Rigging basics for club rowing boats

four women in red rowing boat, holding onto dock pontoon, green river

What rig should masters rowing boats and oars use? How can clubs set up their equipment to suit as wide a range of athletes as possible?


00:45 I got a pair of mis-matched sculls and so I’m on a rant…. this is easy to improve. Comfort in the boat and ease of use are the most important for rigging club boats. All clubs should have standardised rig across the boat fleet.

02:00 Rigging basics

Your rig enables you to move the boat in comfort – your torso and legs. Be able to sit comfortably at the boat in the finish. Look for your shins not hitting the deck, hold the oar so forearm at the same height as the oar shaft and at the catch that you can get your hips through the work – at least hips level with the face of the gate. [If you don’t know what this is, buy our Sculling Intensive course and learn how to find work through the pin and ways to adjust to suit your needs.]

03:30 Oarlock height and forearm height are related It’s important that your forearms are level with or above the shaft and the oar handle. Otherwise you cannot get weight into the hands as you press the handle down.

04:20 Standardise the boat rig

Sculling spread of 159 or 160 cm; seat to heel measurement of 16-18 cm; oars /sculls 286 cm long and 87 cm inboard, maybe longer oars for men or younger athletes. Note the inboards are the same because men/women use the same boats.

Sweep rigging span of 84 cm; seat to heel 16-18cm. Oars 370 – 373 cm long. Inboards standardise from 114 for an eight down to 117 for a pair.

Put tape on the oars with measurements e.g. 370:114 so it’s easy to see what the oar is supposed to be set at.

07:00 Enable quick adjustments for club members

Height spacer washers – put one above and one below the oarlock/gate on every boat. So the oarlock sits at the midpoint above the oarlock to saxboard sill height. So you can easily see if the heights have been moved.

08:20 Shoes with adjustable sizes – we bought ours from Ankaa with velcro adjustment around the heels. Also home-made velcro instep straps for ladies to use larger shoes are cheap to make.

09:20 Spacer Placer tool – if you want the lanyard when you buy it, mention Faster Masters Rowing. Buy from Revolution Rowing

10:00 Oar designs for easy adjustment include Croker’s clamp on the button to release and reset the position without needing a screwdriver and tools. Give your rowers autonomy so they can adjust the boat and oars to make them comfortable for their needs.

Want easy live streams like this? Instant broadcasts to Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn. Faster Masters uses

StreamYard: https://streamyard.com/pal/d/5694205242376192

Related Articles

Use our design to make your own unique rowing gift

Hello there Reader
So many folks told us that they loved the design we made for the waterproof socks. Which gave us an idea, why not let everyone use it to make something for themselves?
There are lots of print-your-own services online offering clothing, -shirts, mugs and much more. I got custom Vans sneakers made.
Use the Faster Masters Rowing print as the basis for your own design. Download from the link below.
In case you missed it, the Erg Intensive kickoff zoom call is this weekend, open…

Guidance on adjusting training to align with your race dates

Hello again Reader
Across the world there are events at different times of year. When Marlene and I started this business we researched the major events for masters rowers in English-speaking countries. We designed the training programmes to cater for the majority using our standard training plans. Sometimes, these don’t exactly align with races you want to do.
We got this question from Michael
Do you by any chance have a training program for a single sculler taking part in a 16km head race?…

Want a better rowing group? Here’s how

Hello again Reader
Things that contribute to a robust rowing group over time can be encapsulated in Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Belonging and esteem are part of the list he identified in 1943.
Masters should have a range of ways to contribute to the overall club goals. Another word for esteem is ‘status’ and the way your club group assigns status is a core underpinning of its success. We masters are not all racing demons – young people gain rowing status by winning races; masters…

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…