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Rowing 101
Rowing Glossary
April 9, 2008
Erik Dresser, row2k.com

An ever expanding list of rowing terminology and lingo. See anything we missed or have a better definition? Contact row2k!

WORD DEFINITION
Air Stroke A rower error where the oar's blade is not completely in the water. This results a complete lack of power and a lot of splashing.
Alignment The process of lining up each shell's bow ball prior to the start of a race so that they are level.
Anchor An oarsman who slows a crew down. Like towing a anchor behind the boat.
Backsplash The water thrown back toward bow by the oar's blade as it enters the water during the catch. A proper catch should throw a small amount of water.
Backstop Refers to the bow ending of the track a rower's seat slides on. The wheels of the seat should almost reach the backstop at the finish of each stroke.
Bisweptual A sweep rower adept at rowing both the port and starboard sides.
Blade The hatchet or spoon shaped end of the oar.
Body Angle The amount of forward pivot of a rower's torso stemming from the hips during the recovery for a proper catch position.
Bow The forward section of the boat. The first part of the boat to cross the finish line.
The person in the seat closest to the bow, who crosses the finish line first.
Bow Ball A small rubber ball attached to the bow of each shell. Used as a safety device and for determining which crew crosses the finish line first during a close race.
Bow Number A card attached near the bow of each shell that identifies which lane the crew is assigned to.
Bow Pair The pair of sweep rowers in bow of the boat. This would be seats 1 and 2 in an eight or a four. The bow pair has the most effect on the set of the boat.
Bowloader Refers to a type of boat (usually a four) where the coxswain rides lying down beneath the bow decking. Most racing fours are bowloaders.
Bowside The UK term for starboard despite the bow rower being on the starboard side or not.
Bucket A way of rigging a shell so that two consecutive rowers row on the same side. Both double and triple buckets are possible. Also known as a "Continental" or "Italian" rigging.
Buoy Colored flotation devices that mark lanes and other various areas of the race course. Also used for marking hazards.
Button A wide collar on the sleeve of the oar that keeps the oar from slipping through the oarlock. Also called a collar.
Catch The moment the blade enters the water and initiates the drive of each stroke.
Check The reverse momentum resulting from the crews body weight moving toward stern during the recovery. Check is unavoidable but can be minimized through proper technique for optimal speed.
CLAM Short for Clip-on Load Adjusting Mechanism. A CLAM is a device that snaps on and off the sleeve of an oar to quickly adjust the inboard rig. Typically by 1 cm per CLAM.
Collar A wide collar on the sleeve of the oar that keeps the oar from slipping through the oarlock. Also called a button.
Cover The distance between the 2-seat's puddle on one stroke and the stroke seat's puddle on the following stroke. The greater the distance, the more speed the crew has. Also called spacing.

Coxbox A coxswain's portable voice amplifier. Also has timing and stroke rating measurement capabilities.
Coxless A shell designed for rowing without a coxswain. Usually in a pair or a four.
Coxswain Person (usually small) who steers the shell and coaches for the crew on the water.
Crab Occurs from a blade work error where a rower is unable to properly remove their oar from the water. A crab can slow down or even stop the boat. In extreme cases a crab can eject the rower from the shell.
Deck The part of the shell on top or the bow and stern that is covered with fiberglass cloth or a thin plastic.
Digging Rower error when the blade of the oar goes deeper in the water than it should, slowing the boat down.
Double (2x) A sculling boat for two rowers.
Drive Portion of the stroke that propels the boat through the water. The drive starts at the catch and ends with the release. The main power from the drive is generated by the rower's legs pushing off the footstretchers.
Eight (8+) A sweep boat for eight rowers and a coxswain.
Engine Room The rowers in the middle of a boat. For an eight, these would be seats 6, 5, 4, and 3. Generally the largest and most powerful rowers of the boat
Ergometer Also called an 'erg'. The indoor rowing machine used for land based fitness training.
Feather The act of rotating the oar at the finish so that the oar's blade is parallel to the water during the recovery. The opposite of the squared position.
Fin The fin attached to the keel of the shell that helps stabilize and maintain a straight course. Also called a skeg.
Finish The end of the drive when the rower removes the oar from the water and then feathers. Also called the release.
FISA Short for Federation Internationale des Societes d'Aviron. International governing body for the sport of rowing.
Flutter A race tactic during the body of the race which is essentially a second start sequence to build up the speed of the shell. This is extremely taxing on the crew and is usually only used in desperation.
Foot Stretcher The adjustable footplate with built in shoes which allows the rower to adjust their position in the shell relative to the oarlock.
Four (4+ or 4-) A sweep boat for four rowers. Can come with or without a coxswain.
Frontstop Refers to the stern ending of the track a rower's seat slides on. The wheels of the seat should almost reach the frontstop at the catch of each stroke.
Gate The bar across the oarlock that keeps the oar in place.
Grand Final Finals at a regatta for places 1 through 6.
Gunwales The top rails of the shell. Pronounced - 'gunnels'
Handle Part of the oar that rowers hold on to during each stroke.
Hatchet The modern and current oar blade that is rectangular or hatchet shaped.
Head Race Type of race where crews start in a single file line and race for time. Longer than sprint races, head races range from 4k to 10k and are usually run on rivers during the fall season.
Heavyweight The weight class in men's rowing for rowers over the lightweight restriction.
Hull The body of the shell.
Inboard Length of the oar measuring from the button to the handle.
Keel The center line of the hull.
Launch Motorboat used by rowing coaches and referees.
Lay Back The amount of reverse pivot of a rower's torso stemming from the hips during the second half of the drive for a proper finish position.
Lightweight A rower whose weight allows them to compete in lightweight events. For men, this is usually 155 lbs. Women, 130 lbs.
LoomThe part of the oar between the sleeve and the blade. Comprises the majority of the length of the oar. Also called the shaft.
Macon The traditional u-shaped blade. Also called a tulip or spoon.
Megaphone Device formally used by coxswains to communicate with the rowers. These were replaced by the invention or the coxbox. Megaphones are also used by coaches to communicate with the crew.
Missing Water A rower error where the rower begins the leg drive before the catch has completed.
Novice Any rower during their first season of competition.
Oar Device used to drive the boat forward. An oar consists of several parts, in order from rower to water: Handle, shaft, sleeve, collar, shaft, blade. The oar attaches to the boat at the oarlock.
Oarlock The u-shaped lock at the end of the rigger that attaches the oar to the shell. The oarlock allows the rower to rotate the oar between the squared and feathered positions.
Open Weight The weight class in women's rowing for rowers over the lightweight restriction.
Outboard The length of the oar measuring from the bottom to the tip of the blade.
Pair (2+ or 2-) A sweep boat for two rowers. Can come with or without a coxswain.
Petite Final Finals at a regatta for places 7 through 12.
Piece A practice term used to signify an specific interval during a workout. For example, "The third piece of the 5 by 5 minutes was our best."
Pitch The angle between a squared blade and a line perpendicular to the water's surface. The standard pitch is around 4 degrees.
Pogies A type of glove with holes on the ends which allow the rower to row with bare hands on the handle.
Port Left side of the boat, while facing forward, in the direction of the movement.
Power 10 A call by the coxswain for the crew to row the next 10 strokes at maximal effort in an attempt to increase boat speed and take water on the opponent.
Puddles The disturbances in the water made by the blade during each stroke.
Quad (4x) A sculling boat for four rowers.
Rating The number of strokes per minute taken by a crew. During the body of the race a crew will maintain a rating in the mid to high 30's.
Ratio The relationship between the time taken between the drive and recovery portions of the stroke. A good ratio will have about twice as much time taken during the recovery as the drive.
Recovery The portion of the stroke after the rower releases the oar from the water and returns to the catch position.
Release The end of the drive when the rower removes the oar from the water and then feathers. Also called the finish.
Repechage A second chance heat at a regatta to ensure that all crews have two chances to advance. These races are for all crews that didn't qualify in during the heat. French word meaning 'to save' or 'second chance'.
Rib The u-shaped structures in the boat that the hull and riggers attach to.
Rig Term used to describe how the boat is set up.
RiggerThe triangular shaped metal device that is bolted onto the side of the boat and holds the oars.
Name of person in charge of rigging and de-rigging shells.
Rudder Attaches to the skeg and controlled by the coxswain to steer the boat by attached cables.
Run The distance the shell moves during one stroke. This can be seen by looking at the distance between the puddles made by the same oar
Rush A rower error where the rower moves toward the stern during the recovery before the rest of the crew. This increases the amount of check during each stroke.
Sculler A rower who rows with two oars. One in each hand.
Sculling One of the two disciplines of rowing. In sculling each rower uses two oars (one in each hand) to move the boat.
Seat Molded seat mounted on wheels that the rower sits on. The seats rolls on tracks which allow each rower to generate power with their legs.
Seat Number Refers to the rower's position in the boat counting up from bow to stern. In an eight these are counted as the bow seat being 1, then 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and finally 8 in the stern. 8 seat is also referred to as 'stroke' seat.
Seat Race A coach's tool for comparing two rowers. Two boats race against each other once. One rower from each boat switches positions and the two boats race again. Relative performance in the two races is used to compare the abilities of the two rowers.
Set Refers to the balance of the boat. An unset boat will lean to either port or starboard.
Settle Refers to a down shift in stroke rate after the start of a sprint race. Crews use the settle to get to their base stroke rating they will row the body of the race.
Shaft The part of the oar between the sleeve and the blade. Comprises the majority of the length of the oar. Also called the loom.
Shell Another name for the boat and is used interchangeably.
Shooting Slide A rower error when the rower's legs drive the seat toward bow without bringing the load of the water with them through the torso and shoulders.
Single (1x) A sculling boat for one rower.
Skeg The fin attached to the keel of the shell that helps stabilize and maintain a straight course. Also called a fin.
Skying A rower error where the rower drops their hands just prior to the catch. This causes the blade to move higher off the water and will disrupt the set of the shell.
Sleeve A thin piece of plastic around the oar that keeps the oarlock from wearing out the shaft of the oar.
Slides Rails that the rower's rolling seat roll on. Also called tracks.
Slide Jump A rower error where a rower leaves their seat and knocks the seat off the tracks.
Sling Portable folding boat holders. Two are required to hold a boat and are seen frequently at regattas.
Smoothie A more recent oar blade design with a smooth face.
Spacing The distance between the 2-seat's puddle on one stroke and the stroke seat's puddle on the following stroke. The greater the distance, the more speed the crew has. Also called cover.
Speed Coach A keel mounted impeller that transmits speed to the coxswain or coach.
Split The amount of time it would take a rower or crew to complete 500 meters at their current pace. This can be applied to both a crew on the water or a person on an erg.
Spoon The traditional u-shaped blade. Also called a macon or tulip.
Sprint The last portion of a race. Usually the last 250 meters of the race are run at a maximum stroke rate in an attempt to get to the finish line first.
Sprint Race Type of race where crews race side by side in lanes over 2000 meters. In the US, this is the standard race and the season is the spring and summer.
Square The act of rotating the oar prior to the catch so that the blade is perpendicular to the water. The opposite of the feathered position.
Stakeboat The small anchored boat that is used to hold the shells in place at the starting line.
Starboard Right side of the boat, while facing forward, in the direction of the movement.
Starboard RiggedA boat rigged so that the stroke seat is a starboard rower.
Start The beginning of the race. Crews will have a specified starting sequence of strokes to get the shell up to speed as quickly as possible. Stroke ratings during a start sequence range from the low 40s to the high 50s.
Stern The rear of the boat; the direction the rowers are facing.
Stern Pair The pair of sweep rowers in the stern of the boat. This would be seats 7 and 8 in an eight or seats 3 and 4 in a four. The stern pair is responsible for setting the rating and rhythm for the rest of the crew.
Straight A coxless sweep shell. Only for a pair or a four. Referred to as a 'straight four.'
StrokeOne complete cycle of the catch, drive, release, and recovery.
The stern most rower in the boat. Responsible for setting the stroke rating and rhythm of the crew.
Stroke Rating The number of strokes per minute taken by a crew. During the body of the race a crew will maintain a rating in the mid to high 30's.
Strokeside The UK term for port despite the stroke rower being on the port side or not.
Sugaring Rowing which looks good from a distance but in reality the rower is not putting any work down on the oar.
Swamped Swamping occurs when a shell takes on too much water from rough conditions and is no longer rowable.
Sweep One of the two disciplines of rowing. In sweep rowing, each rower uses on oar and is paired with another rower of the opposite side. Sweep boats are called pairs (2 rowers), fours (4 rowers), and eights (8 rowers). All three classes can include a coxswain. Pairs and fours can come without a coxswain.
Swing The feeling in the boat when all rowers are driving and finishing their strokes together.
Tanks An indoor training facility that consists of two rows of rowing seats between two tanks of water. Allows rowers to feel their strokes in the water in a stable and controlled environment. Used heavily when teaching novice rowers.
Third Final Finals at a regatta for places 13 through 18. Commonly referred to as the "truck" final since your crew would be loading your boat on the truck during the grand finals.
Toe A steering device for a coxless boat. A rower can steer the rudder by changing the direction their foot points.
Tracks Rails that the rowers rolling seat roll on. Also called slides.
Tulip The traditional u-shaped blade. Also called a macon or spoon.
Understroke Rowing at a lower and more efficient rating than your opponent.
Wash Refers to the wake given off of a shell.
Washing Out A rower error when an oar comes out of the water during the drive and creates surface wash. This results in a reduction in speed and can disrupt the set of the boat.
'Way Enough' or 'Weigh Enough'A very common call by a coxswain to tell the rowers to stop whatever they are doing.

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Comments

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bwerntz
04/10/2008  9:21:31 AM
According to US Rowing The common call to stop rowing is "weigh enough" not "way enough". Does anyone know the entomology of this term.


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