For a while Adams and Wiepcke experimented with what is known as the Italian rig. In a normally rigged shell, in which the oars from bow to stern are alternated, right and left, the boat is not truly balanced. This is because the bow-side oarsmen are two feet nearer the bow than the stroke side. To compensate, the Italians put the two, three, six and seven oars on one side, the stroke, four, five and bow on the other. Adam modified the rig, and today his crew rows only with the four and five oars on the same side. The others alternate as before.
A remarkable race
As the Olympics draw close, the ATV Ditmarsia Kiel-Ratzeburger RC crew is reaching its peak. At the international rowing regatta in Lucerne early in July, it rowed the fastest time ever recorded by an eight-oar crew over 2,000 meters, an amazing 5 minutes and 47.5 seconds. There was a following wind, but those who saw the performance were still impressed. "Make no mistake about it," said Coach Jumbo Edwards of Oxford, "these Germans are fast."
Strong, too, Edwards might have added. Last month in the West German rowing championships, four members of the Kiel-Ratzeburg crew won both the four-oar events, with and without cox, and two others won the double sculls.
The final race was the eight-oar championship, and the crew, not surprisingly, appeared tired. It ran behind a Berlin crew until close to the halfway mark. With 500 meters to go, D�sseldorf challenged. But Kiel-Ratzeburg dug deep into a reservoir of strength, raised the beat back to 44 in the stretch and finished a length ahead.
"I don't know that we would care to do that again," said Wiepcke, and there is little chance that they will have to. Germany wants the Olympic eight-oar gold medal badly. As one girl in the emotion-packed crowd said after the race, "People really wanted them to win. They are our Olympic hope."