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THE SCIENCE OF DRAG

Proving the Theory: Part 1

Most competitive sports, even at the Olympic level, use equipment that is not one-design. This somewhat surprising lenience permits the designer and manufacturer to give the athlete a small but still significant competitive edge. Rowing, in particular, permits unlimited freedom in the length, beam (width) and shape of a shell, with the only limitation being the overall weight. Some people might argue with the term “unlimited freedom”, but even the new FISA rules instituted in 2015 (all eights must be sectional with the longest section 11.9M), permit boats that are over five metres longer than currently built, so there is little restriction there.

Fig. 1: The top blue shell has a bias towards reduced frictional drag while the longer orange shell keeps wave-making drag to a minimum.
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About Row360

Welcome to Row360, the world’s only global, independent rowing magazine. Row360 brings you features from around the world, profiling the best athletes, coaches, and others from the whole rowing community – Olympic, Paralympic, college, club, ocean, and more.