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Race Day Is Not The Time To Go "Rigging Crazy"

Rigging crazy—it’s the thing that happens to us (all of us) during the racing season. We go looking for that one-little-iota-of-speed—that 1/10th of a second that will make the difference between fame and famine, and whammo—Rigging Crazy hits

  • “Two-seat you are washing out”—must be the pitch
  • “Seven seat you are late at the catch” —must be the height
  • “Look at the course of my coxswain”—has to be the spreads
  • “Arggh! We lost by .4 seconds”—should have rowed the ultra-lights
  • “Look at the splay angle of the sneakers”—that’s why there is a port-list

Rowers and coxswains go Rigging Crazy, and that can be bad. When a coach goes Rigging Crazyit can get downright ugly.I’ve seen it happen to the best of us. As the US Rowing Team’s boatman more than once I was asked to do some crazy things on race day such as:

  • cut an inch off of wooden oar handles three hours before a race
  • glue the same wooden pieces back on 60 minutes before the same race
  • change standard aluminum pins with titanium pins
  • wet sand a hull
  • paint a hull
  • wax a hull
  • paint, wax, and then wet sand the same hull
  • bake a set of home made blades in an oven

Why? Speed. It is all about speed. And often our pursuit of speed gets in the way of our pursuit of speed.What is the down side of going Rigging Crazy? Well, it can

  • drive you nuts
  • drive others nuts
  • make your boat slower

And the upside—haven’t found one yet.How can you tell if the Rigging Craziness has hit you? Well:

  • Is your temptation to tinker with the rigging gone off the chart?
  • Are you seriously considering having the stern 4 in your eight be starboard, and the bow 4 be port?
  • Have you called Concept II more than 3 times in one day?
  • Has NK put you on their Do Not Answer His Call List?

Racing season, and especially race day is not the time to go rigging crazy. The chances of you doing good are small and mucking things up great.So if you find yourself going down the path of the Rigging Crazy here are a few steps to take:

  1. Stay with what you know, and don’t consider any significant rigging changes
  2. If the boat is not rowing well, look to the athletes, training, or technique before the equipment or rigging
  3. Talk to a coach who you respect and ask her to talk you down of the ledge

And if those fail Hire an ex-Navy Seal and give him orders to politely, but forcefully, dissuade you from touching any of the rowing equipment on race day. Rigging Crazy—not now, save it for the Fall.