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View Full Version : The urge to experiment; sculling



John Smith
02-22-2011, 07:52 PM
Hope I have the right word. I'm referring to a single oar off the stern that one would normally twist a bit and sweep to drive the boat.

My experiment would be to replace the solid blade with a flexible fin and see if I can accomplish the same objective without the twisting.

Amazing how one nice day gets one thinking about his boat.

Ian McColgin
02-22-2011, 08:18 PM
There are two kayaks that do something like that. One is a mildly flexable blade below the boat that really works like a propeller except it has only one blade and swings through only about four points before reversing lead and direction. The other, more like what you want, is really a wiggle blade sticking out behind and operated by the push/pull of a foot yoke. The blade is flexable lexan so as it goes from one side to the other it bends and thus can push aganist the water. The spring back at the end of the stroke is fun as well.

Ben Fuller
02-23-2011, 12:19 PM
Doug Martin designed an interesting oar blade for the vertical blade sculling stroke ( like a fish tail). It is remarkably efficient as I recall, in fact I should dig mine out. I need a new shaft as the oar blade developed enough power to break my old one. Drawing of it is my old Small Boat Journal article that is floating around on the 'Net.

John Smith
02-23-2011, 12:53 PM
Doug Martin designed an interesting oar blade for the vertical blade sculling stroke ( like a fish tail). It is remarkably efficient as I recall, in fact I should dig mine out. I need a new shaft as the oar blade developed enough power to break my old one. Drawing of it is my old Small Boat Journal article that is floating around on the 'Net.

My thinking is that I'd like to accomplish two things. One would be seeing where I'm going, which could be done with a forward facing rig, and, the second, have everything within the width of the boat. Guess I'd be losing reverse, but maybe I can find a way to make that work.

Ian McColgin
02-23-2011, 01:06 PM
From what I have seen and done, the fishtail flexable - not really sculling but waggling - is nifty for an easily driven hull like a kayak and especially nice as it can be foot powered.

However, for a dink real sculling has two very serious advantages. First, it's considerably more powerful. Once you're any good at it, it's as powerful as rowing in practical terms at low speeds, especially because the time it's not putting thrust in the water is incredibly brief compared to the return stroke when rowing. And the oar is good for something else while an oar with that flexable a blade is nigh on useless for anything else. I find that when standing to scull into a headwind, at a certain point the wind resistance of my body is not worth it and I sit. Also, for speed or bucking a high wind or waves, nothing beats the simple surface area to two blades backed by your entire biomass. Point is, sculling done right is far more powerful than one might think. Just, it's still just one blade.

G'luck

wizbang 13
02-23-2011, 04:52 PM
It's not just a blade wagging /twisting back n forth, sadly.
I face fwd ,squatting sideways, sculling a smallboat. no problem
Other advantages are, carrying out an anchor in a blow. One hand is free to un do the spagetti in the anchor rode, while the scull keeps steady pressure.
The other is that your nice oars will not get pinched.

Ben Fuller
02-23-2011, 11:21 PM
Speciaiized sculling oars, whether the various forms of traditional horizontal bladed oars ( gunning oars, bahamanian, yulohs ) etc and Doug Martin's ratchet the power that can be obtained over a regular rowing oar used for sculling considerably. Fun to make and fun to experiment with. I use my specialized gunning derived sculling oar instead of a rudder when sailing my good little skiff, a beautifully balanced small boat.

Bob Triggs
02-24-2011, 08:01 PM
Look up "Yuloh" here on the site's search function. Plenty of good info and links.