How to have fun with maths and rowing

No this title is NOT a joke!  Thanks to HTBS we’ve discovered this wonderful page about mathematics and sport.

Math, rowing, rigging
Anna Railton’s blog [Image credit:]

It includes thse articles

  • What can maths tell us about the best way to rig a rowing eight?
  • Does a cox help or hinder a racing boat?
  • How does the speed of a kayak or a canoe depend on the number of paddlers?
  • And what if you fall in – can maths tell us anything about the best way to swim?

But our favourite is the definitive mathematical explanation for “Frig Rigs” and other non-standard patterns of crew alignment in sweep.


One thought on “How to have fun with maths and rowing

  1. David Harralson says:

    How to rig an eight (or four) has been published earlier. The basic assumption for the altered rigging is that all the rowers have the same force profile while rowing. Then the altered rigging produces no net outside lateral force.

    A pair is different. Dr. Valery Kleshnev in an early Biorow (2002/04, 2008/01-02) published force curves for the bow seat and stroke seat in a pair that produced no “wiggle”. In general terms, stroke requires slightly greater average force than bow, with slightly greater force at the start of the stroke. Bow requires slightly greater force in the middle of the stroke. So, “magic pairs” are actually two different types of rowers that have that magical confluence of force profiles that has no net sideways force at any time during the stroke.

    If you could find two “magic pairs”, they could row a four with any rigging setup, because their forces are balanced in a pairwise sense. They would also be faster than an equivalently erging four with the same force profiles for all rowers but with altered rigging that produced no net outside lateral force.

    This effect is easiest to see when rowing a pair. Look at the wake behind the boat. A “magic pair” will have an arrow straight wake. Pairs that are not so well matched will have a wake that will vary from a slight foam to a pronounced “S” shape during the stroke.

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