Rowing





A rowboat is a safer craft than a canoe, and rowing is not a difficult

feat, but there is a difference between the rowing of a heavy

flat-bottomed boat and rowing a light skiff or round-bottomed rowboat.

In rowing properly one's body does most of the work and the strain comes

more on the muscles of the back than on those of the arms.



In paddling you face the bow of the canoe; in rowing you are turned

around and face the stern of your boat. In paddling you reach forward

and draw your paddle back; in rowing you lean back and pull your oars

forward. When beginning a stroke grasp the handles of your oars firmly

near the ends, lean forward with arms outstretched and elbows straight,

the oars slanting backward, and, by bearing down on the handles of the

oars, lift the blades above the water. Then drop them in edgewise and

pull, straightening your body, bending your elbows, and bringing your

hands together one above the other. As you finish the stroke bear down

on your oars to lift the blades out of the water again, turn your wrists

to bring the flat of the blades almost parallel with the water but with

the back edge lifted a little; then bend forward and, sweeping the oars

backward, turning the edge down, plunge them in the water for another

pull. Turning the wrists at the beginning of a stroke feathers the oar,

the forward edge of which is sometimes allowed to skim lightly over the

surface of the water as the oar is carried backward. In steering with

the oars you pull hardest on the oar on the side _opposite_ to the

direction you wish to take. A little practise and all this comes easy

enough.



The thing for a beginner to avoid is "catching a crab." That is,

dipping the oars so lightly in the water as not to give sufficient hold,

which will cause them, when pulled forward, to fly up and send the rower

sprawling on her back. In dipping too deeply there is danger of losing

an oar by the suction of the water. Experience will teach the proper

depth for the stroke.



On some of the Adirondack lakes the round-bottomed rowboats are used

almost exclusively, but the boat with a narrow, flat bottom is safer and

is both light and easy to row. A cedar rowboat is the most desirable.

The oars should be light for ordinary rowing yet strong enough to

prevent their snapping above the blade in rough water.





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