Richards model boats


trireme trial section

The objective of this model was to determine the feasibility of fitting a rowing machine into a 1:24th scale model of the Greek Trireme reconstruction “Olympias”. It was also intended to allow weighing of the component parts to inform the weight estimate of the planned model.

The rowing machine was developed from the 12 oar galley such that:

  • The oars follow an elliptical path so that the required stroke length is achieved while the handles fit within the vertical constraints of the trireme structure.
  • Port and starboard oars could be operated separately to allow manoeuvring using oars



A half midship section was modelled, long enough to encompass a single unit of three oars.  The elliptical oar path was achieved by placing the motor and crank axis on a slide and fitting cranks at both ends of the crank axis, one to drive the assembly on the slide and one to drive the oar beam assembly.



 Power end for Port Oars shown below (in the complete system the idler carriage for the starboard oars fits on the same slides)



Idler end for Port Oars shown below (the port idler carriage is designed to work on the same slides as the starboard drive assembly to give independent control of port and starboard oars)

This geometry is defined in the following link:

 Rowing Machine Calculation


The following video shows the section working:


Drawings showing the construction of this rowing machine at the following links:

1.Mk 2 Rowing Machine Arrangement

2.Mk2 Rowing Machine Power Assembly

3.Mk2 Rowing Machine Idler Assembly