Foot Stretcher Angle
What is it?
The angle of inclination or steepness of the foot stretcher. The steeper the angle, the more direct the force acts in the direction the boat is being propelled. An angle of 42 degrees to the horizontal plane has over many years become the standard setting for a standard foot stretcher.
Why do we adjust it?
To allow for the level of flexibility of the rower and for any particular technique being followed.
How do we measure it?
Simply using a pitch gauge which has a stretcher angle gradient marked on it, a builders Angle finder or Digital Pitch Gauge. Zero the device on the deck of the boat, in the longitudinal direction which allows for any angle the boat is sitting at. Then place the gauge on the stretcher board and read the displayed degrees, ensuring you are using the same face of the gauge that the zero setting was set.
What is normal?
Sykes set the stretcher at 42 degrees, as this suits most rowers with reasonable flexibility.
But it’s common for Masters rowers and women to have a flatter angle around 38-40 degrees.
The range of adjustment on a Sykes stretcher is between 38 and 45 degrees.
What if it’s set to steep?
If the stretcher angle is set to step for the rower, they may find it harder to rock over and compress up at the catch.
What if it’s set to flat?
If the stretcher angle is set too flat for the rower, then it can cause them to over compress and have shins past vertical and or give discomfort at the finish of the stroke as the heels press down that the tendons on the top of the foot are being stretched. Again this will vary for the individual.