If you are a coach who prefers to match up up your crew's angles by setting a uniform finishing spot, Dan Duxbury has a hack for you: Finish Angle Decals.
Duxbury, who coaches at Kansas, shared with us how he uses this trick with his Jayhawk crews:
"Many programs use a mark on the seat deck of the boat to indicate to rowers where their rear seat axle should be at the finish, to help ensure proper finish angles. Instead of using unsightly tape or crude lines drawn with a Sharpie, simply order a few of the spread indicator decals that the equipment manufacturer puts on the wing riggers and place those in the boat at your desired location."
Folks who rig from the finish this way usually just mark a spot for that rear axle with a simple grease pencil mark or bit of electrical tape, but Duxbury's decal idea gives you a set of marks--and here is why that can be really helpful:
The range of marks makes it easier to have an athlete make an adjustment out on the water. They can start with the axle on the center mark, where you have "set" them, and then move a pre-measured distance from there if the angles don't look quite right during the row. A bit short at the finish? Move the foot stretcher to the bow enough to go back a centimeter on the decal. Finish angle too long, compared to the rest of the crew? Move forward a notch or two on the decal and see if that helps.
We've seen coaches hack up some homemade versions of this "finish spot finder" idea--just by adding some hash marks to a length of electrical tape, a trick we also used in our Work-Through Card hack--but Duxbury's trick of using the pre-made decals cleans up the look, and will save time that can be used for the actual measuring and setting of the angles you are after.
Of course, if you rig from the catch and prefer setting your front end angle first, this hack may not be for you...unless you use reach straws, and then it just might help you set those angles, too. You could easily use these decals up on the gunwale instead, creating a pretty easy way to mark and measure spots where you might use those reach straws to define your catch angles as you fine-tune your crew, and their rig.
Ultimately, Duxbury's riff on this old hacker's trick just might be so good that, as he joked, "maybe manufacturers will start offering it as an option." We will just have to see if it catches on amongst the boat builders.
Do you have a slick trick to get your rigging right? If so, share your tips--and hacks--in the comments below.
If you have a great rowing hack to suggest for future inclusion, then please send it to us, like Coach Duxbury did and we will feature your idea in a future column.