A rowing shell can’t talk (yet). But it can send you messages. Often those messages are signs your boat is not feeling well. With that in mind, here are 7 signs you should watch for, because each could indicate something unhealthy is going on with your boat:
Sign #1) Bumps or wear in seat track
Diagnosis: Advanced Track Wear. Excessive wear can impact rowing technique and damage seat.
Cure: Wear is to be expected. However, if wear impacts movement of seat, then replace tracks.
Sign #2) Excessive boat wiggle
Diagnosis: Loss of Stiffness.
Cure: Perform stiffness tests to evaluate. Then consult with manufacturer/boat-repair specialist for advice on severity and next steps.
Sign #3) Wear marks on inner-hull surface by foot stretcher
Diagnosis: Inner Hull Damage. Damage to the inside of a rowing shell’s hull can happen, usually from heels striking hull layer, or unprotected water bottles rolling around during a row. In sandwich-composite shells, this can lead to water intrusion into the hull layer.
Cure: Adjust heel cup height correctly, and cover water bottle with soft material to stop further damage. Repair holes if top hull layer is worn through.
Sign #4) Water in rowing shell bow/stern compartment
Diagnosis: Leaky Compartment Syndrome. You are rowing with extra weight, possibly compromising safety.
Cure: Find water entry point and fix.
Sign #5) Photo degradation/delamination
Diagnosis: Ultraviolet (UV) Damage, or Manufacturing Defect.
Cure: consult with manufacturer or boat-repair specialist. Keep area from direct UV exposure.
Sign #6) Worn rowing sneakers
Diagnosis: Advanced Sneaker Wear. Shoes, like tracks, wear with use. Splits, cracks, tears happen, and greatly impact rowing technique, and be a potential safety hazard.
Cure: Replace shoes. (If you wouldn’t workout in shredded-torn-moldy sneakers on land, then why would you workout in the same condition sneakers on the water?)
Sign #7) Hull cracks
Diagnosis: Structure Compromise. Cracks in a rowing shell hull, usually seen around ribs or joints, may or may not indicate a significant issue, but need to be investigated.
Cure: If crack is large (such as below), consult with manufacturer or rowing-repair specialist. If small, keep under close observation.
Well, there you go. Seven signs that something unhealthy is brewing in your shell. Don’t wait for your boat to get really sick, take action as soon as your see a sign.
For more information, refer to MaxRigging. Drop me an email. Or schedule a consult.