A New Measurement System for the Determination of Oar Blade Forces in Rowing

N. Caplan and T.N. Gardner (UK)


: rowing, mechanical efficiency, human propulsion


The interaction between the oar blade and the water is of key importance with regard to the propulsive efficiency of rowing. Without an efficient transfer of force from the rower(s) to the water, a high mean boat velocity could not be achieved, thus having a detrimental effect on performance. In order to determine the efficiency of oar blades in rowing, the fluid forces generated by the blade must be determined. Presented here is a new measurement system for the determination of these forces using quarter scale model oar blades in the controlled environment of a water flume. A quasi-static approach is employed, with the oar blade being held static at a range of angles relative to the fluid flow direction. The measured data were shown to be highly repeatable, and initial data suggested the importance of blade curvature in the generation of both lift and drag forces throughout the stroke.

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