Pairs Head steering for novices

Pairs Head Rowing Racing on Tideway London

I’m a novice and I will be racing the Tideway Pairs Head of the River on 14th October.  Can you give me steering advice?

It’s the start of the new head racing season and we have already had a reader enquiry.

Pairs Head Rowing Racing on Tideway London
Pairs Head Racing on Tideway London

First job for you is to get our exclusive expert How To steer the Tideway email advice.  It comes direct to your in box after you subscribe and you can print it out.

Other people who have already downloaded say

Best description of steering a Tideway Head I’ve read yet. I particularly like the way Martin explains visualizing other eights between you and various bank landmarks.

Novice Head Race Steering Advice

As a novice, the only difference is that you are probably less skilled at rowing in a straight line.  Also, steering the boat using pressure is harder to do if the blades are touching the water during the recovery.  And so I have some different advice for you.

I recommend setting an audible beep on a cheap digital watch – every 60 seconds you should look around and check your steering. I know this sounds a lot of turning around.  As a beginner you will find it faster in the long run to successfully stay in the stream by looking round and making small course corrections frequently than to row out of the current because you didn’t check your course and have to steer back and lose time with big steering manoeuvres.

Also print out a diagram of the course and tape it to the wing rigger in the boat so you an check it while you race – especially important if you are not training on the Tideway and don’t know the river. Write BIG and cover it in plastic or laminate so the ink doesn’t run when wet!

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