How do you select oars
The best oar is a solid, one-piece pine oar. If the boat is a lightweight shell intended for rowing, the Plastimo lightweights are a good choice. For a heavier rowboat, workboat or craft intended for use with a motor that's going to be row only occasionally, regular-duty oars are preferred.
The length of the oar should be determined by the beam of the boat – between 1 and 1-1/4 times the beam of the boat is about right. A typical 16-foot rowboat with a beam of 6 feet would thus require oars between 6 and 7-1/2 feet in length. This may sound a little long but remember that the longer the oar, the more leverage you as a rower have on the water.
Wooden oars should be protected by plastic or leather collars where they ride in the row locks.
As a safety item for maneuvering a heavy boat when the engine quits, you might consider a paddle (or two) instead of oars. Since paddles are used infrequently, they can be shorter and made of lighter materials such as aluminum or plastic.
'Excel Boats' - UK Inflatable Boats
UK Rigid Inflatable Boat builders
Company 'Excel Boats' - Company's Vision, Models, Publications
UK Telephone + 44 (0)121 323 2333.
Fax: +44 (0)121 323 2311
France - 00 33 17 28 13 911
Spain - 00 34 97 18 64 899
Expertise over many years in the boat Industry : UK company "Excel
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'Excel Boats' in press:
Excel inflatable boat Report "child's play"
published in "Boats & Outboards"
See full text below, or click on images to view actual article.
It's probably a little known fact but more learned individuals than I have pointed out that the average age of people getting afloat is increasing. That's not to say they're all getting older, it's just that more and more people who're new to boating are from the older end of the spectrum rather than the younger end. There are a number of reasons cited for this including more income, spending the kids inheritance and people living longer and staying more active into older age. However, one of the more worrying trends could be that we're not getting youngsters interested in this pastime. The Dame Ellens of this world help to raise the profile, but boating is still seen by many as an elitist and high cost activity. Being the father of a thirteen year old boy. who's had a long held interest in boats and just about anything else that floats, I can confirm that not every boat on offer appeals to youngsters, just as much as they don't all appeal to adults.
So, in our search for an ideal boat that'll get the young folk eager to take to the water we tried a couple of small inflatables from Excel Inflatables. The idea was that they would provide good fun as well as the right 'look' to encourage youngsters to get afloat. But as those of us with more than just a few summers behind us know, looks aren't everything. How do they perform? No matter how acceptable they may be to younger eyes, they'll have to work well and perform as expected. The two boats we tried we felt were ideal for this type of youngster and family use. The smaller SD260 was quick and easy to inflate (an important issue) and was robust and well made. With an inflatable floor panel and keel the boat was more than up to the job of navigating the Severn around Shrewsbury. To start off with, and the majority of the trip, the 260 was fitted with a 2.5hp fourstroke Suzuki. Easy to start and quiet in operation, this engine would be more than able to push the 260 to around the 9mph mark, but we kept well below this. This size boat, with an engine of this horsepower, provides an easily handled boat with enough performance to make it interesting for youngsters. The noise level is low and fuel consumption is also kept realistic; ideal for rivers and lakes as well as sheltered and safe estuaries.
After some instructions and a period of supervision, during which all the aspects of handling and safety were covered, our 'chief tester' took the 260 out for a first solo mission! The verdict: "great". The boat handled well and provided just the right balance of performance and ease of use without any potential problems. We're lucky in having quiet areas of river a short distance from our slip on the river and, with the levels being so low, the majority of the water used was shallow enough for an adult to wade in, adding an extra safety margin.
MOVING UP Rated for three adults the 260 is fine for smaller groups, but if you want to take up to five adults or, as in our case, spare gear and camera equipment, the SD330 is an ideal choice. Built to the same specification as the 260, the larger boat provided plenty of room for three adults and all our gear. It would be easy to imagine a family using this boat and we married it up with a 4hp Johnson four-stroke. It was a bit noisier than the 2.5 Suzuki, but it achieved a creditable 6mph.
The same air floor and keel made it comfortable and, although more work is involved in pumping it up, it was still quite a quick job. Having said that. I would like to see a boat of this size on a trailer if it were mine and I would keep it inflated throughout most of the season making you better able to take advantage of decent conditions. As a family boat it's ideal and just the sort of boat to use with young children. Equipped with oars (as both boats were) the chance to enjoy some peace and quiet is also available and this allows most children the chance to propel the boat and get a feel for boating. Boats like this can also interest the naturalist in the family as using the oars to quietly follow the flow of a river can allow you to approach wildlife you may well miss if using an engine.
So, would our Excel boats provide the interest to inspire the next generation to keep afloat? Well, in our case our son was already a keen boater so we were rather preaching to the converted, but he was impressed with the 260, so much so that I've been pestered since the trip for a repeat! Our daughter is another matter. With horses being the focus of her attention anything to do with boats tends to leave her uninterested but, with the close proximity of the wildlife, even she thought the trip was a success and would be only too keen to go again. As for us, both boats were ideal and would seem to have hit the right balance between quality and price making them very affordable whilst remaining durable and well made. So our verdict, therefore, must be a thumbs up to the Excel inflatables. Whatever type of boat interests youngsters, be they canoes, skiffs or dinghies, it's all good news to the pastime if it keeps their interest in boating. As with all areas of marine recreation training and safety must be paramount and to this end we all have a responsibility to ensure the safety of our children and the others who share the same waterways.
Sailing Today Magazine - June 2012
Excel Voyager SR 270
Excel inflatables produces an extensive range of high specification inflatable boats and RlBs, from 1 6m-7.0m LOA. All of Its boats above 2.5m long are fully compliant wrth CE category C for Inshore sea use and are manufactured from Hytex 1100 Decitex fabnc as standard, available in grey, white, black and more colours. Ail carry a five year guarantee. Hypalon tubes are also available in some colours, by special order. All SR models feature a GRP non-slip floor and hull with a deep Vee keel for strength, stability and seaworthiness. The range includes 2.4. 2.7. 3.0 and 3.3m models The Voyager SR270 is a well proportioned RIB and one that has enough buoyancy to support a 10 hp outboard engine with ease. Unlike the Zodiac, the transom is part of the hull moulding, so it doesn't fold flat when deflated, but this is the same with most RIBs. so can't really be held agamst it.
The layout is excellent for rowing. Although the aluminium seat isn't adjustable, it appeared to be in just the correct position for all of our testers to row easily. It also has two substantial transom support fillets, which double perfectly as fool supports when rowing. The large diameter tubes not only provide extra buoyancy, but also lift the oars well clear of the rower's legs, unlike some. The RIB attached with an 8hp Vector outboard attached, as the company that supplies Excel RIBs ts also a dealer for the Vector outboard range. While weighing the same as a 9 9hp motor, the RIB was well able to support its weight without lifting its bows too high off the water or making her unmanageable at tow speeds In fact, she was one of the better small RlBs to manoeuvre at low speeds. We liked the simplicity of this tender as well. Single lifelines each side give you somethng infinitery adjustable to hold onto - unlike those with fixed handles. They would also be easier to grab should you ever fall out and need to pull yourself back on board.
has six stout carrying handles - three each side - which makes it easy to launch. It also has strong davit lifting points and a useful bow handle. It doesn't, however, have two shoulder rings for towing with a bridle, which is unusual and a little disappointing - meaning it can only be towed using a single, straight tow line to the centre ring. It does have an anchor ring in the sole forward, though, and a reinforced bow patch to stop the rode chafing the tubes.
The payload of this RIB is a generous 490kg including engine, which means it will take three average sized adults, a 10hp motor and a few bags of provisions without much worry. The sole/floor is flat with non-slip tread moulded into the GRP. This makes it much easier to walk about in than those with steep vee sides and it's also easy to mount a remote fuel tank thanks to the chocks and webbing strap on the sole of the forward section, in this position the weight of the fuel helps balance the vessel at speed.
The Excel also has a small bilge aft, which allows the drain hole to be lower than the floor level, meaning it ts possible to remove all the water without bailing and any few remaining drips simply drop into the bilge and won't slop around your feet or shopping. Under engine, with two passengers (a total paytoad of around 220kg), it struggled a little to get up on the plane, but did so after 20 seconds or so and then had no trouble remaining there between speeds of 8.5-15.3kn (max). She is easy to handle and directonally stable through the speed range. At top speed no spray came over and her wash was perfectly reasonable.
At 2.7m long the Excel is the typical size a cruising yacht might need tor tender duty and probably the ideal size for stowing on the foredeck of a 35-50ft monohull, or in davits on the stem.
The Excel is very stable, buoyant and predictable under way and looks to be well made and hardwearing, with all her fixings well anchored. At the price, she should also prove to be good value for money, particularly if bought as a package with the Vector outboard.
Contact: Excel Inflatables
Tel: 0121 323 2333
Avon's long-estabilished Redstart was the only tender tested made from Hypalon, which is known for its longevity and remains flexible at lower temperatures than PVC. The dlinghy comes with Avon's trademark two-piece wooden oars, which are secured by a piastic ferrule to avoid corrosion, and ship in rubber horseshoe type rowlocks. Fixing holes are provrJed on each rowfock for a bungee to secure the oar should the rower let go, but the bungees themsetves are not fitted. Avon have also removed the straps which older models had to secure the oar biades when shipped. However. the team liked the new design of outboard bracket, which is made from glassfibre ard attaches snugly with four mushroom buttons. This was the onty dinghy to use an inflatable thwart, which adds valuable extra buoyancy. Out the thwart was not to everyone's taste Atari and Pam didn't like it, but Tony found it comfortable. The slatted floor fits aft from the seat and can be detached, or an inflatable floor is available. A strong lifeline on each side doubles as a carry hardle. The dinghy performed well under oars and outboard.
The second most expensive model we tested, the Exoel quickly made friends with the test team thanks to its lightweight ribbed aluminium seat, which was the only type not to become slippery when wet. The oars are retained by pins, and the boat proved very popular with tall testers Bob and Alan, who found enough room for their legs. Only available woth an airdeck floor, this was also the only tender with a cylindrical hand pump, which includes a pressure gauge. Praise was given to instructions printed on the tube on how to infiate/deflaie. The engine bracket was made from stainless steel tubing slotting into sockets on the rear tube, and the tender performed well under oars and engine.
Instantly recognisable wtfh its smart varnished thwart and engine bracket, this model comes exclusively with an airdeck floor. Like Avon, Seago have chosen conventionally-shaped rowlocks in rubber, this time with aluminium oars with narrow detachable blades. Bungee was provided to secure the oars and two straps to secure the blades. The vanished seat of tho Seago proved less slippery than the painted versions on other tenders. The engine bracket is of painted steel. The dinghy performed well under engne. but was tricky to row Oiwing to unnecessarily short oars. Following PBO feedback. Seago says it will include longer oars In future.PBO
Sea eagle inflatable Kayaks and Packages,SE Overview of Models and comments