A Modern Coracle
At the end of my article on the corrach, which was meant to be the first part in a series about historical sailing, I promised to come back later in history; but first I'll have to fill in an omission.
The corrach, I found out while researching for these series, is a rather revolutionary development of the coracle, because the hull has a nice shiplike shape and it can be sailed square-rigged and rowed with two or four oars.
The coracle however is a primitive round-, oval- or square-shaped basket, made watertight like the corrach with greased leather. It is built to be manned by one fisherman only, who propels it with a single short oar or paddle. He does this one-handed, because in the other hand he holds his side of the fishing-net; the other side is held by his partner, who sculls his own coracle.
As this series is meant to make you curious and the articles have to be short, I'll give you sites to get more information; I've singled them out because they give you the best information; on the coracle: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coracle.
For our English readers: when on vacation in Shropshire or Wales, go and visit a coracle-race, you'll see how single-oared sculling is done in a coracle.
A modern application of single-oared sculling is used by duck-hunters: see: http://domeyerscullboats.com/Sculling.aspx.
A futher example of single-oared sculling is provided by the late-mediaeval Venetian gondola, described in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gondola#cite_note-6.
And, last but not least, a scientific practice-trial about Japanese/Chinese yuloh-technique, (single-oar sculling): www.simplicityboats.com/yulohpage2.html.
Till later, Han.