On May 30, 8:26 am, James Elder excite.co.uk> wrote:
> On 30 May, 04:38, causticmeatl...@gmail.com
>> On May 29, 7:18 pm, bookie hotmail.com> wrote:
>> Seeing as Carl is the ONLY boat maker that I know of beating the
>> buoyancy drum, I would harly think of him as an impartial observer in
>> this case. Further, he doesn't build big boats - even more so removing
>> him from the demographic in question.
> Martin McElroy (UK agent for Vespoli) gave his thoughts on a previous
> thread about the NSR sinkings. I wouldn't say he beat the drum, but
> his contribution is well worth reading.
> Janousek/Stampfli, this from their website:
> "All Janousek boats have always been built to the very highest safety
> standards especially regarding buoyancy - unlike very many other boats
> over the years, including some well known makes.
> The tragedy when Leo Blockley, 21 years old, drowned in the River Ebro
> while rowing with the Oxford University Lightweight Rowing Club on
> their winter training camp in Amposta, Spain on December 29th 2000
> highlighted the need for improved buoyancy for all racing boats.
> Janousek Racing Boats have been strong supporters of the campaign by
> Leo's parents, which is described in detail on the Leo Blockley
> Memorial Campaign Website. This includes the buoyancy tests on some of
> our boats which demonstrated their inherent built-in safety."
> Responded to customer demand (my club made one of the earliest
> requests, I'm proud to say) and I believe now offers buoyancy
> throughout at no extra cost on all their range.
For me personally the requirement for buoyancy is a given. We're all
shaped by our own experiences and beliefs so it might help if I
explain myself further.
Long long ago, (I know it sounds like the beginning of a story tale,
but that's what comes from having young kids) when I started coaching
it was always drummed into me that safety was the coaches first law. I
spent much of my early coaching career on the Tideway, a river that
can offer pretty much every condition one might imagine. On one
stretch it can be flat calm, turn a corner and it looks more like the
North Sea. For me this has always been somewhat frightening and made
me very wary on those days when these type of conditions are likely to
Now, my wariness is also sharpened by the fact that my own family has
directly experienced the tragedy of drowning. It was not connected to
rowing and I'll spare you the details but I can still remember vividly
the incident and weeks that followed. To say that it leaves a mark on
your life is an understatement. That experience made me both fear and
respect the power of rivers, seas, etc. So, whether its the issue of
buoyancy or just making sure my kids learn to swim I don't need any
Moving on from that I now import an American brand of boat into the
UK and have worked to ensure that those boats are buoyant. I won't
pretend it's been an easy journey and that is mainly due (in my
perception only) to a very different culture with regard to safety in
Some years ago I worked in production environments where high speed
machinery was used. In the UK these machines were all guarded by
safety doors, photo beams, etc. if any one made any attempt to access
a machines these safety devices would shut the machine down instantly.
In contrast in the US these machines were pretty much unguarded and if
you wanted to lose your arm by sticking into the machine you were free
to do so. I was horror struck by this but also curious because the
accident rate was no higher. It made me conscious that there are many
different schools of thought on this just as there in many aspects of
life. I don't believe that the attitude to life is any less precious
in the US than anywhere else. At the moment we are in different places
on the issue of buoyancy.
US boat builder are perfectly capable of making boats with underseat
buoyancy, I specify that the boats that come to the UK have the
necessary bulkheads and there are a group of American workers who have
had their asses dunked in cold water more than once on my behalf
(testing boats). Yes, it costs more to build these boats but that is
the cost of doing business in the UK and I certainly have no problem
Making boats buoyant is not a difficult task, even retrospectivley.
There are a wide range of options; foam blocks, floatation bags, or
retrofitting bulkheads but there has to be a will to do it, either
mandated or otherwise. I can understand the perspective of some of our
American colleagues. It doesn't mean that I agree with it but I can
understand it comes from a different culture.
In the end, not one of us accepts that life should be lost as a result
of rowing and we should bear that in mind as we have this
transatlantic discussion. Boat buoyancy is one aspect of water safety
in rowing. There are many other contributing factors too. Remember,
making something idiot proof just means that it can be used by an
idiot, and that in itself may not achieve the goal. This is a 'whole
Best wishes to all.