rowing basics

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Anyone, who can climb down the ladder into the boat, can row. We offer regular weekly rowing sessions, weather permitting, May through October to teach everyone how to pull an oar. You don’t even need to know how to swim! Everyone wears a personal flotation device (or PFD). You do need parental permission if you are under 18 years old.

Rowers are expected to take part in shore side activities on the Esplanade or at the Container/Boathouse, either preparing or putting the boats away, before or after rowing.

a glossary of rowing

  1. BOW – End of the boat closest to the direction of travel. Also can be used to refer to one-seat, or in conjunction with either four or pair. Bow-four refers to seats four through one. Bow-pair refers to seats two and one
  2. STERN – End of the boat farthest from the direction of travel. Also can be used in conjunction with either four or pair. Stern-four refers to seats eight through five. Stern-pair refers to seats eight and seven.
  3. PORT – Side of the boat to the coxswain’s left and to the rowers’ right. Known in some countries as STROKE SIDE
  4. STARBOARD – Side of the boat to the coxswain’s right and to the rowers’ left. Known in some countries as BOWSIDE
  5. BLADE (HATCHET/CLEAVER, OR SPOON/MACON) – The face of the oar that pushes against the water. East River C.R.E.W. uses Macon oars
  6. RINGS & PINS– Traditional form of “oarlocks” that hold the oar and provide a fulcrum for the stroke against the gunwale (pronounced “gun-el”)
  7. FOOT STRETCHER – Part of the boat against which the rower pushes his legs while pulling the oar.
  8. KEEL – Located underneath the boat, this provides stability, maneuverability and speed to the Whitehall gig (the rowing boat we use at East River C.R.E.W.)
  9. RUDDER – This wooden apparatus is attached to the transom of the boat and partially is submerged into the water. It allows the coxswain to steer the boat.

rowing commands

  1. “PREPARE TO MAKE WEIGH TOGETHER” then “ALL, ROW” – Coxswain call to begin rowing.
  2. “WAY-OFF!” – Coxswain call to have all rowers stop rowing. Call can sound like “way-nuff”.
  3. “HOLD WATER!” – Coxswain call that makes all the rowers drag their oar blades through the water perpendicularly, effectively stopping the boat.. Another way of saying it is “CHECK IT DOWN”.
  4. “LET IT RUN!” – Coxswain call for all rowers to stop rowing and to pause at the finish, letting the boat glide through the water and coast to a stop
  5. “POWER 10” (or 20 or 30 etc.) – Coxswain call to take a certain number of power strokes. A power stroke is a stroke that musters all the strength you can give.
  6. CRAB – A stroke that goes bad. The oar blade slices into the water at an angle and gets caught under the surface, which pushes the rower off-balance. When this happens, push down on the oar.