Empower Oarlocks – Investing in Technology over Performance

I remember wondering when I first installed an impeller on the hull of my single scull, if I would notice the extra ‘drag’ ? The literature made the point that the benefit gained from having the data far out weighs the -1% speed loss over a 2000m race. Even though the data from an impeller is far more accurate, the advent of GPS systems is seeing impellers being removed to gain back that extra speed. It looks like we do care about performance after all.

Many clubs are now investing in Empower Oarlocks to measure and display in real time important data sets like watts and catch angles. Having real time data is extremely important, however the ‘drag’ of this system is far greater then -1% speed loss. One of the critical design faults of the device is the limitation of blade pitch, as Empower oarlocks can only use a 4-degree pitch. Speaking with one of the engineers, I was told that it is to do with the algorithms which require a standarised setup. Removing the ability to adjust for pitch is reverting back to the old “technology over performance” mindset.

This design limitation makes such an important piece of technology obsolete as a 4-degree pitch angle is a standard set up for ‘old’ blades which need this extreme pitch to create stability and hold on the water. The RANDALLfoil oar eliminates the need for oar pitch as the foil creates that stability and hold, giving back the negative performance and efficiency loss that oar pitch creates.*

The rowing community has shown a high regard for on-water performance and are investing accordingly…. perhaps the engineers of Empower oarlock will do the same with future versions of their product.

  • testing has shown that RANDALLfoils may be pitched down to 1 degrees ( pins set at 0 ).

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