row2k Features
Rower Tricks
The Tape-Wrap Pitch-Fix
July 31, 2012
row2k hackers

Sometimes, your pitch just needs a bit of love...

contributed by John FX Flynn, row2k,
& Sir Matthew Pinsent

The Rowing Hackers got an email a while back from a bloke who knows a thing or two about winning races in this sport: GBR's Sir Matthew Pinsent--he of the four Olympic gold medals. Turns out, in addition to being a peer, a Steward, a Blue, and an Olympic Champion, he's also a bit of a Rowing Hack. As they say, over there, "brilliant."

Sir Matt writes:

"Maybe this is so obvious/common that it used everywhere: using electrical tape to adjust your pitch--especially if you travel to a regatta and find your pitch is out or something doesn't feel quite right out on the water."

Here's his run down of this "DIY" trick:

"Adjust the pitch on the oarlock by using electrical tape. Slide the oar handle towards you so the loom is in the gate rather than the sleeve--or if in a big boat take it out of the gate completely--rip off a piece of electrical tape about ten inches long."

"If you are washing out, start applying the tape to the bottom of the face of the oarlock; if you are digging deep, do the top. Three wraps of electrical tape is about a degree. Press it down with your thumb as hard as you can each wrap and make sure the last edge of the tape is wrapped around the back of the oarlock and pressed down, too. Don't let the end of the tape dangle in the water as you start."

"Job done. It's a quick fix that you can do on the water, with no risk of dropping nuts or tools into the depths, and it will last an hour of rowing easily. I've even raced with it in the past but wouldn't recommend you go for that without a bit of trial and error on the quieter days."

Even raced with it, eh? Knowing how that generally work out for this guy, that IS a well-hacked trick.

Have a quick way to tweak the pitch, or fix other stuff, when you are out on the water? Share your tips--and hacks--in the comments below.

You don't have to be an Olympian to share a hack! Send your ideas to us anytime!

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Old dog
08/01/2012  5:42:31 AM
1 people like this
Rowing for Ted Nash back in the late 70's, you weren't considered a varsity athlete until you stopped practice to adjust your pitch with electrical tape. It happened daily. 10" strips of electrical tape were permanent fixtures inside the hull of every boat in the boathouse.

08/02/2012  6:10:55 AM
Yep. Same thing at Penn AC. He could eyeball pitch from a the coaching launch.

3 wraps = 1*.

Oh, and good tape is worth the extra $$. Cutting costs by buying cheapo tape ends up making more headaches than it solves.

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