> My question is this. i've never been out in 2 foot waves. nor have i
> been out in 1 foot waves. if it looks like there are white caps, i
> wouldn't go out. i check the weather, and know if it's windy or not,
> and what directions so i know where i can row to safely. Most of these
> swamping issues seem to be mostly an England thing. Here in the states,
> after my years of rowing, i've never even seen a boat get totally
> swamped, or sink unless it was in a crash and was split into a number of
> pieces. but why do you english folk like to go out in 2-3 foot waves?
> i have heard it mentioned a couple times here on rsr that "when you're
> in 3 foot waves the boat fills quickly." what are you doing in
> conditions like that anyhow! that's nuts! are a lot of these coaches
> crazy for launching into such weather. i just don't understand. Like i
> said, in the US, i don't see it as big of a problem as in England. why
> is that?
> > My question is this. i've never been out in 2 foot waves. nor have i
> > been out in 1 foot waves. if it looks like there are white caps, i
> > wouldn't go out. i check the weather, and know if it's windy or not,
> > and what directions so i know where i can row to safely. Most of these
> > swamping issues seem to be mostly an England thing. Here in the states,
> > after my years of rowing, i've never even seen a boat get totally
> > swamped, or sink unless it was in a crash and was split into a number of
> > pieces. but why do you english folk like to go out in 2-3 foot waves?
> > i have heard it mentioned a couple times here on rsr that "when you're
> > in 3 foot waves the boat fills quickly." what are you doing in
> > conditions like that anyhow! that's nuts! are a lot of these coaches
> > crazy for launching into such weather. i just don't understand. Like i
> > said, in the US, i don't see it as big of a problem as in England. why
> > is that?
> To save anyone else saying this, if you read the whole topic the whole
> point of the incident where Leo Blockley died was that when they went
> out it was CALM, a storm blew up and they got swamped - are you trying
> to tell us that storms NEVER just appear in the US?
Henry Law <>< I'm henry (at) thelaws.demon.co.uk
Some waters which are safe for 99.9% of the time can, unexpectedly &
suddenly, turn ***. When they do, & you get caught out there, your
boat - which never normally takes on a drop of water - can fill up very
It would happen all the time with singles, which is why they always have
huge amounts of completely enclosed buoyancy. Unless broken, a single
is unsinkable & provided you can stay aboard it will carry you safely.
It would happen a lot with doubles, so doubles are similarly well-able
For singles & doubles you would not need to enclose the under-seat space
to give sufficient buoyancy for this purpose, because the decks form
such a relatively large volume in proportion to the all-up weight of
crew + boat, but normally that space is enclosed.
Fours & eights are built with much more freeboard. This means that,
unless the waves become pretty steep, relatively little water slops
aboard before it also becomes almost impossible to row. But once the
water goes beyond a certain point you find both that it is too rough to
row effectively *and* that water is now rushing aboard at a phenomenal
rate - just like that.
Because the eights & fours tend to be all open volume, with rather small
deck end volumes enclosed, & have very long parallel saxboards (gunwales
in US), there is relatively little inbuilt buoyancy but a huge length of
perimeter over which water can enter. Result - it can fill to the brim
in under 1/2 minute, especially since water tends to rush to one end &
push that under first. If it lacks the buoyancy needed, when filled up,
for the crew to remain seated, they will all end up swimming. Then
survival becomes a lottery. And in those conditions you'll find that
coaching launches also start to have trouble, so rescue can become
impossible. Panic, fierce wind & waves, & hypothermia can then do the
We have an added problem over in the UK/Europe right now because we seem
to be getting increasingly severe gales. But storms can spring up on
continental lakes with great unpredictability also, & rowers have died
as a result of eights swamping in many countries, including Canada & the
Some of us get upset when someone dies needlessly like that. Since we
know that it would take only minor modifications to make eights & fours
almost as weather-proof as the smaller shells, we are increasingly keen
after a recent death of a British rower in such an incident to encourage
our National Governing Body (the ARA) to recommend introducing those
alterations. Sometimes governing bodies have entrenched positions, so
we have to push & shout a bit louder to make them hear us - or let more
rowers die until a group of people get together who aren't prepared to
let it happen any more.
The silly thing is that governing bodies are only too keen to make rules
about unimportant things like how much a boat is allowed to weigh, but
can be surprisingly reluctant to do anything about a situation which
from time to time kills young rowers.
I hope that makes it clearer?
Carl Douglas Racing Shells -
Fine Small-Boats/AeRoWing low-drag Riggers/Advanced Accessories
Write: The Boathouse, Timsway, Chertsey Lane, Staines TW18 3JZ, UK
URLs: www.carldouglas.co.uk (boats) & www.aerowing.co.uk (riggers)
>and they were in Spain - which for the benefit of our US friends is not in
(Yes, a number of my Spanish friends have been confronted by US
immigration officers who think this, not to mention the average
Americans. And the idea that someone coming from Spain might not speak
Spanish as a native language really boggles Americans.)
Well, at least Scotland is still in England...
Snipped (excellent synopsis Carl)
Can anyone explain to me why the English NGB (the ARA), have this
Why can they not make such a simple recommendation?
Here are my *** theories....
1. ARA believe such a recommendation will put our national teams at a
disadvantage. (This would perhaps be the case for a regulation, but not a
2. ARA are under pressure from manufacturers of 4s and 8s without such
buoyancy to do nothing.
3. they are waiting for FISA to act...
4. they simply do not understand the issue.
5. there is money in brown envelopes involved.....
can anyone add to this or point out any errors in my thinking?
Conor O'Neil has mentioned some details of ARA's buoyancy testing
procedures.. what is the purpose of such tests?
thanks in anticipation
The Florida incidents included a swamping of multiple schoolgirl
eights, leading to numerous terrified rowers (I'll skip over the part
about just how inaqeduate two small referee launches are in such a
situation) and the Philadelphia incident involved a bow-coxed four
swamping suddenly while under way. The cox barely escaped and the boat
plunged into the river at an angle of approximately 15 degrees,
leaving the rudder some 6 to 8 feet in the air.
> >> our National Governing Body (the ARA) to recommend introducing those
> >> alterations. Sometimes governing bodies have entrenched
> Can anyone explain to me why the English NGB (the ARA), have this
> "entrenched" position?
- Their safety advice is - in the event of swamping, hang onto the boat and
either swim it to shore or await rescue
- Their buoyancy testing is presumably designed to ascertain whether boats
are capable of supporting that advice.
- So, if a boat will float enough when swamped to allow rowers to hang onto
it, they will consider it to be acceptable, and not
see the need for changes
What we are now saying is that we want boats to be rowable in much worse
conditions. So the ARA tests are consistent with their existing advice. To
get them to do something, we would have to change the WSC to put more
emphasis on staying in the boat, and then the rest of the advice might fall
Just a thought,
7. things heard
9. things heard
12. One more thing.
14. things lost!!!