Not so, it turns out. Confining the shell speed to its average value makes impossible the transfer of useful work to the boat through the footboard. It is as if the footboard were fixed--like that on a rowing ergometer.
The work so transferred in a free moving boat is a significant part of the total effort required to advance the shell--as ROWING shows in the summary of the work done on the shell.
ROWING made this determination by assigning an infinite inertial mass to the shell (but without altering the displacement or wetted surface). The resulting constant speed loss for an eight at 30 1/min is about two percent.
Conventional Asynchronous ------------ ------------ Inertial mass of shell, kg 227 6030 Shell speed avg., m/s 5.63 5.52 Shell speed excursion (amplitude) 2.1 0.3 Peak oarhandle effort, avg., N 617 617 Stroke rating, 1/min 30.0 31.3 Positive work at footboard, J * 104.8 0.5 Total rower power, Watts 575 575 System mechanical efficiency 0.533 0.481 * Contributes to advance of shellThe work lost at the footboard just about cancels the hull gain from maintaining constant speed.
See the centipede for a clever animation and some history of this concept.