Posted on: 25th August, 2017 by Oar Sport
Heading into our final year rowing in Cork Boat Club as juniors, we were eager to up the ante and represent Ireland in an International regatta. Coming from a small club in Blackrock Co. Cork, high spec equipment was limited. Boats were continuously shared between athletes, young and old. Boats were often damaged and had to be sent off to be repaired, during which time we missed out on many sessions on the water which hindered our overall performance.
That season came with many trials in order to make our overall goal that year, the Coupe De La Jeunesse in Poznan, Poland. With extensive research and advice from various coaches, we knew that we needed a faster racing shell in order to improve our performance and reach our full potential. We were lucky to source a WinTech Cobra and use it for the rest of the season coming up to the Irish Championships and Coupe De La Jeunesse.
The moment we sat in the boat we could feel an immediate difference. On first glance, we were a little concerned about the bow-mounted wing rigger as we had never rowed in one before. It was clear from the first session, from the smooth glide and swing of the boat, that this was not an issue. The first session brought with it a new lightweight feel on the water that we had never felt before. The boat immediately felt comfortable and efficient in the water with every stroke we took. For the first time ever, we felt as though the boat was working with us, as opposed to sitting heavy beneath us.
After our first session, we knew that slight adjustments had to be made. This was made incredibly easy thanks to the clip on risers and easily adjustable footplate. No time was wasted as it would take a maximum of five minutes before each session to ensure the boat was set up to our specific needs, a concept we weren't used to!
Steering had always been an issue for us but with the Cobra this completely changed. It became an advantage rather than a liability. Minimal movements were required to steer the boat, it was very responsive. We row on a congested river, so excellent steering is essential, even in the toughest of racing conditions and strong crosswinds the steering has never been an issue for us with the Cobra. In fact, it is one of our favourite aspects of the beautiful boat!
This season started with us winning the Irish Open in the U23 category. This was a good step up from winning two Irish Championships, in Junior and Intermediate pair and getting a silver medal at the Coupe De La Jeunesse last season. We also won Skibbereen regatta, a grand league event, in the Intermediate pair. We also had the opportunity that weekend to do a takeover on the WinTech Racing Instagram page - a very enjoyable experience. Knowing that we were facing into a tough few weeks of exams we knew we needed an extra boost to again be selected for the Irish team.
WinTech Reduced Diameter Shaft (RDS) blades were the answer to this – gaining us a few extra vital to reach our goal. The exceptionally low drag from the aerodynamic blades was effective and efficient through the water no matter what the conditions. They were slick and quick!
This past year has been extremely tough doing our final school exams, but having our own boat, these exams thankfully didn't affect our rowing schedule. Any spare time we had we could go down to the club and take out the boat for a spin without permission from our club captain. We hope to continue on this journey with WinTech behind us and see what the future holds for our rowing careers.
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