“The Flip Test”

Here is the biggest problem with racing singles, in order to make them fast, you have to make them narrow. A rowboat is wide and stable, but not very exciting to row. A racing single is narrow and tippy, but once you get the hang of it, is FAST and FUN!!

There is definitely a phase while learning to scull which involves swimming. I used to text my family before I got in the boat and say, “Hopefully more 🚣 and less 🏊 today”. It is important to keep a sense of humor! The good news is it gets easier. Craftsbury is a sculling camp in Vermont. I have the distinction of being the only person caught on video flipping my boat there. Here is the evidence. Listen to how happy the videographer is to have caught my embarrassment on camera:

Let me walk you through some easy steps to getting back in the boat if or more likely WHEN this happens to you.

  1. If the boat completely capsizes, you need to start by getting it right side up. Reach across the hull of the boat to the far side and grab the gunwale, slowly pulling it towards you. The boat will slowly right itself. Watch out for the oars as the boat flips back over.
  2. Get the near side oar situated perpendicular to the boat with the blade feathered flat on the water. Next, do the same with the far side oar. If the second oar is not cooperating, you can always swim around the boat and get it sorted out.
  3. Overlap the 2 handles of the oars and grab them with the hand that is closest to the stern of the boat. The second hand reaches across the boat and grabs the far gunwale. The seat is rolled forward towards the bow
  4. Boost yourself up out of the water and get your hips up on top of the boat
  5. Twist your hips and sit down
  6. Immediately lift the hand up that is holding the oar handles and get the blades flat on the water for stability
  7. Get your butt back on the seat
  8. Strap in your feet and you are ready to give it another go

Hopefully this will equip you if you ever find yourself in this situation. I have added a bonus YouTube video for your enjoyment. If you are a James Corden fan, please click on the link below and have a good laugh. He and a few mates tried to learn to scull. The attempt, as with most things he does, was quite humorous. Enjoy: