Preview: Harry Bryan’s THISTLE, A Pedal-Powered Fin Boat

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Ever wish you could swim through the water with a fish’s power and quiet gracefulness? Harry Bryan’s THISTLE, a pedal-powered Fin Boat, get’s you about halfway there.

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24 Responses So Far to “Harry Bryan’s THISTLE, A Pedal-Powered Fin Boat

  • Stuart James

    Stuart James says:

    Looks like a great project to tackle with the grandkids, we had a lot of fun building a “one sheet” dinghy and now in need of a new project. How can I contact Harry Bryan to purchase plans?

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    Thomas Dalzell says:

    I always liked this device as it can be home made, and is quite simple compared to rotary systems and such.

    There are a lot of interesting videos on Youtube with various sweeps and other devices. Also the hobbie mirage.

    Many use a vertical foil which for home builders may have some advantages. If I have to buy two full sheets of lexan to get parts out for the Bryant version it won’t be economical. But short foils can be made out of standard boat materials. Plus an advances made in developing foil building skills can be easily translated to other boat parts like daggers, rudders and so forth.

    You can check out Foilsculler, flapping foil, power fin.

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    John Mahoney says:

    Genius- thanks for the beautiful video and inspiration.

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      Ron Mueller says:

      Wonderful video.
      Look up 3M Brand VHB Tape to bond your plastic fin. You will have to consult their application guide to choose the correct product for the material to be bonded. Great stuff!

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    James Turner says:

    Just watching the boat and the boy ease through the water made me smile. Reminded me of a recumbent tricycle I once made. Very clever.

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    David Jeffery says:

    Seems an ingenious solution to a problem already solved by a paddle or oars.

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      daniel snyder says:

      This uses stronger muscles and leaves your hands free.

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    Kevin Marvel says:

    absolutely amazing design…true genius…love it!

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    Browne Altman says:

    Is it possible to get the plans for just the fin power system?

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    Michael Tindall says:

    Love the boat and the philosophy. You are an inspiration HB. So glad I found OCH.

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    Trevor Burdon says:

    Has me wondering how does a fish brake, stop or move backwards? …

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      Neo Sovereign says:

      They don’t as far as I know. I’ve only ever seen a fish turn when in need of a delta-V.

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    Jon Arcuni says:

    This is a kick to the imagination. Great video.

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    Gus Cartledge says:

    who said all the great thinkers are gone.

    love harry’s thinking and envy his lifestyle.

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    Ray from Keyport NJ says:

    Wonderful design… I wonder how well it would perform using a sheet of aluminum instead of lexan. Maybe too stiff…?

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    Stephen McClure says:

    As usual, a very clever design from Harry, and a nicely executed video from OCH. Great work.

    Would it be possible to get some information on the pretty looking ketch that appears from about about 4:50 to 4:55 in this video?

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    Thomas Buzzi says:

    A brilliant idea!! Aesthetically very pleasing, of course. Graceful, poetry in motion. I see Hobie Alter peeking out from behind a tree. Cutting edge technology, only at OCH!!

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    terry brower says:

    Harry’s clever approach to imitating something in nature as in the fish’s tail reminds me of the Wright brothers imitation of a bird’s design when they built their plane.

    • Steve Stone

      Steve Stone says:

      I just finished McCullough’s biography of the Wright Bros. Fascinating story, and surprising how little I knew about the details of their story other than that one image and a vague notion about that being a “first human flight”, which it wasn’t at all. I loved how Wilbur and Orville’s spartan and primitive living conditions while working were much preferred by them over lavish palaces of Europe that they later frequented when visiting Kings, Queens and millionaires all over Europe. Another influence on my houseboat design!

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        Thomas Dalzell says:

        One thing that I like about their process is they would run into s problem and build a very simple model and see what it told them. I love the info we can get off the internet these days, but some of the questions people ask could be answered so much more easily by just doing a simple experiment, like minimally trying a test swatch of paint and a tape test. Rather than trying to disect some very complex technical problem involving different paints and substrates and so forth, over the net with dozens of half answers coming back.

        I remember trying to figure out how a dolphin striker would be loaded, not know the trig that would govern it. After a lot of wondering I just built a model with a stick a string, and a fish weighing scale to model the loads. Simple.


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