Thanks to Tom Carter for compiling the overlays of four scullers’ GPS readings from their race at the weekend and thanks for sharing with us.
Observations on the steering
Off the start Everitt looks a little too close to the Middlesex shore but if the tide was flowing strongly he could have been on the edge of the current and got away with it.
Coming into Barnes Graham Everitt has the best line – you need to be close to the bridge abutment – one boat’s width away and have already completed your turn before your bows go under the bridge. Butlin is definitely taking a longer route and risks being well out of the stream after Barnes.
Out of Barnes Everitt is still on the best line and Carter comes across at the bandstand to join him on that course. Carter takes a near-perfect course up towards the Chiswick Steps and the Eyot while Butlin slowly comes back towards the middle but he’d have lost a significant amount of time out by the bank.
Coming past the Chiswick Pier McGow takes the tightest route around the bend which looks a little wide but he may have been on the edge of the fast water. Carter and Everitt have nothing much wrong with theirs. Butlin swings in at the wrong time and heads for a wide course again.
Approaching Chiswick Eyot Carter and Butlin have the best course with Everitt and McGow going too wide to set themselves up for the following bend around St Pauls School. Going past the main school buildings Butlin is heading too wide to be lined up under Hammersmith Bridge but all the routes converge in the lead up to the bridge (it helps having a socking big landmark to steer towards).
Under the bridge Everitt falters but may have been overtaking because he pulls in again later. Carter and Bultin have a textbook line closer to the Surrey shore around Harrods Depositary. At this point McGow mistakenly strays towards Middlesex.
Past the Surrey reservoirs they are a close group (the film clearly shows the Fulham Flats on the Middlesex bank – why you can’t row fast down the middle of the river at this point – even at high tides. They all take a classical line around Fulham Football Ground – nothing wrong – Carter’s appears straightest particularly compared to Everitt (but that may just ben the lighter colours being easier to see).
Carter and McGow get the line best down the moored boats at Putney Embankment, again it looks like Everitt had some steering / overtaking to do. Notice at London Rowig Club, Carter slides towards the middle of the river and again creates a straight line for himself to scull to the finish bridge. Note how McGow’s line is also moving away from the boats in the final sprint.
Download top coxswain, Martin Haycock’s advice on How to Steer the Tideway Heads for yourself and then compare to the video above.