Some homework

Want to get a head start?

Rowing has some different terminology and there are basic terms and commands you will need to learn fairly quickly.

If you wanted to get really serious there is a fair bit to learn but don’t stress about having to know everything straight away. The basics get drilled into you right from the start so by week two of a course you are well on your way to instantly recognising some of the terms used.

Rowing terms

“You not only have to learn to row, you have to learn a whole new language” …. – here is a list of the key terms that may be used by a coach.

Blade  –  flattened or spoon-shaped end of an oar or scull; often used as term for an oar

Bow  –  front or forward end of boat

Bow ball  –  safety ball fitted to the sharp front of rowing boat

Bowside  –  all rowers whose oars are in the water on the right hand side of the boat when viewed from the cox’s seat or back of the boat

Button  –  plastic sheath on an oar to prevent it from slipping through the rowlock; adjustable on modern oars

Canvas  –  the canvas on the front and back decks of a rowing boat, the distance between the bow ball and the back of the rower sitting in the bow seat

Catch  –  the part of the stroke when the blade is put in the water

Coxswain (Cox)  –  steers the boat from the seat in the stern or a lying position in the bow

Crab  –  occurs when the rower fails to get the oar out of the water at the end of the stroke or slices the oar into the water when taking the catch; can result in the rower being ejected from boat to water

Crew  –  rowers who man a boat

Drive  –  the part of the stroke between the catch and the finish where the legs push down

Feather  –  to turn the blade parallel with the water surface at the start of the recovery to improve balance and reduce wind resistance

Fin  –  small flat plate perpendicular to the bottom of the boat to aid steering a straight course

Finish  –  the part of the stroke just before and as the blade is taken out of the water

FISA  –  Federation Internationale des Sovietes d’Aviron – The International Rowing Federation

Gate  –  bar across a rowlock to retain the oar

Gunwale  –  horizontal plank at the top of the hull running the length of the boat

Hands away  –  the act of dropping the oar handle at the finish of the stroke so that the blade leaves the water and is feathered at the start of the recovery

Length  –  the length of a boat (i.e. “They won by one length”)

Oar  –  a lever approximately 12 feet (360cm) long by which the rower pulls against the rowlock to move the boat through the water

Puddles  –  whirls left in the water caused by the blade as the rower pulls

Rating –  the rate of stroking, or the number of strokes per minute that a crew is rowing

Recovery  –  the part of the stroke cycle between the finish and the catch in which the oar is feathered and the seat is returned to the front of the slide

Regatta  –  a competitive event raced in boats

Repecharge  –  second heat to afford another chance of qualifying to those running second best in preliminary heats

Rhythm  –  the proportion of time occupied on the recovery to the time taken on the pull through

Rigger  – a metal framework or a carbon-fibre reinforced arm to support the rowlock which is attached to the side of the boat

Rowlock  –  a bracket which swivels on the end of the outrigger to support the oar

Rudder  –  steering device attached vertically to the stern or under the hull of a shell

Run  –  the distance a boat travels in one stroke

Sculling  –  using two oars or sculls

Slide  –  parallel rails in which the seat moves on wheels

Stern  –  the rear or aft of the boat

Stretcher  –  a frame with straps or shoes to anchor the rower’s feet

Stroke  –  the complete cycle of moving the boat through the water using oars or sculls; also the rower seated nearest the stern

Stroke side  –  all the rowers whose oars are in the water on the left hand side of the boat when viewed from the cox’s seat or back of the boat

Washing out  –  occurs when the blade comes off the water during the pull-through before the finish