Randall Foil Test Plan

Randall Foil Test Plan

Hypothesis:  Randall Foils provide a measurable improvement in boat speed for an experienced Master sculler.

– My boat
– two pairs of oars
   –  existing smoothie2 soft shaft skinny oars
   –  new pair of matching oars, prepitched to deliver 0 degrees with 4 degree oarlocks
• Speedcoach GPS, with Empower oarlock and HRM
• Quiske pod

1.  Row at least 10 sessions with Foils oars to acclimate and adjust style
2.  Row 6 sessions alternating between foil and standard oars to acclimate to switching back and forth.

Test day #1 – sprint performance
• calm day
• lake quinsigamond, so I can do the lengths close to the dock
• 8 x 500m (all same direction), super long rests)
• What’s the best way to split the trials?
◦ 2/4/2
◦ 3/4/1
◦ 1/2/3/2

Test Day #2 – starts
• 4 x 5 starts (20 strokes each)
• 1/2/1

Test Day #3 – head race performance
• 4 x 2k
• 1/2/1

• segment elapsed time
• avg power
• end HR
• speed per watt
• blade flight path
• effective length
• peak power angle

* side video of all sessions, analyzed to overlay data

3/29 – 4/8 : Oh my back!

Friday – 3/29 – 4 x 1500/random rests:

I had a great row on Thursday 3/28.  I was planning on heading out to Lake Quinsigamond to demonstrate Quiske, and hopefully go for a row.

As it turned out, I didn’t get out on the water.  But, I was working at home, so I could try the experiment that I wanted to do on the erg.

I have been corresponding with the developer of PainSled.  I really like the painSled app.  It is simple and generally pretty reliable, but recently, it seems to be dropping strokes.  The app eventually catches up, but the missing strokes mean that summaries and plots look ugly.

The developer thought that the setup that I was using might be causing the problems.


So, I designed an experiment to test the theory.  The experiment had 6 parts.  I would row 1500 meter pieces.

  1. Playing music (spotify streaming using wireless earbuds), stroke scope enabled
  2. Playing music (spotify streaming using wireless earbuds), stroke scope disabled
  3. No music, earbuds disconnected, stroke scope enabled
  4. No music, earbuds disconnected, stroke scope disabled
  5. ergdata, no music, no earbuds
  6. playing music, BT earbuds

The experiment design was better than the execution.  I had a number of interruptions, but despite that, I got some pretty compelling data.

I reviewed the raw exports from painsled.  Painsled provides a column with stroke count data, so simply by looking for data records where the stroke count increments by more than 1.  Here is a snippet from the spreadsheet which calculates the missing strokes.  Notice the line 3 from the bottom where it missed 14 strokes!


The ergdata log file was a bit more challenging to analyze.  It does not log the stroke count.  So, for this one, I used the distance column.  For this workout, my distance per stroke should be between 10 and 15 meters.


You can see all the strokes are in the right range, except for one.  I had an interruption in the middle of this piece.  Notice the time jumps from 89.6 sec to 338 sec.  I needed to go deal with a tradesman who was fixing our garage door.  The fan spun down clicking up some additional meters.  Otherwise, there were no missing strokes.

So, here is the summary of the results.


So, I got a good workout, and I think I showed with reasonable certainty that the problems are not related to other stuff connected to the phone.

Before I worked out I noticed that my back was a little stiff.  In the hours after my workout, my back got progressively tighter and sorer.  The symptoms were exactly the same as the late summer of 2017.  I had bilateral pain, very low on my back, and it hurt most when changing positions.  For example, standing up hurt like hell.  It also was impossible to bend over and lift my leg to, say, put on my pants without bracing with one hand.

At that time, I was diagnosed with some minor osteo-arthritis in my SI joints which were exacerbated by some nasty adhesions and imbalances in the muscles of my hips and thighs.

By Friday night, I was hobbling around like 90 year old man.  My amateur treatment plan was.

  • Rest and ibuprofen for a few days
  • Stretching and foam rolling, with light non-rowing aerobic training
  • When I was reasonably pain free, start back rowing, avoiding intense pieces for a week or so.

Saturday – 3/30 – No training

My wife and I went down to the cape and had a nice day just hanging out.  The highlight of the day was making some tasty Fajitas.  Back still mighty sore!

Sunday – 3/31 – No Training

We headed home late in the afternoon.  Back getting a little looser, but it still hurt a lot.

Monday – 4/1 – No Training

One more day of rest.  Improving daily.

Tuesday – 4/2 – 20 minute treadmill, 10 minute bike

stretches, foam rolling, ab lifts

20 minutes treadmill: 15% incline, 2.9 mph

10 minutes stationary bike, level 14, rolling hills

Wednesday – 4/3 – 20 minutes treadmill, 20 minutes bike

stretches, foam rolling, ab lifts

20 minutes treadmill: 15% incline, 2.9 mph

20 minutes stationary bike, level 14, rolling hills

Thursday – 4/4 – No Training

I had to drop my car off at the shop and didn’t have a window to train.

Friday – 4/5 – 20 minutes treadmill, 20 minute row

stretches, foam rollings, ab lifts

20 minutes treadmill: 15% incline, 2.9 mph

20 minutes on the rower.  Heart rate quite high as one might expect.  Back felt fine before and after.

Saturday – 3 x 20’/2′ on slides

More experimentation with painsled.  I was wondering if the problem was being caused by the painsled app trying to find a BLE HR monitor and not succeeding.  So I decided to try disabling that.  It didn’t make a difference.  But on the plus side, my back held up great!

Sunday – 4/7 – 3 x 20’/2′ on slides

Same workout as Saturday.  I was a little more tired and that caused a higher heart rate.  The back is still feeling good.

I headed to the airport around 6pm to catch a 8pm flight to Europe.

Monday – 4/8 – No Training

I arrived around noon and was at my hotel at 1pm.  I needed to be in the office by 2:30, no time for a workout.



Wednesday: Quiske!

For the past year or so, there has been a product on the market from a Finnish startup called Quiske.  They have a little pod that can be attached to your oar, or your seat.  On a boat or on an erg.  And this pod is MAGIC.  It works with an app on the phone to provide a stroke by stroke graph of interesting things like your oar path or your seat velocity.

I am interested in this product because I rarely if ever am able to get real time coaching.  I will record video and send it off to Marlene Royle who will give me feedback and recommend drills and suggest changes, but it is very hard to keep these changes in mind when I practice.  Here are a couple of examples.

  1.  I tend to break my knees too early on the recovery.  With the sensor on the seat, I would be able to see the seat velocity occurring too soon and could work to correct it.
  2. I have developed the habit of digging too deep at the catch.  Obviously, it’s pretty hard to look at your oar blades, but with the magic pod, I can see the exact path that my oars are taking through the water, and I can see in all its glory how my stroke includes both digging too deep AND washing out towards the release.

So, I had big hopes for this new toy and I was eager to give it a try.  So the session on Wednesday was more of a fartlek than anything else.

Setup was a snap.  I put the included strap around the oar collar, inboard of the oarlock, and then launched the app, it found the pod and I connected up.  Then I rowed out to the good part of the river.  I was blown away and delighted by seeing the oar path diagrams like I had seen in Kleshnev’s book popping up on my iphone screen.

         Workout Summary - media/20181018-1250330o.csv
Workout Details

Now for the Quiske stuff.

First, this is what my normal steady state rowing looks like.

2018-10-17 06.58.50

This is apparently what it should look like.

Screen Shot 2018-10-18 at 2.03.29 PM.png

Here is my first screen cap of rowing at head race pace and pressure.

2018-10-17 07.10.15

Then I started to work on changing my stroke.  The first thing I tried was to consciously keep my oars in deeper through the last part of the stroke.

2018-10-17 07.27.19

The I was just having fun.  Here are Arm only, then arms and body, then half slide.

Next I tried to row as deep as I possibly could.  I really pulled the handles up high and buried the shafts.  It looked like this.  Now I know what to avoid.

2018-10-17 07.47.06

I was curious about the recovery being slanted in all the plots. so I tried rowing with just my port oar and kept my starboard oar flat on the water.  It wasn’t as flat as I would have expected.  I am not sure if that’s a alignment issue in the pod, or if the water is at an angle where I row.

2018-10-17 07.54.29

Finally, I tried some head race strokes again, right at the end.

2018-10-17 07.59.11

Not much different from the first ones.  Maybe even deeper at the catch.  I guess this will be a long project.


Monday: Impeller Cal

I really enjoyed Sunday.  I spent a couple of hours just messing around with my boat.  I recalibrated my empower oarlock.  I tried setting up the new Quiske Pod and it’s iOS application.  And I reinstalled the impeller on the bottom of my boat.

On Monday morning, my training goal was to do some steady state, but the other task was to calibrate the impeller.  All season long, I have been unable to do much with the pace reading on the speedcoach because the river current has been higher than normal.  I finally decided that remounting the impeller would be better.

But the impeller is a finicky little gizmo.  If you don’t have it well aligned with the sensor, you get intermittent readings, if you don’t have it well calibrated, you get wrong readings and if you row in a place with a lot of weeds, it gets fouled.  But at least you get rid of current as an error in your data!

So the first thing to do was calibrate.  I rowed out to the straight 1000m section, and set up to do a 500m cal.  The way the speedcoach does this is it uses the GPS to measure you going 500 and sees how far the impeller has measured.  Then you do the same thing in the other direction, over the same exact section of river.  The theory is that this will cancel out the effect of the current.  Anyway, I did it and it seemed to yield sensible results afterward.

Of course, after I calibrated, I forgot to push “start” on the the speedcoach, so I didn’t log any of the rest of the workout.  Have no fear!  I had a backup.  I was running RIM on my phone.

          Workout Summary - media/20181015-164518-115122o.csv
Workout Details

12K in a borrowed boat

I was excited all day long yesterday.  On Thursday night, when I got home, I saw a big object wrapped in bubble wrap on my front porch.  My new rigger!

I didn’t have time to get it on my boat and adjusted Thursday night, so I erg’ed on Friday morning and planned to install the new rigger as soon as I got home from work on Friday evening.

After dinner, I went out to get it all set up.   I got the old rigger off the boat, started to unwrap the new rigger, and I noticed something looked a bit odd about the port end of it.

2017-09-29 19.55.21

That’s funny, I didn’t remember them having a bend in the end of it like that, and it looks kind of sloppy.  So, I unwrapped the starboard end.

2017-09-29 19.55.54

That’s the way it’s supposed to look.  Dammit, the rigger got bent in shipping.  I looked more closely at the bend on the port end.  The aluminum tube was actually fractured on the inner side where the crease was.  This is not repairable and there is no way I would try to row with it.  My boat is still unusable and it’s 21 days to the HOCR.

So, I dispatched an email to Fluid with pictures and I am awaiting instructions on what to do.  In the mean time, I need to get my ass back in a boat with some urgency.  So, today, I headed out to Worcester and made arrangements to borrow a friends peinert.  Until I have a boat, I will just have to wake up earlier, and schlepp out to Worcester to get out on the water.

The plan today was to take it easy.  Just get comfortable in the boat, build up some more aerobic endurance minutes and keep my HR below 155.

The conditions were not ideal.  It was grey and cool, in the mid 50s, with a gusty 6-10mph wind from the North.  This was shooting straight down the lake, so there was a good amount of chop.  And heading into it was a slow slog.  I was very interested in trying to be good to my back, so I purposely rowed more lightly and at a higher rate for this easy of a workout.

Screen Shot 2017-09-30 at 10.15.30 AM.png

I started off with a double heading south on the lake.  After about 1000m, I noticed that they weren’t behind me anymore, so I headed back to check on them.  They were off in the cove doing some drill work, so I resumed my trip down lake.  As I got back to them a single came by heading south, so I took off in pursuit.  My rules were simple.  Respect the HR cap.  Keep the rate between 20-22. And catch up with him.  I did, and passed him as we went through the narrows.

I rowed into the cove at the south end of the lake, had a quick drink and then headed north into the wind.  I upped the rate to around a 23 to try to avoid putting too much pressure on my back and tried to rationalize that the pitifully slow pace was due to the head wind and chop.  As I came past the little island coming out of the cove, I caught sight of an 8 from our club heading south, so I spun and followed them into the cove.  The double that I started with was also coming south too.

We all headed into the cove again, and I spun.  The double spun quickly and took off north again.  I watched them go and they looked pretty smooth.  I decided to give chase using the same rules as before.  Respect the HR cap, keep the rate above 22, and focus on keeping my damn knees together at the catch.  The chop was a bit challenging at times, and the gusty headwind slowed me down.  It was a relief when I was rowing in the lee of an island or outcrop.  The most obvious example of that is the drop in pace around 47 minutes.  I went from being in the wind shadow coming up to the narrows into a choppy, gusty mess as soon as I passed it.  I was gaining on the double all the way up to the bridge, but they bailed and headed into the boathouse.  I continued up lake.

After another 1000m or so, I decided I wasn’t really enjoying the slog.  Also, I was concerned that everyone would head in to the dock and I’d be making them wait if I went all the way up lake.  So, I spun it around and did the downwind slide back to boathouse.



All in all, a very nice outing.  My back feels good. I liked the Peinert.  It seems a bit tippier than my fluid, so that was good practice to keep the boat set.

Oh, and I used the Polar OH1 on my arm today.  It worked great, even under a long sleeve shirt.

Tomorrow:  Steady State erg session, 60-80 minutes in 20′ chunks


Today is a rest day, but an eventful one.

Last weekend’s experience breaking the backstay on my Alden Star convinced me that I would need a more reliable boat if I was going to continue to do coastal rowing.  After the backstay broke, I suddenly felt very far away from land, and the boat felt very small.  If the wind had been much stronger, I doubt that I would have been able to paddle with enough pressure to get home.  Even as it was, I basically destroyed the bulkhead that the rigger attached to because of the flexure.

So, armed with the arguments about safety, I began the project to convince my wife that I needed a new boat.  It was not a difficult project.

Me:  Honey, I’d like to buy a new boat.

Her:  Would it make you happy.

Me:  Oh, yes.

Her:  Then you should.

With that endorsement in place, I put my plan into action.  I emailed Dana at Mystic River Boathouse.  I told him that I wanted to buy an Maas boat, either a Maas 24 or an Aero.  We went back and forth a little bit.  The Aero is shorter and a bit wider so it slower, but it handles rough water a bit better.  Based on the conditions that I have been seeing in Wellfleet, I decided that a rough water handling was the most important factor.

Typically, in open water events, the 24s and the Aeros are in separate event classes.  For example in last year’s blackburn, there were 11 in the “Touring Class” and 8 in the “Racing Class”.  The times on the course were not that dissimilar.

I inquired if Dana had an Aeros available on hand.  He did…Specifically he had the Maas Aero Carbon, with self bailer.  I asked him if I could come pick it up on Friday.  He seemed delighted by the prospect.

So, this morning, I drove down to Mystic, Connecticut to go get my new boat.  I was so excited, I showed up an hour early.  Dana went through the features of the boat, then I loaded it up and came home.

Which leads me to the title of this post.  This new boat will be christened with the name “Kanangra”.  The name is an Australian Aborigine term, which according to my late father means Spiritual Resting Place.  It is also the name of a National Park in Australia (Kanangra Boyd National Park) where my Dad went bushwalking while he was in High School and college.


When I was a kid, I sailed every weekend with my Dad on his Ensign, a 22 foot Pearson boat.  My Dad spent a while trying to figure out the right name for his boat, and ultimately came up with Kanangra.  It was a lightbulb moment.  As soon as he thought of it, he knew it was perfect.  He owned two other boats after the Ensign, and the Kanangra name was passed along to each.

Now there will be a Kanangra on the waters of Massachusetts Bay once again.


Another 10K on the bay

Today was going to be my grand adventure.  But it didn’t turn out that way.

I got to bed around 11, and I slept hard until almost 9am.  So, I got a later start than I wanted to.  I finally was loaded up and left the house around 9:30.  While I loaded up, I realized that I had forgotten to print out my map.  Damn.  I guess I would do the best I could from memory.  I drove over to a different beach which I thought would be better for launching near low tide.  It was.

I got everything down to the beach and was about to put my boat down in the water when I noticed that I didn’t have my seat.  Blast!  I put my boat up high on the beach (the tide was coming in) and drove home to get my seat.  About 10 minutes later I was back on  the beach putting my boat in.

The partly cloudy and light easterly winds that were advertised did not seem to be in evidence.  The sky was grey, and a moderate wind from the South was blowing.  This beach faces north so the water was nice and flat off this beach.  The wind was going to get worse.  Here’s the weather data.

Screen Shot 2017-05-13 at 6.42.06 PM

I finally launched just before 10am.  I wanted to be home before noon, so I decided that I would limit my adventure to about 90 minutes.

Here was my original plan.

Screen Shot 2017-05-10 at 9.27.40 PM

Here is what I actually did, superimposed on the plan.

Screen Shot 2017-05-13 at 7.25.45 PM.png

Here is the course, from Google earth, with heart rate, which helps tell the story.

Screen Shot 2017-05-13 at 7.28.42 PM.png

a. Launch from beach.  Notice that the Speedcoach isn’t showing pace.  Remember that speedcoach is set to use impeller, which this boat doesn’t have.  Stop and change the setting of the speedcoach.  Start rowing again.  Take 10 strokes, notice that the speedcoach is not started.  Start the speedcoach.  Get going.  Notice that the water is getting quite shallow.  Decide to change course to take me a bit offshore.

b.  Stay on the same course until I reach 1.5km.  Then return to original course (330deg).  The wind is building a bit now, and the waves are pushing around the stern.  I’m surfing on some of the waves.  This part of the row was good fun.

c.  When I reach the breakwater at the mouth of Wellfleet inner harbor, I stop and turn.  Now I really notice how much the wind has built.  I made this turn at about 10:10.  The wind was 12 mph sustained with gusts up to 15.  The waves were starting to build.  I started to push up into the headwind.  I thought the course from my plan was 210 deg, it was actually 200.

d. Anyway, I was doing fine for a while, and then I hit a stretch with particularly nasty waves.  I stopped to open up the bailer and started again.  That’s the little dip in the HR.  Looking at the chart, that place seems to be a bit shallower.  I guess it would make sense that the waves would be nastier in the shallower spots.  It’s hard to see the difference looking over your shoulder.  Anyway, after opening the bailer and getting going again, I was doing ok.  Until…..

e.  If you look at the google earth image, you can see the color of the water change.  On the chart, you can see that the bottom shoals here.  The waves suddenly got really, really bad.  I wished that I had the gopro mounted because I’d like to look at it after the fact.  It felt like the waves were well over a foot tall, and my bow was plunging right into them.  They would roll back over the deck and completely fill the cockpit.  This happened 3 times in a row and I decided that it was stupid to keep going in this direction.  I had no idea if the wind would build and I was barely able to make headway as it was.  I decided to turn for home.

f.  I steered due east, and tried to work my way through the beam seas.  You can see that my HR was pretty low in this stretch because I couldn’t really take full strokes.  I just picked my way through the waves and when I would get a really bad set of waves, I would just paddle through them, then try to accelerate during the smoother chunks.  After a while, I could see  that my easterly course was going to take me too far north, so I turned and rowed to SE for a while.

g.  As I rowed into the lee of the island, the waves were blocked and the water flattened out very nicely.  I started to row with longer strokes and it felt really wonderful.  My HR was quite low today for the level of effort.  This section was very enjoyable.

I noticed that the pace was quite fast for open water, and I realized that even though I had a little bit of headwind, I was rowing with the current.  I got back to the beach with about 9000m on the speedcoach.  I like the blog title “10K on the Bay”, so I did 500m more past the beach, turned and came back.  I was having so much fun, I kept going.




It wasn’t the long row I intended, but it was useful practice.

A side note.  I spent an hour trying to fix the leak in my boat.  It turned out that there are a couple of cracks in the bulkhead between the seat deck and the bottom of the footwell.  The rigger attaches to this bulkhead and the screws that hold it in place were frozen in place.  The whole bulkhead looks like it is about to go.  Ultimately, I will need to cut out the whole bulkhead and replace it (or more likely just sell the boat).

But since I wanted to fix the leak and I couldn’t get the rigger off, I decided to just work around it.  I mixed up a batch of epoxy resin and cut a few strips of fiberglass and just reinforced the area where the cracks were.

2017-05-13 19.53.21

This photo shows the rigger attachment to the seat deck bulkhead.

Here’s a close up of the ugly repair.

2017-05-13 19.53.42

It is not pretty, but it seemed to work.  After bashing into the waves, I only had about a cup of water drain out after I was finished.

Tomorrow:  Marathon training session.

M2 3 x 20′ / 2′ MP, 10KP, HMP 90.0% (167)


  • MP –> 180 to 195W
  • HMP –> 195 to 210
  • 10KP  –> 210 to 225

Concept2 Dynamic – Product Review

A couple of weeks ago, I brought my Model D down to our house on the cape and left it there.  I had made up my mind that I wanted to have a rowing machine in both places, since we are spending more time there off season than I had imagined, and even in season, there are a fair number of days where the conditions are not amenable to rowing.

I decided to replace it with a Dynamic.  I have always been better on a static erg than I have been on slides, and I hope that if I can spend more time rowing on slides or on a dynamic machine, that I will be faster in the boat as well.  My plan is to move my slides from work down to the cape, so I can row on slides there.

The Dynamic is more expensive than a Model D ($1250 vs $900) and Concept2 seems to go out of their way to avoid selling it.  The other rowers can be ordered online.  To buy the Dynamic, you have to call the up and basically convince them to sell it to you.  I chatted with the sales rep for a while and he told me that they had a big problem with people who bought it because it had a smaller footprint than the model D, but then were dissatisfied when it was so different from what they had used at the gym.  He said that they only want to sell it to people who have tried out or are on the water rowers.

They shipped it quick.  It arrived within a couple days of me ordering it.  It comes in two large boxes.  Putting it together is non-trivial.  It took me the better part of an hour, and would have been easier if I had a second person for a few of the steps.

The mechanism of the dynamic is interesting, and complicated.  Start with the side view of the rower.


The seat runs on a short rail and is constrained by a short piece of shock cord.  The foot stretcher rolls on the same rail and can move quite far, from the vertical bar at the front of the rower all the way back to the position shown.  The footstretcher is weighted, basically to provide a similar mass as a single rowing shell.  There is a hook on the bottom of the footstretcher that extends into the shuttle rail below.  The shuttle rail is where the magic starts.  Here is a diagram that I put together from the online documentation about the dynamic


The handle cord comes into the shuttle rail, goes back through a pulley and terminates at the footstretcher hook.  When you pull the handle and the footstretcher in the drive phase of the rowing stroke, the pulley is pulled forward in the shuttle channel.

The drive chain runs through another pulley that is connected to the handle cord pulley.  The chain is terminated on one side and the other side goes around the flywheel drive gear and then down into the handle return mechanism.

Now things get byzantine.  The drive chain goes back and forth through two pulleys before terminating in a pulley assembly that is connected to the end of the handle return shock cord.  The shock cord runs around two fixed pulleys and is terminated on the side of the mechanism.  The whole point of all of this is to provide a consistent return force over the whole span of the recovery.  You need a lot of shock cord so that it is not pulling hard at full extension and not pulling at all at the catch.

The good part about all this is that the connection to the flywheel is just about exactly the same as on the static so it is remarkably consistent feeling to the static erg.

Like any design, it has pluses and minuses.  The pluses are a small footprint, dynamic operation, and a very solid feel.  It’s also nice to be higher off the floor, like on a Model E.  The biggest minus is noise.  The chain is going over a lot of different gears and traveling in metal channels.  All of that is a new source of noise in addition to the whooshing of the fanwheel.  It’s kind of a clattery, grindy kind of noise.  The kind of noise that you would get if you are running chains around gears through metal channels.  I assume I will get used to it, but I have to play the music a bit louder to hear over the noise.  I’m also trying to add a bit of oil to the chains to try to smooth it out a bit.

I find it quite easy to row on the dynamic.  On slides, I would have trouble with bouncing around a bit, but on the dynamic, I have no trouble.  One good thing about the dynamic is that the load at the catch is much faster and crisper than on the model D.  There isn’t that 6 inch section of the drive where you don’t have much resistance.

So far I have done an easy hour, and it was a bit more taxing than rowing on the model D.


New Backstays on the Alden

I’m procrastinating.  I slept in this morning and didn’t feel like doing the time trial.  I am also feeling a bit worn out.  Over the last 7 days I’ve totalled 9:30 of time rowing, and 99,828m.  That’s a huge increase compared to how the rest of this season has gone so far.  My weekly averages are 54,000m and 4:45.  They have been great sessions and I’m glad I’ve been home to be able to do them, but I am sore all over and feel very low energy.

But truth be told, part of it is being scared of the time trial.  I’ll either go over later today or do it tomorrow morning.

But in the mean time, I finished the project to put new backstays on the Alden.  I broke a backstay a couple weeks ago, as I described here, during my first real outing in the Alden Star.  After that, I tried to find a replacement backstay.  I attempted to contact the folks who sold me the boat (no reply), I attempted to contact Alden (no reply).  I called the folks at Adirondack Rowing.  They were great.  They told me that they did not have the part, and that they were having a lot of trouble getting any merchandise from Alden.  They pointed me to another guy who might have the part.  He did not, but told me that it would be a lot easier to just make them instead of trying to buy them.

I asked him if there was anything special about the material.  He said that most of them were standard aluminum tube.  So, I google my way over to onlinemetals.com, navigated my way to the aluminum tube products and bought:

  • Aluminum 6061-T6 Bare
  •   Drawn Tube
  •   0.5″ x 0.049″ x 0.402″

They had anodized, but not in the dimensions I wanted.  I might eventually paint them, or I might not.

Then, I paid a visit to my Dad, who has an impressive workshop.  He was so excited by the project that he went out and bought himself a new, bigger, better, vise to form the ends.  Using the one backstay that I had as a template, I cut the tubes to length, then flattened the last inch in the vise.  Matched the hole sizes from the previous backstay to a drill and drilled the holes for the ends.  A little work with a file to remove all the burrs and we were done.

Here’s the result.

The only thing that I am not completely happy with is the original was formed on the ends so that the bottom side of the stern end and the top side of the rigger end were flush.  You can see in the picture above, that with available technology (a bench vise), that the flattening is centered on the tube, so there is a slight interference between the round tube and the stern deck.  The problem is entirely cosmetic though.

Well, that’s done now.  On to the next project.  And hopefully, I’ll get myself pumped up enough to go rowing.