I am lousy at math. As a child I hated math in school. When my children ask me for help with their math homework, I most of the time point at their mother, Mrs. B., as their reliable home-resource for those kind of things. (I am pretty good at Shakespeare, though…)
So when it comes to math in sports, for example rowing, I am soon lost in the equations. While I do understand that a ‘German rig’ and an ‘Italian rig’ have their advantages to a so called standard rig, I cannot really see that in a lot of numbers. The German rig, as most of you certainly know, was used by crews trained by Karl Adam at Ratzeburg rowing club in Germany in the late 1950s, and the Italian rig has its origin from Giulio Cesare Carcano, a motorcycle engineer at the Moto Guzzi company, who in 1956, watched a coxed four from the Moto Guzzi Club not being able to go straight – the crew later took the 1956 Olympic gold medal in the coxed four.
Anyway, one person who can explain these things by writing ‘numbers’ is Dr. John D. Barrow, math professor, or mathematical physicist, at University of Cambridge in England. Not only does he explain the German rig and the Italian rig, he has also come up with two new what he calls ‘no-wiggle rigs’ for eights, which actually have been tried out on the Thames by Imperial College. The trial was organised by the New Scientist magazine.
Read Dr. Barrow’s interesting article about the different rigs here, and watch the YouTube video below:
Dr. Barrow has also written other interesting articles about math and other sports here.