Boats are expensive!! Blades are expensive!!
Manufacturers work hard to produce equipment which is very light and just a little stonger than required when used correctly. This is great because you have a competitive piece of highly tuned racing equipment to use.
The downside is that much of the equipment is also rather delicate and prone to being damage if roughly handled.
Accidents do happen, but sadly most damage is the result of careless handling and manouvering. All damage should be reported promptly to ensure that equipment is always available to you. Imagine turning up to a race and only then finding out that the boat is damaged or deemed unsafe (bow balls especially).
Mike Arnold should be contacted if you damage a boat or spot damage to a boat. As Mike doesn’t row in every boat he only knows if someone tells him if a boat is damaged!! Email and or text message to Mike AND a copy to vice captains is required.
If a boat is damaged and should not be used then tags are available in the green wall mounted box at the front of the boat house. Attach one of these tags and notify VCs and Mike the same day.
Boats with this tag attached must not be used.
Some of the common mistakes people make handling equipment are explained below;
Removing a boat from the racking
Allowing the riggers to make contact with the surface of the boat will scratch the surface and in many cases the scratch will be deep enough to expose the carbon fibre shell to the water. This type of damage takes approximately two hours to repair properly and you may find the boat is “OUT OF USE” if the damage is not report promptly – water will soak the carbon fibre and this must be allowed to dry before the boat can be used!
Putting a boat back on the rack
The markers indicate where the support brace should be positioned. The above example damages the boat. The damage is caused because the construction of the ‘V’ is little more than decorative. The purpose of the structure is to reduce the amount of water taken on board and is often made of two light pieces of plastic. The sides of the boat however are made from a carbon fibre structure with honeycomb centre.
The other problem with not lining up the boats correctly is associated with fitting everything into the boat house – shut the doors an a boat gets knocked off becuase the boat isn’t lined up correctly etc.
Putting the boat in the water / taking it out
This picture shows correct boat launch / removal. It is unrealistic to expect everyone to be able to hold the boat at arms length before bending over but place a foot on the edge of the bank and everyone can easily hold a boat out away from the bank. Contact with the bank will scratch the sides of the boat. The damage is again to the paint work and will affect performance and possible send the boat into “OUT OF USE”.
Getting in & out
Catching the fin
If the boat is allowed to touch the side when people are getting in / out or simple in manouvering or even waiting then again the paint will be scratched, which will affect performance or send the boat into “OUT OF USE”.
This is a common mistake when getting the boat out but also occurs when putting the boat in. The fin and indeed the rudder are important to steering and both are expensive to replace. They are quite exposed and careless handling will bend them. The cox will then have to apply heavy rudder to compensate and this will dramatically slow the boat.
Turning the boat
Contact at either end of the boat with the bank while turning WILL damage the boat. We have had to rebuild a number of boats as the result of such damage. Turn slowly and in control – don’t be like most of us Brits and rush round. People backing down are able to apply less force and for a shorter distance than those pulling. Stay alert, help the cox out.
If this kind of damage isn’t reported and repaired then you may find yourselves being rejected from a regatta on safety grounds!!!
Loading the trailer – Storage
As we have more boats than paces to keep them really, we have to use the trailer for some additional storage. However, to minimise the risk of knocking the riggers together as the trailer is put in and out of the boat house, please load the trailer with the ‘play boats’ as shown in this diagram.
Trailer Jockey Wheel
The adujsting handle jockey (nose) wheel on the trailer should be kept low so as to minimise the leverage on the components and to enable it to be lift easily. Don’t get it so low that the handle impacts the other trailer parts. The following picture shows ideal height and also shows the electrical connector plugged into the ‘holding’ socket, which reduces damage;