row2k Features
Now Is A Good Time To Give Your Rowing Equipment Some Love
March 21, 2020
Mike Davenport,

Go to to find out what happened to this boat

This long and unexpected hiatus from rowing offers an opportunity to tune up your fleet and other rowing equipment to an extent that might never occur during a 'normal' year of rowing. In a new post on MaxRigging, coach and rigging mentor Mike Davenport offers several tips and suggestions for achieving long-neglected maintenance goals.

row2k and Mike have been talking for the past week about what can be done to help coaches, athletes, and programs through this extremely rough patch, and are cross-posting the articles Mike generates from the effort. We have posted the most salient items below, reproduced with permission of the author; read the full article at, complete with Mike's unique humor and touch.

It's Time For Rowing Equipment Love
Following is a list of 11 actions to take. Love to give if you will (and I’m using Love as a verb). Each action is designed to reduce damage now, so when rowing resumes your equipment is ready to go.

The story is that the virus that causes COVID-19 can only live on surfaces a few days, and you probably won’t be rowing that soon—so why disinfect? Because other illness cause remain much longer, and a clean start is important.

If you can, clean your handles per recommendations (find manufacturer recommendations here, and then disinfect them. Then tuck them away.

As you did with your oars, clean and disinfect your electronics (NK’s recommendations are here). Then unplug them. Batteries like to be charged, but constant charging when not in use can damage them. Store them in a safe place.

Boats love to be clean. They really do. An old friend, who was a boatman for a significant college program, once told me that he talked to the boats (and they talked back). And one thing he said was, “A boat sings a happy tune when it is clean. And the cleaner it is, the faster it sings.” I believed him then, and even more so now.

Water, soap and elbow grease will do the trick. Rinse, and let air dry. Get all the little nooks and crannies... especially the tracks. If a boat is stored in direct sunlight, get a coat of wax on it. Here’s why, and how to get it off.

I’ve written many times about my-boats-off-the-racks mishaps, so I won’t bring those up again. But they allow me to say with strong conviction that whether it’s for 2 minutes or 2 months, put your boats onto racks that are secure, safe, and proper. (Keeping a boat in slings is NOT proper storage!)

Which means the old wooden rack, with the arm held in place with two drywall screws... fix it right. (Yes Rob, I AM talking directly to you!)

Have uniforms, jackets, other clothing? It’ll need to be cleaned and stored properly. That takes time, energy, and often the ability to hold your breath for a lengthy period of time.

If you’re not exactly sure what cleaning action to take, find out first. I still have a white “pink” racing jersey from a set of them I washed wrong. Don’t do that. Read the label, ask a pro, or call or visit the website of the manufacturer

Don’t put off properly caring for your launches. Sure…tomorrow’s coming, and sure, I guess the launch can wait. But when do your tomorrow’s stop and you actually start giving your launches some Love? Way too many coaches (and I’m raising my hand here) put off until tomorrow what can be done with the launches today.

Cleaned. Stored. Gas treated. Get it done.

Safety Gear
Have a Kippy Kit? PFDs lying around? Make sure they are dry, and store them where they WILL stay dry, and the critters won’t make new homes in them.

Tools get abused—it’s okay Coach, they’re tough. But only to a point. They do require Love if you plan on them working well in the future. And they will grow legs and walk away. If you want your tools ready to go then make sure they are dry and safely stored.

Indoor Rowers
Probably.. you have ergs. And probably…they could use a wee bit more Love. Here are my recommendations for proper indoor rower Love.

If you still have time: (1) sweep the floor, (2) turn off the lights, (3) shut off the water and put that hose away, and (4) before you leave make sure you lock up.

Your Budget
You budget is rowing equipment (that’s the way I look at it, at least). Let’s be kind to it. Have you canceled all your reservations? Asked for refunds for travel payments you’ve made?

The Bottom Line
If you invest a bit of time and give your rowing equipment Love right now, by making sure it’s clean and cared for and safe, you will save time, money, and reduce heartache tomorrow.

And here's hoping that you actually do start rowing tomorrow.

During these unprecendented times, row2k is working hard to keep rowing coming to you; please help us keeping it coming by supporting our work!


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