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Rowing rigging changes you can do to change catch/finish angles

Everyone seems to be frightened of rigging. It’s got a reputation for being complex and hard to master … read more

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Everyone seems to be frightened of rigging. It’s got a reputation for being complex and hard to master – this is unwarranted.

Luckily for us, the British Rowing Rigging Forum has done research which all coaches can learn from and easily use.

Stephen Aitken runs the forum (available to British Rowing members via Row How inside your login – search for Rigging Forum and join the group).  He presented to the British Rowing conference in January 2013 and has kindly shared his slides which explain a series of experiments he ran in which 4 things were varied – see picture

Rigging 9 different options Rigging 9 different options

  • span
  • inboard
  • stretcher position
  • distance between handles at the finish

In summary, his team found option 3 is the only one that works well.  This is
Reducing inboard and span equally and adjusting stretcher to keep hands the same at finish works giving increases in all angles, catch, finish and sweep (total).

Stephen has produced a slide deck detailing the summary (first 9 slides) and the detail including graphs showing the angle changes.

The spreadsheet which accompanies the slides can be downloaded here.  Rowing Rig angle changes due to span and inboard

There are two tabs on the spreadsheet – one for sweep and one for sculling.

There’s no delicate way to put this. If you’re a regular Rowperfect reader, you’re just . . . well . . . smarter than most people looking to improve their rowing, sculling, coxing or coaching.

About Rebecca Caroe
Rebecca is the host of RowingChat podcast and is a masters athlete and coach. Passionate about helping others enjoy the sport as much as she does. View all posts from Rebecca Caroe

One thought on “Rowing rigging changes you can do to change catch/finish angles

  1. Hi Stephen, I was interested in your article on increasing catch and finish angles (to the perpendicular) and can see very clearly why option 3 is the best of those explored. I was surprised however that you did not include the option that I would have thought would interest most scullers. This is the option to keep constant both the stretcher position and the distance apart of the handles at the finish. To achieve this, let us say we reduce the span from 160 cm to 152 cm. this means bringing in each pin by 4 cm. Now reduce the inbound by 3 cm on each oar by moving the button towards the handle that much. Clearly you increase the maximum overlap by 2 cm. As I see it, the benefit of this is that it keeps the work done in front and behind the pin the same and more importantly gives a much more even distribution of the angles gained at each end of the stroke. Even doing this, I reckon you would gain about 6 degrees at the catch to 4 degrees at the finish compared with around 7 degrees at the catch to 3 degrees at the finish with option 3 Having more overlap might at first seem like a disadvantage. It certainly is compared with not trying to increase sweep angles in the first place but as I see it, not with comparing it to option 3. The whole point about why we have to suffer overlap in the first place is to reduce distance apart at the catch and finish. By my reckoning, option 3 puts the handles further apart at the catch by about 5 cm compared with 3 cm in this proposal. In other words, increasing sweep angles adds to this problem and it is better shared between distance apart at the catch and overlap in the middle of the stroke rather have the catch take on the whole problem.

    I would be really keen to hear your take on this.

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