Sculling Oar: Testing

While Baltimore was under a temperature inversion, the airs were completely still and created the perfect conditions to test out the sculling oar.

Photo courtesy of Siobhan Fahrmeier

Photo courtesy of Siobhan Fahrmeier

We quietly walked Wisdom out of the slip and motored out of the marina. Just outside the marina, I brought the boat to a full stop and deployed the oar.

This was my very first time sculling ever, so it took me a few minutes to figure out how it all works. At first, the oar was splashing water around and we weren't moving forward.

Once I got the knack of it, I was able to propel us at speeds of 0.2 to 0.3 knots. This is by far not an appreciable speed, so I tried a different rowing position.

I moved the oar from its stern mounted oarlock to the genoa sheet winch and lashed it to the winch drum. The 16 foot oar protruding straight out was able to move us at speeds of 0.2 to 0.5 knots. Slightly better, but still not that fast. 

I once again returned the oar to the stern mounted oar lock but this time I tied the oar into its place. One lashing over the oarlock to keep it from popping out of place, and another lanyard to keep the neck from rising. This allowed me to put all of my force into the sculling motion.

By grabbing the lanyard, I was able to control the pitch of the oar without any force on my wrists. This was a significant help in efficiency, though the speed did not increase much.

I feel that the low speed was a direct result of three factors.

1. My lack of experience sculling
2. Not having the oar properly secured
3. Very dirty bottom and a large fixed three blade propeller

I feel that more practice is necessary to refine my skills, as well as finalizing the installation. The large propeller can be replaced with a feathering prop, but I do like the ability to recharge my motors battery bank. The dirty bottom is the easiest problem to correct, and I think it will have a huge benefit on our speed through the water.

While I didn't think it was very much work while I was sculling, I was incredibly sore the next day. I certainly need to practice more to build up the strength needed to move the boat any considerable distance. 

Morty certainly did enjoy the afternoon stroll!

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