I was recently able to practice in a pair (yes, not a double, a pair) with a college friend of mine. We will be the stern pair in the Ever Green Boat Club masters 8+ at the Head of the Charles in a few weeks, so we wanted to get in sync.
For non-rowers, a pair is a 2-person boat in which each person wields a single sweep oar, unlike a double in which each person has two 9-foot smaller sculls. It is probably the most difficult boat to row because you have a 12-foot lever arm but can only stabilize the boat on one side. When you are rowing exactly matched, it flies. When you make a mistake, you pay. It is also perhaps the most nerve-wracking boat to steer because even if both rowers are exerting exactly the same force, the bow seat is a little farther from the boat’s center of mass, and you pretty much have to use a toe-mounted rudder unless you are very, very good.
The back story is that many people have asked me over the years if I’ve rowed every seat in every kind of rowing boat. My answer has been “all but one.” I’ve even been privileged to row in some weird antique combinations like a triple, an octopod, and a 12+. The last time I rowed a pair was sophomore summer at Dartmouth when I was stoking on port side. But the one seat I had never rowed was bow seat in a pair rowing starboard. Until now! Check that one off the bucket list!