Regatta Online - Atlantic Challenge
Regatta Magazine Online

 Atlantic Challenge

 Issue 98 - May 1997


The Atlantic Challenge design

The boat builders and designers Rowsell and Morrison received their brief for the Atlantic Rowing Race from Chay Blyth 'to design a rowing boat capable of undertaking a competitively rowed ocean passage. To accommodate two people and allow simple construction.'

Philip Morrison describes their design.

With regard to the ease of rowing, the final hull shape is a fine balance between the requirements for intrinsic stability and a fine easily rowed shape. Obviously rowing in the open ocean is entirely different to the requirements in smooth water, and it has been the aim of the design to help as far as possible with the problems encountered with rowing in varying sea and wind conditions.

When it came to the layout of rowing positions, accommodation and stowage, a number of possibilities were considered. The arrangement with the protected accommodation aft was chosen as it offered a number of advantages. Primarily in bad weather, when it is sensible to heave to, the intention is for both crew members to shelter in the aft accommodation.

In this situation, with drogues deployed from the stern, the boat will lie with the bows high, stern onto the wind and waves, reducing to a minimum the possibility of being rolled over or pitch poled. With the crew in the normal rowing position, however, the windage of the hull and accommodation is balanced by the underwater hull shape and skeg so that with a little judicious fore and aft trimming the boat may be rowed at an angle to the wind with the minimum of corrective measures from the rudder. With the prevailing winds expected to be from aft of the beam, the aft cabin allows the greatest protection from the wind for the crew member off watch or preparing food, etc.

Overall size and general appearance has been dictated by the method of construction and the desire to allow amateur construction in any part of the world. The double chine and stringer construction over permanent frames and bulkheads is a well-proven, self-jigging method, which allows the builder to achieve the correct shape accurately with the minimum of specialised skills and equipment. Materials have been chosen for their suitability and maximum availability.

The design is extensively subdivided into watertight compartments and the disposition of the aft accommodation and forward stowage together with the raised double bottom ensure that the boat is fully self-righting and will be largely self-draining, apart from the small foot well and lockers adjacent to the main hatch.

The small aft hatch allows access to the rudder and for the deployment of drogues or sea anchors as well as allowing some through ventilation in the tropical heat.

Dimensions: Length - 7.1 metres (23'4"); Beam - 1.9 metres (6'3"); Weight - bare boat 350kg (770 lb), fully laden 930kg (2046lb)

© Copyright P. Morrison, 1997.

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