Having used the Coxmate GPS unit for approximately 8-9 months now I consider it a preferable alternative to other units. It did take me some time to understand how to have the unit fully functional prior to use, but this is more likely an indication of my limited IT skills.


Once having mastered the functionality (and my own shortcomings) I find the unit to be reliable, informative, and easy to read and adjust, and good value. Although I don't take advantage of the units extended functionality I think it is an ideal and practical GPS unit and would recommend it as an essential tool to anyone contemplating competitive rowing.  

Philip Gebhardt


I've admired the Coxmate brand since buying an HC, attracted by it's superior features when compared with my NK speed coach (ratio, greater memory, more accurate less drag speed pick up, software...and price).
So I have followed "news" of the GPS model's development closely (whenever we caught up at regattas). What a brilliant approach to base the unit on an existing unit. Again he has surpassed the "opposition" by a long way. (I have used the GPS NK.)
More compact than I expected, yet legibility of the display very good for my aging eyes. Same great software.
Great options for mounting: the adaptation to fit the shoe track is my favorite! My single has a wing rigger with the NK mount out on the rear bulkhead, so reminds me I need to do more stretching every time I want to operate the button ...love the touch screen, (and front button) of the CM GPS! 
Just can't think of any aspect on which the Coxmate GPS is not superior to the NK ..and I'm yet to use the guiding function.  
Ian Bridgland
Erg Test motivation

Most of the time while training you will have a coach working with the crew.  The coxswain is the coach’s right hand man acting in two ways

  1. as his eyes and ears in the boat.  
  2. as the coach in his absence

Coaching in the rowing boat

For a coach to actually get into the boat gives a level of insight about how it’s running and the power is being applied which is hard to achieve from the coach boat or a bike on the bank.  Few coaches take the opportunity to do this, which is a shame.  I had a coach who was too large to fit into the coxswain’s seat and so sat on the back deck of the shell - effective and a lot more comfortable!

The coxswain can help the coach by telling them what you can see and feel happening in the boat.  Can you tell when the shell is running in a jerky manner or when the acceleration fades part way through the power phase of the stroke?  Tell the coach.  They can then look to see what’s causing it and give you and the crew guidance.

Being the coach

When your coach has given some instructions especially technique advice, it’s very helpful for you to keep the crew focused on the desired change.  So even when the coach boat is not alongside, you can remind the crew to keep the focus on that technical point.  In the early stages of learning a new technique you may use exercises and drills to teach it - get the crew to recognise the feeling they get when executing that drill and have them focus on making the same feeling when rowing ‘normally’ afterwards.  So as an example, rowing with arms crossed over the oar (sweep) isolates the lats muscles in your back and so you can work them hard.  When retuned to normal hand grip, tell the crew to activate their lats to make it feel like their arms were crossed over.  

One other aspect of being the coach which is particularly useful is when the cox uses the exact words that the coach used.  There is often a reason why s/he describes the technique in a particular way.  Reinforce that understanding using the same words to the crew.  When you change the wording to your choice, there’s the chance for ambiguity and mis-understandings to creep into the crew’s minds.  Keep it simple - same words, every time makes everyone understand the same thing for that set of words.

Now for advice from coxing expert Yasmin Farooq

Technical Coaching/Serving as Liaison Between Coach and Crew 

Unifying the team The coxswain’s primary technical goal is to make calls that unify the team. One way is to supplement the coach’s comments to individual rowers. For example, if the coach tells a rower to clean up her release, you could say, “Everyone, we’re going to take a ten to pull in high enough and cleanly push the puddles off of the blades.” While it’s important for the coxswain to identify individual flaws, the cox who can apply those corrections to whole boat improvements is a step ahead of the game. 

For longer pieces, try giving the boat one focal point “for the next minute” or “for this piece.” However, if you name a theme for a time frame or piece, stick to related comments. 

We have seen a high rate of failure with speakers. We have identified the cause as being an increase in amplifier power put out by the CoxBox Mini and CoxBox Plus. The old metal cased CoxBoxes had a maximum voltage (pk to pk) of around 10V. The current Mini and Plus are up around 24V. This equates to approximately a sixfold increase in power.

The maximum power into an 8 ohm speaker (as used in rowing boats) with old units was around 1.5 watts. However it has now increased to around 9 watts. Given that NK and Coxmate speakers have a 2 or 3 watt rating, it is not surprising we are seeing high failure rates. Whilst having powerful amplifiers will improve audio quality – provided speakers are capable of handling extra power, overpowering speakers will cause distortion and ultimately failure.

To address this imbalance Coxmate has upgraded its speakers to 6 watt maximum power and increased impedance to 12 ohms (8 ohm ones will also be available).  This means even at maximum volume the amplifiers will not exceed the speaker’s power rating.

Speaker Specification

The new speakers use a 3 inch cone (increased from 2.5 inches), which improves both efficiency and sound quality. The 12 ohm impedance also enables 4 speakers to be safely used with NK amplifiers (4 speakers at 12 ohms puts less stress on amplifier than 3 at 8 ohms).

The new speakers have been optimally designed for use in boats:

  • Use rare earth metal magnets to minimises weight – it is less than half the weight of an NK speaker.
  • The diaphragm has no wires penetrating it – less chance of corrosion
  • Includes a Microvent – allows air but not water to pass through. This ensures pressure inside speaker remains the same as ambient when temperature changes - If pressure builds up in speaker it will force the diaphragm out of position and create sound distortion.
  • Velcro fitting for ease of installation. (Screw lugs are also provided) 

Get an upgrade for your club

Understanding that there are many speakers in existence which are vulnerable to being destroyed, we are offering the following upgrade service:

Speakers less than 12 months old: We will replace the speaker on your SP, Mod-D or Mod-C at no charge, excepting freight. This will be an exchange service.

Speakers over 12 months old: For $25 (inc GST) per speaker plus freight we will replace the speaker on your SP,  Mod-D  or Mod-C . This will be an exchange service. The new speakers will be returned with a 12 month warranty.

Costs and arrangements outside of Australia may vary.

To take advantage of this offer, please contact our office.  Tell us how many speakers you have which you wish to upgrade.

Today Coxmate brings you two web pages which are worth bookmarking.  Every season we all end up tutoring coxswains on the basic skill of steering a rowing boat.  Shortcut that repetitive task byt giving the newcomers some pre-reading and video watching which will help them better understand what you need done when they are in the boat.

The First is by RowINTEL – a video about steering an 8. 

This explains the ‘illusion’ of the boat steering left when it actually just pushes the stern sideways and thus the bow starts to go in the opposite directions.  For me, that shows that the author really understands how a boat moves on the water.  Yes, it is an illusion.

It also explains how to use the rowers to affect the direction by holding water (checking the boat).   Jon explains the difference between getting bow and seven seats holding water – it depends on how much you want the boat to turn and whether you need the stern to move further or the bows – very helpful if you’re navigating around a buoy or an object in the water.

Learn from coxing experts

There are some masterful teachers as well as skilled experts who cox  and our second page link is to CoxswanNation – maintained by YazFarooq who is both a top cox and a top teacher.  The skills are rarely entwined in a single person.

Here’s her short e-book on “Keys to Steering in Every Situation”.  Kinda says it all.  The sub headings cover off

  • Holding the tiller ropes
  • Steering on the Recovery
  • Steering over several strokes
  • Full tiller with possible assistance from your team
  • Steering a bow loader


And I‘m going to reproduce the final paragraph in full because .......

Bowloader Steering Set-up

Coaches: Please set-up the steering so that when the lever is moved towards starboard, the boat actually turns to starboard (same set-up as an eight). This is safer for everybody on the water. This typically means the cable is NOT crisscrossed before connecting to the actual tiller.

Imagine if someone changed your launch steering wheel so that your boat went to the right every time you turned to the left. Last, a crossed tiller rope increases the range of the tiller, heightening the chances of ‘stalling’ the tiller if it’s cranked too far. A stalled tiller will serve as an instantaneous brake, and will pull your boat immediately sideways, and possibly perpendicular to your original point.


Every athlete on the team wants to get picked by the coach to get into the top crew.  It goes without saying that coxswains are the same.

But many coaches don't know how to pick a coxswain.  If you have the luxury of a choice, how does the coach select the best cox. 

Select coxes on skill, not size

There are lots of reasons why having a light person steering the crew is an advantage.  But it is not the most important skill you need. 

Regardless of the experience of your crew, a coach needs a coxswain who can do 3 things

  1. steer the boat to best advantage
  2. motivate the crew to deliver top performances
  3. be the 'coach-in-the-boat'

Weight, comes after these skills.

As Mary Whipple says Spatial Awareness is key to good coxing

Having the ability to maneuver your boat well will separate you from other coxswains regardless if you are a novice or not. Knowing where you physically are on your body of water verses where you need to be, then choosing the safest and most efficient way to get there is a great goal to master during your first year of coxing.

I know many coxswains who are great motivators but don’t get boated because they can’t maneuver their boat well enough. Coaches value this skill over being a motivator because it is that important.

How to pick your best coxswain

I'm not going to tell you what tests to set, but the Diary of a Rowing Coach sets out these key areas for coxing skill - use them.

  1. Come to the practice training session prepared
  2. Steering
  3. Coxing on land - winter training
  4. Coxing on land - hands on = mouths shut & looking after the equipment
  5. Commands in the boat
  6. Coxing during a race
  7. Etiquette and being a good team mate


Go gettem - find your self the best cox you can and then, of course, equip them with a Coxmate SX with GPS so the crew hears everything!