By Ken Dollhopf
Rowing shells are among the fastest human powered boats, and there are some two hundred US colleges that have rowing teams.
When racing, a large men’s 8 rowing shell can go about 13.8 mph. This is Olympians. Normal club rowing is about 11.5 mph.
I have a company called Leribe that is focused on the US rowing market. We sell racing boats and systems for racing events. We offer boats for this market. The Wavewalks serve two specific needs:
Coaching launch: The S4 model coupled with an 8 HP outboard motor is perfect for this application, which requires a boat that produces a minimal wake. The S4 is being used as a coaches launch for training and also an officials “chase boat” for regatta racing. There was a lot of experimenting with motors in a number of water conditions but we have settled on the need for an 8hp motor.
Regatta Start: During racing there are usually 6 platforms that are anchored at the start and a person on these hold and adjust the racing boats prior to the start. The Wavewalk 500 R is a great option for these. Each regatta needs 6-8 of these boats.
The 500R’s are being used as stationary platforms for racing. An unconventional use undoubtedly. The key item here is that a person sits in each boat and then for each race the crew that is assigned the lane backs into the 500R and the person uses the split between the pontoons to align the bows of each boat to the starting line. As each racing boat may be a different length there is an official that uses radios and will tell each of the 6 500Rs to move their boat in or out until perfect alignment is achieved. Then the race may begin. This is repeated for each race on between 3 and 10 minute centers.
It is a unique use of the W500 R but it’s working.