Posted by: Helena Smalman-Smith | January 2, 2012

Day 29: The catch!

For those of you who are not rowers, the catch is the point in the rowing stroke cycle where you put your blades in the water. Nothing to do with fish. And please note we have no fishing gear aboard. So, on a river or lake, you lift your hands up as you approach the catch, drop the blades in the water, and push evenly off the footplate with both feet. Simples.

Out here, it’s rather different.

You amble up the slide, swaying from side to side with the boat and arrive at the catch. If you think very hard, you raise your hands. If you’re lucky, both blades will enter the water. Not at the same height, but they will go in. However, what usually happens is that the boat then rolls to, say, strokeside, and your bowside blade comes out again. Undeterred, you keep going with the strokeside blade, kind of vaguely driving with that leg, and during the drive phase the boat will roll back to bowside, readmitting your blade to the water so you then start on its stroke, meanwhile your strokeside blade has left the water without really doing the finish.

This is the “Left and a right” technique (a phrase which I beieve is used in shotgun shooting when you use both barrells one after the other to shoot 2 targets). Depending on the timing of the rolls, you can take 2 little stokes in 1 direction on 1 side.

Many thanks to all those who got in touch today. Steinitzes, we loved the idea that we have “just” 57 Boston the Marathons, 22 KGS Sponsored rows of 18 Tours du Lac left. Well, loved it in a way… Also great to hear from the Sallustis, Roger Grubb, Midgie, Mitism, Sandra and Karon Phillips. Thanks for your lovely thank you text Tabitha!

Happy Birthday to Claire S! By the way, how is that job opportunity you were telling me about in London progressing? And apologies for not wishing Yvonne the same on the 30th Dec.

Rough weather again today – Thursday’s forecast is looking good.


  1. Storm petrel info – breed in west of UK and Northern Isles. Migrate to South Africa to summer there so you may be seeing migrants. Feed by pattering – feet in water but still hovering on wing – diet is anything from crustaceans to fish oil & eggs to algae. Associated with St Peter (walking on water) Mother Carey’s Chickens (warning of oncoming storms) & souls of drowned sailors (try to avoid this please!) Keep up the good work, jmh

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