We're all in the same boat so let's pull together!

Eye Opening Conversation on rowingillustrated.com

As I mentioned in my post Interest in The New Boat Today on December 17, a conversation on the Boat Board at Rowing Illustrated began when somebody post a link to The New Boat for the “tech geeks/guys” to discuss.

I posted there this morning that I agree with the points made by a couple of the contributors in the discussion about how the governing entities of the sport of rowing (specifically FISA and US Rowing) are right to place more emphasis on the athleticism of the rowers than on how high-tech the boat is. To that end, they have incorporated restrictions on radical innovations in their Rules of Racing. The purity of the sport and the competition can only be preserved by limiting how drastic the boats can be changed by the people who have the money and the time to play the game of technology becoming the competition over strength and skill.

This conversation has helped open my eyes to a lot. I only came up with a new design because I couldn’t get any elite flat water boat makers interested in sponsoring me to break the world long-distance rowing record. So since I can’t afford $12,000 for an awesome boat right now, visions of how to make a really cool fast boat started pouring into my head. That’s how things work for me. I am an inventor — and as with so much of what I have invented: if there had been something that already existed that met my need, I would have bought it instead of making it. That is … back when I still had money.

I couldn’t have a permanent rack on my car and still get it into my garage, so I made one that I could put on my vehicle (any car with a standard rack and soon a version for cars without) in five minutes and load my boat by myself. With my new roof rack, I became autonomous after 15 years of always needing help loading and unloading my boats! I have used it for over two years and it has been awesome. Many people have requested that I make one for them, and I will. I will post more in depth information and pictures about the roof rack soon, as it would be helpful to many rowers and kayakers for it to become available on the market.

My “radical new boat design” came from the same place. I often do things just because I don’t know I can’t. That’s a useful quality I have.

The only world long distance sculling record I know of to break was made in 1901 by three guys in a treble: 104 miles from Oxford to Putney, England in just under 14 hours. I know I can break the distance, but to break the time, I’d need an especially fast boat. Believe me, I am not trying to compensate for lack of athleticism. I am strong and I have ENDURANCE. But although I love my Flyweight named Hummingbird and bought it because up until recently, I did most of my rowing on open water, there is only so fast I can make it go.

So when I can make the prototype of my new boat … and there are so many cool features about it I haven’t gone into and you can’t see from the picture — I will make it just for the fun of finding out if it really is a good design. Keep in mind, the drawing I posted was literally just a preliminary doodle from about an hour of thought. However, based on all of the good points that have been made on the Rowing Illustrated Boat Board and the introduction of FISA and US Rowing rules and regulations that I hadn’t considered — along with their likely interpretations for boats to be eligible to race in sanctioned regattas, I will try to modify my design to keep it acceptably within the guidelines in hopes that it will be legal to race — and for that reason, be marketable and useful to other rowers.

But long skinny expensive white elephants can be fun too.


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