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Melbourne High School Rowing Association - Rowing Together Since 1977

Rowing Terminology

Basic Rowing Terms =  all rowers must know and which parents will want to know.

Technical Terminology =  advanced terms which rowers will learn as they get more experienced.

Rowing Commands = the language rowers speak when they want to get things done.

Basic Rowing Terms:
Blade: The oar; also the end of the oar which is placed in the water
Bow: the front end of the boat; also used as the name of the person sitting nearest the bow.
Bowball: A round rubber protrusion attached to the bow of a shell for protection.
Bowman: The oarsman who sits nearest the bow.
Catch: The oar blade entering the water at the beginning of the stroke.
Collar (or Button): A plastic or metal fitting tightened to the oar to keep the oar from slipping through the oarlock.
Crab: A stroke that goes bad. The oar blade slices into the water at an angle and gets caught under the surface. A bad crab can catapult you out of the boat.
Coxswain: The helmsman, who has two important jobs: To keep the boat moving straight by making minor corrections to the rudder, and to keep the oarsmen rowing at the desired stroke rate
Erg(ometer): A rowing machine designed to simulate the actual rowing motion; used for training and testing.
Feathering: Turning the oar blade flat during the recovery to lessen wind resistance.
Fin (or skeg): A small flat appendage located along the stern section of the hull which helps stabilize the shell in holding a straight course.
Finish: The oar blade leaving the water at the end of the stroke.
Foot stretcher (or clogs or shoes): An adjustable bracket in a shell to which rowers feet are secured.
Gunwale (or gunnel): That part of a shell which runs along the sides of the crew compartment through which the riggers are bolted.
Handle: The end of the oar you hold in your hand.
Hatchet: A type of oar with a blade larger in surface than that of a Macon blade.
Keel: The center line of the shell.
Oarlock: A U-shaped swivel which holds the oar in place. It is mounted at the end of the rigger and rotates around a metal pin. A gate closes across the top to keep the oar in place.
Pitch: The angle between a "squared" blade and a line perpendicular to the water’s surface.
Port side: Left side of the boat, as facing the bow.
Recovery: The time between strokes, the oar blade traveling through the air.
Ribs: The name given to that part of the boat to which the skin of the hull is attached. They are typically made of wood, aluminum or composite materials and provide structural integrity. The riggers bolt to the ribs.
Rig: The arrangement of the oars or sculls, the mechanical "set-up" - which can vary according to size, strength, experience and technique of a given crew.
Rigger: The assembly of tubes which are tightly bolted to the hull to which are attached an oarlock.
Rigging:The adjustment and alteration of accessories (riggers, foot stretchers, oar,etc.) in and on the shell to maximize a particular rowers efficiency, based on their size and capabilities.
Rudder: device used to steer the shell.
Scull: this term is used interchangeably: to the oars used in sculling, the sculling shell itself; or the act of rowing in a sculling shell.
Shell: A racing boat; Term for rowing boats
Sleeve: A plastic or leather wrap placed around the shaft at the location of the collar to protect the shaft from the tightening of the collar.
Slide: The track on which the seat moves.
Slings: Collapsible/portable frames with straps upon which a shell can be placed.
Split: The time a crew takes to complete a 500 meter segment of the race.
Starboard: Right side of the boat facing the bow.
Stern: the rear end of the boat.
Stroke: Apart from the rowing action, this can also mean the person who sets the pace for the rest of the crew. The stroke sits nearest the stern.
"Washing Out": Not fully recovering the blade during the whole stroke.
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Technical Terms:
Backsplash: This term is in reference to the water thrown back toward the bow direction by the blade as it enters the water. Less is best. This indicates that the blade has been properly planted before the rower initiates the drive.
Bury the blade: Submerge the blade totally in the water.
Catch: Occurring at the end of the recovery phase, the catch is the point of the rowing cycle where the squared blade is inserted into the water. It is accomplished by an upward movement of the arms only.
Catch point: where the blade enters the water.
Drive: The part of the rowing cycle where the rower applies power to the submerged blade.
Feather: Term describing the turning of the oar to a horizontal (to the water) position.
Finish: the part of the rowing stroke where you take the blade out of the water, and your head and shoulders are leaning to the bowside of the hips.
Hands away: At the close of the drive phase, the hands move away from the body.
Hanging at the catch: The blade is hesitating at the catch point, before entering the water.
Hot seating: When two crews share the same shell, during a regatta, sometimes it is necessary for the crews to switch at the finish line without taking the boat from the water.
Jumping the slide: A problem where the seat becomes derailed from the track while rowing.
Layback: The upper body is leaning into the bow.
Missing water: A technical fault where the rower begins the drive before the catch is complete.
Puddle: Swirl of water following each stroke.
Rating: The number of strokes per minute.
Ratio: The ratio of time taken on the recovery to time spent on the drive. Recovery time should always be longer than time taken on the drive.
Recovery: The part of the rowing stroke from the release up to and including the catch.
Release: A sharp downward and away (from the body) hand movement which serves to remove the oar from the water to a position horizontally parallel to the water.
Run: How far the boat glides between strokes.
Rushing: When the upper body comes out of the bow and moves up the slide too fast.
Sculling: The art of rowing with two oars.
Shooting your slide: A technical fault where the butt travels towards the bow without the commensurate movementof the shoulders.
Skying: The fault of carrying the hands too low during the recovery, causing the blade to be too high off the surface of the water.
Squaring: Term describing the turning of the oar from a horizontal (feathered) to a vertical (squared) blade position.
Sweeping: The art of rowing with one oar.

Rowing Commands:
"Ahead" or "Look Ahead": Command shouted by a crew about to be overtaken by another crew, telling the overtaking crew of their presence.
"Lay Hold": Command given telling the athletes to go to their stations and grab a hold of the boat.
"Count down when ready": before proceeding, the athletes acknowledge that they are ready by calling out their position number out loud."
"Cant it upriver/ downriver": While carrying the shell, the athletes are commanded to hold the shell in a diagonal position, the high side as stated.
"Ready all, Row": Begin rowing.
"Back it down": Make the shell move backwards by reversing the rowing stroke.
"Power 10": A race tactic. A call for rowers to do 10 of their most powerful strokes.
"Set it up": Keep the boat level (on keel). Items that affect set are: athletes posture, hand levels, rigging, timing, wind & current.
"Way - Nuff": Stop rowing !
"Let it run": Stop rowing and let the boat glide with the blades off the water.
"Check it down": Stop the forward momentum of a moving boat by holding water.
"Heads Up": A command usually heard in the boathouse or on the dock. Pay attention as a shell is being moved and you are about to be run over.
"Hold Water": Method of stopping the boat. The blades are squared and buried in the water, athlete sitting in the finish position.
"One foot up & out": The command for exiting a team boat. Procedure: The outside hand holds the oar(s) away from the body. The inside hand holds the gunwale to the dock. The inside foot is removed from the foot stretchers and placed on the step-in board, the body weight is shifted forward as the athlete stands supporting himself on their inside leg. The outside foot is placed on the dock and you get out of the shell.

Glossary built from numerous websites

 

 

 

 

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