Finding solutions to problems that don't exist.

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by river runner, Mar 25, 2013.

  1. river runner
    Joined: Jul 2011
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    river runner baker

    Or, is good, good enough?
    I'm no genius, as many will be quick to agree with. But I have a very high mechanical aptitude and I think I am good at thinking outside the box and I have lots of time to think. But it seems that many feel I'm looking for solutions to problems that don't exist. Take drift boats and oars. I have a DVD on how to row drift boats, featuring the founder of Hyde Drift boats. I own a Hyde drift boat, though it is yet to see water. Mr Hyde has been rowing drift boats since I was a small boy, and I'm not young. Still, it is obvious that his boat works very well. But is good, good enough? Is great good enough? Should we stop trying to improve on something just because what we already have works just fine? Or maybe the question is, more accurately, are small incremental changes all that should be tried, or should we, at least, try and make a major leap once in a while?
    Take rowing with traditional oars. It's been around for a very long time. The Egyptians and Vikings used oars. Must be pretty funtional. Any one that is proficient with oars and loves rowing is going to wonder why anyone would think they need improving on. What about the guy that only rows a couple times a year during fishing season? What about the guy that is rowing in places where it is important to see where you are going? What about the guy that needs to row in a confined space? What about the guy that needs to row in very shallow water? Paddles don't work on wide boats, only narrow ones like canoes and Kayaks. Are traditional oars good enough for everyone or is there a need for something else?
     
  2. latestarter
    Joined: Jul 2010
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    latestarter Senior Member

    I enjoy trying to think of improvements to how things are done however a lot of mechanisms are so developed that the law of diminishing returns applies.

    I am building a wide canoe at the moment, one of the uses will be rowing. I would much prefer to be facing forward whilst rowing and have looked at various contraptions to do so and may experiment later.

    In the mean time I shall be fitting forward view mirrors.
     
  3. jehardiman
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    jehardiman Senior Member

    You know you can row facing forward with regular oars/locks/tholes. They have been doing it in the med and asia for a couple of mellimum. Hell, I learned to row facing forward. Though really standing and rowing forward is better than sitting and rowing forward.

    Really though, specialized machines are just that: specialized. The oar and thole are basicly unchanged because they are so versatile. Thay can be addaped to almost any condition you encounter. A specialized rowing machine often turns into a poor anchor.
     
  4. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    I'm with jehardiman on this. I learned to row facing backwards and forward when I was a young kid. All these contraptions only switch the problem and cause a whole bunch of complications. Anyone that has done some rowing knows that you need to be able to row a boat is both directions, particularly in tight spots or when you are docking. Why is there such a resistance to sitting aft of the oars if you want to look forward?
     
  5. michael pierzga
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    michael pierzga Senior Member

    I never liked pushing a boat. The only way to generate any power is to stand and push. Standing in a lightweight narrow beam rig is clumsy and adds to much windage.

    I prefer pulling.

    If your worried about motorboats running you down , Paint your oars a bright high visability colour .

    For close work in harbours and around other boats learn to scull.
     
  6. daiquiri
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    Location: Italy (Garda Lake) and Croatia (Istria)

    daiquiri Engineering and Design

    It is a matter of human anatomy, which is fore-aft asymmetric. It is true that one can chose to row facing forward or backwards, but the fact is - he will always be doing it more efficiently when pulling the oars, not when pushing them.

    Our back side is covered with big muscle groups which are much stronger and more resistant than our front muscles are. All the big muscle groups work in synergy during the oar-pulling phase: trapezius, deltoids, teres and latissimus, plus gluteus and femoral quadriceps. That's the heaviest artillery our body can shoot. :)

    Vice-versa, when we oar while facing forward, their antagonist muscular groups are involved, but they are both weaker and less resistant. They are - deltoids, pectorals, abdominals (upper, mid, lower) plus femoral biceps.

    And then there is a consideration about loads transmitted to the spine, or backbone. The spine is anatomically better adapted to carry loads coming from back muscles than those coming from the frontal ones, though the posture has to be correct in order to prevent backbone injuries like hernia. But the posture and a good and anatomical support for the back is important for the front-facing position too, since excessive abdominal loads can cause an inguinal hernia. And I know something about both of them... :rolleyes:

    Cheers
     
  7. jehardiman
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    jehardiman Senior Member

    Oh yes, for power you want to push with your legs and pull with your arms...but for absolute speed under oars, the cox'n isn't on stroke at all...

    To quote river runner
    All those things are not about alsolute power, but control...If control is all that is wanted use a different system...like poling for shallow water or an electric motor for the occasional fisherman (as a frequent fisherman will get good a rowing).
     
  8. michael pierzga
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    michael pierzga Senior Member

    Just row backwards. My whitehall rows beautifully in reverse.


    No need to invent some kinda contraption for temporary work
     
  9. daiquiri
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    daiquiri Engineering and Design

  10. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    The Portuguese fishermen have been rowing facing forward for centuries. In many places of Spain (Galicia) that is common too.
     
  11. daiquiri
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    daiquiri Engineering and Design

    It doesn't prove much, Gonzo. Fishermen in my part of the world row both forward and backwards. As has been said, one chooses how to row depending on his needs. For sure rowing backwards is not the most natural way when it comes to situation awareness, but is biomechanically the most efficient way.
     
  12. messabout
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    messabout Senior Member

    But rowing, facing foreward, is a good way to develope tightly strung abdominal muscles that are seen as quite sexy by the majority of pretty women.. :D
     
  13. troy2000
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    troy2000 Senior Member

    Wouldn't do me much good; my tightly strung abdominal muscles would still be hidden behind my beer gut. I'm afraid I'll just have to keep getting by on my boyish charm, my gentle wit, and my dashing good looks.:p
     
  14. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Hang a scull and stop farting around with looking over your shoulder . . .
     

  15. kevloor
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    kevloor E.Sharov

    On my mind looking ahead in time when you row is dont have an problem with human anatomy. Because there is no difference between human moving and force applying on both boats. When human makes paddle - he pull. This is optimal.
     
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