Coxmate GPS price compare NK Speedcoach GPS

Thank you for the opportunity to road-test the Coxmate GPS. Overall this is a good little unit for the price you pay. Initially when I opened the box I was pleased to see several ways to attach the unit to the boat, as well as the lanyard. This is great as I am a club member and do row in several different crews, I can take it with me in any boat.

The actual unit itself, I liked it because it has big buttons (great for the early mornings if you are wearing gloves.) Using the USB port made it easy to charge. The screen is clear and like your bike GPS unit, if you are wearing gloves you can still manipulate the screen. The unit has an orange rubber stripe around it that has extra grip. The downside for me is that the unit itself is smaller, therefore reading it was a bit harder particularly when you had the 5 pieces of information displayed.

I am familiar with the NK, so I read through the manual, I am glad I did as there are several different features that were interesting, particularly the ‘ratio’ feature. I wonder if this feature would assist in improving technique as you attempted to increase your percentage. I did find the initial set up a little tricky, but I am sure as you become more familiar with the unit this would be less of a problem. I like that you could easily switch from a “just row” to a workout that had been pre-programmed.

The battery life was less than the NK, this tripped me up a couple of mornings when I went to use it and the battery was flat, just have to remember to charge every couple of rows!!

In terms of the price, I know that it is very competitive. You really get what you pay for. 


The GPS is great because it does not require the hardware to capture the rowing moment. However, the lag time as it catches up is noticed when you have been used to using an impeller.

To make it even better in the future I would suggest syncing with smartphones. Just a suggestion.

I use the information from the unit to keep myself ‘honest’ in the boat. If I don’t feel like rowing one morning I have put on a program, that way I know if I stick with it I will feel much better than doing a slack “just row”.

I also use it to track leading into an event. To check the speed is increasing as technique is refined by coaches.


Overall for the recreational rower or someone starting out, I believe this is a good place to start tracking your rowing 

Zoe de Toeldo Coxswain

Tough subject but necessary.  How to pick the right coxswain for your crew.

There are two parts to this

  1. training and improving the skills of your coxes
  2. selecting a crew including the cox

All coaches should be doing 1 through the year.  Every cox needs coaching and developing to improve their skills.  

The best way to do this is to ask your coxswain at the end of each practice to tell you one thing they did well, one thing they think they could do better and use that as the basis for discussion about how to improve.  In this way you don't have to set the discussion theme - the cox tells you what they need!  [Anything to make the coach's life easy eh?]

How to choose a coxswain

Selecting a coxswain is more subjective.  If you are fortunate to have several candidates - you should read our article What's the Most Important Skill in a Coxswain?

This may help you form a short list of attributes.  You may choose to give them scores (points out of 10) for each one.

My preferred way is to form my own view but then to ask the crew in a secret ballot to write the name of their preferred coxswain and vote.  You don't need to reveal the results, just check that their view aligns with your own.  The secret nature of the ballot is important. 

A crew will work hard for a coxswain they respect and usually they respect the coxswain who will get them the race results they desire.  

This isn't a perfect system as "voting for your friends" can give a biassed result, but I have confidence if you ask them to vote for the cox who will help you deliver the best possible race - you'll get an honest vote.

Resources: Other articles which may be useful

  1.  a Reddit thread on How Coxswains are Chosen 
  2. Rowing Magazine short article about How to Select a Cox (not the greatest detail....!)
  3. Rowperfecrt's Duncan Holland on Does Size Matter? - How I choose a cox


The mass of disruption and upsets at 2016 Henley Royal Regatta's final day shows how much is at stake in a top rowing race. 

Nereus at a happier moment earlier in HRR 2016

Disqualifications, steering upsets and champions overturned by upstarts - all goes to show that you can't say "rowing is boring to watch". 

Steering at Henley

There are two ways to steer - one is with a coxswain.  First up, it's clear that too many crews did not have confident coxswains who could steer a straight course down Henley's famous booms.  The overhead cameras used in the HRR YouTube videos show up every tiny deviation.

If you are not regularly racing at Henley, get to know the course, the river and take advice from experts who have done it before - the How to Steer Henley book is a great resource written by experienced coxswains. 

Know the Rules

Getting a disqualification is a seriously bad result.  Getting DQ because of poor steering is galling for the cox.  But a disqualification for infringing the rules of racing is the WORST.  

It's often said that a good cox cannot win you the race but they can surely lose it for you.  Nereus know this to their cost. 

This error came from not the cox, but the coach who was watching from the following umpire's launch.

Diederik Simon: I'm in tears 

Nereus was the fastest crew of the Ladies' Challenge Plate, but got DQ'd. Not because of obstructing the other crew, but an instruction from coach Diederik Simon - the reason given was "unsportsmanlike conduct".  [thanks to NLRoei for the link and Reddit/Rowing for the translation].

Whether you agree with the Stewards' decision or not, it is clear that not knowing the rules of racing is not an acceptable excuse.

Plus, I am sure that the expert video recording is now beginning to act a bit like a "Third Umpire" in field sports - a reference for after the fact to see what really happened in slow motion.

Coxswain toss regatta Coxmate

We have shared photos regularly of coxes being thrown in after a regatta win.  We love 'em!

And belatedly we're now sharing an album of all the best ones we can find on our Facebook page.

Take a look at the Coxswain Toss Photo Album 

And send us yours.... we always want to see more! 

I'm looking for an app that I can use to set the stroke rate I want to row to.

Can you help please, Thanks 

This sounds like a metronome app. That's what musicians use to keep tempo accurately.  The only challenge is working out what 60 seconds divided by your stroke rate is.  Musicians set metronomes based on 60 beats a minute as the default for a crotchet (music-speak).  Metronomes are based on a number which ranges from 40 - 280 (read the Wikipedia entry for metronome markings and musical score interpretation).

I have done some research and found  the Rowing Metronome app (IoS only) which looks like it's the right sort of thing for you. this will give an audible beep set to the number of counts per minute (stroke rate).  

You don't say whether you are Android or IoS user - but I suggest you search in the music apps in the Play Store and iTunes.

Now, I will add that if you are in a coxed boat, the Coxmate SX amplifier has a metronome function.  We also designed an alarm so if you are a coach you can send your crew off towards the regatta start and set it to go off 15 minutes before they need to be up there..... Hopefully avoiding a late on the start penalty mishap.

And if you need a smart phone mount to take your phone safely in the boat - Rowperfect sells them.

A brief search also finds this Quora question where the questioner has set up Web Metronome to help set a 2:1 ratio for rowing. 

Animation of rowing to a metronome - cute but pretty useless.




Do send me your feedback if this answers your question.