Orphan rowers – a way to find crew members for racing

Hello again Reader

Are you getting back on the water after the winter freeze? Time for a quiet refresher course in bladework skills and ways to mitigate the “erg effects” on your boat technique.

Many people row somewhat differently on the indoor rowing machine. And the lack of water means we lose our skill handling the oars. Coach Carlos Dinares told me that he recalls being forced off the water in Bellingham, WA, USA by bad weather. After three days of indoor rowing the weather cleared and he was able to get back into his single scull. He was surprised at how sloppy his catch timing had become, after only a short time training indoors.

You will know that your fine motor skills get lost after a long time out of the boat and training on the erg.

Three drills to regain your skill:

  • Backsplash on entry
  • Wide grip rowing and sculling
  • Work around the rigger using the backstay (for sweep).

If you don’t know what these drills are, hit reply and ask.

Row well, no excuses

Newly back on the water you may find your ability to maintain good form is reduced. You’ll tire faster and the small muscles in your hands may be working harder than you’re used to.

It’s better to stop rowing and have a mental break, then re-start rather than struggle on trying, and failing, to row with good technique.

Perfect practice makes perfect.

Three quick things

  1. The New Zealand Legion of Rowers has coined the “orphan rower concept” – when you need people to fill your race crew, or you are looking for more races. They built a simple list where offers and wants can be viewed. Offers and List of available rowers . Could you copy this?
  2. Henley Masters Regatta in UK offers a matching service too on Facebook.
  3. Masters conference – Saturday 23rd March 2024 for the virtual masters rowing conference – details below.

Have another great rowing week.


Our most recent podcast

Use rigging principles to get a longer stroke – really useful if you’re a bit shorter than others and a way to easily incorporate new masters into a more experienced crew. Click the image to watch.

Boathouse Chat for the Weekend

A long discussion about flipping an eight after a video was recorded of this happening during the Heineken Regatta on the Amstel (Amsterdam, The Netherlands) over the weekend.

Join the group and take part in the discussion.

Rigging for Masters

This morning, I accosted Chris on the pontoon at our club. He was bemoaning the slow split he gets in his single nowadays – he’s just gone up into a new age bracket and, naturally is comparing his 500m split times with his memory of faster speeds. I asked him

How long are your sculls?

Chris couldn’t remember.

I reminded him that he isn’t as young now as he once was, and with a wry smile, he went to find a tape measure.

Our society’s celebration of youth has an ugly flip side – we all pretend we’re younger than we are.

This is counter-productive in rowing because hauling away on a gearing which is too heavy for your strength is no fun.

For the past few episodes my podcast has been on a theme of rigging, setting up the boat and oar lengths / inboard measurements. I mention Volker Nolte’s rigging charts in which he suggests spans, oar lengths and inboard measurements for every boat class AND how to make changes for different oar manufacturers’ designs. Big spoons – no problem; soft shafts – no problem. He teaches both rigging fundamentals and how to refine and adjust your rig as you age.

His insight and advice is what Chris needs. Do you need to review your rig too, Reader?

Act your age, be kind to yourself and go measure your oar lengths; then watch Volker’s presentation and find your tape measure….

Reminder: Masters conference

US Rowing is hosting a one-day event for masters tomorrow.

The speakers are excellent view the full schedule.

All ticket holders will get links to the recordings afterwards – even if you can’t attend live.

Tickets via Regatta Central

  1. Login to your RegattaCentral account / create account
  2. Click the “Clubs” tab located at the top of the page
  3. Scroll down and click on USRowing
  4. Click the “Masters Conference and Camp” tab
  5. Click the register button next to the appropriate Pass
  6. It will then take you through the registration and payment process

Masters rowing photos

Click the image to see more masters rowing photos.

Whenever you are ready….

Here are ways Faster Masters Rowing can help you:

  1. Align your training to your physical capacity with a program
  2. Improve your technique in a single scull
  3. Make your rowing club masters-friendly
  4. Our services for rowing coaches

Need a rowing advisor “in your pocket”? Book your free 20 minute discovery call.

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