Sulkava Rowing Race, also known as one of the world’s biggest rowing events, is approaching in July. It all started in 1968 on the 14th of July as 21 boats competed of rowing around Partalansaari for the first time. All boats reached the 12 hour time limit and the fastest rowers were Antero Tiainen and Esko Miettinen with a time of 7.32,05. The event kept growing over the following years and two years later it was called “The grand Sulkava rowing race”. Over the history of 49 years the largest amount of participants during one year has reached the astonishing limit of 10 000 people. Nowadays there are categories for everyone and all kinds of boats – small boats, church boats, canoes and kayaks, you name it – it’s all there. More information on the event can be found from their website.
As we are in the subject of racing boats let us introduce you to Pauli Parkkinen from Sulkava who has built wooden boats for 34 years. Most of Pauli’s boats are actual racing boats which he has built right from the beginning of his boat building career. Racing boat has its differences to a standard rowing boat when it comes to materials and measurements. Racing boat is taller, narrower and lighter than a standard rowing boat and is built of a thinner plank or veneer. “Length of a racing boat is 6,5 meters as it is 5,15 meters for a standard boat”, Pauli explains.
Pauli has already made several boats of VENDIA-marine plank so there has also been chance to do some product development as well. As a result of this co-operation there is a 5 millimeter VENDIA-marine plank which is designed especially for racing boats. It has 3 veneers – 3 mm cross veneer and two 1,2 mm face veneers. 5 millimeter VENDIA-marine plank meets also the requirements of a racing boat – the structure of the boat is light but laterally stiffer than in a boat made of standard veneer.
Finishing is a matter of taste but according to Pauli you’ll get a beautiful boat by using lacquer on the exterior and oil in the interior.
Pauli visits all the Finnish Championship races during the year to get first hand comments about the boats from the rowers. One of Pauli’s racing boats made of VENDIA-marine plank is owned by rowers from Porvoo, Finland, and they are very satisfied with the material chosen to their boat. When the rower couple wanted to get a boat from Pauli they wanted the boat to be supporting, light and fast. That is when Pauli had proposed VENDIA-marine plank as a material for the racing boat. The rower couple weights almost 200 kilograms in total so the feature of sufficient support from the boat has been very critical. “The current boat is good and stable and it goes straight forward”, the rower couple says.
“Hopefully we will get all the rower excited about this Finnish material”, Pauli Parkkinen hopes.
Pictures: Pauli Parkkinen