24hr stillwater distance world record...

-- Last Updated: May-03-06 12:47 PM EST --

...is being attempted today on Lake Whatcom near Bellingham, Washington by Brandon Nelson.

http://www.kayakforcare.com/ for info and updates throughout the day.

Historical note: Once Athens leaders
declared that certain people on a distant rebellious island should be exectuted. A trireme left carrying the sentence.

Some hours later, the Athens leadership had a change of heart, and the sentence was reversed. A second trireme was manned with a fast crew and sent in hopes it could catch the first, or get to the island before the sentence was carried out.

The first trireme was doggin’ it, because of lack of enthusiasm for what they were delivering. The second craft kept up an incredible pace and arrived in time to prevent the executions.

Triremes at top speed are supposedly a little faster than modern 8-oared shells, but of course over a long distance they throttle down somewhat. The Greek government has a carefully reconstructed trireme they take out for demos and special events.

I have no idea how your post applies to the 24hr record, but it’s interesting all the same.

It was my understanding that no one really knows how Greek or Roman triremes were rigged, or how they were rowed. There are a lot of different theories, but nothing definite. Goldsworthy covers this subject, I think, in his history of the Punic Wars. There are a lot of fairly wild claims for trireme speeds, none of which anyone has gotten close to equalling with reproduced boats carrying serious rowers (of course, these rowers aren’t “full time” rowers in quite the same way as ancient rowers, nor are we allowed to “motivate” them in quite the same ways).

It’s quite amazing, really, to consider that descendants of the triremes were still in use as late as the mid-1400’s in the Mediterranean, until the overwhelming superiority of the Dutch/English/Spanish style galleon was established.


even later
If Patrick O’Brian can be believed, galleys were still being used as short-range raiding craft in the early 1800s. They had a tactical advantage over sailing vessels when there was little or no wind.

Not sure, but
I don’t think Brandon has access to any of those types of vessels.

My impression from published
articles is that the reproduction trireme comes close to the originals in rigging (based on careful study of old illustrations and on the reproduction’s success).

There is no evidence that any large rowed craft approached the triremes in speed. That includes everything the Romans made, and subsequently. A modern dragon boat would be faster over short distances, but not in the long haul.

I posted on the 24 hour issue because I believe the time taken to cover the distance was of the same order of magnitude. Might not have take a day, but at least half a day. I have a Scientific American article on the subject and will post if I find the exact figure.

Brandon was doing very well, settling in to 17.5 minute 2mi. laps. Just after lunch the winds kicked up out of nowhere and the lake began to whitecap. Early afternoon the boat broke and began taking on water. Now I wish we would have refiited my Necky Phantom for him to use as a back up, but he said the Glider would be fine. The crew has been working feverishly to repair his boat. I left around 9:45 to get some sleep for my 2am safety motor boat shift and he was still in the Glider. He’s been in the Glider for roughly 7 out of the 14 hours so far. Tim Nemier is helping to repair the boat and Greg Dutton is the closest one to Brandon’s size and weight and gets to test paddle the boat before Brandon stops and makes the switch. Good thing he built an early 6 mile cushion on his goal. In the Glider he settled in to 19.5minute 2mile laps.

Good night.

NEW World Record!
Brandon got the World Record!

Way to go Bro! See you next month in Whitehorse!

Cheers…Joe O’

He left it all out on the water!
He paddled hard to the finish, then had to be lifted from his boat, all 6’6 245lbs of him. You’d a been proud, I know our entire communtiy is. Amazing.

147 miles in 24 hrs…
…besting the old record by 10 miles.

I am proud of the big guy! I don’t know how many times I checked his website during the 24 hours…I was pulling for him bigtime! The only time I was worried was when I read about his kayak cracking. Man, I felt sick when i read that. All ended well though!

This 24-hour paddling stuff is how I got to know Brandon and Heather, back in 2003.

Awesome job!!! Yeah!