Tuesday, 15 May 2012
IVs & Pairs
The IV is a personal favourite. IVs rowing is for those who want to row often and are prepared to put some effort into making it at least tolerable if not always pleasant and at times exquisite. The IV is a more demanding boat since it is more than half as long as an VIII with only half as many blades. The up-side is that you can tell quite quickly what works and what doesn't (and so can your crewmates and the cox). There is vast room for improvement and vast incentive to improve when rowing in a IV. The crew and cox in a IV quickly become a unit. At the best of times, it is a harmonious unit with everyone having complimentary, although not identical, goals. This mix makes every outing a pleasure to anticipate and to recall. Occasionally, a different unit develops with the time and exposure of regular IVs outings. A tension may arise that, while it can be handled and even used as motivation for a time, will most likely lead one or more crewmates to find other ways to feed the rowing appetite. At the worst of times, only the knowledge that there are no boats in prison keeps the crew from mutual homicide. I've never rowed in a pair (although I have spent quite a bit of time in a double scull) but I believe I would relish the challenge of matching just one other sweep rower in strength and timing. I am not a good stroke, however, being much better at following than setting ratio and I have a pitifully short stroke due to being quite remiss with my flexibility work. I also am no good at steering. I am quite short-sighted and I don't wear contacts. Keeping track of what lies ahead by turning to look at the blur over my shoulder has led to a snake-like wake, more than an occasional friendly visit to the bank, and the odd minor confrontation with another river user. When in a single, such incidents are difficult and can be embarrassing, but with a crewmate, they are much worse. The plain truth is, however, that it doesn't matter to me what the boat is or where it is, or when, or what the weather is like; "there is nothing, absolutely nothing, half so worth doing as simply messing about in boats...!"