Question of the Day

At one of the races a coxswain hit the finish buoy (just the oars though). Apparently he didn’t warn the boat or say anything after and didn’t even mention it to anyone back on land. As a coxswain what do you say when this happens to you? I mean I’m sure you’re supposed to say something but do you just apologize and move on?

You should always tell your crew if you’re about to hit something, if you bumped a buoy, or are going to be over the buoys with the oars. When they’re rowing they’re in a zone and you hitting something will throw them off, especially if they’re hitting whatever it is with their oars. Pretending like it didn’t happen is just ignorant, negligent, and annoying. If you hit one of the bigger buoys head on or with a rigger, you should mention it to your coach too (if they didn’t see it) just because you never know what’s going to damage a boat or the oars and it’s better they find out straight from you than have to ask twenty people what happened. It’s irresponsible to not say anything, both on and off the water.

When I’m close to something I’ll just tell my crew whatever it is, where it is, and to let me worry about it. I usually say “passing a log close here on the port side” or “starboard blades are gonna be over the buoy line here, no worries, I got this…” just to let them know what’s going on and that I’ve got it under control.

If you hit something, yea, you should apologize but unless it caused damage to the boat, effected your standing in the race, injured someone in your or another crew, etc. you should really just let it go. If further action needs to take place then the coach will deal with it but the rowers should accept the apology and move on. I can’t say I blame them though if they’re a little iffy about your steering skills when you go back out with them, especially if you neglect to tell them in the first place when you’re getting close to something and/or might hit whatever it is.

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