“How do we avoid spending our Friday afternoons fixing up our club singles”? That was the question that inspired rowers Paul Godsafe and James Bellis to begin the development of the GlideOne single scull.
Today’s single sculls, built in exotic composite materials, offer lightness and rigidity perfect for experienced rowers. However, they are typically expensive, hard to find second hand and not so well suited to the rough and tumble of heavy use by less experienced rowers or in environments where the likelihood of accidental damage is high. Think rigger dings, collisions, capsizes, dropped boats, cramped rack space, outdoor storage etc. etc. Repairs can be complex and potentially expensive, taking boats off the water awaiting repairs that may be beyond those without access to experienced boatmen.
As a designer in the car industry, James was familiar with the techniques for manufacturing plastic components and thought these might offer a route to producing a robust, cost-effective boat. So, GlideOne was born.
Our aim was to develop a “proper” sculling boat i.e. one that encouraged and rewarded the development of good technique. We also wanted scope for progression as skills and fitness improved, overcoming a limitation often cited for existing training boats. This required that we really focus on the initial design to meet multiple objectives:
- Ensuring the GlideOne was comfortable to use, durable and simple to maintain;
- Delivering a satisfying sculling experience for rowers across a wide-range of abilities whilst encouraging and rewarding the development of good technique;
- Offering great value and minimal lead times to minimise the barriers to entering the world of single sculling for individuals, clubs, schools and other organisations.
Working with Paul Handley, a leading boat designer specialising in plastic hulls and Neaves Rowing Services, the rigger and component specialists, the cockpit was designed to be as spacious and adaptable as possible. The trick was marrying this with a hull whose dimensions below the waterline are similar to a normal composite fine scull. The result is a boat with surprisingly good performance. Certainly good enough to keep up in training groups and they even get raced from time to time.
GlideOne is manufactured in the UK using rotomoulded polyethylene and is supplied with a 3-year warranty, an aluminium wing rigger and free delivery to the UK mainland as standard. Optional stabiliser floats are also available. Boats are normally available for immediate delivery from stock.
Godsafe still finds it hard to believe that the original throwaway comment about boat repairs one Friday afternoon would lead this far.
“I still get goose bumps thinking about the first time a GlideOne emerged from the belly of the massive manufacturing oven.”
“As the list of rowers exploiting the benefits of GlideOne continues to grow, there is still much more to do. Our work to try and improve access to sculling continues with clubs and activity centres as well as individuals as does the development of new designs.”