Question of the Day

Hey! Our eight boat leaks really badly but there are no recognizable holes or scratches so the bottom of the boat fills up with about three inches of water at the end of every practice, making it really heavy and hard to get out of the water. Also it’s a really old boat so it is really heavy as it is. The group that rows in that boat is made up of entirely high school freshmen girls who are new to the sport of rowing either during the fall season or even as soon as three weeks ago. Our coach really wants us to learn how to carry the boat with only 8 people but it is nearly impossible, even for the varsity girls. Is it justified for us to ask for a couple more people to help lift and carry it? And is there any way to fix a boat where nothing seems to be wrong? Thanks!

I totally get why your coach wants you to be able to carry the boat with just eight people but I see your point too. When I was coaching my high school team last year (and when I was on the team) we would use this hilarious old wooden four  during practice that was so heavy and such a pain in the ass to lift, especially when the women using it were all 110lb novices. For the first few weeks we’d always have a couple extra people help them out with carrying it but eventually they were able to do it themselves.

Ultimately though it comes down to one really simple yes or no question – can you lift and carry the boat with eight people without risking the integrity of the equipment and/or the safety of the rowers? If not then you should either ask to use a different boat until you can figure out what’s wrong with this one or ask a few other people to help you carry it. By a few other people I mean like two at most, simply because you do have to get used to carrying it without the extra help and it’s harder to do that when you’ve got four or six additional people on there.

I don’t know nearly enough about boat building or repair to know what could be causing the leaking issues, let alone how to fix something like that. The only thing that comes to mind is the vent caps not being closed (or at the very least not being closed all the way) and water getting in through there but I feel like that’s a really simple/obvious issue that someone probably would have noticed by now. If anyone has any ideas or has dealt with something similar, please leave a comment! Your best bet though (and by “your” I mean your coach since that’s his/her responsibility) would probably be to contact whoever the manufacturer is and get their opinion/advice. It might come down to the boat’s age being the issue but if it’s something that can be fixed then the boat reps would definitely be able to tell you what needs to be done.

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2 thoughts on “Question of the Day

  1. Clare Rannigan says:

    I’ve been in boats where there was a whole lot of splashing going on due to catch issues by a novice crew. If the vents are securely closed and there are no holes in the boat this might be the cause of water in the bow.

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