What do you know about sliding riggers?

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The idea of sliding riggers vs. sliding seat interests me. I am interested in all openions, designs, or any information. Thanks Bob

-- Bob Price (skookum@jps.net), December 18, 2000


The sliding rigger gives some advantages over the sliding seat. First, because the body stays pretty much centered on the fixed seat while the rigger-stretcher assembly moves, the boat has much less tendency to hobby-horse. This makes fewer waves and a faster boat. It also means a boat does not have to be as long or have as much buoyancy in the ends to counteract hobby-horsing. Second, because the rigger moves with the oar, the oar stays close to perpendicular to the boat longer during the stroke, giving slightly more power. One feature of the sliding rigger that should be allowed for is the fact that, while a sliding-seat boat is pushed through the water by its oarlock pins, the sliding-rigger boat is pushed by the seat of the rower's pants. This means that, to be comfortable for more than a few strokes, the seat must have a slight lip at the back to rest against the upper buttocks (not the lower spine), and the feet must not be too low in relation to the seat to avoid the rower lifting off the seat during a hard stroke. There have been a number of sliding-rigger boats sold in North America in the past decades. The only one I know of today is the Turbo Wing from Virus, sold by RUM International (www.rowvirus.com) I believe there are several other sliding-rigger boats or drop-in units coming on the market this year.

-- David Stookey (David@openwater.com), January 18, 2001.

Hi David Stookey et al Revisiting this question a year later. I,m interested in builing a sliding rigger unit, but know of nothing to inspect out here on the West Australian coast. I would be interested if anyone can offfer drawings / sketches /photos (or any thoughts) as a starting point. With thanks Wayne Poulsen, Fremantle.

-- Wayne Poulsen (poulsens@bigpond.com), January 25, 2002.

One possible source for photos, perhaps even drawings, of a sliding rigger is the River & Rowing Museum in Henley, UK. They have on exhibit one of the earlier rigs, the one Empacher built and Victor Nolte used to such good effect in international competition that the designwas banned. The museum's web site is www.rrm.co.uk, and their rowing curator is Chris Dodd at chris.dodd@rrm.co.uk.

-- David Stookey (david@openwater.com), January 25, 2002.

Hi, Bob,

I bought a Virus Turbo Skiff for use here in the UK. For me the sliding rigger system is just wonderful. It feels strange at first if you are used to a sliding seat but this soon becomes irrelevant. The main feeling is the sensation of flowing between strokes. The boat asks questions about your sculling technique which are answered physically by using your legs to move the boat more efficiently. I also found that I unconsciously used less body swing without any noticeable loss of power.

The downside is that the boat is built of fibre glass and although relatively light does need a wheeled trolley to move it effectively. Secondly, the rigger system, although robust, is also heavy. This does not make a difference when sculling but does in terms of all up weight. Thirdly, the seat is moulded into the hull and has a shiny coating so you do need a rubberised seat pad to ensure your bottom stays in one placen and allows the most efficient use of your legs.

That said the above are minor points. Sculling with a sliding rigger does become a bit of a ' Zen ' thing because of the smooth flow of the boat.

Hope this helps,

Bob Manning

-- Robert F. Manning (Gizzadeke@aol.co.uk), April 06, 2002.

Think about a forward facing rowing system combined with the sliding rigger. Check out this site www.ez-row.com. This unit was adapted to outriggers but is not being produced.

-- Jerry Sicard (gtsicard@wwdb.org), November 15, 2003.

new e-mail address

-- Gerald T Sicard (gtsicard@comcast.net), December 23, 2004.

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