Getting Started On Water: Everything You’ll Need
It’s exciting to transition your stroke from indoor exercise to an outdoor experience. Learning to row a single is a great way to get started! You’ll need a few more things other than a boat and oars to row on water. As always, Concept2 is happy to help you with your oar needs.
Assuming you’ve already found a body of water to row on, a boat, and a place to store your shell, read on for details of boat transportation and care.
Once you find a boat to buy, you’ll likely need a way to transport it. First, you’ll need standard crossbars that fit your make and model of car. Next, you’ll want to consider adding boat racks (available from most boat manufacturers) that fit your hull design. These custom racks offer additional security. Many provide suspension or cushioning to ensure the hull is protected, since you’ll want to minimize wear and tear from travel. Custom racks ensure that you’re tying down your equipment using the strongest tether points. (When possible, we recommend asking your boat manufacturer or dealer for recommendations on how to tie down boats.) Roof racks vary in ease of installation and loading/unloading. Some will also fit oars alongside the boats, but in other cases the oars are best transported within your vehicle. If you’ll be car-topping your boat frequently, you may want to research racks that offer quick-release options.
Most single sculls will extend beyond the length of your car roof. You’ll want to take into consideration the dome of your car, distance between crossbars, and balance point of the boat so that the boat is positioned correctly. There may be local ordinances regarding overhanging loads. Red flags, lights or other warnings may be required. Take special consideration of parking—especially when entering garages—to ensure the safety of your boat.
Once you bring your boat home, you’ll need a safe place to store it. If you don’t have boathouse storage, you may need to create a sturdy boat rack. The rack should be in a safe location that is unlikely to be hit or knocked. If the riggers are left on the boat, you may need extra space available on both sides of the hull. The rack should also allow you space to lift and reposition the boat as needed, so be mindful of what is stored above or near it. Generally, the rack should support the ribs of the boats. Most boats will be stored facing down with the fin pointing upwards. Other creative solutions include suspending boats with pulley systems or creating supportive cradles.
Boat ties secure your boat wherever needed—car racks, boat racks, slings or anywhere your equipment is in danger of being knocked or blown over. Many of these are constructed out of nylon webbing straps, but bungee cords can also help with strapping down and securing your boat. We recommend name-brand straps over generic brands for the confidence we have in their strength and durability. It is helpful to own straps of different lengths to fit different occasions. Generally, rowing hulls are narrow, so extra-long straps are not needed. Rachet straps are also unnecessary—they can overtighten fragile hulls and stress the gunnels. Proper straps tie down the boat, give you slack to knot it securely, and protect the hull from potential scratches and dings of the metal buckle. Always include at least two straps to ensure security in the event of failure.
Boat slings (or “stretchers”) provide a stable platform (often waist-high) for rigging boats. They are lightweight and often fold for transport. Boat slings can offer a place for temporary boat storage. (They are less rugged for long-term boat storage.)
A boat cover offers protection against UV, weather, moisture, and impact. Many boat covers are padded to provide some cushioning and barrier against car and boat racks. Covers can be especially helpful for travel, as they protect the hull from road debris. Boat covers can be suitable for indoor, outdoor and long-term storage. They can also be helpful for catching any loose hardware that might jostle off while in transit. Most modern boat covers are made so they are easy to zip or secure on and off, whether you choose to do so daily or occasionally. Custom covers will fit the riggers and fins of specific boat designs.
Shoes, Seats, Accessories
There are ways to get more comfortable in the boat with a variety of shoes, seats, seat pads, clothing and accessories. For anything affixed to the boat, such as shoes and seat, you’ll want to research compatibility, as not all spare parts fit all brands.
Oar and Rigger Bags
Like boat covers, oar and rigger bags help protect your investments. While being rowed, boats, riggers and oars don’t often incur damage; it is often in transportation and storage that equipment gets scratched or discolored. These optional accessories are a great way to extend the life of your boat and accessories.
The level of data and feedback you’re seeking likely varies with your training and goals. Many athletic smartwatches now include a “rowing” function that can give basic data such as distance, stroke rate and time. There are also smartphone apps that provide similar data along with workout programming (counting down distance and time, intervals, etc.) and other metrics such as boat check and bounce. Apps vary in cost from free to subscription-based or annual fees. For competitive rowing, there are small computers built specifically for rowing that can be easily mounted on board. These range in features but are made specifically for rowing and can provide detailed analysis of performance and boat speed. Advanced technologies will go even further with measuring and analyzing technique. With the expanding accessibility of GPS, map software and fitness trackers, there are a wide range of options for recording your rowing that can fit a lot of budgets.