Question of the Day

Are the way boats lined up in practice a reflection of a coxswain’s steering ability? There were three eights today and our cox was put in the center lane. Personally, I would think shore side is easier because you can follow it better but … what are your thoughts?

It could be or it could just be your coach decided on a whim that that was the order for the day. Personally, I like being in the center because I’m always trying to work on my steering and being in the center lane forces me to be aware of both boats on either side of me while still maintaining a good line. I hate getting stuck on the shore side because it’s very easy to get pushed over and you always have to worry about things lurking in the shallow water. Being on the outside isn’t the worst spot to be in but you’ve got to be careful not to go too wide and venture to the wrong side of the river. That’s more so a problem on narrower stretches of water but it’s still something to be aware of.

Related: Hi! Since the spring races all start boats at the same time, do you have any tips on steering straight? I can tell when I’m veering off my lane, but for some reason, I can’t/don’t know how to fix it! I remember you saying it’s all about the small adjustments, then straightening out, but I can’t seem to get it. [Ex today: all 3 boats lined up, me on the outside, I end up too far out away from the other 2]. Tips? Thanks!

There are advantages and disadvantages of each lane so on neutral water I don’t think there’s necessarily a “best” or “easier” side to be on. Each lane tests your steering skills in a different way so, in my opinion, it’s good to get experience in all three if you can.

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