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Basic Rowing terminology

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Here are  some basic terms that can help novice rowers gain a better understanding as they learn how to row.

Shell - A long slender wooden or fibreglass boat with thin walls, used by 1 to 8 rowers with one or two oars each.

Eight Racing shell - Used by eight rowers and a coxswain. Each  rower has one oar.

Four Racing shell with four rowers - Used by four rowers and each rower has one oar.

Four Racing shell (4+) - This means there are four rowers and a coxswain.

Four racing shell (4-) - This means there are only four rowers and the rower in the bow seat will command the boat.

Pair Racing shell - Used by two rowers and each rower has one oar.

Single Racing shell - Used by one rower using two sculls.

Quad Racing shell - Used by with four rowers and each rower has two sculls.

Quad Racing shell (4x+) - This means there are four rowers and a coxswain.

Quad Racing shell (4x-) - This means there are only four rowers and the rower in the bow seat will command the boat.

Double Racing shell - Used by two rowers and each rower has two sculls.

Oar/Sweep Oar - Used in pairs, fours and eights, with each rower using one oar. It is approximately
3.8m  in length and made of wood or carbon fibre.

Scull Oar - Used in singles, doubles and quads. Sculls are about 3m long.

Bow - The forward part of the shell

Bow Ball - A rubber ball used to protect the tip of the boat.

Stern - The rear part of the shell. Rowers sit facing the stern.

Port - The left side of the boat.

Starboard - The right side of the boat.

Rowlock - Device that holds the oar in place and takes the pressure of the rowing stroke.

Coxswain - A non-rowing member of the crew who commands the crew and  sits either in the stern or bow of the boat.

Stroke - First rower at the stern. They  set the pace for the rest of the crew to follow.

Catch - The entry of the blade into the water

Drive - Begins when the paddle section of the oar engages the water and ends when it leaves the water.

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