Supposed dangers of new oarlaock

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Carl

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Nov 14, 2006, 6:24:11 AM11/14/06
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Having posted elsewhere my thoughts on the alleged safety issue
supposedly arising from the uses of a certain type of oarlock, I reckon
this topic merits a new thread.

First, read here: http://tinyurl.com/yaj4fv
for a summary of the alleged problem.

Next, here are yesterday's RSR comments of Adam Carter concerning the
same incident:
>I would strongly advise against the use of Magik oarlocks,
> especially for a newbie after what happened to the German
> pair at the worl champs.
> The boat turned over and the design of the oarloacks meant
> that the blades were impossible to release, which left the
> two oarsmen trapped in the boat under the blades and the
> marshalls were unable to release them. They came quite close
> to disaster, and that was at an event with ample safety
> marshalls, etc. For a person on their own i the middle of
> a lake that could easily be fatal. I've been told that these
> oarlocks are fantastic, but I'm afraid that they represent
> too much of a risk for me!

Finally my own views, condensed (a bit) from the same thread:
"I fail to see how the inability of people to remove oars from those
gates could have affected the rescuability from an inverted position of
2 guys who, it appears, had defective heel restraints.
"Nor have I heard any coherent explanation for how these gates might
have induced this supposed problem.
"Stop & think: what is there to keep the oar-handle pressed against the
inverted rower? Left to their own devices, there is nothing. The only
thing which could pinion rowers into the boat would be for someone to
actively push the blades under the water. If that's what they were
doing, then the rescuers, not the gates, were causing the problem - by
failing to rationally consider the task in hand. In which case their
faffing around with the gates was a woeful waste of time."

Good safety must be founded on fact & reason. So, with those 3
viewpoints in the open, let's debate this in a logical manner. If a
valid case can be made against these oarlocks, let's hear it & act upon
it. If not, & we are merely witnessing yet another of rowing's attempts
to lay blame on others, then that is immoral, irrational & dangerous
nonsense.

If we find that these oarlocks were entirely innocent of the crime of
which they stand accused, then it beggars belief that rowing, so
singularly foolish in its regular failures to deal promptly with real
safety issues, should get its collective knickers into such a public &
emotional twist over this event.

And, as a rider: why no discussion of how it was that more than one crew
raced at Dorney with non-functioning or absent foot release systems?
Why was this so easily checked shortcoming deliberately _not_ being
policed at a FISA World Championship?

Actually, the really sad thing to me is that it nolonger beggars my
belief that rowing should act thus.......

Carl
--
Carl Douglas Racing Shells -
Fine Small-Boats/AeRoWing low-drag Riggers/Advanced Accessories
Write: The Boathouse, Timsway, Chertsey Lane, Staines TW18 3JY, UK
Email: ca...@carldouglas.co.uk Tel: +44(0)1784-456344 Fax: -466550
URLs: www.carldouglas.co.uk (boats) & www.aerowing.co.uk (riggers)

c.a...@blueyonder.co.uk

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Nov 14, 2006, 10:48:27 AM11/14/06
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Carl wrote:

>
> And, as a rider: why no discussion of how it was that more than one crew
> raced at Dorney with non-functioning or absent foot release systems?
> Why was this so easily checked shortcoming deliberately _not_ being
> policed at a FISA World Championship?
>

we have had disussion of this and the answer is that it's not control
commission's job to check heel restraints at a FISA regatta (or even an
ARA one), but rather the crews. Control commission MAY check.

The issue is that word has not got round

a) what heel restraints are and how they work
b) how long they should be
c) what will happen if they are too long


My personal view is that if you have a rule you rigidly enforce it but
that fell foul of the lawyers apparently with the risk that a control
commission umpire could find himself up before a coroner if he'd failed
to check.

Nick Suess

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Nov 14, 2006, 12:09:43 PM11/14/06
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<c.a...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote in message
news:1163519307.1...@h54g2000cwb.googlegroups.com...

> The issue is that word has not got round
>
> a) what heel restraints are and how they work
> b) how long they should be
> c) what will happen if they are too long
>

You are absolutely right there.

I have written on this issue many times, and it seems rowers just don't care
too much about getting drowned. And let's face it, winning races is far more
important.


Phil

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Nov 14, 2006, 12:25:43 PM11/14/06
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Our club has just purchased a secondhand VIII via the brokership of a
reputable boat manufacturer, for our beginners. Said boat recently
refurbished. On looking it over just yesterday (still on the trailer)
the first thing I noticed was frayed, broken and missing heel straps.
The boat still bears CULWBC markings (or a close variant thereof).

Imagine buying a s/h car from a dealer with faulty brakes?

Phil.

Carl

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Nov 14, 2006, 1:01:40 PM11/14/06
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Many thanks, Christopher, & I do know that you share the view that these
things should be checked.

Thos arguments for inaction coincide with what I'd heard. Is it not
extraordinary how rowing keeps deciding that implementing sane safety
measures might get someone into trouble?

Now let's examine the reverse situation, as so nearly happened at Dorney:
1. There is no check on what in the UK is a compulsory safety measure.
2. Then, during the regatta, 1 or 2 rowers die as direct result of an
unfortunate combination of a capsize, no heel restraints & (maybe) a
screwed up rescue.
3. Following which there is an inquest, at which the Coroner demands to
know why, since all competitors & officials were entirely subject to UK
law during the World Championships:
a) the organising committee & the course owners knowingly permitted a
UK-wide rowing safety regulation (which is also a FISA safety
recommendation), the implementation of which would have prevented that
loss of life, to be deliberately flouted by participants.
b) at the same time there were surplus regatta officials, who could (&
should) have been available to conduct such vital safety tests, running
around & harrassing competitors & coaches to remove or obscure truly
minuscule commercial logos from oarlocks, riggers & seats (but not, I
note, from coxes' head bands & shoes!).

The Coroner would, of course, have been advised beforehand of the other,
still unaddressed, safety skeletons in rowing's cupboard. I think it
might well have led to further & particularly nasty repercussions, none
of which would have reflected the slightest credit either on rowing as a
sport, the ARA, the organisers or FISA.

I introduced restrained heels into this sport 30 years ago. They have
saved many lives, which was their sole purpose. That we remain in this
situation is an absolute disgrace.

Now, back to that oarlock

Richard Packer

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Nov 14, 2006, 2:14:45 PM11/14/06
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On 14 Nov 2006 09:25:43 -0800, "Phil" <philip_b...@yahoo.com>
wrote:

>Our club has just purchased a secondhand VIII via the brokership of a
>reputable boat manufacturer, for our beginners. Said boat recently
>refurbished. On looking it over just yesterday (still on the trailer)
>the first thing I noticed was frayed, broken and missing heel straps.
>The boat still bears CULWBC markings (or a close variant thereof).
>
>Imagine buying a s/h car from a dealer with faulty brakes?

I checked an eight at Nat Schools a couple of years ago. Brand new,
first outing, very shiny and smart, brand new shoes, excellent heel
restraints. Shame not a single one of them was connected to the
stretcher though. So black marks to that boat builder, the coach and
the crew.

I still feel we (umpires) miss a huge opportunity on Control
Commission. We don't have to make umpires check boats. What we can
(and should) very easily do is turn CC umpires into something more
like a quality control check. Check that the athletes are checking
their boats properly before each outing. Don't check the boat *for
them* because they won't learn anything, and it perpetuates the myth
that someone else (boatman, coach, umpire, Aunty Gertrude, whoever) is
responsible for the boat. But do help teach them a) why it matters
and b) what's good and what isn't. It ain't rocket science, and won't
take any longer than the current daft and ineffective way we do it
(when we bother).

Sarah F

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Nov 14, 2006, 3:27:37 PM11/14/06
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Phil wrote:

> Our club has just purchased a secondhand VIII via the brokership of a
> reputable boat manufacturer, for our beginners. Said boat recently
> refurbished. On looking it over just yesterday (still on the trailer)
> the first thing I noticed was frayed, broken and missing heel straps.
> The boat still bears CULWBC markings (or a close variant thereof).
>
> Imagine buying a s/h car from a dealer with faulty brakes?
>
> Phil.

I just wanted to check whether you're implying blame for the lack of
heel restraints to the 'dealer' or the previous boat owner? Because
your post isn't very clear.

(I'm not aware that CUWBC have recently sold any VIIIs (they certainly
hadn't uptil last May/June time) and 'CULWBC' doesn't exist - so I'm
not sure who your boat came from originally! The Cambridge Lightweight
Women race under the name of CUWBC, not as a separate club.)

Sarah

Stephen and Jane

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Nov 14, 2006, 7:36:05 PM11/14/06
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This easily becomes a circular argument resulting in everyone losing out.
The ARA lawyers evidently are missing the point, and so are those who accept
what they say. Chris, your personal view is the right one.

If a rule is so important that failing to comply may be fatal, then those
who have a legal responsibility to enforce safety in the sport must take
that responsibility to 1) set the rules appropriately, 2) educate their
members effectively and 3) enforce the rule as far as is practical to do so.

The ARA lawyers seem to fail to recognise this responsibility and instead
(apparently) recommend an almighty cop-out, where effectively no-one takes
responsibility.... the NGB is too afraid, and the participant has not been
educated to do so. Sorry guys, but the safety buck does stop with the ARA as
stated in parliament by DCMS:

http://tinyurl.com/yk7bu3

Both morally and legally you are in a much better position to be able to say
in court "Yes we recognise and act upon our legal responsibility; we have a
clear effective rule, we make every effort to ensure the rule is understood
by all members, and we do our best to enforce the rule at official events -
however, in spite of our best efforts this one slipped through the net",
than to have to say "Sorry, but we deliberately keep our policy obscure, and
don't undertake to enforce the rule in order to cover our own backs."

Jane.


Kieran

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Nov 14, 2006, 11:48:25 PM11/14/06
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Did anyone else notice that "oarlock" was misspelled in the subject of
this thread? (Typo, I'm sure) I'm just surprised that I only just
noticed it. Kinda like that email that keeps getting circulated around
that tells you that researchers have shown that if you jsut keep the
fisrt and lsat ltetres and mix up all the otehrs taht our brians can
sitll raed the wrods.

Presnolaly, I tihkn i'ts Blul Siht.
(but it might be how George Lucas came up with Jar-Jar's dialect)

-CK

Gary van der Merwe

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Nov 15, 2006, 2:31:16 AM11/15/06
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Carl wrote:
> Next, here are yesterday's RSR comments of Adam Carter concerning the
> same incident:
> >I would strongly advise against the use of Magik oarlocks,
> > especially for a newbie after what happened to the German
> > pair at the worl champs.
> > The boat turned over and the design of the oarloacks meant
> > that the blades were impossible to release, which left the
> > two oarsmen trapped in the boat under the blades and the
> > marshalls were unable to release them.

Is there video footage of this event (the capsize and rescue?)

Carl

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Nov 15, 2006, 5:16:31 AM11/15/06
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I was waiting for that shoe to drop! I even began to think that
everyone was being kind. It's like they say in the Welsh valleys: you
just get over-familiar with one sheep........

;)

Carl

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Nov 15, 2006, 5:57:47 AM11/15/06
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All of which is absolutely on the ball. Many thanks, Jane.

My missus put it very simply to me last night:
If you have discussed a risk, particularly one affecting others towards
whom, as organiser, you owe a duty of care, but then reach a private or
internal agreement to ignore it, then you are culpable. Because you
knew of the risk, you had the means to mitigate it, so you had a duty to
act intelligently to do so. If it can be shown subsequently that you
failed to do so as part of a premeditated if misguided attempt to evade
your legal responsibility & thus to protect your own hide, that must
increase your culpability.

Terry

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Nov 15, 2006, 7:39:48 AM11/15/06
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Stephen and Jane wrote:


> If a rule is so important that failing to comply may be fatal, then those
> who have a legal responsibility to enforce safety in the sport must take
> that responsibility to 1) set the rules appropriately, 2) educate their
> members effectively and 3) enforce the rule as far as is practical to do so.
>
> The ARA lawyers seem to fail to recognise this responsibility and instead
> (apparently) recommend an almighty cop-out, where effectively no-one takes
> responsibility.... the NGB is too afraid, and the participant has not been
> educated to do so. Sorry guys, but the safety buck does stop with the ARA as
> stated in parliament by DCMS:
>
> http://tinyurl.com/yk7bu3
>
> Both morally and legally you are in a much better position to be able to say
> in court "Yes we recognise and act upon our legal responsibility; we have a
> clear effective rule, we make every effort to ensure the rule is understood
> by all members, and we do our best to enforce the rule at official events -
> however, in spite of our best efforts this one slipped through the net",
> than to have to say "Sorry, but we deliberately keep our policy obscure, and
> don't undertake to enforce the rule in order to cover our own backs."
>
> Jane.

I disagree with Jane on this one. As soon as we assign 'responsibility'
other than with the user, we assign 'liability' in such a way as to
encourage the user to believe its somebody elses job - and that they
can sue the other party for a fat sum if something goes wrong.

The analogy with responsibility for ensuring safety rules are complied
with falling on umpires is like saying the Police are liable if a car
kills someone due to having bald tyres. No! The driver is responsible.
Not the vehicle owner, not the tyre manufacturer, not the MOT station
who last saw it 10 months ago, and not the Police.

Its up to the user of whatever equipment to take responsibility for
ensuring it is in a safe condition throughout each period of use.

We all have a moral duty to draw any aparent dangerous defect or
situation to the attention of someone who might be affected in any walk
of life. If I see you getting into your car and the steel bracing is
hanging out of the nearside rear tyre, I'll try to alert you - but I'm
not 'responsible' or 'liable' if I can't run fast enough to get to you
before you drive off, or if you chose to ignore my warning.

If umpires were to be responsible and legally liable for ensuring heel
restraints were serviceable before crews were allowed to go afloat,
we'd need powers of arrest! How else could we stop a crew from boating?!

Carl

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Nov 15, 2006, 8:25:19 AM11/15/06
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But we are not asking umpires or scrutineers to take respnsibility for
others breaching regulations. We need them to enforce, as far as
feasible in a regatta, a simple set of safety rules. If someone dies,
as Jane points out, you are already in trouble. That trouble will be so
much greater if you have failed to take reasonable measures.

The case for inaction is largely undermined by:
1. the fact that we do enforce a number of rational safety measures,
including circulation patterns, & can exclude non-compliant competitors
from events.
2. safety equipment becomes a central concern if a crew with a defective
bow ball skewers someone.
3. we enforce crew & boat weight regulations, & rules on kit uniformity,
etc., some of which have zero or vanishingly small effect on regatta
fairness
4. at the WCs, as I pointed out, officials were preoccupied with
coveering up tiny commercial logos on boats

Now consider the position of an employer: he has a duty of care towards
his employees, even where those employees wilfully breach the employer's
& the state's safety regulations. That is so because it prevents the
employer from fixing it after the event by coercing/bribing an injured
employee into saying it was "all my own fault, gov". And it puts the
onus firmly on the employer's shoulders to run a safe shop. Do you
really think the judiciary will see the conduct of organised sport so
very differently - especially if a rescuer dies trying to save some damn
fool who thought it clever to go out without heel restraints?

Looking at a problem, detecting a hazard & deciding to ignore it has
never been a valid defence in law, AFAIK. If in rowing we actually
enforce those very few safety rules, then we will continue to be able to
present ourselves as a responsibly-run sport & thus keep the lawyers off
our patch. Screw up & that picture may change markedly.

Nick Suess

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Nov 15, 2006, 9:14:15 AM11/15/06
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>
> I disagree with Jane on this one. As soon as we assign 'responsibility'
> other than with the user, we assign 'liability' in such a way as to
> encourage the user to believe its somebody elses job - and that they
> can sue the other party for a fat sum if something goes wrong.
That paragraph appears to put a compelling case for lawyer-driven anarchy to now rule the waves.
 
> The analogy with responsibility for ensuring safety rules are complied
> with falling on umpires is like saying the Police are liable if a car
> kills someone due to having bald tyres. No! The driver is responsible.
> Not the vehicle owner, not the tyre manufacturer, not the MOT station
> who last saw it 10 months ago, and not the Police.
No. The whole point is all about having safety rules in place and then acting in such a way as to maximise compliance. Jane wrote:
"If a rule is so important that failing to comply may be fatal, then those
who have a legal responsibility to enforce safety in the sport must take
that responsibility to 1) set the rules appropriately, 2) educate their
members effectively and 3) enforce the rule as far as is practical to do so."
The ARA has used Terry's sort of argument to try and duck out of responsibility over buoyancy. In a statement that reflects hope rather confidence I say that if (rather than when) another UK rower drowns following the swamping of an underbuoyant boat, the ARA's position of declining to regulate out of fear of litigation will be torn to shreds by the legal system, and I fully expect that Thompson, Harris and Ward will spend a substantial period of time as guests of Her Majesty.
 
Using Terry's example, in most if not all developed countries it is a government body which legislates on what is the minimum tread depth on a car tyre. Unlike the ARA, they provide a clearly defined and measurable specification, and a tyre either complies or it doesn't. As learners, drivers receive some form of education on the danger of bald tyres, and then enforcement takes place at a great many levels. Your MOT in the UK is just one of them, but there will also be the awareness that this is likely to be done any occasion the cops might pull you over, and above all, if you are in a crash and your tyres are defective, you will be held liable, and in all likelihood you will find yourself uninsured. Those are serious sanctions.
 
> Its up to the user of whatever equipment to take responsibility for
> ensuring it is in a safe condition throughout each period of use.
But they can only do so if there is some clear definition of what is safe. What is the safe maximum heel lift? Carl mentioned 50mm, which I would consider an absolute maximum, and 30mm would to me be a better and far safer figure. Carl says the ARA somewhere vaguely refers to 100mm, which is utterly ridiculous, and the system won't work.
 
And what are the sanctions for non-compliance? None, it would appear. As Carl has pointed out, an oversize logo or a few grams underweight will draw all the ire of the blazerati, but it seems that a lethally unsafe boat can slip so easily under their radar. And then when there is a capsize, and the rowers are trapped under a boat they should have automatically come clear of the instant they hit the water had the heel restraints been correctly in place, the officials try to blame the gates because they are a new idea, and therefore an easy target in a change -averse sport.
 
> We all have a moral duty to draw any aparent dangerous defect or
> situation to the attention of someone who might be affected in any walk
> of life. If I see you getting into your car and the steel bracing is
> hanging out of the nearside rear tyre, I'll try to alert you - but I'm
> not 'responsible' or 'liable' if I can't run fast enough to get to you
> before you drive off, or if you chose to ignore my warning.
 
Yes, that's true, but those who do warn others tend to get instantly categorised by Sully's definition of "boathouse bitch". That's a cultural thing about rowing, and we have seen a lot of it on this forum in recent weeks.
>
> If umpires were to be responsible and legally liable for ensuring heel
> restraints were serviceable before crews were allowed to go afloat,
> we'd need powers of arrest! How else could we stop a crew from boating?!
 
I can't believe I'm reading this. It's easy. Disqualify them on the spot. Umpires have that power.

Terry

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Nov 15, 2006, 10:14:08 AM11/15/06
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Nick Suess wrote:
>I can't believe I'm reading this. It's easy.
> Disqualify them on the spot. Umpires have that power.

I can disqualify them. What I asked was how to I prevent them going
afloat, which appears to be the responsibility and liability you want
me to discharge. I can stop them racing, but that does not stop them
capsizing if they (for example) go out for a training outing, complying
with the circulation pattern, during a regatta. Do I wrestele them to
the ground to stop them going out?

Both Carl and Nick seem to be trying to address a different issue to
me. I'm not saying that 'safety is none of my business'. I happen to
work in the North Sea oil industry, and safety here is very much
everybody's business - an approach I carry into my rowing life also.
But that does not mnean that, if I fail to physically overpower someone
(at work or in rowing) to prevent them doing something stupid which
kills themselves or someone else, I am accountable - morally or at law
- for my 'failure'.

So why give a lawyer the oportunity to twist the situation as a basis
for a claim that his client's injury in consequence of failure to
adhere to screeds of policy and best practice should actually result in
a 7-figure law suit against me as an umpire for failing to physically
retsrain the fool from going afloat.

As an umpire, as a club member, as a plain Joe Public, I will do what I
can to help people to enjoy their sport safely.

But in the final analysis, there is an adage of which I heartily
approve. "If you want to see the person who is responsible for your
safety, look in a mirror."

Douglas MacFarlane

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Nov 15, 2006, 10:18:34 AM11/15/06
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In article <1163603648....@e3g2000cwe.googlegroups.com>,
terry....@sparrowsoffshore.com says...

Terry,

what about our duty of care for young people involved in rowing?

Douglas

Kieran

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Nov 15, 2006, 10:53:04 AM11/15/06
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They're usually smaller, and easier to wrestle to the ground. ;-)

(sorry)

-Kieran

Terry

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Nov 15, 2006, 11:04:05 AM11/15/06
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Douglas MacFarlane wrote:

> Terry,
>
> what about our duty of care for young people involved in rowing?
>
> Douglas

As ever, we all have an equal duty of care as human beings, but thats
nt the same as legal liability - the issue I want to separate out.

LIABILITY lies first with their parents, then with the club or coaches
to whom they have entrusted care during the rowing activity. When it
comes to who is responsible for ensuring the boat is serviceable, in
Nick/Carl's examples, (compliant with regulation/safety code), IMHO one
should certainly never have to look higher up the chain than that.

Rob

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Nov 15, 2006, 12:02:17 PM11/15/06
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A complete theory of civilization could probably be constructed around
that question of whether umpires should be checking tie-downs or not!
I've just got a simple story for you.

When I started rowing a single, I kept my heel tie-downs at the normal
sort of length of 50mm or so. Maybe they came that way. I got wet
many times while training and never had any trouble ducking under the
boat to release my heels.

A couple of years into my singles career I hit a large finish-line buoy
at the end of a very hotly contested 1000m race, and flipped over
quickly. Aaaargh! My feet were stuck in the shoes and there was no
way I had enough lung capacity to get under the boat to free them!

I floundered around for a time in a growing panic (it was probably
fifteen or twenty seconds, I dunno, felt like much longer). Arms-only
horizontal treading water with feet shackled is very very difficult at
maximum lactate levels! (And I'm an excellent swimmer.) Eventually I
struck on the idea of reaching one arm over the hull and grabbing the
opposite gunwhale.

I did this, and hung out for a moment until I had recovered
sufficiently to go under the boat and release my heels. I wonder how
someone in this predicament might have fared if he/she was less of a
swimmer, or didn't have the monkey arms like me.

Since this time I have always kept my tie-downs very short, so that my
feet come out with zero effort. Kind of like ski bindings but much
easier of course. I also do *not* tie my feet down with straps over
the insteps. If you have shoes that fit pretty well (and in your own
single why wouldn't you!) I don't really think it matters too much.
And I wouldn't say my rowing is particularly marked by excellent slide
control, although I guess it must be all right judging on results.
(FYI I am very much on the balls of my feet at the catch.) The first
stroke or two of a start might be where some would want that secure
footing, but I still don't think you want to be yanking the boat up
under you so violently that the velcro is necessary. I'm a little out
of my league here, being Mr. Slow Twitch, but I do have a good,
un-velcroed start.

But my start was only fair until I started using the magikrowing
oarlocks! Good segue, that, but I must say that the main complaint
I've heard about these oarlocks is that they come open *too easily*
while rowing--if you hit a buoy, say. I can see where this might
happen if you neglect to slide the "keeper" clip in (as you might do on
your first row with the oarlocks, or a friend might do who borrows your
boat). The US distributor said they've tested the oarlocks and the
pressure required to open them is so high that your oar would break
first.

Nick Suess

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Nov 15, 2006, 12:11:36 PM11/15/06
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"Terry" <terry....@sparrowsoffshore.com> wrote in message
news:1163603648....@e3g2000cwe.googlegroups.com...

>
> Nick Suess wrote:
>>I can't believe I'm reading this. It's easy.
>> Disqualify them on the spot. Umpires have that power.
>
> I can disqualify them. What I asked was how to I prevent them going
> afloat, which appears to be the responsibility and liability you want
> me to discharge.

Not at all. You can't prevent suicide, but you can ensure that they don't
take part as bona fide competitors in a race when in a suicidal condition.
And if they then choose to disobey an umpire and boat anyway, I would think
even the ARA might take action by cancelling their registration. It seems to
me that you prefer to do nothing.

It's all about having an appropriate sanction for those who fail to comply
with safety regulations.

Similarly the police can't physically ensure a seat belt is worn by every
car occupant, but there are penalties for those who don't wear them, and
they bear the liability for injuries they sustain as a result.

And on the duty of care issue, parents who don't ensure their children belt
up in cars are culpable. Coaches who don't ensure the boats used by minors
comply with safety directives are similarly so.

Why's this all so difficult?


Stephen and Jane

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Nov 15, 2006, 1:11:02 PM11/15/06
to
Terry wrote:
> Stephen and Jane wrote:
>
>
>> If a rule is so important that failing to comply may be fatal, then
>> those who have a legal responsibility to enforce safety in the sport
>> must take that responsibility to 1) set the rules appropriately, 2)
>> educate their members effectively and 3) enforce the rule as far as
>> is practical to do so.
>> snip

>> Jane.
>
> I disagree with Jane on this one. As soon as we assign
> 'responsibility' other than with the user, we assign 'liability' in
> such a way as to encourage the user to believe its somebody elses job
> - and that they can sue the other party for a fat sum if something
> goes wrong.

Maybe I didn't explain it well enough. This is not a matter of transferring
responsibility or liability wholesale from the rower to the ARA. It is a
matter of shared responsibility between both parties. If one side doesn't
play the game then the safety system doesn't function.

The ARA has the responsibility to achieve points 1) to 3) above. If the ARA
has fulfilled this responsibility to a member and that member then knowingly
fails to follow the rule, that member is responsible for any consequences.

> The analogy with responsibility for ensuring safety rules are complied
> with falling on umpires is like saying the Police are liable if a car
> kills someone due to having bald tyres. No! The driver is responsible.
> Not the vehicle owner, not the tyre manufacturer, not the MOT station
> who last saw it 10 months ago, and not the Police.

Nick has answered this point very well.

> Its up to the user of whatever equipment to take responsibility for
> ensuring it is in a safe condition throughout each period of use.
>
> We all have a moral duty to draw any aparent dangerous defect or
> situation to the attention of someone who might be affected in any
> walk of life. If I see you getting into your car and the steel
> bracing is hanging out of the nearside rear tyre, I'll try to alert
> you - but I'm not 'responsible' or 'liable' if I can't run fast
> enough to get to you before you drive off, or if you chose to ignore
> my warning.
>
> If umpires were to be responsible and legally liable for ensuring heel
> restraints were serviceable before crews were allowed to go afloat,
> we'd need powers of arrest! How else could we stop a crew from
> boating?!

The ARA has the legal responsibility for ensuring a robust system is in
place to achieve points 1) to 3) above, which includes training coaches,
safety officers and umpires to be agents of that system. The 'agents' just
have to be fit for purpose and do their best within the ARA system - this,
we understand, is the legal test. So if an umpire turns up, is up for the
job, and stands up for the rules as best he/she can be reasonably expected
to, he/she will not be legally liable if things go wrong in spite of their
reasonable best efforts.

If it was considered acceptable for a body to set rules but not to promote
or enforce them, then they could fulfil their remit by following the Vogon
example of only posting the rules on a notice board on the nearest star,
claiming it is not their fault if no-one sees them.

Jane.


Henning Lippke

unread,
Nov 15, 2006, 1:34:57 PM11/15/06
to
Richard Packer wrote:

Nice one. All do it like Richard writes.

Nick Suess

unread,
Nov 15, 2006, 2:23:34 PM11/15/06
to

"Stephen and Jane" <stephenDO...@ukgateway.net> wrote in message

>
> If it was considered acceptable for a body to set rules but not to promote
> or enforce them, then they could fulfil their remit by following the Vogon
> example of only posting the rules on a notice board on the nearest star,
> claiming it is not their fault if no-one sees them.
>
> Jane.

So is it now time to tell the ARA that "Resistance is Useless"?


Richard Packer

unread,
Nov 15, 2006, 2:54:36 PM11/15/06
to

Thanks Henning! I have suggested this approach at various UK umpires'
seminars. Whilst some make encouraging noises, unfortunately it
appears that if change is happening it's happening at a glacial rate.

simonk

unread,
Nov 15, 2006, 3:57:56 PM11/15/06
to
On Wed, 15 Nov 2006 15:14:08 +0000, Terry wrote
(in article <1163603648....@e3g2000cwe.googlegroups.com>):

>
> Nick Suess wrote:
>> I can't believe I'm reading this. It's easy.
>> Disqualify them on the spot. Umpires have that power.
>
> I can disqualify them. What I asked was how to I prevent them going
> afloat, which appears to be the responsibility and liability you want
> me to discharge. I can stop them racing, but that does not stop them
> capsizing if they (for example) go out for a training outing, complying
> with the circulation pattern, during a regatta. Do I wrestele them to
> the ground to stop them going out?

Use your MOT analogy again.

An MOT station can fail your car, but they can't stop you from driving it
once they've failed it. Their power is limited to their ability to issue
pass or fail certificates. It's not their concern whether you continue to
drive the car with the fault uncorrected, and neither should it be. It *is*
their problem if they fail to act to the extent possible when they see a
defective car.

s/MOT/umpire/
s/car/boat/

--
simonk

Terrible Toll

unread,
Nov 16, 2006, 4:10:37 AM11/16/06
to
My partner and I are not about to dump our Magik oarlocks because of
this recent event. We will however, take extra care that are shoes are
not done up tightly and that our heel restraints are short and firm.
Against the design, I would say that the yellow latches are quite small
and could be made more obvious and easier to unlock. The latchless
original was better, but was prone to accidental release, especially in
the case of boat/oar clashes.

As ever, with this sort of reaction in the rowing community, it seems
that the problem is principally one due to a blinkered view of the
problem as a whole. Simply put, the problem is down to the poor
functioning of a simple, but rather odd system requiring the rowers
feet to slip out of his shoes in an emergency situation - something
that racers are keen to prevent when they are racing. Surely a better
approach would be to come up with a solution for shoe release, which
would be both safer and more practical. After having researched this
issue in depth some years back, it appears that there are two main
impedements to this: firstly, it is not a piece of equipment that makes
you go faster and secondly, the FISA and ARA regulations forbid it if
it doesn't have a heel restraint (something not required with a
releasable shoe).

Also, if such a system were introduced, it would of course, be blamed
for the supposed extra danger it would cause by not functioning
correctly, by being tightened down by rowers to prevent accidental
release. So not any different from the heel restraint. But such an
imporvement could surely be worth the effort?

David Biddulph

unread,
Nov 16, 2006, 4:21:58 AM11/16/06
to
"Terrible Toll" <anatol...@abdm.co.uk> wrote in message
news:1163668237.3...@i42g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
...

> As ever, with this sort of reaction in the rowing community, it seems
> that the problem is principally one due to a blinkered view of the
> problem as a whole. Simply put, the problem is down to the poor
> functioning of a simple, but rather odd system requiring the rowers
> feet to slip out of his shoes in an emergency situation - something
> that racers are keen to prevent when they are racing. Surely a better
> approach would be to come up with a solution for shoe release, which
> would be both safer and more practical. After having researched this
> issue in depth some years back, it appears that there are two main
> impedements to this: firstly, it is not a piece of equipment that makes
> you go faster and secondly, the FISA and ARA regulations forbid it if
> it doesn't have a heel restraint (something not required with a
> releasable shoe).

If by "shoe release" you mean something like Krew Klips, then what you say
about the ARA regulations is untrue. The ARA specifically point out that
with such fittings, heel restraints must NOT be fitted:
http://www.ara-rowing.org/Asp/uploadedFiles/File/Safety_Flexi%20Clogs_Modifications.pdf
--
David Biddulph


Carl

unread,
Nov 16, 2006, 5:15:48 AM11/16/06
to


Although, with the ARA allowing a ludicrous & dangerous ~4"/100mm of
heel lift, I can't see how that could remotely interfere with Krew-Klip
operation (except perhaps by being so long as to get wound around your
ankle ;) ? ).

There again, why would you install heel restraints on a shoe with which
you walk into the boat & which already provides passive release? And,
if you did instal proper length heel retraints, how would they
conceivably prevent foot release - the release cord still tugs on the
heel of the shoe, after all?

So why would a technically inept & conscience-free NGB, which still
affects not to see why it needs to legislate for full shell buoyancy,
decide to legislate against a non-dangerous excess of caution? Answers
on a postcard, please!

Cheers -

Alasdhair Johnston

unread,
Nov 16, 2006, 8:52:05 AM11/16/06
to
> The US distributor said they've tested the oarlocks and the
> pressure required to open them is so high that your oar would break
> first.
>

Hmm, I've had a blade pop out of the lock and stayed upright (well, one time
out of three) and snapped an oarloom and stayed upright. In the first
instance I was able to put the scull back in myself, the second required
rafting up with another sculler until a friendly double fetched a spare
blade; so I think I'd prefer the oarlock to spring open before the oar
snapped: it works out rather cheaper too...


Chris Kerr

unread,
Nov 16, 2006, 9:40:53 AM11/16/06
to
It's not a CULRC boat either : we have been trying to sell an eight, so I
thought it might have been, but apparently it has not yet been sold.

Perhaps it is OUWLRC with part of the 'O' missing?

Kieran

unread,
Nov 16, 2006, 11:25:35 AM11/16/06
to
In the other thread,

mpruscoe wrote:
> Kieran wrote:
>> Carl Douglas wrote:
>>> AIUI, both rowers were trapped - & voluntarily (in effect) they were
>>> trapped by their feet, die apparently to a conscious breach of all
>>> sane safety policy. That really should be the end of the
>>> discussion.
>>
>> Where did you get this information? I can't find it in the thread
>> anywhere. The link you posted in the other thread is hardly
>> informative. Nor should you trust it, given your mistrust for anyone
>> who would ban a device unnecessarily...
>>
>>> Not wanting to spoil your argument, however:
>>> Next, we hear that these were carbon 2-stay riggers, for which the
>>> full
>>
>> Again, I've read nothing about the boat or the riggers. Please share
>> your source(s). If you expect discussion and feedback, everyone
>> should have the same info. Maybe I've just overlooked a post or
>> three? Maybe my news server has the hiccups?
>
> Photos from the thread a couple of months ago:
>
> http://snipurl.com/vpev
>
> http://snipurl.com/vpey
>
> http://snipurl.com/vpf2
>
> http://www.nlroei.nl/Fotoboek-display-51911.html
>
> The original thread (compare the witness statement in post 11 with the
> photo sequence):
>
> http://snipurl.com/12ap8

Thanks for posting that information. I had totally missed the old
thread from August.

I'd like to point out that in post #11 author "The Hub" (who was one of
the rescuers) describes exactly the situation I suggested that might
keep one from opening the MK1 oarlock. (Oar pressing up against the top
of the gate compresses the bottom of the squeezable clasp up against the
top of the squeezable clasp once the yellow lock tab is moved back, thus
making it impossible to disengage the tooth from its socket).

Also, it is unknown what the length/condition of the heel straps was.
But given the amount of tangling and awkward positions (and largely
supine positions) of the rowers, even if the straps were properly short
and intact, it may have been impossible for the rower to raise his heels
the 1~2 inches necessary to release the heels. Keep in mind that even
without voluntary control (e.g. an unconscious rower) the ankle joint
angle (measured as the interior angle between the plane of the sole of
the foot and the long axis of the shank) must come to about 90 degrees
before one can plantar-flex the joint enough to raise the heel 1 to 2
inches. When the legs are flat as in the finish position, the ankle
joint far exceeds 90 degrees, and lifting the heel up is nearly
impossible. If something is holding the rower's body or shank down such
that he/she can not plantar-flex enough to raise the heel enough engage
the heel straps, the foot will not release, regardless of the tension of
the shoe straps (laces, Velcro, etc.)

I would not, and have not suggested that the importance of properly
fastened (i.e. not too tight) shoe straps, and properly short (no more
than 2" long) heel straps be downplayed in any way.

I do suggest though, that situations can arise where even the best laid
plans come up short, or inapplicable anyway. It seems to me that,
however the situation under consideration might have been handled
better, there are things to learn from it. Most importantly, are as
Carl and Nick have suggested, that we reinforce the importance of shoe
release safety, and review the proper methods and equipment for same.
Probably less important, but certainly not insignificant, is an
opportunity for design improvement of equipment. As I said before, if
anything impedes a rescue, even if the rescuer could have done it
better, is it not worth improving or fixing that impediment? I think it
would be very easy for Magik to redesign the MK1 such that it would
always release once the yellow lock tab was moved back.

-Kieran

mart...@carr12331.freeserve.co.uk

unread,
Nov 16, 2006, 12:02:54 PM11/16/06
to

>
> I'd like to point out that in post #11 author "The Hub" (who was one of
> the rescuers) describes exactly the situation I suggested that might
> keep one from opening the MK1 oarlock. (Oar pressing up against the top
> of the gate compresses the bottom of the squeezable clasp up against the
> top of the squeezable clasp once the yellow lock tab is moved back, thus
> making it impossible to disengage the tooth from its socket).
>
> Also, it is unknown what the length/condition of the heel straps was.
> But given the amount of tangling and awkward positions (and largely
> supine positions) of the rowers, even if the straps were properly short
> and intact, it may have been impossible for the rower to raise his heels
> the 1~2 inches necessary to release the heels. Keep in mind that even
> without voluntary control (e.g. an unconscious rower) the ankle joint
> angle (measured as the interior angle between the plane of the sole of
> the foot and the long axis of the shank) must come to about 90 degrees
> before one can plantar-flex the joint enough to raise the heel 1 to 2
> inches. When the legs are flat as in the finish position, the ankle
> joint far exceeds 90 degrees, and lifting the heel up is nearly
> impossible. If something is holding the rower's body or shank down such
> that he/she can not plantar-flex enough to raise the heel enough engage
> the heel straps, the foot will not release, regardless of the tension of
> the shoe straps (laces, Velcro, etc.)
>
Kieran in his post brings to the fore the key issue specific to this
issue. Following the end of the race, both oarsmen in the German 2-
chose to lie back onto their slide beds. In such a position I would
assume it isnt going to be easy to get enough flex to pull the feet
from the shoes even if the heel restraints were of the correct length.

So before we consider the oarlocks or the heel restraints, perhaps we
sghould be ensuring that crews do not lie back after a race as if the
boat tips they are in a wholly inappropriate position to help
themselves??

Terrible Toll

unread,
Nov 16, 2006, 1:04:12 PM11/16/06
to

>
> If by "shoe release" you mean something like Krew Klips, then what you say
> about the ARA regulations is untrue. The ARA specifically point out that
> with such fittings, heel restraints must NOT be fitted:
> http://www.ara-rowing.org/Asp/uploadedFiles/File/Safety_Flexi%20Clogs_Modifications.pdf
> --
> David Biddulph

Thanks David - I was unaware of this gizmo. Has anyone any experience
of using them?

Alistair Groves

unread,
Nov 16, 2006, 1:36:33 PM11/16/06
to

Because your feet would still be attached to the boat by the heel strap.
And you'd be even more buggered than you would in a normal shoe with a
too long heel strap.

Krew clips are pretty much like bike SPDs - the whole shoe comes off.
Your feet stay securely in the shoe.

So you would DEFINATELY not want a strap with them. To wear one would
make them completely pointless and more dangerous than normal shoes.

Carl Douglas

unread,
Nov 16, 2006, 3:03:57 PM11/16/06
to

Richard had also made that same last point, & I think we all agree.

Lying back in the boat after a gruelling race is not sensible. It
renders you least stable when least fit to handle a flip. And it puts
your foot in its least releasable alignment

In a pair, & stretching for a favourable explanation, one might argue
for one guy becoming trapped for the reasons Jonny explained, but not
for both of them since their blades were on opposite sides.

However, none of us would even have been considering this but for the
fact that not just one but _neither_ crew member could release their
feet. This is what "The Hub's" report seems to confirm. And the
pictures show the crew clinging to the boat in a not entirely laid back
attitude as it very slowly rolls over - which again suggests that their
feet were firmly fixed.

So there was a breach of good watermanship plus a fundamental breach of
safety provision within the boat. That puts every other safety
consideration in the shade - unless we want to get really neurotic about
safety.

So my questions remain:
1. why are folk so concerned about an oarlock, which is never considered
as safety equipment & which by all accounts did its job perfectly well?
2. why has nothing been said or done to ensure that crews do not again
flout common & commonsense equipment safety rules
3. has no one stopped to consider what might have happened had this
crew been rowing with "fixed pins", which were common equipment on sweep
oared boats at one time? These predecessors of the swivel oarlock have
a stout cord in place of today's gate which cannot be removed other than
by cutting it, & which would just as firmly have held an oar as any
swivel oarlock. However, fixed pins would have prevented over-rotation
of the oar, were that part of the story here.

Carl Douglas

unread,
Nov 16, 2006, 4:10:23 PM11/16/06
to

I'm afraid I have completely to disagree. The strap would still pull at
the heel of the shoe after the sole had disconnected from the stretcher.
A tug on the heel is all you ever need to remove a shoe that is not
over-tightly laced. This has nothing to do with whether the sole is
held in place or not. This notional belt & braces arrangement is
entirely different from the potentially fatal case of the over-long heel
restraint on a normal screwed-down shoe. So it is ridiculous to go to
the bother of banning it

> Krew clips are pretty much like bike SPDs - the whole shoe comes off.
> Your feet stay securely in the shoe.
>
> So you would DEFINATELY not want a strap with them. To wear one would
> make them completely pointless and more dangerous than normal shoes.

Oh no it wouldn't. Indeed, it would give you a second line of
protection in the event that something (like a loose water bottle or
tracksuit) got in the way of that small sideways heel movement required
to release the clip.

Carl Douglas

unread,
Nov 16, 2006, 4:18:32 PM11/16/06
to

Yes. I tested them extensively, here on the Thames, after having
expressed doubts about their likely effectiveness. I found they worked
well for me. And I reported my findings to that effect here on RSR,
where I'd previously expressed my doubts. Someone may care to Google
the relevant thread?

I like to find rational explanations for everything affecting rowing
safety. I attach very little importance to hear-say that conflicts with
reason & am more than ready to be the crash-test dummy to learn or
demonstrate useful truths.

BTW, I also found that repeatedly capsizing in these tests drove water
into my inner ear where it remained for a couple of rather unpleasant weeks.

Alistair Groves

unread,
Nov 16, 2006, 5:32:34 PM11/16/06
to
Carl Douglas wrote:

>>
>> Because your feet would still be attached to the boat by the heel
>> strap. And you'd be even more buggered than you would in a normal shoe
>> with a too long heel strap.
>
> I'm afraid I have completely to disagree. The strap would still pull at
> the heel of the shoe after the sole had disconnected from the stretcher.
> A tug on the heel is all you ever need to remove a shoe that is not
> over-tightly laced. This has nothing to do with whether the sole is
> held in place or not. This notional belt & braces arrangement is
> entirely different from the potentially fatal case of the over-long heel
> restraint on a normal screwed-down shoe. So it is ridiculous to go to
> the bother of banning it
>
>> Krew clips are pretty much like bike SPDs - the whole shoe comes off.
>> Your feet stay securely in the shoe.
>>
>> So you would DEFINATELY not want a strap with them. To wear one would
>> make them completely pointless and more dangerous than normal shoes.
>
> Oh no it wouldn't. Indeed, it would give you a second line of
> protection in the event that something (like a loose water bottle or
> tracksuit) got in the way of that small sideways heel movement required
> to release the clip.
>
> Cheers -
> Carl
>
>

Ok, but I think I'd have to disagree with you there. I think the moment
people twig the shoe comes loose they'd decide to do it up tight as it
would be better than a loose shoe. Regardless of whether there is any
truth to it or not, just like at the World Champs people were tying
their shoes as tight as possible. And the moment you have a tight shoe
attached by string/strap you're in trouble.

And from past experience back when I used to mountain bike, SPDs come
off pretty damn easy. Given some of my poor landings, a little too
easily I'd say ;)

David Biddulph

unread,
Nov 16, 2006, 5:48:43 PM11/16/06
to
"Carl Douglas" <ca...@carldouglas.co.uk> wrote in message
news:ejikje$9v6$1$8302...@news.demon.co.uk...

> Terrible Toll wrote:
>>>If by "shoe release" you mean something like Krew Klips, then what you
>>>say
>>>about the ARA regulations is untrue. The ARA specifically point out that
>>>with such fittings, heel restraints must NOT be fitted:
>>>http://www.ara-rowing.org/Asp/uploadedFiles/File/Safety_Flexi%20Clogs_Modifications.pdf
>>>--
>>>David Biddulph
>>
>>
>> Thanks David - I was unaware of this gizmo. Has anyone any experience
>> of using them?
>>
>
> Yes. I tested them extensively, here on the Thames, after having
> expressed doubts about their likely effectiveness. I found they worked
> well for me. And I reported my findings to that effect here on RSR, where
> I'd previously expressed my doubts. Someone may care to Google the
> relevant thread?

http://makeashorterlink.com/?Y6596243E
--
David Biddulph
Rowing web pages at
http://www.biddulph.org.uk/


Carl

unread,
Nov 17, 2006, 11:21:56 AM11/17/06
to

Let's get this quite clear:
1. You now agree that fitting a heel restraint to a Krew-Klips shoe
would not make it less safe? If so, good. In which case, what
possessed the ARA (except their known lack of understanding of safety
systems) to bother to ban it?
2. You believe that rowers will always tighten shoes right up? That's
like they go round overtightening rigger bolts before a race, even
though no one has had a rigger come unbolted in use, except as a
consequence of a sheared rigger bolt or stripped nut? There you may
very well have a point. In which case, why is this not addressed as a
primary safety-education issue?

We are responsible for our own safety, as those who love to oppose
rational safety measures so much like to tell us, so we each have a duty
to behave responsibly & in ways which do not needlessly suck others into
the adverse consequences of our actions. We also have a duty of care,
right across the sport, & particularly from top down, which requires the
sport to engineer all reasonable safety measures into its equipment & to
build the principles of sound safety & equipment maintenance it into all
training & procedures. The simple word for all of this is common sense
- a surprisingly uncommon commodity.

Until we accept both of these parallel strands of safety management we
are likely to keep disappearing into spiral arguments which seek to pass
the responsibility for accidents from the prime cause of accidents such
as that to the German pair at Dorney (e.g. sloppy watermanship &
self-sabotaged foot release) onto utterly irrelevant scapegoats (the
type of oarlocks). No good, after you've stepped in front of an
oncoming bus without looking, to complain about the weight, shape,
material or colour of the bus. The bus was doing what it had to do, you
were not.

Alistair Groves

unread,
Nov 17, 2006, 1:11:17 PM11/17/06
to

>> And the moment you have a
>> tight shoe attached by string/strap you're in trouble.
>>


>

> Let's get this quite clear:
> 1. You now agree that fitting a heel restraint to a Krew-Klips shoe
> would not make it less safe? If so, good. In which case, what
> possessed the ARA (except their known lack of understanding of safety
> systems) to bother to ban it?

Nope, maybe it was obscured by the text around it.
In my opinion if a shoe is done up tight, having it attached to the boat
would make it less safe. You'd then have to undo the laces (or velcro on
some spd shoes) to get out. Otherwise, while the shoe is not in place on
the boat on the footstretcher you are still attached to the boat, just
by a slightly longer leash.

>
> Until we accept both of these parallel strands of safety management we
> are likely to keep disappearing into spiral arguments which seek to pass
> the responsibility for accidents from the prime cause of accidents such
> as that to the German pair at Dorney (e.g. sloppy watermanship &
> self-sabotaged foot release) onto utterly irrelevant scapegoats (the
> type of oarlocks). No good, after you've stepped in front of an
> oncoming bus without looking, to complain about the weight, shape,
> material or colour of the bus. The bus was doing what it had to do, you
> were not.
>
> Carl
>

Agreed that you can't argue with a bus that's run you over. But I still
think that SPDs release your foot in a completely different manner (tiny
twist and whole shoe comes off) from foot straps (peel shoe away from
foot). The SPD in my experience (coming accidentally unclipped fairly
often) is perfectly able to release your foot. IMO maybe a bit too good
at releasing it.

A strap wouldn't help it's method of release. In fact if it's really
tight it might hinder it. And when you do come unclipped you're still
attached to the boat by the heel strap... If your shoes are done up
tight, or now that your shoe is unattached to the foot board it's
pulling directly away from the heel - i.e. if you rolled backards,
you're buggered.

And that's why I don't think you should wear heel straps with shoes.
As far as I'm concerned it's a one or the other. You MUST pick one and
make sure it works. But put them both together and they interfere with
each other.

Was any of that written in a manner to make sense to anyone?

Kieran

unread,
Nov 17, 2006, 1:22:02 PM11/17/06
to
Alistair Groves wrote:
>
>
>>> And the moment you have a tight shoe attached by string/strap you're
>>> in trouble.
>>>
>
>
>>
>> Let's get this quite clear:
>> 1. You now agree that fitting a heel restraint to a Krew-Klips shoe
>> would not make it less safe? If so, good. In which case, what
>> possessed the ARA (except their known lack of understanding of safety
>> systems) to bother to ban it?
>
> Nope, maybe it was obscured by the text around it.

So refreshing to see someone assume responsibility for not communicating
clearly, rather than blaming the reader for not reading it right.

snip

>
> Agreed that you can't argue with a bus that's run you over. But I still
> think that SPDs release your foot in a completely different manner (tiny
> twist and whole shoe comes off) from foot straps (peel shoe away from
> foot). The SPD in my experience (coming accidentally unclipped fairly
> often) is perfectly able to release your foot. IMO maybe a bit too good
> at releasing it.

Just a suggestion for your bicycling endeavors... nearly all SPD-style
bike pedals have an adjustment spring. Similar to ski binding tension,
you want it loose while learning, and tighter the better you get, so
that you don't come out when riding hard with jumps and fast tight
turns. So, if you find your feet coming away from the pedals too
easily, you might want to give the spring tension screw a turn.

I don't know if Krew Klips (why oh WHY must they always use K's when C's
would have sufficed and been correct?) have adjustment springs or not.
I've never encountered a pair of Krew Klips.

> Was any of that written in a manner to make sense to anyone?

Made sense to me. I think Carl's point though was that if you make the
straps long enough that they don't interfere with disengagement of the
Krew-Klips, but still short enough that they'd work according to their
design, you have redundant safety. While I see what he's saying, to me
it just means he's more confident in the heel straps than in the
Krew-Klips at allowing one's feet to come free of the boat when
necessary. If KK's were truly as good as straps for safety purposes,
there'd be no reason to combine them... it would just complicate the issue.

-Kieran

Alistair Groves

unread,
Nov 17, 2006, 1:54:05 PM11/17/06
to
Kieran wrote:
>> Nope, maybe it was obscured by the text around it.
>
> So refreshing to see someone assume responsibility for not communicating
> clearly, rather than blaming the reader for not reading it right.

I know I'm bad at explaining what I mean ;) The example at the end of
this will probably another case....

> Just a suggestion for your bicycling endeavors... nearly all SPD-style
> bike pedals have an adjustment spring. Similar to ski binding tension,
> you want it loose while learning, and tighter the better you get, so
> that you don't come out when riding hard with jumps and fast tight
> turns. So, if you find your feet coming away from the pedals too
> easily, you might want to give the spring tension screw a turn.
>

Yup that's what I did. It just seemed that almost everyone's setup was
tensioned enough for me. Maybe I'm just cack footed ;)

> I don't know if Krew Klips (why oh WHY must they always use K's when C's
> would have sufficed and been correct?) have adjustment springs or not.
> I've never encountered a pair of Krew Klips.
>

If you zoom in on
http://www.ara-rowing.org/Asp/uploadedFiles/File/Safety_Flexi%20Clogs_Modifications.pdf
You'll see they're just bog standard spuds screwed into something.

>> Was any of that written in a manner to make sense to anyone?
>
> Made sense to me. I think Carl's point though was that if you make the
> straps long enough that they don't interfere with disengagement of the
> Krew-Klips, but still short enough that they'd work according to their
> design, you have redundant safety. While I see what he's saying, to me
> it just means he's more confident in the heel straps than in the
> Krew-Klips at allowing one's feet to come free of the boat when
> necessary. If KK's were truly as good as straps for safety purposes,
> there'd be no reason to combine them... it would just complicate the issue.
>
> -Kieran

The straps work brilliantly (don't think there is any better option) at
what they are designed for. When the front of a shoe is attached to a
fixed point. Then when you pull a foot away it has to be the heel that
leads, so the foot is peeled away.
But remove that anchor at the toe, and then there's potential for the
foot to lead away toe first. And if you rollbackwards, the movement of
the foot in relation to the heel is in the opposite direction. Almost
like trying to pull your shoes off, but instead of pulling the heel down
and forward you're pulling the heel up and back.
It may not be likely to happen, as you're more likely to roll forwards
than backwards. But if you have a safe and reliable SPD system, why risk it?

One badly explained example, if anyone can get get this I'm impressed:

You're lying back in a boat, go over so face/body/ are pointing down and
feet would be hanging down from the heel straps loose. You then try and
come up facing away from the boat. Because of the way the feet are you'd
just be pulling toe down away from the heel straps and they'd be holding
the shoes on. If you turn in to face the boat you're fine, as the feet
are pulling heel first away from the straps and they'd peel them off (if
you haven't done them up too tight). Admittedly I tend to roll forwards
and come up facing towards the boat as a throwback to my white water
kayaking days but I've seen people come straight up the way described.

Alistair Groves

unread,
Nov 17, 2006, 1:55:38 PM11/17/06
to
Alistair Groves wrote:

> Yup that's what I did. It just seemed that almost everyone's setup was
> tensioned enough for me. Maybe I'm just cack footed ;)
>

*Wasn't* tensioned

Carl Douglas

unread,
Nov 17, 2006, 3:17:17 PM11/17/06
to


You sum up my case well, Keiran.

Alistair, please understand: I do _not_ advocate combining SPDs with
heel ties. One or t'other should be fine, so why combine? In that
sense I do agree with you.

Where we may not concur is that you think a released spd might be so
tightly tied to a foot that, if there was a heel tie, the tension
resulting from separation of man from boat might not detach the shoe
from the rower's heel. I suppose the fool & his boat might be hard to
part, but I suspect it would still happen - however, since you advocate
that case, if you think it worth arguing you can conduct a non-lethal
test by nailing the heel of a shoe to the floor & then falling
face-forward. I think the 2 heels would separate OK.

[BTW, it amuses me that here we have this argument that a shoe heel
could be so hard to remove from a foot, while elsewhere we have the
reverse argument - that there can never be enough connection between
heel & shoe for a rower to pull towards front-stops during recovery] ;)

The kind argument we sank into, about what might & might not happen when
all the stars are in conjunction, was not my central point. What
principally concerns me is officials foolishly legislating for highly
implausible trivia - such as the daft notion of anyone fixing a heel
release onto a shoe in which they've just walked into the boat - while
deliberately ignoring the big issues which are known to kill rowers.
So, while this legislative fiddling is going on, we have no legislation
on shell buoyancy, deadly self-rescue advice enshrined as official
policy even after it has killed &, with particular relevance to this
discussion, the fatally inane official recommendation that heel
restraints may safely allow the heel to rise to be level with the lower
shoe bolts.

It is in _that_ context that we should review the latest knee-jerk
official response, which has placed blame blindly on the Magik MK1
oarlock for somehow endangering 2 guys who, according to evidence which
has not yet been contradicted, behaved doubly irresponsibly by having no
working foot release system & by laying back in a pair when fatigued.

The oarlock played no part in causing the inversion. It did its job but
did nothing itself to pinion either rower. While it might conceivably
be that _one_ rower became entrapped either by an oar blade jamming
under the launch or by the handle engaging with the other rigger, the
fact remains that both rowers were trapped & no such mechanism could
have trapped both.

That the rescuers then decided they needed to fiddle with an oarlock
with which they were insufficiently familiar, despite the more direct &
effective options available, is not the fault of the oarlock.

Nor is there reason to believe that being able to undo an oarlock under
water or under load is in any way an essential component of a safety
specification for rowing equipment.

So on what exact grounds does the ARA think it is OK to slag off this
particular commercial product (for which I hold no brief, so can speak
freely) & thereby forseeably injure the finances of its producer?

Note that the ARA repeatedly refused to take any action following the
swamping death of Leo Blockley (other than to dishonestly blame the
victim!) on the grounds that to act might lay it open to litigation from
Leo's parents. Well, that argument was always a lie, not least because
its authors knew that the limit on the legal damages claimable in the UK
by the bereaved is so low that it is dirt cheap to kill an unmarried
student. (Injuring someone is a very different problem - they can sue!).

Which makes it that much more irrational that the ARA should so casually
expose itself to litigation in this case.

Carl Douglas

unread,
Nov 17, 2006, 3:29:32 PM11/17/06
to


OK, I see! You supposed that, unless the shoe sole is fixed, the heel
restraint cord will continue to pull only in an unfavourable direction.
Now I understand what you are saying!

No, it won't. That cord will pull in all directions but, as you
separate from the boat, it will end up pulling in line with your legs.

The heel restraint cord is just 1 link in a chain of links between your
C of G & the boat. Like any other chain, when you apply tension the
links will all fall into line, including the heel restraint cord, your
leg joints, etc. And that line will be in exactly the direction
required to pull the shoe heel away from your foot.

Does that help?

Cheers -

Alistair Groves

unread,
Nov 17, 2006, 3:42:37 PM11/17/06
to
Carl Douglas wrote:
>
>
> You sum up my case well, Keiran.
>
> Alistair, please understand: I do _not_ advocate combining SPDs with
> heel ties. One or t'other should be fine, so why combine? In that
> sense I do agree with you.
>

Ah, ok then. I thought you were saying we should use heel restraints
with spuds. Argument over ;)

> OK, I see! You supposed that, unless the shoe sole is fixed, the heel
> restraint cord will continue to pull only in an unfavourable direction.
> Now I understand what you are saying!

Not always, infact I think most of the time it would pull in the right
direction. But it *could* go in the wrong direction if you just face
away from the boat and stay close. And if they panic and try and stay
close and don't swim away, straightening the legs it *could* stay
pulling the wrong way.

And yes, I agree that's a lot of *could*s

John Mulholland

unread,
Nov 18, 2006, 5:49:47 PM11/18/06
to
"Kieran" <kc_...@sonic.net> wrote in message
news:ejkukb$1g9$1...@prometheus.acsu.buffalo.edu...
<snip>

> Just a suggestion for your bicycling endeavors... nearly all SPD-style
> bike pedals have an adjustment spring. Similar to ski binding tension,
> you want it loose while learning, and tighter the better you get, so that
> you don't come out when riding hard with jumps and fast tight turns. So,
> if you find your feet coming away from the pedals too easily, you might
> want to give the spring tension screw a turn.
>
> I don't know if Krew Klips (why oh WHY must they always use K's when C's
> would have sufficed and been correct?) have adjustment springs or not.
> I've never encountered a pair of Krew Klips.

Krew Klips were passed as safe to use on condition that the tensioning screw
was not tightened or was removed altogether. There is no benefit in making
it harder to remove your feet in an emergency. As yet I know of no safe way
to use Krew Klips for steering a coxless boat.


>
>> Was any of that written in a manner to make sense to anyone?
>
> Made sense to me. I think Carl's point though was that if you make the
> straps long enough that they don't interfere with disengagement of the
> Krew-Klips, but still short enough that they'd work according to their
> design, you have redundant safety. While I see what he's saying, to me it
> just means he's more confident in the heel straps than in the Krew-Klips
> at allowing one's feet to come free of the boat when necessary. If KK's
> were truly as good as straps for safety purposes, there'd be no reason to
> combine them... it would just complicate the issue.
>
> -Kieran

One of the prime benefits of Krew Klips is to allow each rower to have his
or her own shoes, which should fit properly and have only their own
bacteria! Fitting heel restraints would make it harder to fit the shoes,
and would not improve safety of correctly fitted Krew Klips.

--
John Mulholland


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