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The Sophisticated Subject of Rowing Ergonomics and the Associated Rigging

This is where the bulk of the material is on this page. If you read the above topics on hull design and boat construction, you'll have a basic understanding of the decisions we've made to make high-performance rowing equipment. The rest of this is getting the high-performance engine (you or your crew) matching up with the equipment and getting the most out of you to get the boat moving.


Rigging is a lot more than spans/spreads and oar length. Indeed you'll find no rigging chart on this page that tells you what span or spread to use for your junior girls eight or on your own single scull. That is for you to determine with some thoughts to consider from us.


The best place to start with those thoughts, I think, is to tear down what once was a prevalent thought on spans, spreads, and oar lengths, particularly as they applied to women and juniors. That thought was that to lighten the load for less powerful rowers, the inboard of the oar needed to be increase relative to the outboard length. That's not wrong-headed until you get to the part where you have to keep the oar length the same. Back in the days when oar length was not adjustable and short oars were not easily found in the finances of clubs trying to boat a wide range of athletes, this approach was merely practical.


Today, when juniors are getting their own set of oars and sculls and there is meaningful adjustment to total length, the opportunity to improve stroke efficiency through rigging should be compelling. I'll illustrate what I mean through the use one of the best rigging resources on the Internet: Dr Valery Kleshnev's rigging calculator.


(Valery Kleshnev is a former CCCP rower who has enjoyed a career in biomechanics and sports science at the top level of the sport, working with both the Australian Institute of Sport and English Institute of Sport and now director of BioRow. There are decades of empirical research and analysis that have gone into this table and while I caution against relying entirely on the chart to rig for you and your crews it is an excellent place to start.)


Let's take the example of two very different crews: a world-class women's eight and a middle-of-the-pack junior women's eight. I'll explain the assumptions used herewith as we go along.


          CREW      HEIGHT      WEIGHT     2K ERGO                     INBOARD     LENGTH     SPREAD

             W8+        180cm          75kg           6:50                            115cm         370cm           84cm

            JW8+       170cm          65kg           7:50                            113cm         363cm           82cm


On the left are the inputs for the calculator, and on the right are the rigging outputs. There are other important inputs for the calculator, stroke rating being the most influential, but in this case I kept those fixed at 36spm for both crews to illustrate how the greater force of the first crew affects the desired rig. As we see, the effect is that the slower crew is rowing with a tighter spread and a shorter inboard, two things we wouldn't have seen in the past.


NOTE: The inboards above are "effective" inboard lengths and not "measured" inboards. The difference is that the edge of the oar's collar is not the fulcrum of the oar; that's about a centimetre further down. So subtract 1cm from the above to come up with a measured inboard.


Now, one thing I would add to the BioRow algorithm is an adjustment for inboard length for the height of the rower. Right now the inboard is pretty much set to be 31cm (30cm measured) longer than the spread, which is what I recommend for folks in that 180cm height range. Over 190cm tall, and going to a measured inboard being 31cm longer than the spread, and 29cm longer for the measured inboard of crews getting down to 170cm. This makes it easier for those shorter crews to reach those catch angles along with the shorter spread.


In sculling, I do the same thing. Whereby many folks use a measured overlap of 14cm more than the span. Er go 159cm span means total measured inboard of 173cm, or a measured inboard of 86.5cm per scull. With those shorter cres, going to a 12cm measured overlap makes sense.


In all cases though, you need to adjust the total oar/scull length to reflect the shorter inboard and greater catch angle.


NOTE TO MY NOTE: Measuring inboard on oars and sculls should be consistent across handle types (though blade shape also changes things), for which I measure to the location of the outer most finger and not the end of the handle.


The model that Dr Kleshnev developed allows you to input several constraints or use some standard measurements/information. Among those, is that important matter of stroke rate, but also catch and finish angles. If you use the standard measurements for these crews from the World Championships (senior and juniors both), you find that the W8+ catch and finish angles are 57 and 35 degrees respectively, whereby the JW8+ rows through about 4 degrees less than their older counterparts. I suspect that this is a generous assumption, and that most junior women's crews are not getting out to a catch angle of 55', though they probably should be getting close.


This is may seem like an obscure measurement, but it's likely more critical than the spread or oar length in rowing. To explain this, we'll start with the easier concept of water flowing and the angle at which the oar is inserted. Imagine three boats all traveling at the same speed, with one crew having to catch the water with the blade perpendicular to the flow (0 degrees), the crew of the second boat at 45 degrees, and the third crew parallel to the flow of the water (90').


If all three crews have the same quickness of catches, the first crew is going to miss the most amount of water because in the time that it takes the blade to fully submerge without causing any drag their blade will get pushed the farthest by the flowing water. The third crew can expect the least amount of water to be missed as the blade is unlikely to be pushed much by the water as it is being inserted. The second crew will have a scenario somewhere in between.


The point here is to illustrate that inserting the blade closer to the parallel leaves greater effectively length to the stroke. It's a marginal improvement compared to how inserting at the parallel increases the effective stroke "length" the most, but an easy one to imagine. Now keep that same concept in mind with the greater catch angles, but continue with the drive phases of the stroke. Let's apply some pressure on the handle and thus on the oar blade against a column of water. In the acute case where the water is running the length of the blade, there is a steady almost solid column of water that we have to press against. In the case of a 45' catch we have to apply force against a column of water that is moving away from the face of our blade (as well as pushing it on its backside). We can still exert a force at that angle, but we have to exert it over a greater distance to keep the pressure on the blade. We have to keep up with the flow to maintain pressure.


This is where we have to tear-down the concept of stroke length from being something measured in cm or even degrees and talk about it in fractions of a second. The boat doesn't care over how many cm we can reach our oar handle. All it cares about is the length of time of the impulse, and the length of the impulse can increase for the same angular length of the stroke if more of that angle is toward the 90' catch angle. That is to say, the length of the impulse will be measurably greater for a stroke that runs from 90' to perpendicular than one that runs from 45' to -45'. With the same push on the footstretcher, the time of the push will be longer on the first instance and the boat will go faster.


Now catching at 90' in a sweep boat would be a very interesting trick -- even in a sculling boat -- but releasing (cleanly) at -45' is also a biomechanical challenge. The first point was to illustrate how the stroke arc matters to the impulse of the stroke. Now we have to make it physically "reachable" for the rowers. To increase the catch angle for any crew, provided the foostretcher is already placed as far stern-ward for a comfortable release, we have to shorten the inboard and bring the pin in.


Once we do that, however, and achieve that more efficient catch angle, the crew is going to feel it. Like shifting up on a bike, that more efficient rig is going to make it feel "heavier". That's why we shorten the oar: to reduce the ratio of outboard length to inboard. This reduces the efficiency, but improves your catches and effective stroke length and makes it easier to hit the higher cadence often necessary to increase and sustain a higher boat speed.


There is no optimum cadence to find through a rigging calculator here, but I would recommend that you try to find the highest cadence at which your crews can sustain their mechanical proficiency with a lightly loaded rig; something by which they can tap it along and stay comfortable for a measurable distance. If under that light load, they start to lose boat speed with an increase in rating, then you've probably found a supra-upper limit, and that the maximum cadence is probably a couple beats lower. Once you establish that cadence, maybe then return to the rigging calculator and see what your inputs reveal. Obviously this is a dynamic system, and hopefully you and your crews make mechanical and physiological improvements that increase their ability to do work. This is for you to discover, and you're only going to really get there is you're willing to experiment.

It all Starts at the Footstretcher

It's been said a few times, but deserves repeating: all things meaningful in moving the boat originate in the footstretcher. This means not only is it up to us to build a solid connection between the footstretcher and the pin, but also to give you the range of adjustment that you need to create that other vital connection between the footstretcher and the pin: that of the rower.


And there's more to the foot-stretcher than just the adjustment fore and aft, which is illustrated to the right, but that's a good place to start with the role of the foot-stretcher.

The movement of the footstretcher fore and aft is really only to adjust your catch and finish angle. It is not there to keep you from hitting your front and back stops; that's what the slide adjustment is there for. It is also not there to get your calves clear of the slide; again another role partly for the slide adjustment, but also for your heel depth and seat height.


Most folks who are adjusting for catch and finish angles start with the finish/release as it's the easiest to measure up off of your body. In sculling, for example, to have the knuckles of your thumbs just rub your ribs as they pass; in sweep, to have your outside hand lined up with the outside of your ribs for an easy tap down motion. Working from the finish doesn't guarantee that either your catch or finish angles are going to be what you want them to be off of a rigging calculator, but it is practical from an ergonomic perspective. If you want to get those exact, you'll have to adjust the spread and the inboard, which will require time, tools, and having the boat off the water.


There are two other critical footstretcher adjustments: rake and heel depth. Heel depth is the one rigging measurement that you can carry with you wherever you go and you should know off the top of your head. Say you're meeting up with some of the old teammates to race an eight at the San Diego Crew Classic and you're hopping in an unfamiliar boat, you can quickly measure up and adjust the heel depth to what you need. It doesn't matter the make of the boat or the size of the crew.


The relevance in the heel depth is largely ergonomic. You want your feet high enough so that your drive is as horizontal as possible, but low enough that you can get good compression at the catch. Traditionally, most crews like to have their knees at their armpits when sitting at the catch. Make sure you're shins are vertical (not past vertical or short of it) and that you can comfortably sit there with appropriate body angle.


The other thing that heel-depth can do is get your calves clear of the slides. You're feet might not be so low that you notice your knees too low or that the you're getting over/under compressed, but that you're not clearing the ends of the slides or the seat deck. Typically you can raise your shoes to a still-comfortable level but now have your cavles clear of the slides. You may also want to make sure that you're slides aren't shifted too far to the stern. When holding your body at the catch, check the wheels to make sure there isn't more than a couple centimetres between them and the stern slide stops.


The last important footstretcher adjustment is the rake, the angle it is sloped below the horizontal. Typically that will be set at 42' below the horizontal, but this can be adjusted quite considerably in any direction. Many folks advocate a more shallow slope -- using the same argument as the BATLogic folks -- so as to get your heels down on the stretcher board earlier in the drive to engage the larger muscles along the back of your legs and bum. (The difference between the BATLogic plates and simply just making the rake more shallow is largely in the curl up around the toes so that there is a little more horizontal push.) Then there are folks like me who have bugger-all ankle flexibility, but for me it's in the direction that I cannot point my toes. (My Bolshoi Ballet dreams were crushed when I broke my lower legs and feet in about ten places.) So I row with my stretcher board steeper than 50 degrees, and I'm grateful that our shells have that much adjustability because not all do.

Seat and Slide Adjustment

There's not a whole bunch of adjustment in the slides and seat that affect day to day operations. As pointed out in the previous section on footstretchers, it is the slides you should shift if you're hitting front or back stops on the slide and not the footstretcher. The footstretcher is important to adjust to get the proper catch and finish angles, and once that is done, adjust the slides to make sure you get the range of motion on the slide that you need as well as plenty of calf clearance. Remember, too, that heel depth is a major influence on calf clearance off the seat deck.

There are a couple height adjustments that you might want to consider regarding the seat. If the boat is sized properly for the crew getting into the boat, it's unlikely that you'll want to adjust the seat height, but it could be.


Dropping the seat is beneficial in that it lowers the crew's mass and improves roll stability. Raising the seat has several benefits, including being able to get more heel depth, which can be too small for leggy folks in shallow boats. It also improves hip clearance off the saxboards and flanges. It also improves the clearance of the calves off the seat deck, but folks should be certain that the feet aren't lower than they really need to be before raising the seat.


You can adjust the seat height by changing out the height of the packers between the undercarriage and the seat top itself. There are five different heights: no packer, 6mm, 12mm, 18mm, and 24mm. It's important to know the screws size for each packer, too, as going too short and you won't be able to hold the seat top on; going too long will poke the screws through the seat top and possibly into your bum.

Another seat/slide adjustment that you may not have thought about is increasing/decreasing the slope of the slides. There is a slope built into the deck of all singles and the M29 2x, but all the other shells have inclines under the seat. Some folks, particularly in singles or in the bow seats of eights, like to have some additional slope so they are effectively sitting higher at the finish when the bow is sitting lower from the pitch of the boat going into the finish of the drive.

Packers & #8 Screw Length


no packer = .50in screw

6mm packer = .75in screw

12mm packer = 1in screw

18mm packer = 1.25in screw

24mm packer = 1.50in screw

How We Size Boats

In the short piece on seat heights above, I put in there the caveat that if the boat is sized properly. Seat height is one of the starting points for sizing a boat; effectively using the knowledge that more crew weight will push the boat X distance further in to the water. Noting that the oarlock has to be in a certain height range off the water so the blade is in the water and the handle at the rower's sternum, the seat then has to be a certain height off the water itself. That height historically ranges from 10cm to 13cm.


I think it's safe to say that most rowers and coaches overstate the impact of crew weight on the waterline of any boat and thus the subsequent rigging of the boat. There's no doubt that if a boat has to carry more crew weight, it's going to sit lower in the water, provided all else is equal, but the magnitude isn't what most people think it is.


I'll give you an example that you can test yourself. Take an M29 2x, put two lightweight women (around 59kg or 130lbs) in it, and measure the freeboard – the water below the end join of the end deck. Then hand each one of them ao 10kg weight and observe who much further in the water the boat sits. Depending on water temperature, the boat should be about 1cm deeper in the water. That's it. OK, and if 1cm seems like a lot to you, try and observe 1cm from a coach's motorlaunch.


What we've simulated is putting a lightweight men's crew in a boat designed for lightweight women, and my point is that when they're just sitting there, you'll hardly notice the difference. You will likely notice a difference when they start to row. Since the boat will start to pitch fore and aft as the crew rows, the switching of the heavier weight from stern to bow and back will cause the ends of the boat to change much more than 1cm. Moreover, the 70kg crew is probably taller and thus moves that heavier weight further fore and aft.


The question as to whether this is too much for the boat is really up to you. Similarly, if you see the maximum weight for a boat is listed at 155lbs (70kg), it does not mean the putting a crew ow 157lbs in it will be catastrophic. In deed, it is perfectly possible that a 71kg crew may prefer the mould 29 2x over the more conventional 13L.


This is an important point for you to consider when buying a boat for a club or team. If you want recommendations from us on the best sizing for you or your club, you'll get them. If you want definitive numbers on upper weight limits, I'm afraid you won't get those. And if you're looking for a lower weight limit, well then it's even less likely, which is why I don't post a bottom limit for any boat class. Need more of a reason? It's in the rigging and setup.


Effects of Setup and Rigging Adjustments on Boat Size

How much hull is sitting in the water is only one part of how rowers tell if something fits them. In fact, what most people focus on is ergonomics and to a lesser extent stability, all of which is a question of how we setup the boat when it's being made.


You can take a heavyweight-capable mould and make boats for lightweight women in it. Sure, it may not be ideal in an hydrodynamic sense – although a mould with a parabolic keel line will likely be efficient through a large weight range – but ergonomically it can be set up identically to a boat made in a mould for lightweight women.


What we're looking at when we consider primary ergonomics are the following measurements:

  - depth of the heels below the seat

  - angle/rake of the footstrecher

  - height of the oarlocks above the seat

  - span/spread of the oarlock pins from the keel-line and the associated inboard of the oar/sculls

and distance aft of the line of work that the heels are.


Beyond these primary measurements are the secondary measurements that represent the ergonomic interface of the rower with the water.

  - seat height off the waterline

  - and length of the outboard of the oar/sculls


You can think about the primary set as things you'll also want to know and have for a rowing simulator, whereas the second set really only come into play in on-water rowing. For example, you don't need to adjust the seat height off the ground on a rowing machine, but you do need to be able to adjust the heel-depth below the seat for ergonomic reasons.


Here, I'll give you an example. My 60kg niece wants to row in my mould 20 single set up for 80kg. What we did when we made that boat for me was assumed that I wanted the seat 11cm off the waterline, and then setup my personal ergonomic preferences, for which we knew I was going to make adjustments over time. What happens when my niece gets in my boat, though, is now the seat is going to be higher off the waterline, because she's 20kg lighter. In this case, the boat will sit about 15mm higher (with some assumptions about water temperature and composition) off the water.


That will make the rowing platform a little higher than it needs to be, but still very rowable. Heck her centre of mass really isn't any higher than mine in this example since I already carry more of my weight higher on my body than she does. She may not even have to adjust the oarlock much using the same sculls, and there would be plenty of room to raise her feet and adjust the span.

How to make rigging adjustments

In the above discussion, some times verbose, I kept away from the specifics of how to make rigging adjustments on your Sykes because it was more of a discussion of the ideas and concepts in rigging. The following is a more pointed set of instructions on how to do any number of things on your year 2013 Sykes and more recent. Where the recent older versions vary widely, I go into that too.

Attaching the wing riggers: bolt on and quick-release

The standard Sykes wing rigger in North America now has the same foot on it used in both bolt-on and quick-release, which means that you can use the boat as either. As such, there are usually two or three holes in the rigger flange to allow you to move the rigger fore or aft.


Three important points about bolt-on hardware:

- The black threaded corrosion washers stay on the rigger and are meant to stay between the rigger and the rigger flange. They serve the added benefit of holding the bolts in the rigger and make it easier to place the rigger.


- The white fibreglass washers that are glued to the under side of the rigger flange are not affixed as best they should be. In boats made after mid-2014, none of the boats will have them any more. Should you loose them, though, they're not entirely critical, especially if you use the M6 washer between the nut and the rigger flange. If you don't use that washer, you can slowly drill out a hole in the flange by turning the nut against the bare gel coat. To replace fibreglass washers that come off, just dab on a spot of epoxy/super glue and replace with a bolt, washer, and nut to keep it lined up with the hole and to add pressure to improve bonding.


- For the rigger nuts to not come off while rowing, be sure to make them super tight. Many folks learned that 2-finger rule back in the days of side-bolting rigger to keep from crushing the shoulders/ribs of the hull. This is fine for a softer material, but you need to get an additional half turn out of the nut to put enough tension on the threads of the bolt/nut since the wing rigger flange is so dense. You're more likely to snap the bolt off before you would crush the material in the flange.

Quick-release riggers

The black tabs on the quick-release riggers are cams, which means they have a thick side and a thin side. The thin side drops the metal drum and allows you to insert or remove the drums from the brackets that are bolted to the boat. When you push the tab down so the thick side is down, that pulls the drum up and prevents the rigger from sliding out of the bracket, or from sliding into it easily as well.


So the best analogy I've found for putting quick-release riggers on is to make sure that the cams are sitting away from the rigger wing and hanging down like airplane flaps. It's not important that they are pointed outward away from the wing, but rather that the tab of the cam hangs slightly downward and not slightly upward. Upward would mean that the cam is engaged and it won't slide on to the bracket. (Watch the video to the right.)


Some times when you have the cam in the right direction the drums still don't slide in easily. This is probably because one of the drums is a little cock-eyed. So just make sure that all four of the drums are aligned straight up and down relatively to the slots in the brackets.

Adjusting the spread/span

Moving the pin in and out is straight forward enough: loosen the M12 Nyloc nut at the bottom of the pin with an 19mm or adjustable wrench and remove the backstay from the top of the pin by removing the M8 Nyloc nut with a 13mm wrench. The pin then can be slid in and out as needed.


Measuring the spread can be a bit more of a matter of debate among folks, but remember two things:

1. spread is the horizontal measurement between the centre of the oarlock's pin to the middle of the slides (the middle of the pair of slide from port to starboard) and not the centre of the boat. With modern racing shells the rigger flanges are an accurate and practical proxy of the centre of the slides. You can always check by measuring the diagonal distance between a slide and the opposite rigger flange.


2. precision in setting the spread is more a matter of aesthetics than mechanics, and not having the pins exactly the same spread doesn't mean the boat/crew will under perform. Remember that spread is there to set catch and finish angles, and it's rather unlikely that either the reach or the capacity of each crew member to do work will be the same in any case.


So it's perfectly accurate to use half the distance between the rigger flange of either side to find the centre of the slides and then add that to the distance of the rigger flange to the pin.


Note: Once you have the spread set for one seat (and span on a sculling boat) you can save time by just measuring the diagonal distance between the pin and the slide opposite that pin. Since the height of all the rigger pins are the same on a sweep boat, this measurement of the hypotenuse is as accurate as measuring the longer leg of the triangle.


For sculling boats, though, the starboard pins are higher by 1cm because of the built-in height differential for left-over-right sculling. You can still use this technique, but the starboard side ones will all be about 3mm longer to get the same spread.  So if it's 190mm from slide to the top of the pin on port side, it will be 193mm on starboard side.


Getting a bit more oarlock height

Some times with club boats you need to get a little extra oarlock height, this is particularly true in North America as I cheat most riggers to be a bit lower since we don't know if the rigger will be QR or not, when being so would raise the rigger 1cm higher.


In the case of sculling boats, the easiest solution to get a couple more centimetres height is to swap in sweep oarlock pins, which are longer. All of our pins are 13mm in diametre so you don't have to change the pitch inserts in the oarlocks or anything else. In the case of sweep boats, there are two easy options: converting a bolt-on wing to QR and getting a centimetre in additional height, or going with slightly longer rigger bolts and adding a few corrosion washers. Each additional corrosion washer adds about 4mm.


Adjusting the back stay

The 2013 (and more recent) model-year boats all have the user-friendly back stay assembly which uses a hex bolt in the base of the tube to put tension on (or release) the adjustable back stay foot. There's a threaded tool-free nut on the foot that you should screw into place to serve as the ultimate back stop against the back stay moving under pressure.


This was a similar feature in the 2012 design, but there were two short-comings to that design. It was nice that the adjustment didn't require a tool once you used a tool to get the back stay off the flange, which meant that to make big changes you had to take it off and turn the threaded fot quite a lot. The second issue was that the threaded receiver on the tube side could break its seal and start spinning in place along with the extension foot, making it hard to shorten or lengthen the back stay foot. This was the piece that we dropped in the 2013 design and replaced with a bolt and a dowel nut and a machined trench cut into the foot.


Prior to the 2012 back stay, we had the quick-release backstays which are very easy to adjust with a wrench or nut driver, but they don't have the backstop of the tool-free nut that the 2013 stays have. We did consider using the quick-release backstays on every rigger because they are so user-friendly, but the problem is that if they loosened under a race, there was no backstop. Whereas with the new ones, even it the bolt becomes loose in the back stay adjustment, the tool-free thread nut is there to make sure rowing pressure won't cause the back stay to shorten.


Prior to all those, and still prevalent in the shells on the water around the world is the rather typical hose clamp design. Many European builders used variations of this design as did we for decades. It's a very simple and safe design in that it really won't fail mid-race. It isn't the fastest design to have for adjusting back stay length, though. What you need to do is loosen both hose clamps typically with a cabinet screw-driver; one hose clamp taking the pressure off the clamping pressure on the tube and the other revealing a grey threaded plastic piece. You need to spin that grey plastic piece around the foot to allow the tube to move to the appropriate length. Once there, tighten the clamps on the grey piece and the other on the end of the tube.

How to adjust the footstretcher

Moving the footstretcher fore and aft is probably rather familiar to most rowers. If there is a time that you may find yourself struggling with a stubborn stretcher, however, make sure that the footstretcher track bolts are not cock-eyed and getting stuck when you try to move the stretcher. Once you loosen the nuts, the bolts should hang freely so that when you lift the footstretcher a few millimetres there is still some play in the bolts.


If things are still stubborn, then it may be worth your time to remove the footstretcher and make sure that the serrated footstretcher brackets are clear of obstructions and that the footstretcher bolts were put in the right way. The footstretcher bolts are not

square, and one side is too long to be running across the channel of the serrated tracks, but sometimes short enough to be forced in there sideways and make moving the stretcher difficult.



Measuring and adjusting heel depth

There are two designs that affect the way you adjust the heel depth of the shoes below the seat. The most common is that of the larger boats where three M6 carriage bolts come though the cross bar and in through the stretcher board and are held in place by three M6 jam nuts. The shoe plates fits on top of these in any one of the several holes that match with the desired depth.


In the case of the singles and M29 double, the shoe plate assembly has two bolts coming out opposite the shoes. These bolts then go through holes in the carbon footstretcher board, and are fastened on the other side by a wing nut with a fender washer and split washer to hold them in place without requiring much turning pressure.


There are many places to measure on the seat to determine shoe depth, and methods vary as much from how each person learned as the the kind of seats you were working with. We like to use the lowest spot on the seat where the tail bone sits. The idea is to find some common spot on the rowing seat that is constant. From that point, you measure the vertical distance to the lowest part of the inside of the heel of the shoes. Make sure you press the heels flush with the stretcher board when you make this measurement.


Adjusting and measuring the footstretcher rake

Most of our footstretchers come to you at about 42' below the horizontal. Digital pitch metres make this easy to check, as with the pitch of the oarlock. Just make sure that if it's a single or M29 2x that you use the rigger flange and not the seat deck, which isn't horizontal. In all other boats, you can use the seat deck to get zero.


To change the rake, loosen the footstretcher nut (wing or tube nut) on the keel stretcher bracket and then use a 10mm nut driver to loosen the two hex nuts between the shoes. The nuts just need to be loose. This will take the pressure of the bolts that hold the carbon keel bracket in place and so you can lengthen or shorten the keel bracket; the former making the slope more shallow and the latter making it steeper. It's possible with the single scull stretcher board to also adjust the placement of the cross bar on the back of the board to get steeper configurations, but I suspect the normal position will be quite enough.


Other Tasks With Tools

International rowing rules require that all eights raced at events like the Olympics be sectional. This is a detail these days, really, but just puts into writing the constraints of modern (efficient) shipping whereby most containers are 40ft long, with the longest being 45ft. Once you have your eight in hand, you don't need to take it apart once it's bolted together, but you may find it hugely convenient at times too. An example would be if you're only racing a school eight at the HoCR and you have a crew van with a ladder rack on top. You could fit the boat and oars up top and the crews and coach in the van.

You'll note from the video above that I prefer to put an eight together with just two boat trestles/slings, balancing each end on a single sling. This method is better for the boat, easier to control, but in a windy setting you may want to have a set of hands on each end to be safe. By balancing the sections within a couple inches of each other, all you need to do is slide the stern a couple inches on to the bow section. I have found that the ends seem to float and take very little force to line up. If you use the more traditional method of having each section on a set of trestles/slings then you need to co-ordinate people to lift and push the pieces together. It's easier for me if I just do it myself, I have found.

Sykes Racing North America Inc.

ph 480.234.4912






Manufacturing Location

Jeff Sykes & Assc Inc.

65 Tucker Street

Breakwater (Geelong), VIC 3219