Question of the Day

Hey. So I took a boat on the water for the second time ever yesterday, and we hit a nasty cross-course wind that kept blowing me off my point. Every time I’d try to fix it, I’d end up on the other extreme of that point. Any advice for dealing with these kinds of winds?

Crosswinds are a huge pain. When you’re getting hit on the side like that while trying to establish your point, the key is to know exactly what you need to do and who you need to do it so that you can move quickly. The quicker you get your point and start rowing, the less time the wind has to throw you off.

When getting your point in a crosswind you do want to over-correct just a little bit so that when you start rowing the crosswind blows you straight. Once you’re actually rowing, assuming you’re rowing by 6s at the least and with an adequate amount of pressure, it should be fairly easy to maintain your point. When starting out, assuming I’m in a port-stroked boat and am trying to turn towards starboard (the side I’m getting hit on with the wind), I like to have 2-seat row and 7-seat back. It takes some of the pressure off of 2-seat so he doesn’t have to turn the boat himself and adds a bit of power via 7-seat to expedite the process. Having all eight rowers row and back at the same time is too much of a hassle and is going to contribute more pressure than you actually need. More is not better or faster in this situation.

Related: One of my coaches was a coxswain and I got switched out the last third of practice to be in the launch with her. OMG BEST TIME EVER. Every time I had a question she’d answer it so well! More coxes should become coaches! One thing she was talking about was watching the wind patterns – like the dark patches in the water to let the crew know. I understand the concept, but I’m not really understanding why. Like, I tell them that a wind/wake is coming to prepare them?

To get perfectly straight would normally take about two strokes but since we’re getting hit on starboard, we want to over correct a bit so I’d probably take threeIn certain circumstances I might take a fourth stroke, although I’ll usually tell them to make the last one an arms only or arms and bodies stroke since I don’t want to overcorrect too much. Since I’m trying to over-correct a little bit though I want to shoot for one stroke past straight, meaning if I’m two strokes to starboard I want to correct so I’m one stroke to port. (Hopefully that’s not too confusing.) This will give me enough leeway so that when we start rowing I can either adjust with the rudder or just let the wind push me into being straight.

From here it’s all about using the rudder to stay straight. You can use the rowers to help you adjust if you need to by telling one side or the other to “gimme one hard stroke on this one” but you should do that sparingly since that can really mess up any drills or pieces you’re doing.

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