Mike Davenport

Article Summary:

What you need in a repair kit during rowing practice.

Rowing Practice Repair Kit

Here is an understatement for you: It is important to have the right tool at the right time.

This is especially true on the water during practice.

There's very little of more value to a rower than water time during a spring racing season. Particularly when the weather may put a serious cramp into how much water time you get.

And you are almost guaranteed that when you are on the water, you're going to have some equipment problem-sooner or later. (I'd bet on sooner). When it happens to you (and it will) you can drastically reduce your down time by having the right tool with you.

So what exactly is the "right" tool?

Well, that depends on the type of equipment you are using, but I can tell you this-the one part of rowing equipment that needs the most attention on the water is usually rigger bolts and nuts.

The little do-dads that attach the riggers to the hull have a way of wiggling loose. I'd guess about 70% of problems that occur on the water are due to loose rigger nuts.

Which means a 7/16 inch or 10 mm wrench (depending on your make of boat) can become invaluable. (Especially if you're in a single about three miles from the dock.)

Another culprit is the top bolt or top nut of the rigger. For that you'll need a wrench that will take care of that specific top fastner. For instance, if you're rowing a Vespoli, then a 3/4 inch wrench will probably work for you.

Now you may be tempted just to take a crescent wrench (a.k.a. "adjustable wrench") with you, but I would caution against it as your only wrench. The proper wrench will fit a little tighter, and this helps reduce dropping things in the water (and wrenches, nuts, and bolts don't float well . . . I speak from experience).

So, with your rigger wrench (and an adjustable thrown in for good measure), a screwdriver that converts to Philips and Standard, and a tape measure, you can handle about 95% of adjustments you might need to make on the water. (I go into tools in quite some detail in that chapter in my book, "Nuts and Bolts Guide to Rigging.")

Since you're putting in a stash of tools, you might want to put a little bit of attention to your launch if you're coaching. You could find it handy to have a spark plug wrench, with an extra set of spark plugs. I've also used, more than once, a pair of wire cutters. They've been great to help clear the propeller of stuff I've snagged.

Add the spare parts we discussed last month, a flash light (and that roll of duct tape) and you've got yourself a darn good Practice Time Repair Kit.

Next month I'll discuss how best to keep these tools and parts safe and sound on the water-and how to keep them "on" the water, and not "in" it.

Mike Davenport has been involved in the sport of rowing since 1975. Now he is the head rowing coach at Washington College, in Chestertown, MD. For several years Mike was involved with the U.S. National Team, as their Boatman; and in 1996 he was the Boatman for the U.S. Olympic Rowing Team. Currently, his company, SportWork, is the leading educational consultancy for USRowing and their Coaching Education Program. Mike has written eleven books, seven of which are about rowing. His Web site http://maxrigging.com and his monthly e-zine MaxRigging strive to supply the latest and greatest information about rowing and the rigging of rowing equipment.

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