Practical Boat Owner - - Practical -

Skip­pers can run their en­gines in gear, which Ab­hi­lash Tomy did to good ef­fect to pro­pel his Suhaili replica Thuriya out of the Dol­drums, but the 40 gal­lon fuel limit car­ried on board has to be bal­anced against the need to recharge batteries in the darker depths of the South­ern Ocean.

De­signer Dick Koop­mans came up with an­other idea for At­lantic row­ing cham­pion Mark Slats – a pair of 13ft sculling oars!

“We went to a great deal of ef­fort first de­sign­ing and then test­ing var­i­ous oars to find the op­ti­mum size to pro­pel the boat without be­ing too tir­ing.”

Tir­ing Slats is some­thing hard to imag­ine. At 6ft 6in tall with ox-like shoul­ders, the Dutch­man smashed the solo transat­lantic row­ing record by five days last win­ter, row­ing 20 hours a day! He is fo­cused on win­ning and the prospect of row­ing a 36ft boat did not faze him at all. The op­ti­mum area for the blade it ap­pears is 0.3m2. A pair of th­ese rowed from the cock­pit will pro­pel the boat at be­tween 1.5 and 2knots. “He is quite ca­pa­ble of row­ing the Rustler 36 through calms for up to 10 hours a day – and cover 20-30 miles,” Koop­mans ex­plained.

That old say­ing ‘Rac­ing im­proves the breed’ is cer­tainly hap­pen­ing with th­ese tra­di­tional cruis­ing de­signs, and more lessons are cer­tain to be learned in the head winds of the North-east Trades, and Roar­ing Forty lat­i­tudes.

ABOVE and LEFT Skip­pers in the Golden Globe Race have mounted so­lar pan­els any­where they can find space

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