Sidebilder
PDF
ePub
[merged small][merged small][merged small][graphic][merged small][merged small][merged small]

the case with what is known as "surface dipping." In stretching out the arms they precede the movement of the body, both going forward together, but the hands moving faster than the body.

After pulling steadily, using the back and legs as well as the arms, the stroke is finished when the body is slightly inclined backward and the knees nearly straight. The oar is then lifted from the water, and the

Finish of Stroke.

body brought back to the first position ready to begin another stroke. This is called the "recover," and was formerly often executed with a sudden movement so as to waste as little time as possible. But oarsmen now favor a slower recover, to avoid straining the muscles of the abdomen, which are used in the movement. It has been said that the recover is really the most fatiguing part of the stroke. The hands should move forward a little faster than the body. But others make the movement with the arms first, lest they should cramp the body. At the instant the body has reached the proper position, the oar is dropped into the water and the second stroke begun. If an oarsman wait an instant before "catching," he is said to "hang." and he should equally avoid catching before he has finished going forward, thus splashing water. The oar should be carried as low as possible during the recover, the height depending on

[merged small][graphic][merged small][merged small]

close; just as the oar is lifted out of the water, the wrist is lowered and the back of the hand thrown a little upwards (Fig. 2) so as to turn the oar blade through a right angle. Just before the catch, the movement is reversed, so that the oar is ready to take the water again. As to the rapidity of the stroke, opinions differ, but most oarsmen prefer a long and steady stroke, though some of the most successful racing crews have pulled very rapidly. The rate of stroke is determined to a great extent by the length of the race, being faster for short races. A rapid stroke is exhausting and cannot be kept up long, and it is also difficult to execute the stroke properly if it is very swift. The oarsman should keep exact time with the others in the boat. To" back water," or cause the boat to move in the opposite direction, the oarsman reverses his oar and pushes instead of pulling. The movement is made principally by the arms, the body resting in a natural position. If he is pulling a pair of sculls, the same rules apply, except that each oar is pulled by one hand. By holding the oars firmly and in exactly the same manner, the oarsman may be sure that the catch and feather are made at the proper angles without looking to see. The oarsman should be careful to pull both sculls with the same force, otherwise the boat will turn toward the weaker side. If he has no one to steer he should bring some point in the stern of the boat into line with a tree or other object on shore and then keep them in line. If the stern swerves toward the left, for instance, he must pull a little harder on his right scull to bring it back again. If he wishes to turn quickly he must back water with the oar on the side toward which he wishes to turn, and row with the other. Where several row in one boat, the steering is often done by the bow oar. Where the boat is steered with a rudder, the rudder

is managed either by the bow oar, who operates it with his feet, by an arrangement of cords and levers, or by a coxswain, who sits in the stern, and who also gives the necessary orders to the oarsmen, telling them when to begin to row and when to stop rowing. He does this because he is the only one in the boat who faces in the direction of motion. The rules to be observed by the steersman, whether he be coxswain or one of the oarsmen, are generally as follows: "Inside" means toward the shore, "outside" toward the middle of the stream.

1. Boats going with the stream or tide take the outside, and those against stream or tide the inside.

2. Boats meeting keep to the right.

3. A boat overtaking another must keep clear of it.

4. A boat with a coxswain must yield as far as possible to one without a coxswain.

5. A row-boat must give way to a sail-boat.

6. A boat with a less number of oars must give way to one with a greater number.

Sliding Seats. Almost all racing boats now use sliding seats, which add greatly to the power of the oarsman, enabling him to use the muscles of his legs in pulling. Other advantages are the fact that the body does not need to be bent forward or backward, to a position where the muscles of the back cannot be used to advantage, as in ordinary rowing; the prevention of cramp by the alternate bending and stretching of the leg, and the ability to maintain a better pace for a longer time. In a quick "spurt" the sliding seat is thought by some oarsmen to be a disadvantage, as it gains power at the expense of velocity; but some of the best authorities do not agree with this conclusion. The seats either slide on a sort of brass rails or roll on little steel balls, the object being to make the friction as small as possible.

When the oarsman uses a sliding seat, the body begins to swing first, and then he pushes the seat back, both movements blending together, until the legs are almost straight. The swing of the body and the slide together determine the length of the stroke. The slide should not be made too soon, and for a beginner should be only a few inches, being increased as the oarsman becomes more expert.

The oar, in rowing, acts as a lever. The principle is the same as when a weight is lifted by the middle of a stick, the end resting on the ground. In the case of the oar the end rests in the water instead of on the ground, and the boat is "prized" along, so to speak, by the oarsman. The blade of the oar does not remain perfectly still, like the end of the stick on the ground, but moves through the water a little, so that some power is lost. It is evident that the oar should be held so that the water will resist its motion as much as possible.

The action of the rudder is as follows: If the boat is moving straight ahead, and the rudder is in line with it, there will be no pressure from the water on either side; but as soon as the rudder is turned, for instance, to the right, the water will press on its right side and push the stern of the boat over toward the left, which will alter the boat's direction toward the right. In the same way, turning the rudder toward the left causes the boat to turn to the left. Hence the rudder must always be turned in the direction the boat is to go. In a row-boat the rudder is usually managed by means of cords, one of which is attached to each end of a cross-piece at its top. The power should be applied to the rudder lines steadily, so as not to throw the boat to one side or the other, as is the case if the line is pulled quickly and then relaxed.

Ordinary boats are kept in the water, but the finer kinds are usually kept in a boat-house. The large boat-houses owned by college rowing associations, or city boat-clubs, usually contain, besides space for stowing away many boats, dressingrooms for oarsmen, with a special closet or locker for each one's clothes, bath-rooms, a lounging or reception room, and often a workshop for building or repairing boats. The house is of course on the edge of the water, and in front of it is usually what is called a "float," being a floating floor, or raft, moored loosely to piles or posts, but unconnected with the house, so that it will rise and fall with the water. Such a float is indispensable where there is a tide. From the boat-house to the float lead one or more gangways, fastened to the former, but merely resting on the latter. To launch a barge or shell, the oarsmen, each on his own side and in his own position, carry it on their shoulders to the edge of the float. At the word of command from the captain, those on the side next the water slip underneath, and then all on one side, holding by the edge, let the boat gently into the water. The head ofthe boat usually points up stream or against the tide, though no attention is paid to this point by many crews. The outside oarsmen get in first at the command (for instance), "Hold Starboard, in Port!" The starboard oarsmen hold the edge of the boat while the port oarsmen get in, take their seats,and ship (or put in place) their oars, which are given them by an assistant. At the order "Hold Port, in Starboard!" the port oarsmen, sitting in the boat, hold the edge of the float while the others get in and ship their oars. All the oars being held in position, those on one side projecting over the water, and those on the other over the float, one or more assistants take the latter and push the boat steadily, sidewise, away from the float. When the oars are all clear, the coxswain begins to give his orders, his first care being to turn the boat's head in the right direction. To this end he commands " Pull Number 2!" "Back water number 3!" or any similar order he pleases. When the boat is in the right position, he commands '• Ready !" and an instant afterward "Give Way!"

Boat Racing. Boat races are usually held on lakes or large rivers where the water is smooth. The course is either straight away, that is, in a straight line, or with a turn, the boats going and returning over the same course. The place where the race begins is called the Start, and that where it ends the Finish. In a course with a turn, the Start and Finish are at the same point. The course is sometimes marked by buoys bearing colored flags, and each boat is assigned a definite path, in which it is obliged to keep, so that there is no danger of one's interfering with the other (called "fouling'). Eight-oared races are rowed, if possible, over a straightaway course. If a turn is necessary, each boat should have its own stake to turn, to avoid fouling. One of the best straight-away courses in the country—that at New London, Connecticut, where the annual race between Yale and Harvard is rowed — is four miles long, but the usual length is one and a half miles. The New London course is on the Thames River, which is very broad at this point, so that there is plenty of room for yachts to anchor near the Finish. The city authorities keep all boats off the river during the race, so that there is no interference with the crews. The only craft allowed behind the racing boats are the tugs bearing the referee and newspaper reporters, and the college launches, and these are all required to keep so far in the

ar that they cannot interfere with the race. If such boats come too

near racing shells, the latter are held back by the suction. A railroad runs along the riverside, and a train of platform cars fitted with seats, called an " Observation train," or "Moving Grand Stand," keeps abreast of the boats, so that spectators can see the whole of the race.

The following are the rowing rules of the National Association of Amateur Oarsmen, adopted also by the National Amateur Athletic Union:

Starting. 1. All boat races shall be started in the following manner: The starter, on being satisfied that the competitors are ready, shall give the signal to start.

2. If the starter considers the start false, he shall at once recall the boats to their stations; and any boat refusing to start again shall be disqualified.

3. Any boat not at its post at the time specified shall be liable to be disqualified by the umpire.

4. The umpire may act as starter if he thinks fit; where he does not so act, the starter shall be subject to the control of the umpire.

5. Boats shall be started by their sterns, and shall have completed their course when the bows reach the finish.

Water. 6. A boat's own water is its straight course, parallel with those of the other competing boats, from the station assigned to it at the start to the finish.

7. Each boat shall keep its own water through the race, and any boat departing from its own water will do so at its peril.

8. The umpire shall be sole judge of a boat's own water and proper course during the race.

Fouls. 9. It shall be considered a foul when, after the race has commenced, any competitor, by his oar boat, or person comes in contact with the oar, boat, or person of another competitor; unless, in the

« ForrigeFortsett »