TU Delft Sports Engineering Institute | Rowing With The Oars You Have
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Rowing With The Oars You Have

Aero & Hydrodynamics, Rowing
About This Project

As part of their Bachelor Final Project four students from the faculty of mechanical engineering investigated which effect the use of speeds strips on oars could have on the performance. As they stated: “Dutch speed-skaters used a zig-zag strip on their head during the Nagano Winter Olympics 1998 to reduce air-resistance and won 11 medals (5 Gold). Since 2000 these ‘speedstrips’ are also used to reduce air- resistance of rowing oars, but what are the advantages?” The theory behind the speeds strips is that the speedstrips create vortices that “fill up” the wake behind the oar during rowing and reduce the pressure differences over the oar shaft. This in turn reduces the drag coefficient of the oar. Using a wind tunnel, the students determined the drag coefficients of oars with and without speed strips and found out there is a significant difference. When the newfound values were put into a mathematical model of a rowing match, they found out speedstrips induce at least 2m advantage over a 2000m race (LM1x) for calm wind conditions. For bigger boats the advantage will be greater.