We’ve recently added a new sweep shaft to our oar offerings: the Skinny. The Skinny was originally developed in collaboration with elite women crews looking for a softer feel, especially when using the Fat2 blade. As the name suggests, the Skinny has a narrower diameter than traditional sweep shafts, which also has other benefits such as reduced wind resistance, especially in headwind conditions.
We recently received the parts needed to create a Rotational Wind Tunnel to help us try to quantify the wind resistance advantage of the Skinny shaft. Wind resistance increases rapidly as wind speed increases. The wind speed at the shaft is the sum of any headwind (or subtracting a tailwind), plus the speed of the shaft due to rotation on the recovery. That rotation speed increases with stroke rate and is greatest at the blade end.
This testing device is the latest addition to our R&D laboratory, and we are excited to collect data from it. If you’re interested in the different ways we test our oars, let us know, and maybe we’ll make a series of future blog posts.