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

The New Boat


I have conceived of a radical new rowing shell hull design for going FAST!  I have done a lot of research into the ways the elite boat makers make their boats, the physics of boat design as far as how to make them fast and with my own rowing training and experience, I know what parts of the stroke check forward movement. I have come up with an idea that addresses all of the “disadvantages of prior art.”

Upon consulting the US Rowing 2010 Rules of Rowing, at first there seemed to be no rule specifically disallowing the nature of my design to be legal for racing. This page was discovered and posted on a Rowing Ilustrated message board last December and the stats of my nowhere-near-ready-to-launch website went through the roof! To this day it is the page that is most visited as I promised to prototype it and post pictures and video.

The conversation on the message board pointed out some rules I had not considered that I have posted below the drawing. According to those rules, my design may be enough out of bounds to be disallowed for racing unless I make a good argument that it meets with the criteria sufficiently to be allowed. I would be willing to alter the design enough to make a legal version of it. A lot remains to be seen.

Yes, the design is radical … but the radical part is not so much in what you can see in these initial drawings, but in just how far out of the conventional boat-building box my thinking is in how to construct it — for features and performance you cannot see from the drawings. It takes some explaining.

The shape, of course, is designed to eliminate more than two thirds wetted surface when the boat is at speed. The inner eight feet is essentially the boat always displacing water, and the bow and stern sections are for length and stability to minimize “hobby-horsing”. The size and placement of the hydrofoils will be such that they will merely serve to lift the boat enough out of the water to reduce wetted surface while still providing enough fore and aft balance to not require sliding riggers — which are definately not allowed.

With the bi-hull design, the wetted surface of the central section will be minimized at speed while still providing lateral stability. There is more to how the performance of the boat will be enhanced, having to do with how the central section and riggers will be constructed.

That it qualifies to race in traditional sanctioned flat water races is not my main objective for this boat design. Providing this boat not only for my own use, but to the growing population of scullers who have already demonstrated their keen interest in my new design … is part of my plan to expand the sport of sculling beyond traditional racing and even the increasing expansion of the sport into open water racing. I intend to promote the sport I consider the most elegant, full-body work-out and safe sport in the world into a hybrid of both flat water and open water rowing called long-distance rowing for serious and dedicated endurance athletes. The time has come to provide this option to my fellow century cyclists and other endurance athletes who will see the wisdom of taking up a sport that not only is a superior work-out but does not endanger their lives every time they go out — and is a gentle sport they can participate in well into their advanced years. Read more about this plan in: Expansion Plan of Long-Distance Rowing / Sculling.

The drawings below are just the first cocktail napkin doodle. Interest in it was expressed by an aerospace design and manufacturing firm to assist in the development of the prototype and I was told to post that they were evaluating the project as an announcement on my site with firework graphics. Sparkle, bang, sparkle! They have access to a 30 foot CNC router that would certainly speed up the process! Wouldn’t it be a blast if that got off the ground?

I will prototype this boat one way or another and will use it in my quest to break a world record.

Why? Because it’s there.

Rules that may affect whether the above design will be legal for rowing in US Rowing and FISA Races:

US Rules of Racing 2011

1-201 Rowing Defined (*)

“Rowing” is the propulsion of a displacement boat through water by the muscular force of one or more rowers, with or without a coxswain, in which oars are levers of the second order, and in which the rowers are sitting with their backs to the direction of forward movement of the boat.


Part A – Construction and Design

3-101 Free Construction of Equipment (*)

Except as specifically limited in these Rules, there shall be no limitations on the design and construction of boats, oars, and other equipment.

3-102 General Requirements for Boats (*)

(a)  A boat in the sport of Rowing shall have all its load bearing parts, including the axes of moving parts, firmly fixed to the body of the boat, but the seat of a rower may move along the axis of the boat.

(b)  The use of “sliding riggers,” in which the fulcrum of  the oar is not stationary with respect to the body of the boat, is strictly forbidden, except that the local organizing committee may allow such equipment if the event is clearly publicized as “experimental,” and if all teams are informed in writing in advance that such equipment will be allowed in that event.

FISA Rules of Rowing 2010

Rule 60 – Fairness – Innovations

1. significant innovations in equipment including, but not limited to, boats, oars, related equipment and clothing, must meet the following requirements before being for use in the sport of rowing:

1.1 be commercially available to all competitors (patents may not exclude the use by a team or a competitor);

1.2 not significantly add to the cost of the sport;

1.3 not provide an advantage to some competitors over others or change the nature of the sport;

1.4 be safe and environmentally sound; and

1.5 be a positive development for the sport of rowing and maintain the Principles of the sport.

2. the innovation must be submitted to the FISA executive committee for evaluation. if it is judged to meet the above conditions and is approved for use, it must be readily available for all competitors by January 1st in order to be authorized for use in international regattas that year. crews with unapproved innovations shall not be allowed to compete.

3. the executive committee has the sole authority to decide all matters under this rule including whether an innovation is significant, whether it is readily available, whether the costs are reasonable and whether it is safe and environmentally sound.


2 responses

  1. Hi,
    Love the idea although I’m not sure how much saving you’re going to get on surface drag due to reduced wetted surface area if you have a twin hull design in the middle of the boat.
    A couple of thoughts, it would probably work better with a sliding rig as I’m concerned that the sliding seat rig will produce porpoising that will have a huge affect on the foils fore and aft. Of course using a sliding rig would ban it from competition. The other thought is the design of the rigger you have in the drawing. If you had a more conventional one piece rigger it may cut down weight and stiffen the boat. What was your thought on having the layout you designed?
    If you build one I’d love to have a go.
    My main interest is open water rowing, having the twin hull in the middle of the boat will have stability advantages which might make it attractive for recreational and or open water rowers. I’m predicting a really fun long skinny white elephant but build one and let’s see.
    Edon Recreational Rowing Boats

    December 20, 2010 at 7:32 pm

  2. This boat is the real deal. Once approved by the FISA and the US Rowing, nothing will stop it. The radical design will improve the stroke and give more maneuverability to the boat, making the rowing still much more pleasant than ever before. It doesn’t even matter if it is approved for racing. Clearly, with all the attention it has been getting from the rowing community, it will be a big hit with open water racers, recreational scullers and long distance rowers.
    Jenifer Humming will be a powerful force to expand the sport of serious long distance rowing. There is a big need for this due to the rise in fatalities in other long distance endurance sports such as cycling. Many endurance athletes will turn to the wonderful sport of rowing as Jenifer Humming did.

    November 23, 2011 at 4:01 pm

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