Boat Types – The Pair

While undoubtedly one of the more demanding boat types, the pair deserves to get more use than it does at most clubs. It is an excellent learning environment for intermediate rowers, although having a change of kit ready is recommended for the first couple of outings.


The pair can be an unforgiving boat to row, requiring good crew co-ordination from the outset. Its main benefit as a coaching platform is that every move the rowers make is reflected immediately in the performance of the boat. Hand heights, timing, stroke length and quality of bladework all have immediate and very clear effects. If you are new to rowing a pair, just getting the boat well-balanced and moving smoothly will teach you a lot about what you are doing wrong and how well you need to do it to get it right. Getting it right is always a rewarding experience in rowing – it is particularly so in a pair. The benefit to the rower lies in taking the improved technique and performance gained in the pair back to larger crew boats where you can now be a better and more adaptable rower.

Note to coaches: A pair is likely to feel heavy to rowers used to fours and eights, so it is probably a good idea to lower the gearing on the blades. 116cm inboard is a good starting point, but don’t hesitate to give a more inboard leverage if the height / fitness / skill of the crew makes it necessary. It may also be a good idea to move the foot-stretchers further toward the bow than the rower is used to, in order to move more of the work behind the pin.


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