Friday 22 March 2013

The Fitzgerald Sculling Oar in Action

Cliff Martin kindly sent me a video of him sculling with his home-made Fitzgerald pattern sculling oar.
The oar came in for some critical examination when I posted about it recently. Fitzgerald places the crank in the oar below the rowlock, which goes counter to the traditional yuloh design which is bent above the rowlock.
Cliff made his Fitzgerald pattern oar 'from stolen hardwood'. He writes:
"The video shows Sarah rowing with a pair of Plastimo 8 footers while I scull with the Fitzgerald pattern oar over the transom. The boat is a Wayfarer, heavily laden with cruising gear and being rowed into a headwind. Towards the end of the video it seems as though Sarah was barely able to keep up with the Plastimo oars. I think you will agree that it is a long time since you saw a Wayfarer being rowed so quickly."
Sarah is a strong rower despite having to use Plastimos, which like the lives of the poor are nasty, brutish and short, so I suspect Cliff may be contributing less to the speed than he thinks, but the performance is impressive nevertheless.
Steve Bradwell shot the vid at the lovely Wootton Creek, IoW. Which reminds me, I have been mulling a row to Wootton for some time. If the weather improves this must happen soon.


Chris Waite said...

Very interesting to see; having an oarsgirl confuses the picture, but I have been continuing this discussion with Cliff and the video brings up two points:

1. Watch the joint where the blade meets the shaft - at every stroke it moves through perhaps as much as a foot without achieveing any real thrust from the blade. A loss of two foot of movement per cycle.

2. On the other hand when it does start to drive, the more vertical aspect appears to give extra thrust compared to a Yuloh at a shallower angle....

Plot thickens!


Bursledon Blogger said...

Must get over to Wooten creek this year, forgotten how nice it is

Rob said...

A few years ago I was thinking of a sculling oar for a friend's 10m sailboat.

I looked at the 'Ve-scull' design, it is a modern Japanese improvement over the traditional oar, and requires no fancy up and down and twisting squiggling on the part of the oarsman. Just a back and forth movement on the handle.

It has a bent oar but with the oar blade is oriented along the axis of the boat. It has a bent loom, but bent *upwards, and the forward end is secured by a line to a cleat in the deck (important), and the oar is in a ring row-lock at the stern. Pushing back and forth *automatically orients the angle of the oar blade to push like a propeller blade. Very elegant.

Here are some interesting links, sadly some of the videos are no longer connected, the one where the monkey sculls the boat is particularly interesting, it gives me confidence that perhaps even I might be able to make it work without buggering it up.

Good fortune!

Alli said...

It looks decent to me but I wouldn't know how to dissect it. A fair amount of power although a good amount of side to side movement with the boat. Wooten creek looks nice.

jaywfitz said...

Hi guys, that's cool and all, but not my design. My design is based off traditional barge oars, I didn't make it up. You'll find if the shaft is bent the blade trails and rocks itself. Part of that comes down to anticipating the amount of speed you think you're going to get, which on my last boat, 17 tons, wasn't a lot. Maybe a knot plus. A drunken buddy put the same oar on a 24 footer and he made 3 knots until it broke his transome. . .cheers.

jaywfitz said...

hey guys, rather than guess, you could ask. That doesn't resemble my design in the slightest. You'll need to take into account a lot of things, mainly pitch, which is a volume of swept length, anticipated speed, conditions, and all the rest. For a little boat like the one in the picture, you're better off to just row. Sculling is about pushing displacement boats of tonnage. It's about leverage. My design is just a traditional barge oar. I didn't make it up. That's how they did it.

Chris Partridge said...

Very nice to hear from you, Jay. I would have asked, just didn't know how to contact you.
What does your design look like, exactly? Could you email me some details for a new post?