Rowing at a Crossroads

I’m having some frustrations with rowing lately, and I think I need to work out on paper some of my thoughts. Indoor rowing – love the heck out of it, and I plan to do it for the rest of my life. I’m looking around for a used ergometer for home so I can erg everyday.

Outdoor rowing – This is where my frustration lies. I know there’s a gap between my skill set/physical capabilities and other adult rowers in our club that are regularly out on the water. I took Learn to Row 1 and Learn to Row 2 at IRC to try to close that gap, so that I would be an asset in a boat and not a liability.

I can tell that I didn’t close that gap, so I took Learn to Row 2 a second time. It’s been a disaster, to put it mildly. We don’t have enough people in the class to take a larger boat out, so we keep ending up in a sculling boat, which is not at all what I’m interested in learning. We did go out in the quad (4 person sculling boat) and I felt like I was learning something, but that was one evening. Last night, though, we had 5 people, so we had to take out singles and try to learn to row and feather near the dock. This is the type of boat I flipped. And not what I want to learn, so I was doubtful. I managed to get out and get a bit of rowing, but my instructor had to run over to help one of the other women in a run away boat, so I didn’t get much time in. When I hopped out and my partner got in the boat, we tried to steer her perpendicular to the dock… and she flipped the boat trying to get her oars set in the water. But she blamed me, although there’s not a thing I could have done to prevent it.

So we ended the evening frustrated, without learning much, and with creating distrust between the people in the class who are supposed to learn to work as a team.

I’m ready to throw in the towel on Learn to Row 2, and just go to the boathouse to erg until I can get an erg for home, and forget about getting out in a boat altogether for now. I still want to row on the water – that was the goal from the beginning – but I just can’t seem to get the skills I need to do that well.

I’ve been looking for Rowing Clubs in the Midwest that have indoor tanks for practice – basically a boat suspended in a pool that lets you learn to manage your oars without fear of capsizing. None that I can find are close enough to drive to regularly to get training, so I’m stuck, I think, until something changes. I don’t have much confidence that I can get the instruction I need from the coaches at the boathouse, so I don’t know where to go next.

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