Learning by Doing Coastal Rowing

Learning by Doing – Coastal Rowing

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Coastal Rowing – What I learned so far 

Imagine the following situation: we are healthy, fit, ready to race and planned our start. We’re a little older (Okay, way older than you would like to be) than our opponents. Nevertheless, we’re a good team and we’re confident that we’re able to beat them. So, what could go wrong?

Well, the sea for one. Even getting into the boat is much more difficult. There’s much more water and much more movement while we try to enter the boat. It’s slippery inside and you have to be extremely careful while getting in. The whole thing is the opposite of “lady/gentleman-like”. The waves make me also feel the shrimps from last night in my stomach. 

As soon as we’re finally on our seats, we try some tentative strokes. A lot of shouting and the wind nearly blows my hat away. I don’t really care and don’t even feel the strong wind. I’m more concerned about my desperate attempts to actually get my oars in contact with the water below while we’re tossed around at sea. The moment I put them down, the wave is gone and I look like trying some strokes at land –  just rowing through the air. 


Coastal Rowing – The planning

The racing plan, carefully worked out an hour ago in the car, blew as quickly away as my hat. “Just keep rowing, until someone tells you to stop!” is the new plan. And honestly, it’s definitely more realistic than our elaborated ideas before. 

Welcome to Coastal Rowing! It’s wild! I’ts windy! It’s great fun! And it’s completely different from everything I’ve ever done in a boat. To put it in one word – awesome! That’s the best description I can think of so far. 


What I learned so far: 

  1. Everything is possible! Even the most controlled, elegant and experienced rower can fail when a wave hits the inside of the boat. 
  2. No matter how many clothing changes you have planned – triple them! 
  3. And with clothing changes I mean everything –  socks, underwear, EVERYTHING! A cox from another club – who of course remains nameless – once had to do a race without underpants. Imagine that! Or better don’t…
  4. It might be the fresh air at sea but I was more tired after a 25 km race than ever before. It’s not comparable to a race on a river, so get enough sleep before and after the race. 
  5. Nothing tastes as good as the first drink after coming ashore for the first time. Fortunately, Arcachon has a wonderful bar (and more). 

Sounds like something you would enjoy? If you are interested to come along, you can reach Europe’s largest rowing tour agency here: volker@rowing-in-europe.com

Many thanks to the rowing club for an excellent event!


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This Post Has One Comment

  1. Gordon Valdez

    Coastal rowing is a type of rowing performed at sea, also called offshore or open water rowing. Coastal rowing requires wider and more robust boats than those used on rivers and lakes, as rough conditions can often be expected. The open water conditions add another dimension to traditional rowing that is raced on flat water in lanes.

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