There is an old joke or a rowing ‘meme’ for just about every seat in an eight. One of these refers to three seat as the place that has no real role and has the least effect on the boat. This seat might be best seen as “mostly harmless” and it is certainly where you hide a new rower of untested skill. It is a little politically incorrect with it’s naming, but the “3-tard” seat is well known to most rowers.

I have now worked out why three seat has been rowing so badly!

Back in 2017 the topic of built in pitch was mentioned. See here…but in a nutshell, older oars often had pitch built in and could be easily identified as either bow or stroke side.


As you can see in the picture, the blade is set at a very different angle to the flat backstrap of the oar.

I have just been repairing some old blades and noticed a small problem with one…

It doesn’t matter if you write “3” on it.
It doesn’t matter if you put a green button on it.
If it has been carved as a stroke side blade, then it is a stroke side blade!!!


In the image above, both oars are clearly pitched as stroke side. I can’t imagine how difficult it was to row with the oar on the left!

We owe a huge apology to three seat of any crew over 30 years ago from an unnamed school in Dorset!