Rowing Glossary

 

Like most things in Oxford, rowing has its own unique lingo. If you are new to the sport, you will pick these words up in no time at all. In the meantime though, here is a glossary of the most common words and phrases we use both on and off the water, in case you are interested or confused!

 

Oars

 

Blade – Another name for an oar.

Spoon – Painted part of the blade which goes in the water.

Loom – Long stem of the blade.

Handle – Wooden bit of the blade which you hold on to.

Cleavers – Blades with cleaver-shaped spoons, introduced in 1992, used by top crews. Also called hatchets.

Squared – Blade perpendicular to the water.

Feathered – Blade parallel to the water.

Sweep-oar rowing – each rower rows with a single blade on one side of the boat.

Sculling – each rower with two smaller blades, one on each side of the boat. Often short for single-sculling, where one rower sculls alone.

 

Boats and positions

 

Pin – Vertical metal bit onto which the swivel is mounted.

Swivel – Plastic bit of the rigger which holds the blade and swivels to let the blade pivot. Often mistakenly known as the gate.

Gate – Metal bit at the top of the swivel which holds the blade in place.

Riggers – Metal stays affixed to the side of the boat that carry the blade. Riggers let the boat itself be very narrow in the water while having a wide leverage on the blade.

Button – The plastic ring on the blade which pushes on the inside of the swivel/gate.

Cox (coxswain) –  The crew member who sits in the stern of the boat (except in bowloaders). The coxswain is responsible for the safety of the crew, steering the boat, and coordinating the power and rhythm of the rowers, in that order.

Bow - The front of the boat.

Stern - the back of the boat.

Sternloader - a boat where the cox sits at the back. All eights have to be sternloaders for safety reasons.

Bowloader - a boat where the cox sits at the front. Magdalen has two bowloading fours.

Stroke seat – The person sitting nearest the cox, who sets the rhythm and rate.

Bow seat – The person sitting nearest the bows.

Stroke side – From the cox’s perspective: The left hand side of the boat. Also all the rowers with blades on that side.

Bow side – From the cox’s perspective: The right hand side of the boat. Also all the rowers with blades on that side.

Bow rigged – A boat with the stroke person on bow side.

Bucket rigged – A boat rigged so that two consecutive rowers are on the same side.

 

Rowing

 

The stroke – The repeating cycle of movements made by the rower and blade in order to row.

Catch – The part of the stroke where the blade is put into the water.

Finish The part of the stroke where the blade is taken out of the water.

Draw – The part of the stroke where the spoon is pulled through the water.

Drive – The phase of the stroke during the draw when the legs are driving downward.

Tap down – When the rower pushes the handle down to lever the blade out of the water.

Recovery – The part of the stroke where the rower moves up the slide for the next catch.

Frontstops – The position where you take the catch on a full slide stroke.

Backstops – The position where you take the finish, legs flat, sitting back.

Slide – Each rower sits on a seat which moves on small wheels. These wheels run up and down the slide-runners. The slide is adjustable and there is one pair of runners for each rower.

Spinning – Turning the boat around.

Backing – Doing a reverse stroke to go backwards.

Inside hand – The one nearest the gate (it does the squaring and feathering).

Outside hand – The one away from the gate, which does the pulling and striking down.

Body rock – What you do with legs flat before you go up the slide during the recovery.

Light pressure – Not pulling through the water very hard.

Full pressure (Firm pressure) – Pulling as hard as possible through the water.

Half pressure – In between full and light pressure (theoretically).

Rate – The number of strokes taken in a minute. Measured by a ‘Rate meter’, and usually between 16 and 40.

Ratio – The ratio of time pulling the stroke against the time sliding on the recovery.

Take a catch – Do a light part-stroke to straighten the boat out.

Sit the boat – Blade feathered/flat on the water, holding the boat steady. Row on Start paddling until told to stop.

Easy – Stop rowing, as in ‘Easy there’ or ‘Easy oars’, ‘Easy all’. Blade off the water.

Drop – After easying – drop the blade back onto the water.

Hold it – blades squared in the water to slow or brake the boat.

Hold it HARD! – Shouted at top volume for an emergency stop to avoid a crash.

Catching a crab – When a blade gets stick in the water after a stroke. Often knocks a rower flat backwards.

 

Boat descriptions:

 

Boats are categorised based on four criteria, in the order below:

  • W for women's boats, M (or sometimes absent) for men's boats.
  • A number; 1,2,4 or 8; for the number of rowers.
  • An x if the boat is a sculling boat, nothing if it is a sweep boat. Note that sweep-oared boats are called pairs, fours and eights; while sculling boats are called singles, doubles, quadruples ('quads') and octuples ('octos').
  • A + if the boat is coxed, a - if it is coxless.

 

Thus a W8+ is a women's coxed eight, and a  4x- is a men's coxless quad.

 

Rowing Glossary

 

Like most things in Oxford, rowing has its own unique lingo. If you are new to the sport, you will pick these words up in no time at all. In the meantime though, here is a glossary of the most common words and phrases we use both on and off the water, in case you are interested or confused!

 

Oars

 

Blade – Another name for an oar.

Spoon – Painted part of the blade which goes in the water.

Loom – Long stem of the blade.

Handle – Wooden bit of the blade which you hold on to.

Cleavers – Blades with cleaver-shaped spoons, introduced in 1992, used by top crews. Also called hatchets.

Squared – Blade perpendicular to the water.

Feathered – Blade parallel to the water.

Sweep-oar rowing – each rower rows with a single blade on one side of the boat.

Sculling – each rower with two smaller blades, one on each side of the boat. Often short for single-sculling, where one rower sculls alone.

 

Boats and positions

 

Pin – Vertical metal bit onto which the swivel is mounted.

Swivel – Plastic bit of the rigger which holds the blade and swivels to let the blade pivot. Often mistakenly known as the gate.

Gate – Metal bit at the top of the swivel which holds the blade in place.

Riggers – Metal stays affixed to the side of the boat that carry the blade. Riggers let the boat itself be very narrow in the water while having a wide leverage on the blade.

Button – The plastic ring on the blade which pushes on the inside of the swivel/gate.

Cox (coxswain) –  The crew member who sits in the stern of the boat (except in bowloaders). The coxswain is responsible for the safety of the crew, steering the boat, and coordinating the power and rhythm of the rowers, in that order.

Bow - The front of the boat.

Stern - the back of the boat.

Sternloader - a boat where the cox sits at the back. All eights have to be sternloaders for safety reasons.

Bowloader - a boat where the cox sits at the front. Magdalen has two bowloading fours

Stroke seat – The person sitting nearest the cox, who sets the rhythm and rate.

Bow seat – The person sitting nearest the bows.

Stroke side – From the cox’s perspective: The left hand side of the boat. Also all the rowers with blades on that side.

Bow side – From the cox’s perspective: The right hand side of the boat. Also all the rowers with blades on that side.

Bow rigged – A boat with the stroke person on bow side.

Bucket rigged – A boat rigged so that two consecutive rowers are on the same side.

 

Rowing

 

The stroke – The repeating cycle of movements made by the rower and blade in order to row.

Catch – The part of the stroke where the blade is put into the water.

Finish The part of the stroke where the blade is taken out of the water.

Draw – The part of the stroke where the spoon is pulled through the water.

Drive – The phase of the stroke during the draw when the legs are driving downward.

Tap down – When the rower pushes the handle down to lever the blade out of the water.

Recovery – The part of the stroke where the rower moves up the slide for the next catch.

Frontstops – The position where you take the catch on a full slide stroke.

Backstops – The position where you take the finish, legs flat, sitting back.

Slide – Each rower sits on a seat which moves on small wheels. These wheels run up and down the slide-runners. The slide is adjustable and there is one pair of runners for each rower.

Spinning – Turning the boat around.

Backing – Doing a reverse stroke to go backwards.

Inside hand – The one nearest the gate (it does the squaring and feathering).

Outside hand – The one away from the gate, which does the pulling and striking down.

Body rock – What you do with legs flat before you go up the slide during the recovery.

Light pressure – Not pulling through the water very hard.

Full pressure (Firm pressure) – Pulling as hard as possible through the water.

Half pressure – In between full and light pressure (theoretically).

Rate – The number of strokes taken in a minute. Measured by a ‘Rate meter’, and usually between 16 and 40.

Ratio – The ratio of time pulling the stroke against the time sliding on the recovery.

Take a catch – Do a light part-stroke to straighten the boat out.

Sit the boat – Blade feathered/flat on the water, holding the boat steady. Row on Start paddling until told to stop.

Easy – Stop rowing, as in ‘Easy there’ or ‘Easy oars’, ‘Easy all’. Blade off the water.

Drop – After easying – drop the blade back onto the water.

Hold it – blades squared in the water to slow or brake the boat.

Hold it HARD! – Shouted at top volume for an emergency stop to avoid a crash.

Catching a crab – When a blade gets stick in the water after a stroke. Often knocks a rower flat backwards.

 

Boat descriptions:

 

Boats are categorised based on four criteria, in the order below:

  • W for women's boats, M (or sometimes absent) for men's boats.
  • A number; 1,2,4 or 8; for the number of rowers.
  • An x if the boat is a sculling boat, nothing if it is a sweep boat. Note that sweep-oared boats are called pairs, fours and eights; while sculling boats are called singles, doubles, quadruples ('quads') and octuples ('octos').
  • A + if the boat is coxed, a - if it is coxless.

 

Thus a W8+ is a women's coxed eight, and a  4x- is a men's coxless quad.