Following the vote at the SCRA AGM, a group of oar experts has been assembled from Scotland, N. Ireland, England, Australia, Canada and the USA. Topher Dawson of Ullapool, Treasurer of SCRA has been appointed as chairman of the Group.
The first task for the group was to put out a survey to clubs asking what they wanted in a standard design. Thanks to the 61 respondents for their input, which has come in over 16 days. The survey is now closed and the full results can be seen at https://www.surveymonkey.com/results/SM-RKPHSB8F/
Topher reports “In summary, all timber oars are seen as important or very important, so I think we can reject carbon/glass oars. By the same token, cleavers and nylon swivels are not approved of. Cost of materials <£50 per oar is not seen as so important. Clubs are pretty divided about oarlock systems. Many of the text comments show some clubs want the existing freedom to make oars in different shapes and sizes, but many also want more uniformity.”
“Clubs clearly want an oar which is easily made, balanced and hard wearing. The group is debating whether it will need to be solid for simplicity or hollow for lightness. The interplay between clashes, balance and gearing is being studied.
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The group’s next task is to gather information about good existing oars so we know what the best existing practice is. If your club has not yet taken part, please email Topher for a measurement form. The plan is to make prototypes, test them, and bring the best to a regatta near you in order to allow the skiffing public to do a hands-on trial.