Friday, 15 November 2019

Can RANDALLfoils improve head-racing results?



I have been testing RANDALLfoils since the summer of 2018. During this time, I have rowed over 2000 km with the foils and used them in 5 head-race regattas, 4 sprint-race regattas and in one marathon (Boston Rowing Marathon). While I have documented performance gains of the foils in sprint races (https://hydrofoiloar.blogspot.com/2019/06/27000km-on-clock-bob-symonds.html), measuring performance gains in longer races has remained elusive until now.

I finally had the chance to test the performance of the foils in my single during the 2019 Head of the Hooch. Between 2015 and 2019, I have competed in the Men's Lightweight 1x (55+) event every year, although the event was shortened in 2018 due to conditions. In all other years, this event is a 5000 m downstream course with variable current and wind conditions. While raw times vary with current and wind, I have had the benefit of competing against 3 of the same competitors every year.

In 2019, I had the second-fastest raw time in this event, which is by far my best finish place in this event since I first rowed the event in 2015 (see Table of results). But did the foils make me faster? To answer this question, I compared my raw times against the three other rowers mentioned above (see chart). Rower A always gets the best raw time; he is one of the best >60 lightweight male scullers in North America. Rower B generally gets the second-best raw time, although this dropped to third (behind me) in 2019; he is an experienced rower and very consistent. In contrast, Rower C improved significantly from 2015 to 2017. Between 2015 and 2017, I was generally 36.8 to 58.0 seconds behind Rower A and 15.0 to 25.1 seconds behind Rower B. In 2017, I was 6.1 seconds behind Rower C. But between 2017 and 2019, I gained between 27.8 and 35.5 seconds on these three rowers. I attribute this 2.4% to 3.0% speed increase almost entirely to the foils. It is certainly not due to an increase in my fitness as my best 5K erg times have remained relatively constant since 2016 (19:12.7 in 2019, 19:17.3 in 2018, 19:19.6 in 2017, 19:19.5 in 2016). Your mileage with foils might vary, but they clearly help me a lot.

Bob Symonds
You can contact Bob to inquire further about his experiences with foils and can purchase directly from him. [email... powerpre321@gmail.com

Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Fire, Ice, and Physics : The Science of Game of Thrones by Dr. Rebecca C. Thompson

[on oars]

"For his war galleys, Stannis chose a different method of propulsion, one no less dependent on shape: rowing. The physics of rowing is pretty straightforward, so the speak. It's a simple lever action. When the rower pulls back on the handle, the oar blade is pushed against the water. Because every action has an equal and opposite reaction, the ship is pushed forward a little bit. When 100 people are doing this simultaneously in choreographed synchrony, the ship can get going quite quickly.

The shape and size of the oar blade is important in getting the most out of each stroke. The larger the blade, the more power it can generate, and that power combined with the force the rower provides to the lever of the oar is what moves the ship forward. This is a tricky balance to maintain, however - you need someone strong enough to generate that kind of power, and you want the largest oar your rowers can handle efficiently. If there's too much surface area, the ship might move quickly for a short time, but the rowers will tire sooner. It's a marathon, not a sprint.

The shape of the oar is also important in getting the maximal speed out of each stroke. Traditional oars, the type that Stannis’s ships would have used, are symmetrical. The blade looks the same on each side of the shaft. In 1991, former Olympic rower Dick Dreissigacker and his brother Pete designed the cleaver oar. A main drawback to the symmetrical, or tulip, oar was the drag caused by the shaft. With a tulip oar it is impossible to get the entire blade in the water without also dunking in a lot of the shaft. The shaft then drags through the water without proving any real forward motion to the ship. With the cleaver oar, the shaft is attached to the top with the entire blade hanging down. This way the blade can go in the water without much of the shaft having to drag though the water. It seemed like an obvious solution after someone else thought of it. 

More recently, an Australian rower named Ian Randall developed yet another oar design: the Randall Foil. This oar adds a small lip to the top of a cleaver oar in the direction of oar movement, allowing the oar to make full contact with the water without having to dip the shaft in. In addition, it catches the water that normally flows over the top of the oar causing turbulence. Independent studies found that these oars can increase a boat’s speed by around 5%. I bet Gendry’s wishing he had a pair of those." (P.221)

Thursday, 3 October 2019

Towards Tokyo 2020

Kanji : Rowing

After the success of Martino Goretti (ITA) at the 2019 World Championships, we have been in discussions with many athletes, coaches and National teams seeking to utilize the performance benefits of the RANDALLfoil.

We wish to offer our assistance to all teams, for the purpose of this design project has always been to progress the sport of rowing.

Five Key Essentials for adopting RANDALLfoils

- Securely attach foils with fiberglass resin or professional grade adhesive.
- Pitch Oarlock at Zero-degrees (pins also set at zero)
- Raise Oarlocks one or two washers to maintain existing hand heights
- Reduce Oar outboard to accommodate athlete strength capacity
- Practice soft catches with direct horizontal force connections

Note : NK Empower and Peach systems are not compatible as they will not accommodate the required pitch adjustments. 

Feel free to make contact with Aram Lemmerer, Ian Randall or your local distributor for further assistance.

Sunday, 29 September 2019

Grüner Moselpokal 2019

Congratulations to Berthold Weitkemper for winning the 4k race, rowing with RANDALLfoils.

Race Report : There were strong crosswinds and it was difficult to generate clean strokes. The foils helped me to manage a clean catch every stroke and to find my rhythm quickly. Passing the turning point and during last 2k upstream and headwind I had to work pretty hard...like Martino Goretti said in his interview with Aram Lemmerer : "if you want to be faster you´ve to feel it harder". I could overtake one rival and at the end finished with 1:10 difference to my next opponent...17:35...pretty close to some 2X masters B.


Sunday, 15 September 2019

World Masters Champions use RANDALLfoils

Congratulations to Petr Mitas (World Champion - Grade B),  David Harralson and Don Tanhauser (World Champions - Grade J). Extraordinary results from inspiring rowers who will always be World Champions.




Friday, 30 August 2019

"Now I cry" - Martino Goretti (ITA), World Champion ML1X

The words of Martino Goretti after winning the 2019 World Championships Lightweight Men’s Single Sculls – A-Final

“Now I cry. I said before this regatta that this would be my last world champs. Now I am old enough to quit. When the LM4- was canceled I lost my Olympic dream. I thought the sport was no longer for me, then I discovered rowing in the single and realized I could still enjoy it.”

Watch all of Martino's races here

Aram Lemmerer with Martino Goretti

Wednesday, 28 August 2019

It's never easy


Congratulations Martino Goretti (ITA) for the fastest time in the Quarter Finals.

Martino said to the race commentators that he is using RANDALLfoils to get the 'feel' of a solid catch and for that extra hold. The foils really helped him make the change from sweep to sculling giving a similar feel through the water.

Sunday, 25 August 2019

Martino Goretti uses the RANDALLfoil at the World Championships

The Italian Olympic single sculler Martino Goretti becomes the first 'elite' to use the RANDALLfoil design at an international regatta. On the first day of the World Championships, Martino came 1st in his heat by 40 meters with the fastest time of the day.

Martino has been training with the design since the European Rowing Championships and gaining Italian national selection using the RANDALLfoil. During the qualifying race, Martino had a clear lead at 500m and held his position with a winning margin of two boat lengths.

"I really don't understand why the rowing world has been so slow to adopt the design? This thing, in my opinion, is really game-changing" Martino Goretti

Like all top athletes, Martino's true performance comes from something deep within himself formed from years of struggle and sacrifice. A strip of plastic can add nothing to this.




Martino Goretti trialing the RANDALLfoil



Martino Goretti winning the Italian qualifying regatta using the RANDALLfoil.


Thursday, 22 August 2019

Sunday, 18 August 2019

Four Gold at the US Nation Masters for David Harralson


Congratulations to US National Masters Champion David Harralson, 79, winning 4 Gold's last weekend. David continues to row at the highest levels with years of training, experience and service to his club Casitas RC. "Rowing is a life-long endeavor." David has been rowing and racing with RANDALLfoils for over two years now. (Image of David at 2018 Nationals)



You can watch a brief interview with David here


Saturday, 27 July 2019

Rule 40 - "Innovation"


When FISA considered the legality of the RANDALLfoil it needed to consult Rule 40.

Any novel equipment design needs to be submitted to FISA to determine if it conforms to the laws of rowing. If the new design conforms, it is considered NOT to challenging Rule 40 and is declared NOT to be an innovation. According to Rule 40, anything actually considered to be an innovation would NOT be permitted in the sport of rowing.

The use of the word 'innovation' has a particular legal understanding within the context of the FISA Rule Book. There are many unique designs which we would commonly consider to be 'innovative' but as they conform to existing laws they are determined by FISA not to be so. For example, the use of new materials, boat shapes, rigger positioning, blade and shaft designs we do consider to be innovations, however, as they are 'legal' they are not considered innovations by FISA.

If however, the FISA Equipment Committee did declare a novel design to be an "innovation" the design must then go before the full Executive Committee for further scrutiny. If considered to change the nature of the sport, the innovation will not be permitted. However, when a determined innovation is then accepted by the Executive it must then have a full 12 months of commercial availability before use at competitions.

We were thankful, and very relieved, when FISA Equipment Committee gave their determination that the foil design was not considered an innovation.

Long live innovation and those who possess that spirit of enquiry to push the boundaries of design within the rules of our sport.

Thursday, 25 July 2019

WORLD ROWING CHAMPIONSHIPS AND LEGALITY

The best of luck to all athletes who have been working with Aram Lemmerer and myself in preparing their equipment for the upcoming World Rowing Championships. 

To answer a commonly asked question ... 

RANDALLfoils are officially permitted to be used at the 2019 World Rowing Championships.

1st August 2018, FISA Equipment Commission determined the RANDALLfoil conformed to all current laws of oar design and are permitted for use at all FISA sanctioned events. Click to view FISA ruling

The design was subsequently presented to the rowing community at the FISA Coaching, Sports Science and Medicine Conference, Berlin. 

RANDALLfoils will be made available during the World Championships at the Nelo Racing commercial stand with a fitting service available.

Click to view full documentation

Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Good Luck Vero Beach Rowing Club

Vero Beach Rowing Club have begun to adopt RANDALLfoils for their junior rowing training program. I wish them the very best for the U23 World Rowing Championships and look forward to seeing their progress, both now and into the future.


Monday, 15 July 2019

Poor conditions continue to upset elites


Rotterdam, Netherlands, upset many best performances with top scullers like Olli Zeidler missing out on A Final qualification. This is a screenshot at the start of the Men's 1x, Sverri NIELSEN using standard blades nearly capsizes.

RANDALLfoils have been shown to out-perform standard equipment, especially in poor conditions.

Sunday, 14 July 2019

US Masters Rep - Bob Symonds

Karen and Bob Symonds with RANDALLfoil blades at the Boston Marathon
I would like to welcome US Masters rower Bob Symonds to the RANDALLfoil team.

Bob is a sixty-year-old Masters rower who embraces the mantra: faster, stronger, older. He competes both nationally and internationally in a wide variety of races from sprints on up to marathons. He is highly competitive in the single but becomes a powerhouse when joined by his wife, Karen, in the double scull. While he has won over sixty medals, he strives to improve every year, a quest that ultimately led him to join our team.

Bob was one of the first to trial and race with the foil design and he has written many reviews on rowing forums in defense of its performance characteristics. He only started rowing a decade ago, but as a former competitive long-distance runner, he quickly got in shape to row. At the same time, he knew that his on-water performance lagged his fitness. So he used his background as a research geochemist and hydrologist to begin a long journey to row better and faster. His path led him to RANDALLfoil's. It has been a pleasure to work with Bob since the discovery of the foil design and to have such a committed representative of the design on the team is such a bonus.

Bob will be our lead distributor to Masters rowers in the States and will look after the Midwest region (Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Indiana, and Louisiana).

You can reach Bob by email:  powerpre321@gmail.com 


Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Unlike any other


The first couple of strokes with the foils was a remarkable experience. There is such grip and stability in the water it feels like you're in a quad. After a couple minutes your body adapts and you forget they are even there. Your shoulders relax at the catch because you have the confidence the blade will catch and stay planted. It feels like rowing should feel. As soon as the blade drops in the water you are able to notice the boat levering past the blade. Though there is still some slip the send in the second half of the stroke in unlike any other set up I've felt. Where I noticed the biggest difference, however, was when I traveled to a different club, and rowed a different single. I immediately felt a lack of stability, my stroke was less powerful and my posture was tighter. The best compliment I can give is 'try rowing without them, it will never be the same'.

I have also taken a few videos. In reviewing them, I noticed my catches were not as sharp as I like (sorry, it was the end practice) - I'm happy to reshoot them if you would like me to. Or even take a few videos at race pace.

Here are the videos.

One stroke - shows the water loading up on the blade

Same angle but a few strokes

A different angle

Chris Zulinov,
Equipment Manager,
Halifax Rowing Club
Canada


Sunday, 7 July 2019

More issues with standard blades at Henley Royal Regatta

Standard blades offer very little vertical control and can easily crab, dive or washout. The reality of racing in the real world is that open water offers no promise of smooth or controlled race conditions and experienced world-class athletes continue to be let down by current oar design.

RANDALLfoil blades offer superior control and performance in all conditions when compared to standard oars. Don't let 'standards' limit your performance!



Henley Commentators ... oar shaft drag

During the final of the Fawley Challenge Cup the commentators were explaining the negative effect of rowers digging oars too deeply. RANDALLfoils were specifically designed to eliminate oar shaft drag to improve oar efficiency and increase boat speed.


Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Elites taking note

Many thanks to Sean Heaney, Irish International Representative, for his endorsement of RANDALLfoils.



Tuesday, 25 June 2019

The need for a design change


Much has been said of what 'elites' are capable of, especially when it comes to technique.

Yet, there are many cases where 'elites' struggle to perform with standard equipment; catching crabs, washing out and nearly capsizing. On one hand, it makes the everyday rower feel alittle better seeing top athletes experiencing difficulties, but it also raises questions about current oar design.

The difficulties that EVERYONE experience with oars warrants a design change. A design improvement will make our sport safer and top performances more achievable.

What has been shown is that the application of a RANDALLfoil to the top edge of a blade eliminates the possibilities of crabbing and unexpected blade movements during the stroke.

Everyone deserves to achieve the results they have been working for.


Sunday, 23 June 2019

How important is STABILITY ?

Watching the World Cup II in Poznań highlighted the importance of stability in rowing. Many 'elite' rowers found the unfavorable conditions greatly affected their performances, especially in small boats.

Standard oars are greatly affected by adverse and changeable water conditions and offer little to no stability, especially when you are trying to apply maximum force to the blade. One rogue wave can knock you completely off your balance and cost significant boat speed.

One of the overwhelming review comments of the RANDALLfoil design is the incredible stability the design offers. Blades with foils are simply not affected by the changing water conditions as wave energy does not disrupt the movement of the blade and loom during the stroke.

Consider how your oars would perform under these race conditions?






Friday, 14 June 2019

27,000km on the clock - In the boat with Bob Symonds



I started rowing in the fall of 2009. Since that time, I have rowed almost 27,000 km combined on the water and the erg. I set my best 2K time (7:12.2) in 2011 and came within one second of matching that this February. In terms of Concept2 rankings, I am best at 5K pieces and worse at 1K pieces and in between on 2K pieces. In summary, my fitness has been relatively constant since 2012 and my physiological strength is head racing rather than sprinting. I am also a lightweight (5'-8", 160 lbs).

Between 2011 and 2017, I have completed 15 1K sprint races in my single. I would rate two of these races as excellent with good starts, good overall speed, and great overall times (e.g. raw time in the low four minute range). However, in the 13 other races, I had various problems that slowed me down. My biggest problem has been very bad starts that alone cost me several seconds and one or more placings in the medals.

So my recent result at Dogwood in the F 1x was a dream, especially since I have not done a sprint race in my single for two years. Sure, I have areas for potential improvement (e.g. gearing) but I am now a real competitor in sprint races. I have never had such confidence with my starts until I started using the RANDALLfoils. I am gaining confidence, getting faster, and getting older. This is a great combination for a 60-year-old masters rower.

Do I have hard numbers comparing results with foils and without foils? No, but who cares. I row with more control, confidence and speed with the foils so that is what matters. The bottom line is that the foils help me do better. race to do my best and win medals so I like that.

[Footage of a 1km practice piece with Bob and Karen]

Cheers,
Bob

Thursday, 6 June 2019

Why standard blades need pitch and RANDALLfoils don't?

Standard blades require pitch to create stability during the drive phase of the stroke. Without pitch on the blade the rower has very little control over its depth and can wash-out or deep dive.

Blade pitch, however, reduces the efficiency of the blade as a total horizontal force. Instead of the rowers' energy being translated into horizontal boat speed, some is transferred downward.

While blade pitch makes taking powerful strokes with conventional blades possible, 'elite' crews try to find that sweet spot between crew stability and maximizing blade efficiency, always trying to reduce pitch as much as possible.

With RANDALLfoils, blade pitch can be minimised (some users report 1-degree) without the loss of any stability, but gaining total horizontal blade efficiency. All of the rowers' power is transferred into direct horizontal motion.

Tuesday, 4 June 2019

Rowing with a Platypus ...

Click to enlarge

I have been surprised by the generosity of people willing to post on rowing web forums and the time they give to crafting arguments and responding to the points of others. One such generous contributor is called 'Platypus' (Yarra, Australia) who has modeled for us best practice when it comes to 'posting.' They have followed up the debate about the efficacy of RANDALLfoils on the popular forum "Rowing Illustrated" with a trial of their own.  Platypus presented a review of the design from a position of actual experience and I thank 'Platypus' for taking the time to test the design and to share the findings with the rowing community.

Re: RandallFoil
by platypus - Sun Jun 02, 2019 3:37am
"To all you doubters and hecklers out there that need scientific evidence before you get on-board with a new product: I've been using Randall Foils with Braca-Sport oars for the past month and are 100% certain that they offer at least one advantage over oars without them. STABILITY.
I don't give a rat about time trials, I know when I feel so much more stable at the catch. The foils have completely transformed the stability of the boat for me, particularly when sculling in boat wash or rough water. Some people might say that the foil creates more wind resistance. Sure that might be true, but the stability and confidence that you gain in rough water to me kills any negative wind drag effect. Furthermore, I've seen novice scullers being able to sit at the catch with blades squared and buried, for the very first time with Randall Foils. Then when they change back to standard blades they look so nervous and unbalanced and can't do that. Therefore, from what I've experienced and seen, Randall Foils definitely offer more boat stability and go a long way to help novices overcome fear of the water. As for scientific time trials for more boat speed: Don't know and DON"T CARE. Sculling well has a lot to do with stability and confidence. Randall Foils offer that.

Monday, 27 May 2019

Empower Oarlocks - Investing in Technology over Performance

I remember wondering when I first installed an impeller on the hull of my single scull, if I would notice the extra 'drag' ?  The literature made the point that the benefit gained from having the data far out weighs the -1% speed loss over a 2000m race.  Even though the data from an impeller is far more accurate, the advent of GPS systems is seeing impellers being removed to gain back that extra speed. It looks like we do care about performance after all.

Many clubs are now investing in Empower Oarlocks to measure and display in real time important data sets like watts and catch angles. Having real time data is extremely important, however the 'drag' of this system is far greater then -1% speed loss.  One of the critical design faults of the device is the limitation of blade pitch, as Empower oarlocks can only use a 4-degree pitch. Speaking with one of the engineers, I was told that it is to do with the algorithms which require a standarised setup. Removing the ability to adjust for pitch is reverting back to the old "technology over performance" mindset.

This design limitation makes such an important piece of technology obsolete as a 4-degree pitch angle is a standard set up for 'old' blades which need this extreme pitch to create stability and hold on the water. The RANDALLfoil oar eliminates the need for oar pitch as the foil creates that stability and hold, giving back the negative performance and efficiency loss that oar pitch creates.*

The rowing community has shown a high regard for on-water performance and are investing accordingly.... perhaps the engineers of Empower oarlock will do the same with future versions of their product.

* testing has shown that RANDALLfoils may be pitched down to 1 degrees ( pins set at 0 ).




Sunday, 26 May 2019

MBA MAKE HISTORY with RANDALLfoils


Montgomery Bell Academy Freshman 8 made history today. Very proud of these young oarsmen who represented the very best of effort, determination and focus all year long for MBA. 6th in the Nation. Congrats to these young oarsmen and to all Big Red Rowing for a great year. #RowRed



Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Banner Day for Montgomery Bell Academy

Note : image distortion caused by photo-finish camera technology

MBA competed in the Midwest Scholastic Championships: 49 teams from 9 different states with bids to the National Championships on the line. Racing a total of 9 boats with all 5 of the boats that we anticipated doing well not only made it into the finals, but they each also earned a medal! 1 Gold (2x), 2 Silver (Ltwt 8, Freshman 8), 2 Bronze (Ltwt 4, Ltwt Novice 4). We brought up 33 boys to the regatta, 24 of which are grade 9 or 10, racing many senior crews and finished 4th overall in the team standings. The crew who won the double had only 5 months of water time sculling and won the race in a photo finish (above).

Note: Freshman 8 averages 146 lbs (66.5 kg) with a 5'6", 119 lb (168cm, 54kg) stroke seat.

All MBA crews race with RANDALLfoils


Monday, 6 May 2019

Testing your speed


Many people ask me about +5% Speed with RANDALLfoils. 

It is clear that any rowers speed fluctuates over a race, a training session, an entire season and throughout a career. If you are serious about rowing competitively, you will utilize everything available to ensure +%speed. In an age of personal GPS and fitness measurement devices, you can know for sure if you are achieving +speed.

The bottom-line ... things that easily create +%Speed
- good diet
- ample sleep
- regular training
- effective power to weight ratio (lowering your BMI)
- well maintained equipment

The next level ... don't go blindly
Seeking ways to further achieve +%Speed comes with deeper levels of training, technique and advanced equipment. It is here that many athletes wander blindly and don't actually know if the changes they are making are effective.

You need to measure, track and record your speed to know if you are achieving +%speed, =%speed or -%speed.

I suggest that every rower needs to know three levels of speed:

     1. Top - fastest speed achieved over a race distance under race conditions (1km or 2km)

     2. Hard-deck - slowest speed recorded over a race distance under race conditions (1km or 2km)

     3. Running -  average speed during a steady state session measured against heart rate (and/or
                             power) and strokes per minute.

From this data set, you will be able to determine if the changes you are making are creating +speed.

Independent, evidential and anecdotal testing continues to show a +5% Speed with RANDALLfoils 

NO stopping MBA with RANDALLfoils

Montgomery Bell Academy has begun the season right where they left off - at the top ! 


Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Game changer





At the 2018 Head of the Hooch in Chattanooga, TN, one of the premier regattas in the world; RANDALLfoils allowed me to medal in my women's 1x. On my way to the start line, a male single sculler asked me how I liked my Randall Foils, my response, love them, I never pull deep. Also, I sat for a while, blades squared, hands off oars to prepare myself for racing, I kind of think it freaked out my competitors, especially in those conditions. . Lastly, I used to hate racing starts, and yes, I had my doubts when first rowing with the foils, now, I don't even think about the start anymore. I think they are a game changer. Thank you, Ian, for developing such a great tool that makes my competition sweat. " Karen Symonds, Clearwater KS, USA


Monday, 15 April 2019

Rhode Island Rowing

Many thanks to Michael Hamilton of Rhode Island, USA, for sharing his thoughts and experiences rowing with RANDALLfoils.

"I totally see the benefits of a device to enhance performance, however, I think there is a huge market in the learn to row category of scullers.  This is why I am going to mount the foils up for sculling members to try.  Forgive me for highlighting what may be totally obvious, but I think foils make sculling oars so much easier to handle in general and would be a huge advantage to those first-time and intermediate rowers learning the sport of sculling.  Not only do the oars track extremely well during the stoke, but the blade depth in maneuvering the shells is also vastly improved.  Having a non-feathered blade unexpectedly dive or sink is virtually eliminated with the foils, allowing blades to naturally rest near the surface.  I find the foils greatly dampen any unwanted hand lifting that can upset the balance or stability of the boat.  Again, a huge advantage to youngsters or masters working to develop their stroke.  The benefit of learning proper blade depth in the early stages of learning to row is an immeasurable benefit.  As you have stated, the foils allow the body to feel and develop proper muscle memory needed to perfect the catch, drive and finish portion of the stroke.  At NBC we are all about expanding the sport of rowing.  I think your invention could help fast-track the learning curve in this sport. "