18 Dec 2006 18:08:42
martin+x@y.z
Technique

OK, I now have about 10 to 12 hours rowing without the stabilizing
floats and have a couple of questions.

1- I can't seem to go straight. I tend to make a slow turn to
starboard. I thought it was the floats. But, no, it's me. This makes
going fast difficult due to the constant need to check where I am going
(which isn't where I thought I was going).

What can cause this and how do I fix this?

Here's what I think: I am right handed and, even though my arms are
travelling together, it seems that I am pulling harder with my right
arm.

Is this a case of needing to adjust the inboard to compensate? Which
one? I can put more load on the right arm or less on the left...or is
it the other way around?


2- On the return I have the oars skimming the surface of the water ever
so slightly. This is probably due to not being completely at ease with
the stability of the boat. It seems to feel safer. However, I know
that this extra drag isn't good. How do I break the habit? Is there a
drill I can run to get me used to the right height above water? And,
what is that height?


Incidentally, I've also had about six hours of the above noted twelve
on flat water. I now understand what was being said here about what
flat water is good for. I call it a "sensory amplifier". Everything
that was lost in the "noise" when rowing in rough water is incredibly
perceivable on flat water. I can see how flat water rowing would have
one focus and concentrate on optimizing technique. It is a natural
side effect of being able to feel every input you make to the
boat-water system.

-Martin



19 Dec 2006 11:51:06
Carl
Re: Technique

martin+x@y.z wrote:
> OK, I now have about 10 to 12 hours rowing without the stabilizing
> floats and have a couple of questions.
>
> 1- I can't seem to go straight. I tend to make a slow turn to
> starboard. I thought it was the floats. But, no, it's me. This makes
> going fast difficult due to the constant need to check where I am going
> (which isn't where I thought I was going).
>
> What can cause this and how do I fix this?
>
> Here's what I think: I am right handed and, even though my arms are
> travelling together, it seems that I am pulling harder with my right
> arm.
>
> Is this a case of needing to adjust the inboard to compensate? Which
> one? I can put more load on the right arm or less on the left...or is
> it the other way around?
>
>
> 2- On the return I have the oars skimming the surface of the water ever
> so slightly. This is probably due to not being completely at ease with
> the stability of the boat. It seems to feel safer. However, I know
> that this extra drag isn't good. How do I break the habit? Is there a
> drill I can run to get me used to the right height above water? And,
> what is that height?
>
>
> Incidentally, I've also had about six hours of the above noted twelve
> on flat water. I now understand what was being said here about what
> flat water is good for. I call it a "sensory amplifier". Everything
> that was lost in the "noise" when rowing in rough water is incredibly
> perceivable on flat water. I can see how flat water rowing would have
> one focus and concentrate on optimizing technique. It is a natural
> side effect of being able to feel every input you make to the
> boat-water system.
>

Martin -
Your stroke has a turning effect at all points, but most of all at the
finish. There any imbalance of forces sets the boat turning, & it will
continue to turn (although to a diminishing extent) until you take your
next catch.

Unfortunately, the finish is where most rowers find themselves with too
much to think about, & where many are taught to expect difficulties -
because stress is inappropriately laid on extraction, getting the blades
feathered & pushing the hands away. For a novice this results in mental
overload, & in any case much of the stress laid on such features is
overdone & unnecessary.

Your boat is moved & steered by what you do in the water, not (for the
moment anyway) by what you do in the air). If you're worrying about
doing all the fiddly bits right at the finish, then you're bound to get
parts of the pulling bit wrong or uneven. And if one blade comes out
earlier than the other, or is less well buried, or you aren't pulling as
hard on it because you're preoccupied with how it will extract, then
your boat will leave the finish with a tendency to turn against that
hand. So, as a relative novice, you should concentrate on making each
stroke on each hand both even & effective, right from the catch to the
finish, & to do that far more than you do anything else.

In response, you may ask, "But won't I get my finishes caught up?"
Actually, no, you won't. At the finish the blades will, if allowed to,
self-feather. If you don't push the hands away the blades, unless you
insist on bringing your body over (in which case you'll get caught up on
the handles) will happily slop along the surface. They'll have no
tendency to do anything untoward & will just slide along astern of you.
The relaxed finish, sat at backstops with hands beside the body, is
the safest position in the whole stroke.

Once you get that idea embedded in your mind, you can take the time to
watch your blades move towards the finish, to compare their depths, to
check that they finish together, to balance the forces throughout - all
without the pressure to do anything else than just pull, & unworried by
what you might be told you have to do after the finish.

Get that right, treat each stroke by itself, forget the recoveries for
the time being, don't try for any fancy ratings &, unless the fin/skeg
is bent (which you can check by looking along the upturned boat), I
think you'll find that you can make the boat go straight.

Cheers -
Carl
--
Carl Douglas Racing Shells -
Fine Small-Boats/AeRoWing low-drag Riggers/Advanced Accessories
Write: The Boathouse, Timsway, Chertsey Lane, Staines TW18 3JY, UK
Email: carl@carldouglas.co.uk Tel: +44(0)1784-456344 Fax: -466550
URLs: www.carldouglas.co.uk (boats) & www.aerowing.co.uk (riggers)


19 Dec 2006 04:19:28
Pete
Re: Technique

martin+x@y.z wrote:
> OK, I now have about 10 to 12 hours rowing without the stabilizing
> floats and have a couple of questions.
>
> 1- I can't seem to go straight. I tend to make a slow turn to
> starboard. I thought it was the floats. But, no, it's me. This makes
> going fast difficult due to the constant need to check where I am going
> (which isn't where I thought I was going).
>
> What can cause this and how do I fix this?

You're either pulling harder on one oar than the other, your catches or
finishes are mistimed, or your finishes on one side are more draggy
than the other. Try to place at the same time at the catch (and don't
just slam the legs down as soon as the blades get near the water),
finish at the same time, and be clean around the finish. If the boat is
still turning, then just put a bit more weight on the foot it's turning
towards in the drive (or stop yanking the finishes so much with the
arms). Watch your wake to see what's happening - it should be one
straight line, if it's kinked your catches or finishes are the problem,
if it curves you're pulling too hard on one side. Don't adjust the rig
to 'correct' things or you will be a handbrake if you ever do any crew
sculling.

> 2- On the return I have the oars skimming the surface of the water ever
> so slightly. This is probably due to not being completely at ease with
> the stability of the boat. It seems to feel safer. However, I know
> that this extra drag isn't good. How do I break the habit? Is there a
> drill I can run to get me used to the right height above water? And,
> what is that height?

Ignore it, it costs you maybe 10 seconds max over 2k and right now that
is not what you want to worry about. You'll find when you get better
and try rating 30+ that the blades automatically come off the water a
bit, then when you try that through choppy water you'll learn where the
right height is fairly fast.

> Incidentally, I've also had about six hours of the above noted twelve
> on flat water. I now understand what was being said here about what
> flat water is good for. I call it a "sensory amplifier". Everything
> that was lost in the "noise" when rowing in rough water is incredibly
> perceivable on flat water. I can see how flat water rowing would have
> one focus and concentrate on optimizing technique. It is a natural
> side effect of being able to feel every input you make to the
> boat-water system.

Except if you do it all the time you will scull with the blades about
two inches off the water, and then you will have interesting times when
you try to race on water which isn't so flat.

Pete



19 Dec 2006 12:55:04
mpruscoe
Re: Technique

Pete wrote:
> martin+x@y.z wrote:
>> OK, I now have about 10 to 12 hours rowing without the stabilizing
>> floats and have a couple of questions.
>>
>> 1- I can't seem to go straight. I tend to make a slow turn to
>> starboard. I thought it was the floats. But, no, it's me. This makes
>> going fast difficult due to the constant need to check where I am going
>> (which isn't where I thought I was going).
>>
>> What can cause this and how do I fix this?
>
> You're either pulling harder on one oar than the other, your catches or
> finishes are mistimed, or your finishes on one side are more draggy
> than the other. Try to place at the same time at the catch (and don't
> just slam the legs down as soon as the blades get near the water),
> finish at the same time, and be clean around the finish. If the boat is
> still turning, then just put a bit more weight on the foot it's turning
> towards in the drive (or stop yanking the finishes so much with the
> arms). Watch your wake to see what's happening - it should be one
> straight line, if it's kinked your catches or finishes are the problem,
> if it curves you're pulling too hard on one side. Don't adjust the rig
> to 'correct' things or you will be a handbrake if you ever do any crew
> sculling.
>
Without spending too much time looking down, also watch the position of
the stern of the boat in the wake. You may be able to see an obvious
point in the stroke where the boat pulls around, when the stern moves
left or right in the wake.

I'm also guessing that the Alden Horizon, as a relatively short boat, is
probably fairly sensitive to anything in your stroke which might make it
turn.


19 Dec 2006 10:38:35
Charles Carroll
Re: Technique

Hi Martin,

You need to get the feel of the boat in your hands. Once you have that, you
won't have to ask why you aren't going straight.

What helped me immensely in my initial learning phrase was practicing
"backing up" and "river turns." They will help you get the feel of the boat
and raise your comfort level considerably.

Cordially,

Charles




19 Dec 2006 21:55:29
martin+x@y.z
Re: Technique

> Your stroke has a turning effect at all points, but most of all at the
> finish. There any imbalance of forces sets the boat turning, & it will
> continue to turn (although to a diminishing extent) until you take your
> next catch.

This makes lots of sense. I'll try to focus my attention on what
happens at the finish and the catch next time and see what I learn.

Thanks,

-Martin



20 Dec 2006 04:52:02
Re: Technique



On Dec 19, 6:38 pm, "Charles Carroll" <charles_carr...@comcast.net >
wrote:
> Hi Martin,
>
> You need to get the feel of the boat in your hands. Once you have that, you
> won't have to ask why you aren't going straight.
>
> What helped me immensely in my initial learning phrase was practicing
> "backing up" and "river turns." They will help you get the feel of the boat
> and raise your comfort level considerably.
>
> Cordially,
>
> Charles

We all have the same problem - it just takes practice. Focus on

1. Pushing down with equal pressure on both feet
2. Making sure you are taking the same length stroke with both arms.

Re skimming the surface on the recovery - do lots of practice with
square blades. When you have got used to holding the oars at the
necessary height to clear the water with the blades square, then you
just have to feather them at the same height and hey presto! No more
drag.

Caroline



20 Dec 2006 12:04:06
Charles Carroll
Re: Technique

> We all have the same problem - it just takes practice.

Caroline,

To this I would add "practice and patience."

I am amazed at how long it takes to begin sculling well. Chris Dadd, one of
the coaches at my Club, and an excellent coach by the way, preaches this all
the time. Earlier in the year I had a conversation with Chris. It went
something like this:

“Last year after one of our lessons you said that to learn sculling - really
learn it - takes a huge amount of time. What did you mean by to really learn
sculling?”

“I meant," said Chris, "that I think it takes 3 to 5 years to become
completely relaxed, completely confident in a boat. We’ve talked about those
rare people who climb into a boat and seem to be competent right from the
start. They have no trouble balancing the boat. Their timing seems right on.
They just seem to be naturals at sculling. But even for these people it
still takes 3 to 5 years to acquire the skill to make sculling look
effortless.”

To really get the feel of the boat in your hands just takes a lot of time
and practice - backing up, turns, river turns, rowing square blades, rowing
feet out, Catch drills, et cetera, not to mention miles and miles of just
plain rowing.

Then of course there is Steve Fairbairn's admonition to think of: "You
cannot learn to race by rowing, and you can only learn to row by racing."

Cordially,

Charles




20 Dec 2006 12:22:01
Charles Carroll
Re: Technique

When I mention racing I don't mean to sound facetious.

I made more progress the day of my first race than I have made any other day
of sculling.

The race was around around Angel Island here in San Francisco Bay. It took
me a few seconds under two hours to get around the Island. An atrocious
time! To give you an idea of how slow I was, the winner took a little over a
hour. The only person I beat was a 79 year old man, who on "age adjustment"
came in way ahead of me.

Yet for me this race is a turning point. By the end of it I was sculling on
a whole other level. I had become much, much more comfortable in a racing
shell.

By the way, the last time I went around the Island took a hour and twenty
some minutes.





20 Dec 2006 12:25:44
Charles Carroll
Re: Technique

Caroline,

When I mention racing I don't mean to sound facetious.

I made more progress the day of my first race than I have made any other day
of sculling.

The race was around Angel Island here in San Francisco Bay. It took
me a few seconds under two hours to get around the Island. An atrocious
time! To give you an idea of how slow I was, the winner took a little over a
hour. The only person I beat was a 79 year old man, who on "age adjustment"
came in way ahead of me.

Yet for me this race is a turning point. By the end of it I was sculling on
a whole other level. I had become much, much more comfortable in a racing
shell.

By the way, the last time I went around the Island took a hour and twenty
some minutes.

Charles




20 Dec 2006 12:28:57
martin+x@y.z
Re: Technique

> What helped me immensely in my initial learning phrase was practicing
> "backing up" and "river turns." They will help you get the feel of the boat
> and raise your comfort level considerably.

You mean just backing up in a straight line? I'll try that too.

What's a "river turn"?

These are the turns I've practiced so far:

With boat stopped:
1- One oar feathered on water while the other is used to turn with
arm-only strokes.
2- When it's windy the above makes it difficult to make a quick turn.
I've resorted to turning the blade that would normally be feathered.
This provides a fulcrum for the turn. I can turn the boat around
pretty quickly.

While moving:
1- Pull a little harder on one side for small corrections
2- Create drag on one side by partially or fully inmersing one blade
3- Do a normal full slide stroke except that one of the blades remains
feathered and under water the whole time.


-Martin



20 Dec 2006 15:09:11
Lauren G
Re: Technique


martin+x@y.z wrote:

> What's a "river turn"?
>
> These are the turns I've practiced so far:
>
> With boat stopped:
> 1- One oar feathered on water while the other is used to turn with
> arm-only strokes.
> 2- When it's windy the above makes it difficult to make a quick turn.
> I've resorted to turning the blade that would normally be feathered.
> This provides a fulcrum for the turn. I can turn the boat around
> pretty quickly.
>
That's actually pretty close to a river turn. You square one oar and
make like you're gonna row with it, you square the other oar backwards
and push it away at the same time as you pull the first oar. When done
right the boat turns without actually going anywhere other than around.


I hope I didn't write that backwards, it always feels a little screwed
up to me until I start doing it!

Lauren



20 Dec 2006 15:28:41
martin+x@y.z
Re: Technique

> > What's a "river turn"?

> You square one oar and
> make like you're gonna row with it, you square the other oar backwards
> and push it away at the same time as you pull the first oar. When done
> right the boat turns without actually going anywhere other than around.

OK, I knew what it was. I just didn't have a name for it.

-Martin



20 Dec 2006 23:29:19
David Jillings
Re: Technique

Martin,

As and when you manage to get both blades off the water throughout the
recovery every stroke, do let me know how you did it! I've been sculling
for 15 years now and I still can't manage it. I've stopped worrying about
it. What Pete says about the blade getting more height under high
rate/racing conditions is quite right in my experience.

You might try some square blade paddling. It's good for so many things, and
may help with keeping the boat straight as well, as you are more likely to
get the catches in level and together and start a virtuous circle. I try
and make it a rule not to feather until I am about 2k into every outing.

David.


"martin+x@y.z" <martin.usenet@gmail.com > wrote in message
news:1166494122.736687.308260@79g2000cws.googlegroups.com...
> OK, I now have about 10 to 12 hours rowing without the stabilizing
> floats and have a couple of questions.
>
> 1- I can't seem to go straight. I tend to make a slow turn to
> starboard. I thought it was the floats. But, no, it's me. This makes
> going fast difficult due to the constant need to check where I am going
> (which isn't where I thought I was going).
>
> What can cause this and how do I fix this?
>
> Here's what I think: I am right handed and, even though my arms are
> travelling together, it seems that I am pulling harder with my right
> arm.
>
> Is this a case of needing to adjust the inboard to compensate? Which
> one? I can put more load on the right arm or less on the left...or is
> it the other way around?
>
>
> 2- On the return I have the oars skimming the surface of the water ever
> so slightly. This is probably due to not being completely at ease with
> the stability of the boat. It seems to feel safer. However, I know
> that this extra drag isn't good. How do I break the habit? Is there a
> drill I can run to get me used to the right height above water? And,
> what is that height?
>
>
> Incidentally, I've also had about six hours of the above noted twelve
> on flat water. I now understand what was being said here about what
> flat water is good for. I call it a "sensory amplifier". Everything
> that was lost in the "noise" when rowing in rough water is incredibly
> perceivable on flat water. I can see how flat water rowing would have
> one focus and concentrate on optimizing technique. It is a natural
> side effect of being able to feel every input you make to the
> boat-water system.
>
> -Martin
>




20 Dec 2006 16:40:39
martin+x@y.z
Re: Technique

> As and when you manage to get both blades off the water throughout the
> recovery every stroke, do let me know how you did it!

Well, you see, I have this sketch for a gyroscopic stabilizer driven by
cables attached to the oar handles.... :-)

-Martin



21 Dec 2006 17:17:20
Henry Law
Re: Technique

Charles Carroll wrote:
> We’ve talked about those
> rare people who climb into a boat and seem to be competent right from the
> start. They have no trouble balancing the boat. Their timing seems right on.
> They just seem to be naturals at sculling.

And they are generally aged about 14.

--

Henry Law Manchester, England


21 Dec 2006 17:19:07
Henry Law
Re: Technique

martin+x@y.z wrote:

> Well, you see, I have this sketch for a gyroscopic stabilizer driven by
> cables attached to the oar handles.... :-)

Bloody engineers :-)

Martin, you're an asset to this group.

--

Henry Law Manchester, England


22 Dec 2006 11:32:06
Charles Carroll
Re: Technique

> And they are generally aged about 14.

Henry,

Isn't it pretty to think so?

In all fairness Chris Dadd does teach a lot of 14 year olds. In addition to
coaching at our Club, he is also the Berkeley High School Rowing Coach. So
he sees a lot of young men and women and does very well with them.

Two years ago I raced with a fellow who had exactly four sculling lessons
and one solo row. He was absurdly good.

Charles




22 Dec 2006 12:26:54
Charles Carroll
Re: Technique

Martin,

I think you have it.

But you asked, so I'll try to briefly describe a river turn.

Say you want to move the boat counter-clockwise and are sitting at the
Finish.

Keep the blade attached to the oar handle in your left hand feathered.
Immerse the blade attached to the oar handle in your right hand to the
correct depth. Then push on the oar handle in your right hand all the way up
to the Catch exactly as you would do on the Recovery. Release and feather.
Immerse the blade attached to the oar in your left hand to the correct depth
and pull back on the handle exactly as you would do if you were taking the
Drive. The hands should follow each other as they would were both blades
immersed (or feathered). You can think of this sequence as push/pull. The
boat should stay level, it shouldn't porpoise, and you should hold on to the
water at all times.

I have been told that I will be able to tell when I become good at river
turns because I will be able to turn the shell 180 degrees in a single
push/pull cycle. My rowing muse says that a good coach should be able to
demonstrate this, but I have yet to have any of the coaches at my Club
volunteer. At the moment it takes me two cycles.

Here are a couple of other points that also helped me in my initial learning
phase:

1) Learn to measure a racing shell correctly. Don't measure it by the width
of its hull. Measure it instead by the span, the distance between the pins.
Thus the true width of a racing single is roughly 160cm. So a racing shell
is actually a large, stable boat somewhere between 21 and 28 feet long.

2) Don't think of pulling on the oars. Instead think of holding onto the
oars as if you were up on a parallel bar pushing out.

3) Don't think of a shell as two-dimensional. Think of it as three
dimensional.

4) Produce stability by pressing hard against the pins (button against the
oarlock). Engage the triceps and pecs when you push the oars out against the
pins, just as you might if you were trying to hold yourself up on the
parallel bars. This is called "lateral pressure." You cannot overestimate
its importance in sculling.

These four points come from my first lesson with Gordon Hamilton, a rowing
coach at MIT. I found them an immense help when I started sculling. They
gave me confidence in my shell, and this confidence eventually made it
possible for me to keep the boat level and move it straight.

Since "Rowing in a Nutshell" by Steve Fairbairn is right next to me, I'll
give a quick quote from it:

"THE FIRST THING a beginner should learn is control of the oar so as not to
roll the boat. There are three essentials.

"1. Lateral Pressure. That is, exercise a pressure on the oar to keep
the button in touch with, and pressing against, the rowlock all through the
stroke and foward swing.

"2. Be sure the blade is turned square, that is turned to just past a
right angle with the water.

"3. Balance High. That is, make sure that the blade is sprung into the
air with a lively downward flick of the hands at the finish of the stroke,
and that the oarsman has full control of the oar on the forward swing."

More than you wanted, eh?

Cordially,

Charles





22 Dec 2006 13:26:33
martin+x@y.z
Re: Technique

> I think you have it.
>
> But you asked, so I'll try to briefly describe a river turn.

I was using only one half of what you described. In other words, one
oar blade would always stay feathered. I'll try it this weekend by
alternating push/pull with both oars. Thanks.

> 4) Produce stability by pressing hard against the pins (button against the
> oarlock). Engage the triceps and pecs when you push the oars out against the
> pins, just as you might if you were trying to hold yourself up on the
> parallel bars. This is called "lateral pressure." You cannot overestimate
> its importance in sculling.

How does pushing the buttons agains the oarlocks produce stability?
I'm assuming this is in concert with the oars being feathered.


> "3. Balance High. That is, make sure that the blade is sprung into the
> air with a lively downward flick of the hands at the finish of the stroke,
> and that the oarsman has full control of the oar on the forward swing."

Does this mean that the oar blades are "popped" out of water as quickly
as possible and held high, say, one blade width off the surface, for
the whole recovery phase?

> More than you wanted, eh?

And much appreciated!

-Martin



23 Dec 2006 12:01:56
Henry Law
Re: Technique

Charles Carroll wrote:
>> And they are generally aged about 14.
>

> Isn't it pretty to think so?

I'm hoping there's no element of criticism in that rather delphic reply,
Charles. My slightly tongue-in-cheek comment was rueful, in that people
so young can so easily show us big strong chaps up for the clumsy louts
we've become.

As a generality, and of course leaving aside the few national-class
scullers I've seen, the best sculling seems to come from J16 or younger;
they, without very much muscle yet, realise they can't beast the thing
along so have to make every instant of every stroke count. What was it
my one-time coach Kevin used to tell us ... "High averages, no mistakes".

--

Henry Law Manchester, England


23 Dec 2006 12:09:18
Henry Law
Re: Technique

Charles Carroll wrote:

> 4) Produce stability by pressing hard against the pins (button against the
> oarlock). Engage the triceps and pecs when you push the oars out against the
> pins, just as you might if you were trying to hold yourself up on the
> parallel bars. This is called "lateral pressure." You cannot overestimate
> its importance in sculling.

I'm quite prepared to believe that this outward pressure is important,
and I have resolved to put this advice into practice when I'm next in my
single. But I cannot accept that the outward force against the oarlock
has any direct effect in stablising the boat, since it's entirely
internal to the (more or less) rigid structure
rigger-hull-seat-arm-shaft-rigger; in other words it has no leverage
which can affect the relative positions of the centre of mass of the
boat and the point of support.

Am I wrong? Otherwise how does this pushing-out action help balance?

--

Henry Law Manchester, England


23 Dec 2006 13:37:31
Carl
Re: Technique

Henry Law wrote:
> Charles Carroll wrote:
>
>> 4) Produce stability by pressing hard against the pins (button against
>> the
>> oarlock). Engage the triceps and pecs when you push the oars out
>> against the
>> pins, just as you might if you were trying to hold yourself up on the
>> parallel bars. This is called "lateral pressure." You cannot overestimate
>> its importance in sculling.
>
>
> I'm quite prepared to believe that this outward pressure is important,
> and I have resolved to put this advice into practice when I'm next in my
> single. But I cannot accept that the outward force against the oarlock
> has any direct effect in stablising the boat, since it's entirely
> internal to the (more or less) rigid structure
> rigger-hull-seat-arm-shaft-rigger; in other words it has no leverage
> which can affect the relative positions of the centre of mass of the
> boat and the point of support.
>
> Am I wrong? Otherwise how does this pushing-out action help balance?
>

In these 2 ways, at least, Henry:
1. The balance of the 2 positive outward pressures gives you a sense of
your central position in the boat & ensures that you do not lean
asymmetrically onto 1 or t'other rigger.
2. Having detectable outward pressure ensures that buttons do not come
away from the gates anywhere in the stroke, which affects both balance &
effectiveness.

Cheers -
Carl

--
Carl Douglas Racing Shells -
Fine Small-Boats/AeRoWing low-drag Riggers/Advanced Accessories
Write: The Boathouse, Timsway, Chertsey Lane, Staines TW18 3JY, UK
Email: carl@carldouglas.co.uk Tel: +44(0)1784-456344 Fax: -466550
URLs: www.carldouglas.co.uk (boats) & www.aerowing.co.uk (riggers)


23 Dec 2006 16:43:12
Henry Law
Re: Technique

Carl wrote:
> Henry Law wrote:
>> Am I wrong? Otherwise how does this pushing-out action help balance?

> In these 2 ways, at least, Henry:
> 1. The balance of the 2 positive outward pressures gives you a sense of
> your central position in the boat
...
> 2. Having detectable outward pressure ensures that buttons do not come
> away from the gates anywhere in the stroke

OK, those things I understand; they are /indirect/ reasons why it's a
good idea to do the pushing. But what you've written confirms my point:
the physical force outwards on the gate doesn't directly confer any
additional stability on the boat.

This has been an excellent thread; most helpful.

--

Henry Law Manchester, England


23 Dec 2006 19:30:38
mpruscoe
Re: Technique

Henry Law wrote:
> Carl wrote:
>> Henry Law wrote:
>>> Am I wrong? Otherwise how does this pushing-out action help balance?
>
>> In these 2 ways, at least, Henry:
>> 1. The balance of the 2 positive outward pressures gives you a sense
>> of your central position in the boat
> ....
>> 2. Having detectable outward pressure ensures that buttons do not come
>> away from the gates anywhere in the stroke
>
> OK, those things I understand; they are /indirect/ reasons why it's a
> good idea to do the pushing. But what you've written confirms my point:
> the physical force outwards on the gate doesn't directly confer any
> additional stability on the boat.
>
> This has been an excellent thread; most helpful.
>

Another idea - the internal tensions, not just pressing out on the
gates, but active posture too, stop the rower/boat system from being a
loose system of jointed bits, and turn it into a cohesive whole which
will still roll gently, but won't flop around suddenly in quite the same
way.


23 Dec 2006 14:31:18
martin+x@y.z
Re: Technique

Just got back from a three hour row. I tried various ideas from this
thread.

First, on going staight. I concentrated on getting a little more
height off the water during recovery. This because it was a little
rough this morning and I didn't feel like slapping waves for three
hours. Anyhow, this had the side effect of making me go straight. I
mean, really straight. I could look back and aim for something and
actually get there. I guess I was causing more drag on one side during
recovery and this was enough to make me turn slowly.

Next, river turn. Hmmm, it'll require a lot more work to get it in two
strokes. It's more like four now. But I can see that this is a lot
better than just using one oar to turn.

Stopping. I tried Mike's (or was it Carl's?) suggestion to
over-feather to stop. Nice. Works very well. I even used it to turn
and slow down by over-feathering on one side only. In general it feels
better than just plopping the oars in the water.


Pushing on the buttons. The effect for me was more psycological than
anything else. Not sure. I need to work on this some more.


I got in trouble a couple of times and almost flipped it in the middle
of the lake. The conditions were such that there was a pretty good
wind, waves and accompanying current. I got caught sideways in the
zone with most wave activity and current. No floats to save my butt.

Anyhow, I came to a stop and the boat was actually drifting --with both
wind and current pushing me. I feathered the oars and about thirty
seconds of a circus act started. The oar pointing into the current
wanted to burry itself under water. This, of course, would make the
boat roll to the side dangerously. I'd feather it to get it out and
it'd pop out of the current. Now the other oar would want to dive
under water. This time because the boat was drifting sideways with
respect to the water. I'd feather the oar and it'd pop out of the
water. This led to oscillating between each oar wanting to go under
water for about thirty seconds, back and forth. Each time seeming like
the boat could flip. I ended it by risking a real flip by taking a
powerful stroke on one side to turn the boat into the waves. I was
glad that was over.

Is there a better way to deal with this?

BTW, thanks to all who've provided pointers and help on this and other
threads. It really helps.

-Martin



24 Dec 2006 17:39:45
Nick Suess
Re: Technique


"Henry Law" <news@lawshouse.org > wrote in message
news:1166892190.2541.0@proxy01.news.clara.net...
> Carl wrote:
>> Henry Law wrote:
>>> Am I wrong? Otherwise how does this pushing-out action help balance?
>
>> In these 2 ways, at least, Henry:
>> 1. The balance of the 2 positive outward pressures gives you a sense of
>> your central position in the boat
> ...
>> 2. Having detectable outward pressure ensures that buttons do not come
>> away from the gates anywhere in the stroke
>
> OK, those things I understand; they are /indirect/ reasons why it's a good
> idea to do the pushing. But what you've written confirms my point: the
> physical force outwards on the gate doesn't directly confer any additional
> stability on the boat.

And don't forget what we discussed a year or two ago, how thumb pressure in
the early part of the stroke, being directed bow-wards, increases boat
speed.




24 Dec 2006 10:44:45
Henry Law
Re: Technique

Nick Suess wrote:

> And don't forget what we discussed a year or two ago, how thumb pressure in
> the early part of the stroke, being directed bow-wards, increases boat
> speed.

You nearly got me there, Nick. I was about to pen a long (but polite)
criticism of this idea until I read the thread ...

--

Henry Law Manchester, England


24 Dec 2006 09:46:27
Charles Carroll
Re: Technique

> I'm hoping there's no element of criticism in that rather delphic reply,
> Charles. My slightly tongue-in-cheek comment was rueful, in that people
> so young can so easily show us big strong chaps up for the clumsy louts
> we've become.

Hello Henry,

I apologize for having been so ambiguous. I intended absolutely no element
of criticism at all. Nor, for that matter, did I intend to be delphic.

"Isn't it pretty to think so?" is a line I have been using with myself for
about forty-five years . It is the last sentence in "The Sun Also Rises."
Brett has just said to Jake, "Oh Jake ... we could have had such a damned
good time together." To which Jake replies: "Isn't it pretty to think so?"

I use the line to remind myself not to get all gaga over the notion that
things would be different if only I were something I am not. For example, I
try not to tell myself that I would move a racing shell better if I were six
feet four inches tall and thirty-five years younger. Or, in this case, I
would have gotten my blades off the water earlier had I been fourteen
instead of fifty-nine.

So there you have it. My own tongue-in-cheek comment gone awry.

Cordially,

Charles




24 Dec 2006 18:42:33
Carl
Re: Technique

Charles Carroll wrote:
>>I'm hoping there's no element of criticism in that rather delphic reply,
>>Charles. My slightly tongue-in-cheek comment was rueful, in that people
>>so young can so easily show us big strong chaps up for the clumsy louts
>>we've become.
>
>
> Hello Henry,
>
> I apologize for having been so ambiguous. I intended absolutely no element
> of criticism at all. Nor, for that matter, did I intend to be delphic.
>
> "Isn't it pretty to think so?" is a line I have been using with myself for
> about forty-five years . It is the last sentence in "The Sun Also Rises."
> Brett has just said to Jake, "Oh Jake ... we could have had such a damned
> good time together." To which Jake replies: "Isn't it pretty to think so?"
>
> I use the line to remind myself not to get all gaga over the notion that
> things would be different if only I were something I am not. For example, I
> try not to tell myself that I would move a racing shell better if I were six
> feet four inches tall and thirty-five years younger. Or, in this case, I
> would have gotten my blades off the water earlier had I been fourteen
> instead of fifty-nine.
>
> So there you have it. My own tongue-in-cheek comment gone awry.
>
> Cordially,
>
> Charles
>
>
Just one of those "tongue in cheek" moments, Charles.

Happy Christmas!
Carl
--
Carl Douglas Racing Shells -
Fine Small-Boats/AeRoWing low-drag Riggers/Advanced Accessories
Write: The Boathouse, Timsway, Chertsey Lane, Staines TW18 3JY, UK
Email: carl@carldouglas.co.uk Tel: +44(0)1784-456344 Fax: -466550
URLs: www.carldouglas.co.uk (boats) & www.aerowing.co.uk (riggers)


24 Dec 2006 18:42:49
Charles Carroll
Re: Technique

Merry Christmas, Carl.

And Merry Christman to Jan and Beamish. And to everyone.

And to anyone who wants to be wished something else, I wish you the essence
of Christmas. Peach and goodwill among men!

The guests are due any minute, and I still have to shower and dress.

See, nothing ever changes.

Coridally,

Charles




24 Dec 2006 12:11:12
A.P. Thorsen
Re: Technique

"Henry Law" <news@lawshouse.org > wrote in message
news:1166721438.28632.2@proxy02.news.clara.net...
> Charles Carroll wrote:
>> We’ve talked about those
>> rare people who climb into a boat and seem to be competent right from the
>> start. They have no trouble balancing the boat. Their timing seems right
>> on.
>> They just seem to be naturals at sculling.
>
> And they are generally aged about 14.
>

This is probably of marginal interest/relevance on this thread, but in our
club's adult learn-to-row program, they always seem to turn out to be
dancers -- women.

Ann T.
Remove 'dontsendspam' from address to reply by email




28 Dec 2006 09:40:29
Charles Carroll
Re: Technique

> > 4) Produce stability by pressing hard against the pins (button against
the
> > oarlock). Engage the triceps and pecs when you push the oars out against
the
> > pins, just as you might if you were trying to hold yourself up on the
> > parallel bars. This is called "lateral pressure." You cannot
overestimate
> > its importance in sculling.
>
> I'm quite prepared to believe that this outward pressure is important,
> and I have resolved to put this advice into practice when I'm next in my
> single. But I cannot accept that the outward force against the oarlock
> has any direct effect in stablising the boat, since it's entirely
> internal to the (more or less) rigid structure
> rigger-hull-seat-arm-shaft-rigger; in other words it has no leverage
> which can affect the relative positions of the centre of mass of the
> boat and the point of support.

Hello Henry,

Using "lateral pressure" to stabilize a shell has been in the back of my
mind for a week now. Since I can't leave it alone, I thought it might help
to revisit it.

If I haven't misunderstood, I believe that you have been rowing since 1969.
The first time I stepped into a shell was 2004. This means that you have ten
times the experience I have. Hence my hesitancy to say anything.

At the same time, however, I keep being nagged by a question I can't answer.
How do you stabilize a shell if you don't use "lateral pressure?"

For two and a half years I have been under the impression that it is
precisely "force against the oarlocks" that stabilizes my shell. This is
what I thought the phrase "get the feel of the boat in your hands" meant.
Force against the oarlocks at the Finish produces a stable, level Finish.
Force against the oarlocks at the Catch keeps the boat level. Continued
force against the oarlocks ("staying on the pins") during the Drive keeps
the boat level.

One of the coaches at my Club uses the phrase "set the boat up from the
inside." I just assumed he was talking about "lateral pressure." I
translated this coach's admonition as follows: don't put your blades on the
water to set up your shell; instead use "lateral pressure." Hence his
phrase: "set the boat up from the inside!" Wasn't this coach was literally
telling me to apply force against the oarlocks to level the boat?

I also freely concede that as you increase your skill as a sculler you will
eventually bring your legs and feet into the equation. I am now just
beginning to get the feel of the boat in my feet.

The last thing I wanted to mention is that Gordon also carefully instructed
me not to try "to balance."

"Don't think about balancing. Just learn to level the boat," said Gordon.
"That's all you need."

Anyway, just some thoughts this morning before I go to Sausalito to scull.

Cordially,

Charles




28 Dec 2006 13:37:22
KC
Re: Technique

Charles Carroll wrote:
>>> 4) Produce stability by pressing hard against the pins (button against
> the
>>> oarlock). Engage the triceps and pecs when you push the oars out against
> the
>>> pins, just as you might if you were trying to hold yourself up on the
>>> parallel bars. This is called "lateral pressure." You cannot
> overestimate
>>> its importance in sculling.
>> I'm quite prepared to believe that this outward pressure is important,
>> and I have resolved to put this advice into practice when I'm next in my
>> single. But I cannot accept that the outward force against the oarlock
>> has any direct effect in stablising the boat, since it's entirely
>> internal to the (more or less) rigid structure
>> rigger-hull-seat-arm-shaft-rigger; in other words it has no leverage
>> which can affect the relative positions of the centre of mass of the
>> boat and the point of support.
>
> Hello Henry,
>
> Using "lateral pressure" to stabilize a shell has been in the back of my
> mind for a week now. Since I can't leave it alone, I thought it might help
> to revisit it.
>
> If I haven't misunderstood, I believe that you have been rowing since 1969.
> The first time I stepped into a shell was 2004. This means that you have ten
> times the experience I have. Hence my hesitancy to say anything.
>
> At the same time, however, I keep being nagged by a question I can't answer.
> How do you stabilize a shell if you don't use "lateral pressure?"
>
> For two and a half years I have been under the impression that it is
> precisely "force against the oarlocks" that stabilizes my shell. This is
> what I thought the phrase "get the feel of the boat in your hands" meant.
> Force against the oarlocks at the Finish produces a stable, level Finish.
> Force against the oarlocks at the Catch keeps the boat level. Continued
> force against the oarlocks ("staying on the pins") during the Drive keeps
> the boat level.

Charles,

In theory, the outward force against the oarlocks does nothing to set a
boat. What it does do, is it gives you the rower something to do/think
about that helps keep your motions under control. What really sets a
boat is proper technique, not any sort of forces applied by you, and
especially (hopefully) not by any effort to "balance" by you.

>
> One of the coaches at my Club uses the phrase "set the boat up from the
> inside." I just assumed he was talking about "lateral pressure." I

Although I don't really agree with this, what I think your coach was
talking about is that balance should come from within YOU. If your body
is balanced and square to the boat, then the boat will set up. To a
point this is true, but it diverts your attention to your body and
"trying" to balance, when what is more important, IMO, for a novice is
to control their actions with the oars and blades (timing of catch,
release, blade heights, all these must be together and equal from side
to side). Naturally, your body should be square and set as well, but to
focus on your body as the source of balance for the boat is not the best
thing, IMO. Well, okay, it's important, but it shouldn't be the focus IMO.

> translated this coach's admonition as follows: don't put your blades on the
> water to set up your shell; instead use "lateral pressure." Hence his
> phrase: "set the boat up from the inside!" Wasn't this coach was literally
> telling me to apply force against the oarlocks to level the boat?

Again, the lateral force against the oarlocks does nothing to set the
boat (as far as the physics of the system are concerned). What it does
do it help the rower stay consistent throughout the stroke.

>
> I also freely concede that as you increase your skill as a sculler you will
> eventually bring your legs and feet into the equation. I am now just
> beginning to get the feel of the boat in my feet.
>
> The last thing I wanted to mention is that Gordon also carefully instructed
> me not to try "to balance."
>
> "Don't think about balancing. Just learn to level the boat," said Gordon.
> "That's all you need."

Gordon is a very wise man, then (IMO)! Get your bladework perfect
(again - timing of release, catch, recovery - everything - in sync and
together between your left & right sides) and the set will come.

Ever notice as your sculling... when you take one or two GREAT strokes,
and the boat just sets up so easily? That's largely because your
technique was symmetric, and so your body didn't HAVE to work to balance
the boat.

HTH,
-Kieran


28 Dec 2006 13:39:49
KC
Re: Technique

KC wrote:

> Ever notice as your sculling...

CRINGE.... pet peeve. Sorry. "your" s/b "you're". :-P

-KC


28 Dec 2006 10:47:51
martin+x@y.z
Re: Technique

> balance should come from within YOU.

I've said this before. I believe there are many parallels between
sculling and riding a bike as far as balance is concerned.

For example, who can describe what exactly you do in order to balance a
bike? I mean, consciously. Do you think of anything in particular in
order to achieve balance? I doubt anyone does and, by extension, that
anyone can actually answer this question. Perhaps balance in sculling
is of the same ilk. You do it until your nervous system figures it out
and then you just don't think about it any more, it just happens.

-Martin



28 Dec 2006 22:22:59
Charles Carroll
Re: Technique

> CRINGE.... pet peeve. Sorry. "your" s/b "you're". :-P

Kieran,

Your writing this to a guy who just four days ago wished everyone on rsr
"Peach and goodwill among men!"

Come on! Who of us doesn't make a typo?

Charles

Ps Opps! Did I type "your" instead of "you're?"




30 Dec 2006 09:19:22
Nick Suess
Re: Technique


"Henry Law" <news@lawshouse.org > wrote in message
news:1166957086.28209.0@damia.uk.clara.net...
> Nick Suess wrote:
>
>> And don't forget what we discussed a year or two ago, how thumb pressure
>> in the early part of the stroke, being directed bow-wards, increases boat
>> speed.
>
> You nearly got me there, Nick. I was about to pen a long (but polite)
> criticism of this idea until I read the thread ...
>

Henry, you of all people nearly fell for a Nick wind-up!

But please do remember that we have a boatbuilder over on the far side of
this great big brown land who started selling bow-mounted wing riggers with
a great big and not so brown advertising blurb that they made the boat go
faster because the thrust from the pin was now directed bow-wards.

And meanwhile there's this bloke your side of the pond who says those fancy
pins with the poofy little yellow and blue plastic bits are a better means
of adjustment than the good old metre length of steel piping. Whatever next?