It's 6:50 in the morning. I just read this whole thread and now I'm ready for a beer.
The ancients made stuff with the materials they had. It was usually conservative and practical by design. If we have examples to study them someone obviously went through the trouble. There was a reason and as explained, it just works. I have one and have used several others and they do work. Plain and simple. Why spend the energy over analyzing this?
Touring Kayak Paddles
Sport Cases (Electronics)
Free Standing Boat Racks
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