History of the Design:
Durham Boat Company started manufacturing Sculling oars in 1988 and by 1989 the first sets were used at the World Rowing Championship. Throughout our history, we have consistently pursued improvements in our equipment that may provide athletes with the ever sought after “competitive edge.” This continued research and development has led us to develop new sculling and sweep designs as well as explore improvements in materials and methodology.
Dreher was the first to offer an adjustable length oar in 1991. The key is the adjustable handle system consists of an all carbon handle end that fits into the straight (non-tapered) end of the shaft. This makes for a tight fit that eliminates any movement between the shaft and handle. This “carbon on carbon” design eliminates the possibility of movement because the handle is precisely constructed to tightly fit into the straight part of the shaft.
Dreher oars have 10 cm of continuous adjustment. All adjustable oars have decals that show the total oar length and outboard setting so as to easily derive the inboard setting without the need of a tape measure. In 2015, we were the first to offer a “tool free adjustable” feature, on the Alpha, which is being offered on all Dreher Adjustable Sculls as well as standard on the slim Dreher Ellipse sweep oars introduce at the HOCR in 2016. For a comparison, see our Classic Sweep oars.
The design of the shaft/blade stem attachment on Dreher oars is worthy of mention. The transition point between the blade stem and shaft is almost seamless. That is to say, they offer no impediment to water flow linear to the shaft/blade axis as is common with most other oars/sculls available. As a result, the overall performance of Dreher oars/sculls offer less flow resistance, particularly at the release part of the stroke and at higher stroke rates. The result is a smoother entry and extraction, which can be felt and appreciated by rowers who have tried other brands.
Our examination of how we could create a lighter weight, more responsive oar led us to explore different materials as well as construction. Since 2001 we have been offering oars made with high modulus carbon carbon and twill fabric surface. The high modulus carbon in the shaft allows us to create lighter oars at the same stiffness without sacrificing durability and longevity. A little know fact is that Dreher have always use some high modulus carbon in their sweep oars. Both the anisotropic layup schedule, type of both unidirectional and woven carbon pre-pregs used, and the more organic and integrated shape of the shaft and blade interface have all resulted in the Dreher oars high efficiency.
Our Processes and Materials:
Unique to Dreher oars and sculls is the molding phase where all shafts are autoclave cured at high temperature and pressure for maximum strength and durability. The completely modular system allows for custom tuning of length, handle size, blade type and blade pitch; providing you and your crews with versatility while maintaining cost efficiency and high performance standards. Only the best carbon prepreg from the largest supplier of carbon prepreg in the world is used to make Dreher Oars and Sculls. All the major components are made from prepreg carbon, and the blades consist of a specially formulated proprietary core that is in-situe molded of syntactic prepreg carbon to obtain the highest quality with the desired strength, weight, weight distribution, durability and surface finish.
All materials of construction are of the highest quality and all are modular: If a Dreher shaft is broken through collision or accident it can be easily replaced. The blade can readily be removed as well as the handle. If blades are broken or as new blade shapes evolve, you might want to change your blades. With the Dreher modular system, this can be done without the expense of purchasing a new set of oars. The major advantage of the modular design is easy replacement of parts and protection against product obsolescence due to blade shape optimization. However, with the new Ellipse Sweep oars the entire oar minus the sleeve/collar/nut assembly and the handle will have to be replaced in case the shaft or blade is damaged.