In terms of design, there are probably as many designs as there are rowers. Following are seven examples, in no particular order.
|Steve Chambers' SOF British Columbia Hubert Evans Handliner|
|Detail of the Foot Brace and Box Seat|
1. Steve Chambers built a SOF British Columbia Hubert Evans 14’ 6” Handliner (4.4m), using a plywood floorboard with a center stiffener strip. Both the box seat and foot brace are grooved to sit over the stiffener strip. Steve says the rope loop (around the back of the box seat and threaded through the foot brace) works well as long as you put equal pressure on the two ends of the foot brace. Distance between the foot brace and the box seat is adjusted by the sliding knot (tautline hitch or rolling hitch?... latter is less likely to slip).
|Close up of the Foot Rest and Straps|
|Rick Thompson's Foot Braces|
2. Rick Thomson made these foot braces for his Walkabout (Rick's Walkabout). As with all of Rick’s work, these are elegant and superbly made. Note that Rick uses these for both sliding seat (for racing) and fixed seat rowing.
3. John Welsford's design for the Walkabout specified a series of about 6 paired ribs (about 12mm square) attached to the side of the air boxes at the same location as Rick placed the notched supports for his foot braces. John’s ribs are angled back from the vertical about 30 degrees and are spaced about 12 to 14mm apart. The actual foot brace is a plank that slides into the slot between ribs.
|Paul Truszkowski's Drop-in Rowing Unit, Integrating Seat, Foot Rest and Outriggers|
|The Rowing Unit in a Custom 15' 6" Kayak/Rowboat|
4. Paul Truszkowski built a drop-in unit that combines foot brace, outriggers and a seat.
|Adjustable Foot Brace Attached to Seat in a Michalak Verio|
5. In Paul’s Vireo (referenced in this blog), the foot brace is attached to the seat by adjustable chains. I’ve used this and it works well.
6. In the model Vireo (pictured at the link above), another adjustable foot brace is shown. It is hooked into the slats of the floor boards, as is the box seat, to allow both to be adjusted for leg length and fore/aft weight distribution.
|Adjustable Foot Brace for a Ross Lillistone Flint|
|Forward End of the Brace Held in Place by a Wedge|
|Underside of the Foot Brace|
|After End of the Brace Showing One of the Wing Nuts|
7. For Ross Lillistone’s Flint, I made this adjustable foot brace. The forward end is held down by a wedge jammed under the block screwed to the bulkhead. Two wing nuts anchor the sliding foot brace on the slotted beam, providing a wide range of adjustment. (Note that the only fasteners used are the two wing nuts. All the other joints are held only by Titebond 3 which has held up for two seasons.)
What would I do differently in making this foot brace?
a. Make the actual brace much taller. I find it more comfortable to have the ball of my foot supported by the brace in addition to the heel. In addition, I’d make the brace wider so that I could brace my feet better (wider) in rough conditions.
b. Create a better way to secure the front end of the slotted beam. The wedge is just okay, but has a tendency to work loose.In the March 2016 issue of Small Boat Monthly, Ben Fuller wrote an article on foot braces, in which he shows 10 different designs of foot braces. With a total of 17 different designs, there should be a style that is suitable for your oar cruiser.
Rowing ergonomics is the topic for the next blog… how to figure out the relationships among oar length, oar lock, seat, foot brace and oar handle overlap for your rowing.