Saturday 30 January 2016

Sliding Seat Frustration

I almost went sliding seat rowing the other day. Philip Meakins is one of those people who accumulates boats (he says he has about 12 in and around his house at the moment), and we met the other day to take a look at a sliding seat coastal four he rescued because burning such a lovely wooden hull would be criminal boaticide or something.
Anyway, the idea is to take it to Emsworth and get a group of slidey-seaty people together to get it back on the water.
Afterwards, we went rowing up the Hamble in a small fleet including two of Philip's boats. One was the boat he built for himself, an Iain Oughtred Mole design called Kingfisher, and a slim, elegant skiff with a Piantedosi drop-in sliding seat/outrigger. That was for me.
I got in with keen anticipation - she looks quick. But on the first stroke my behind crashed on the back stop about an inch short. Damn. And on the recovery I had to slide my hands over my knees to keep the blades out of the water.
The boat was just several sizes too small. Not only are my legs too long, my weight pushes the boat lower in the water, bringing the handles of the blades down very substantially because of the leverage. Philip had to take her instead. I went in the Solent galley Avery A.
I get similar problems in Steve Woods' Virus. Because I'm at the upper end of the 100kg weight range, the self-bailing stern is always just underwater, so every time I come forward water is sucked up into the boat, dragging the boat backwards.
Which brings me to the boat in the picture at the top of the post, the new British-made GlideOne.
It is has got so much going for it. It is made of tough rotomoulded polyethylene providing low-maintenance hull at low cost - just £1,400 (plus VAT, plus blades). The hull is long and slim and has a proper little transom instead of a stupid self-bailer. It should be a hit as a training boat for clubs and schools, and as a leisure rowing boat for fitness freaks.
Unfortunately, rowers of average height such as myself will never own one - the maximum weight is a mere 75kg.


Alden Smith said...

The fore deck of the boat in the second photo looks to made of fabric. Is this usual in these older rowing shells? The hull construction looks pretty rugged, I would have thought a lot of weight would have been saved by building them a little lighter including a light but solid deck ?

Anonymous said...

You do mean £1,400, not £14,000!

Unknown said...

Fabric is the norm, or was, that's why they're referred to as the canvas (winning by a canvas)
By the way, re the original post, I assume the boat in the top picture is £1400 and not £14000? The first seems remarkably cheap, if it's any good, if it's the latter I think I'd want it gold plated at that price.

Anonymous said...

Chris, you added an extra zero to the price.

Chris Partridge said...

Thanks all. That comes of finishing off in a rush. I've corrected it - the GlideOne does look much more reasonably priced now...