contributed by John FX Flynn
Here is a simple hack shorter coxswains might appreciate the next time you are steering a four, especially the bow-loaded variety: use a soccer ball to take up the extra space in the boat, so you can keep your head up and your eyes on the course.
The problem, of course, is the bow loaders have a coxswain compartment that is one-size-fits-all and, for many coxswains, that size doesn't fit very well. We don't have a good hack (yet) for the coxswain who has trouble fitting in, especially on cold days in a survival suit--things can be downright confining in those cases--but if you are too short to press your feet against the bulkhead, this soccer ball hack is a neat trick.
Of course, enterprising helmsmen and women have been stuffing spare life jackets, foam blocks, and even an extra survival suits into the bows of their bowloaders for a long time. All are good solutions: they add relatively little weight, and they do the trick of providing enough of a foot rest that you don't vanish into the bottom of the boat on the first hard stroke.
Where the soccer ball has that beat, though, is after practice: it rolls right back out and--extra bonus--it floats if you don't catch it as they crew picks the boat up over heads.
So, if you coxswain enough to find bow loaders cavernous, give this trick a try and if you are rowing eights that day, the soccer ball will double nicely as a way to play four-square before practice.
Have any cool coxswain tricks you use? Share your tips--and hacks--in the comments below.
This hack was reader-submitted--so if you have a great rowing hack for future inclusion, send it to us!