Our borrowed no4 crew member said she could only sit on a stroke side seat (in 4’s each person has only one oar, not two). I would usually sit in no 3 seat – which is a stroke side seat in 4’s. I hadn’t ever tried anywhere else.
Would I go in bough they asked. Heck, why not! So now I would be rowing from the opposite side and sitting in the seat that is responsible for looking where were going (which is a skill because you have to turn round with minimal torso movement so you don’t upset the balance!) Oh well, new stuff doesn’t bother me, it can’t be that hard.
We got three strokes out from the shore and the guy on the mic said all boats were to stop, wait for instructions. Racing was suspended because the wind got up suddenly, causing a singles race to be abandoned and one single to be swamped. (The girl was assisted by the motorboat).
30 minutes went by, to see if the wind died down.
It was a beautiful hot sunny day, so not a hardship to relax in such beautiful surroundings and wait.
Racing was resumed, but the course shortened to 1000m (for all the seniors and juniors. Masters always race at 1000m). So, off we set again, hopefully the race will go ahead this time.
I only had to guide us up to the start line, then were under orders of the course boats. I did warn no1 who had the steering, that the wind was pushing us over towards the bough side bank. (My left, as I mum say. The boat looking back towards the back of the boat). That would be a key piece of information later. That is also the side that the boats come up on who are next to race.
We had a really good start. One boat was a clear favourite, the rest I had no idea. The favourite was in second, us in third. We were keeping up with them, pretty much, till 500,, when they started to lose us. At this stage also, the course boat indicated for us to steer to stroke side. At at point, a boat coming up the course to start collided. Dammit! Why didn’t the course boat warn us each earlier than that! It was only my oar that they collided with, we were able to continue without too much delay. It was all the favourites needed. Off they went, and pursued the leaders too.
We came in third, not by far. I’m happy with that, considering I was in a different seat, on a different side, with one completely different crew member from a different club.
All in all I have concluded that there actually isn’t much difference between sides when you’re in a four. Some rowers say they can only row one side, but I don’t think I care either way. It went a lot better than I expected. The water was good, I rowed pretty good, gave it all I had. (I was gasping at the finish line!) That’s all I can ask.
The other race was a double, same partner as yesterday. Today was much better water, a lot flatter which made for a happier team. She still wanted to go easy, but was happier with today’s boat so I could lengthen my stroke some more. That didn’t mean I had to! I didn’t expect us to place at all, but I used it as a good hard threshold effort, which is exactly what it turned out to be! I need more practice at that intensity anyway, it’s easy to lose form under pressure.
Still it actually turned out to be a beautiful hot sunny day, and the water was so so clear and inviting it made me want to leap in and go for a swim afterwards!
It’s still early in the season and the weather has kept us off the water a lot lately, so we can’t complain with two 3rds. Could be better, could be worse. I learned something new and had a good workout in the process!