Essays on the Art of Coxing
Kevin C. Murphy, Ex-Coxswain,
Harvard Varsity Lightweights '93-97
(Copyright 1997-2013, All Rights Reserved.
(Originally appeared at Rowersworld.com, 1997-1999)
(originally appeared at Rowersworld, 10/7/99)
Steering...the bane of my coxing existence. Asking me for steering help is akin to the extraordinarily near-sighted leading the blind. Nevertheless, these brave souls queried on...
Submitted Question - John Kimble: Do you have any tips for steering in a wide lake where there's not much on the horizon in the way of useful points (e.g. Quinsigamond)?
Obviously, steering then gets a little tougher. If you're on a course like Quinsigamond with endless buoys, aim at the point where the buoys converge. Otherwise, a good idea is to mark off the center of your steering rope with a piece of tape that aligns with another piece of tape placed at the top center of your coxbox. Thus, if you can't see anything on the horizon, you can navigate by coxbox.
A problem I often had in an empty horizon course was veering gradually towards whatever boat I was watching. The tape mechanism should prevent that, if you're alert. Once again, the less you touch the mechanism, the better.
Submitted Question: - Anonymous I had a very poor season last spring personally, and this semester, I'm looking forward to steer the men's 8. I was away last semester... Needless to say, I got great experience, but being back, I want to erase the bad image I had, or may still have, as an inconsistent coxswain. I feel more experienced now, but I really want to improve on my steering skills. If you have any advise on that subject, I'd be very grateful.
If I'm reading your question right, you've got two questions: remaking your image or steering. The former is a tough one, which I addressed in an earlier column. Check it out!
As for steering, I posted some remarks about that ever-important subject earlier, including steering against the horizon, keeping parallel to a side-by-side opponent, and creating your own navigational instrument with tape. Some other points to consider, however: