Coxing the Fours’ Head Rachel Quarrell Wednesday 9th November 2005
1. Preparation • 2. Going to the start • 3. Racing (general) • 4. Racing (specific, incl. steering) • 5. After the race • 6. Q&A
1. Preparation • Check equipment over • Talk about race plan with coach, crew • Visualise • Safety checks • Cycle the course? • Checking timing with crew for race day
2. Going to the start • Where to be - look at marshalling info • When to be there - plan boating • What to do - warm crew up • Waiting - stay warm, stay in position • Turning - use more of bank-side rowers to move into centre-stream as you turn • Getting started - wind up under or before bridge
Useful pointers - against stream • Point bows slightly to bank in strong stream • Stick near the riverbanks • ….. but beware mudflats/gravel islets • Know where to cross • ….. and give way to other crews while x’ing
3. Racing (general) • Read the ***ing rules! • Stick to the race plan if possible • Think ahead about overtaking • Give rowers landmarks or timings • Keep coming back to technique • Stay calm and confident, but enthusiastic
Overtaking in races • Think ahead • Consider your relative speed to crews • Tell them which way you’re going to go • Factor in motivation and wash • Do not impede anyone
Coxing skills (races) • Steering • wind, tide, navigation, effect of rowers, equipt • Motivation • race plan, use other crews, confidence, enjoy it • Tactics • crew strengths, overtaking, using gaps, pushes • Technique • rhythm, relaxation, bladework, rate, timing, balance
4. Steering the race • General theory of steering • Where to be down the Head course • Keep it simple - not everyone has the time to learn the Tideway like the back of their hand
The Theory River profile - deepest point ≈ maximum stream Different tide depths make it look different but the stream doesn’t move.
BE FFC Where’s the depth? => The fastest stream is not always in the middle of the river
Silting Lack of dredging: - centre-stream slows down and broadens
Useful pointers - with stream • Know where the fastest stream is generally • Curve with the bends, don’t cut them • You don’t need to steer much • Steer from the tops of the banks, not mud • Beware mid-stream obstacles
Chiswick to Barnes Bridge • Centre of Chiswick Bridge • Approximately halfway between the banks • Don’t be drawn in towards Middlesex as you approach Barnes Bridge • Angle slightly towards the Mdx pier of bridge, aiming to just miss eddy behind it.
Barnes to Chiswick Eyot • As you leave Barnes Bridge, look to your left. • Up to moored boats, stay same distance off Mdx bank, past Bandstand • Parallel to moored boats before Eyot • approx. 1-2 widths away from them • Parallel to Eyot - midway or slightly to SS
Eyot to Hammersmith • At end of Eyot, look at Surrey bank • Stay this distance away from it (ignore Mdx bank), round to St. Paul’s School • Continue at same distance • stay parallel to BS bank, around 1/3 off BS and 2/3 off S/S bank. Ignore S/S bank widening away to AK. • Under “second lamppost” or v slightly to its SS
Hammersmith to Barn Elms • By now you’re 1/3 off Surrey bank • Keep this distance away from BS bank • Harrods Depository wall: bad water? • Stay parallel to Surrey bank, ignore Mx • By Barn Elms, you are 1/4 off Surrey bank • This avoids Fulham Flats
Barn Elms to Putney Pier • At apex of Barn Elms bend, look to Black Buoy • Let yourself re-aim to pass it on its S/S • 1-2 widths off Buoy (pref. 1) • Stay parallel to moorings until London RC • Then head for centre of Putney Bridge • At some Heads the extra buoys will guide you.
5. After the race • Return safely (if crossing, wait for permission) • You may be pulled in for safety checks • Avoid racing crews at all costs • Stop if necessary, and wait • Stay warm • Put boat away, and relax. Results?
Coxing skills (general) HAVE FUN! Exude a desire to rise above panic, to enjoy yourself, to enjoy winning, and to enjoy making your boat go as fast as possible….. ……. and the crew will want you with them.