Has a rowing hydrofoil ever been successfully built?

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I have heard of hydrofoil kayaks (www.foilkayak.com) but have never heard of a rowing shell with conventional rowing oars/sliding seat lifted above the surface by a hydrofoil. If it has never been done, then I'd like to be the first. Let me know if you know of any examples of such a craft, or have any ideas/skepticism.

-- Jojo Mcbean (jojo_mcbean@hotmail.com), November 01, 2004


I am pretty sure that you could successfully build a foil-born rowing shell. Just start with a decent single shell with a sliding rigger (pretty essential, otherwise the pitch will make getting up on the foils more difficult) and use t-foil configurations very much like what the foil-born kayak people are doing.

The question, of course, is why? The point is to go fast, but it will never be allowed in competition. Further, a little bit of weed can have an ugly effect on a foil-born boat.

Have fun if you decide to pursue it and please keep us all posted.

My $0.02.


-- Doug Kidder (doug@openwater.com), November 01, 2004.


One of the stumbling blocks will be the resultant rowing geometry. If you are drawing the oar handles toward your pecs while on the surface you will be drawing them toward your ears when up on the foils. There are also subtle considerations regarding the appropriate fore/aft and inboard/outboard oarlock pitch requirements for these grossly varying heights. You could do this with a prop. Check out this site: http://forwardface.com/. Warren Loomis and his son have devised a neat and clever system of fixed seat, sliding fulcrum, forward facing rowing motion that drives a propeller. These guys are funky enough to get all excited about hydrofoils. Who knows, they may already have one in the prototype stage. It all sounds like fun - the businessman/cynic in me, however, asks pragmatic questions relative to stopping, turning, turning around, launching, etc. Oh well.

Good luck,


-- Gary Piantedosi (gary@rowingrigs.com), November 02, 2004.

James Grogono did just that. There are pictures of it in his book called, Icarus - the boat that flies. It has been many years since I saw the book.

-- Greg Ketterman (gketterman@cox.net), January 01, 2005.

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