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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