Upload & Sell: Off
The first shot was with a Nikon 17-35mm F/2.8 at 20mm focal length according to the exif (and f/18 @ 1/25th). Auto exposure (a rare time for me) shutter priority.
That was taken from the chase boat early morning (7:00 AM in early February), with half of my body hanging out of the boat at the front, holding the camera at arm length as close to the water as I dared (I got a few good shot ruined because of water drops on the lens), shooting bursts then adjusting the shutter speed slower and slower while shouting at the coach to get me closer...
During that shoot I almost flipped the chase boat a couple of time... that would have hurt because I was carrying a fair amount of equipment with me (couple of D3s's, a few lenses and strobes...). The coach wasn't happy!
When you shoot wide, you want to either get really really close (and with a 17mm you need to be just a couple of feet from your subject to have an interesting photo) or far and wide enough to grab a lot of the scene you are shooting. For rowing for example, a small boat in the middle of a lot of water isn't very grabbing. The same small boat with some water, a nice sky (sunset, contrasty clouds, etc...), maybe some interesting background (cityscape) will give a much better sense of place and give an interesting photo (2nd and last shots in my serie).
Polarizers... I am cheap so I tend to go with off brands (i.e. not the Nikon or Canon) whenever I can but still avoid the really cheap china stuff. Hoya is usually a safe bet.
Hope this helps.