August 2011

Atchafalaya Basin Piroque

Doryman today features a type of boat I hadn't come across before - the Atchafalaya Basin Piroque from Louisiana. It is designed to be rowed forwards through the still, narrow, congested channels of the bayous.
It would be a great boat for England's canals - you can see where you are going, and I imagine that you could push the boat along close to the 4mph speed limit. I think I would try and design it to keep the bow in the water to maximise the waterline length, however.

Monday 29 August 2011

Rowin' in the Rain

It's happened again. We went out in the Clayton skiff Gladys yesterday in broad sunshine, ignoring the black cloud just to the west. At exactly the point of no return, the cloud dropped its load all over us. Cox Chris Bream looks miserable in this pic, and I assure you we all looked similar. When we got back to the beach ten minutes later, the sun was out again.

Wednesday 24 August 2011

Airport Travelator Rowing - Britain Triumphs Again

The British men's eight had some time to kill at Munich Airport on their way to the World Championships at Bled, Slovenia, recently. The Devil finds work for idle hands to do.....

Scottish Coastal Rowing on telly

The Scottish Coastal Rowing project has been featured in an hour-long documentary on Alba, the Gaelic-language channel of the BBC (with subtitles). It is great stuff - catch it now because it is only available until August 29th.

Thursday 18 August 2011

Rowing a Guideboat in Canada

Once again, Kim Apel reports from a fabulous location for rowing, this time British Columbia where he is pictured in an Adirondack Guideboat. The Guideboat has legendary rowing qualities that I was always a teeny bit sceptical about, but Kim reports that it delivers. Of course, it might not be the boat - he could have been the fittest guy on the water, or rowing could be intrinsically faster than paddling. You decide:

Chris: I thought you might like a trip report from the far west. I was part of a group of six preparing for a wilderness canoe trip in Canada. One dropped out, leaving two canoe-pairs and me, the odd man out. So I borrowed an Adirondack Guideboat, and found rowing solo, rather than paddling tandem, to be a wonderful option. Remarkably, the 14 ft. hull easily kept pace with a pair of longer, sleeker, lighter performance canoes. It’s faster than it ought to be for its length. We were in Wells-Gray Provincial Park in the Cariboo Mountains of British Columbia. There is no road access to 25 mile-long Murtle Lake. One must portage boats and gear 1¾ mile to the water’s edge. The lake is restricted to “paddle-only,” though oars seem to be acceptable as well.
Google Adirondack Guideboat for background on this 19th century American type. Note the unusual bottom shape of the Guideboat hull. Though the photo is of a Kevlar-composite hull, the shape reflects the design of the traditional wooden hull, which included a substantial flat keel-plank or backbone, to which very light ribs and topside planking were attached.
Kim Apel
San Clemente, California, USA

Monday 15 August 2011

Fairey Pixie on eBay

A Fairey Pixie canoe with its oars has appeared on eBay
Fairey Marine built the Pixie in the 1950s and 60s, mainly for use as a tender to their yachts though they did try and sell them to the Special Boat Service. They could be split in half and stowed on the foredeck of the yacht or the back of the Volvo estate. Or, of course, in a submarine if you happened to be the SBS.
A beautifully restored Pixie was shown at the Beale Park Boat Show in 2008.
This one is the 10ft version, with decks (the owner rather charmingly calls the decks 'upper front and back sections') and a pair of oars (though the owner confesses it has no 'oar holdings'). The hot moulded hull seems to be intact, so it would make a rather satisfying restoration project.

Sunday 14 August 2011

Prams or Praams

There's been a curious outbreak of prams (more correctly, praams) on Facebook.
I have a soft spot for prams. The front transom gives them a jaunty look and gives them a lot of extra space for the length. Rowing into the wind is not nice, though.
HBBR member Peter Nobes launched his pram Diya (above), after 18 months work. And well worth while - she looks lovely. More pics at the album Diya Launched.
In New Hampshire, Nate Carey launched his Joel White-designed Nutshell at Lake Elkins. The boat is to be raffled today at the 78th annual League of NH Craftsmen's Fair at Mt Sunapee Resort. More pics at the album Nutshell launched.
At The Dory Shop in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, a pair of prams are taking shape in the workshop. Now this is the sort of work environment I would love to have. More images at the album The Dory Shop.

This last Facebook post is not a pram but a sequence of pictures of a really nice evening row from boatbuilder Jake Miller in New Jersey. He found this tie-dyed rowboat abandoned in the reeds, like Moses' basket but happily without any baby prophets inside. Now it is back on the water and looks like total fun. More images at Jake's album An evening row with Judi.

Monday 8 August 2011

Evening on Chichester Harbour

Last night after club rowing I went for a little bonus row in the pilot gig Annie. I took this with my mobile phone on my coxing stint. Another in the long line of 'this is what it is all about' clips.

Friday 5 August 2011


Clint Chase has blogged about one of my little obsessions, the ability of a rowing/sailing boat to make good way upwind under oars even if you sacrifice a bit of speed on a broad reach. "I like the idea of rowing and then sailing home downwind!" he writes.
Clint and his wife often made the lunch stop first because they could row upwind, an achievement I can relate to. But he does admit that 'you have to love to row'. That is the rub for most sailors, I have found.
Southbourne Sea Scouts close to RfP Towers are selling their Virus Yole double scull like this one, but without the dog. The Yole is not pretty but sea-capable, safe and a good deal of fun. It has been kept under cover and has not been used very much, so would be an ideal choice for a sporty couple who fancy rowing offshore. Drop me an email and I will pass your details on.
The Lake Dillon Challenge in Colorado is claimed to be the highest regatta in the US. It is all a bit heavingly athletic for me, but it includes a nice variety of boats from eights to those precarious stand-up paddle jobbies.

Wednesday 3 August 2011

Postscript to the HBBR meet

Previous posts on the HBBR meet on the River Severn have concentrated on the boats, so here are a few snaps of the social aspect of the event. The company is what makes the HBBR special.