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Coaching Launch Maintenance: Set Up Your Rowing Launch For Success
August 2, 2020
Mike Davenport, MaxRigging.com

When it is running well, the view from a coaching launch can be splendid!

Following is another excerpt from Mike Davenport's posts designed to help rowing folks make the most of this downtime in the sport, as well as keep their programs on the water at any time; read the full article at Coaching Launch Maintenance: Set Up Your Rowing Launch For Success.

You just launched for practice. On your clipboard is the perfect practice plan.

Healthy lineups sit in a fleet of singles before you. Gorgeous rowing weather is all around.

Then... your engine stops. It won't start.

You try and try to get the motor going. You curse. You pray. But it refuses to start.

Now what?

You grab your paddle and inch your way back to the dock, creeping along as your rowers waste time - valuable time.

Then a few days later, you are having a wonderful practice…things are splendid.

Suddenly... you notice a police boat behind you ...the officer is telling you to stop.

"Where is your registration?" he asks. "Your life jackets, your sound device?"

As he writes you a ticket your rowers sit…wait…missing yet another chance to get better.

No one wants to lose practice opportunities, especially to coaching launch issues that are preventable.

A clean, safe and mechanically ready to go coaching launch helps get practices off to a good start
A clean, safe and mechanically ready to go coaching launch helps get practices off to a good start

Get your launch ready for success. Here's exactly what I mean by SUCCESS: invest time, effort, money so you have a coaching launch that is:

  • mechanically fit
  • meets regulations
  • is safe
  • fits your coaching style
  • You need all four of those. A clean, safe and mechanically ready to go coaching launch helps get practices off to a good start.

    Point blank... this is not just about having a productive practice. This is about reducing injuries. Avoiding headaches. Saving money. Being a positive example.

    To help you get there I'm going to recommend 12 critical actions for you to take.

    Step 1. Get your coaching launch mechanically ready

    For this step here are three actions to focus on:

    Action 1) Outboard motor: Get the motor serviced. Get the motor serviced. The manufacturer prescribes how often it should happen. Follow that schedule closely.

    This is not what you want to have to deal with during a practice
    This is not what you want to have to deal with during a practice

    Action 2) Gas tank & hose, and get a full supply of oil that you'll need for your rowing season.

    Action 3) Launch hull: What's the condition of your hull (inside and out)? Does your launch need:

  • bottom paint?
  • seats repaired?
  • holes patched?
  • interior cleaned?
  • Step 2. Check your coaching launch registration & insurance

    For this step here are three actions to focus on:

    Action 4) Registration: Keep any boat registration cards handy and in an easily accessible place. A copy on your phone is probably a good idea.

    Action 5) Insurance: Is your launch insured? Many aren't, but it might be worth considering if yours isn't.

    Step 3: A safe coaching launch

    A launch and safety go hand-in-hand. Here are four actions to take:

    Action 6) Paddle. When your launch stops running—as it invariably will despite your best efforts - how will you get to safety? You'll use your paddle, right? Where exactly is your paddle?

    Action 7) Launch lights.

    Several times per year (or more often than that) most of us find ourselves rowing in low light. Or in fog. Times when we need to have lights for the launch and shells. This is a critical safety issue.

    Action 8) PFDs. Know the requirement for PFDs, meet it, and stay compliant.

    Action 9) Communications. When you are miles away from home on an isolated stretch of water, how are you going to reach out when something goes wrong (and something will go wrong)? Your communication device (phone or radio, or better yet... BOTH) needs to be in good working order and fully charged before each time on the water.

    And don't forget a sound generating device. Bring a whistle…the batteries never run down!

    Step 4: Set up your coaching launch to fit your coaching style

    Action 10) Your coaching style.

    Do you prefer coaching standing up, or sitting? Coaching from one side only, or all over the place?

    If you know your preferences then set up your launch for you. Be comfortable, be safe and you'll coach your best.

    Bonus Actions

    Here are two bonus actions to consider:

    Action 11) Lock it up.

    A word to the wise from someone who has had two launches stolen from him - lock it up.

    Action 12) A dry launch. Launches are great at collecting rainwater. Don't underestimate the amount of water a good rain storm can deposit in a coaching launch.

    Don’t underestimate the amount of water a good rain storm can deposit in a coaching launch.
    Don’t underestimate the amount of water a good rain storm can deposit in a coaching launch.

    All these coaching launch maintenance actions may seem like little things but you and I both know that in this sport little things matter greatly.

    Keeping your launch healthy, safe and comfortable for you will go a long way to helping your practices be more productive.

    To learn more about rigging and equipment care, check out Mike's site, sign up for his newsletter, or consider a consult (or one of his books) at MaxRigging.com.

    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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