Sculling Eleanor… finally!

4weeks ago, I was wondering what does it take to scull Eleanor? Today, I know. The answer is Desire, Determination and Willingness to try. I mean, it sure is difficult to maintain a positive attitude after 4 years, 8 different setups.. Finally here we are, sculling Eleanor.. achieving 1.5kn. With the setup fixed, fine tuning is next on the list, hoping to achieve that 2kn.

A new setup. Golf ball pin mounted on the transom.

I found much information on sculling online to be very useful, but I guess the setup needs to be different for a boat like Eleanor..

Some people found that they were able to scull with a modified oarlock mounted on the transom, and they proved that it worked for them. I gave that a go, but the energy to hold the oar in place and swinging left and right with the right wrist twisting was too much. I was pretty much frustrasted with using too much energy and going nowhere. In my design, I want the oar to stay in place such that all my energy will be efficiently used in pushing the handle.

Pipe endcap used for a cup, mounted on the underside of the oar handle near the joint

That means, the oar should be mounted on a pin of some sort. 1st, I tried mounting the pin ( a bolt with a golf ball end on the oar and the cup on the transom. That worked well for the purpose of not wasting energy. Then I found that mounting the pin on the transom and the cup on the oar worked better.

Oar with 150 degree bent

This oar was built with scrap wood that we gathered from recycle bins and those that were just laying around. The handle is 1.75″ x 1.75″ x 6′, stem is 1.75″ x 1.75″ x 5′ and blade is 1″ x 6″ x 4′ tapered. 1 bolt joint the handle to the stem, and the plywood cheeks makes it more sturdy. The blade is screwed onto the stem. In this picture, the blade was screwed on the underside, but we changed it to the upperside and I like it much better.

Picture says it all, the oar was bent too deep.

This is how Eleanor looks with this setup… I couldnt get the leverage that I was needing from this overbent oar. A slight twist of my wrist, and the oar goes from 1 side to the other. Its only thru testing that we learn what works and what dont.. right.. Okay, resetting the angle to 165 degrees.

Setting a new angle in the oar..

The new angle works very well… IMO.

Eleanor sculling away from her berth

How does this look to you? Better? I hope. In my left hand, I am holding another golf ball pin that gives me control over the blade facing. It saves my hands from holding to tightly over the handle for the twisting motion. I like this better than using the lanyard.

Pull stroke.

Thats me taking Eleanor away from berth by oar. My GPS recorded a steady 0.8kns and a peak of 1.2kns. Thats a good improvement using this crude prototyping setup. Me thinks that I will gain another 0.5 kn with more fine tuning on the blade shape and practice will hone my muscles to be more effective in my strokes. Doug recorded a peak of 1.7kns, but having to expend way too much energy getting there..

I am looking forward to comments and ideas on better sculling setup. Please share your experience and sculling stories with me.


1 Response to “Sculling Eleanor… finally!”

  1. 1 Frank
    April 18, 2012 at 9:35 am

    Hi, I am experimenting with yulohs and believe that blade area is key to performance. I do think the rope should angle backwards so that the ,sweep axis, is perp to the shaft ,, approx anyway ,,,,
    I put a handle on the shaft to control twist. Am also trying a ,fishtail type.

    Good to see another sailboat owner trying yuloh ,,, must be the way to go!

    Hope to compare further


    Frank. Pfrankrathotmaildotcom

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Sailing 2015: Port Townsend(WA, US) -> Costes Island (BC, Canada)

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