Crew Glossary


Blade the end of the oar/scull that is in the water (wide and flat). Most blades are painted with a team or country pattern in the organization's designated colors.
Bow the front of the shell, OR the person who sits nearest the bow of the shell.
Button keeps the oar/scull from slipping through the oarlock.
Catch the oar blade entering the water as the stroke begins.
Coxswain the person who directs the boat, either sitting in the stern or reclining in the bow. Coxswains are typically small and light but must meet a minimum weight. They act as the on-the-water coach and steer person (has no oar).
Crab when the rower fails to extract the oar from the water at the finish of a stroke, causing the handle to come in contact with him/her in the body or pull him/her overboard.
Deck the areas of a shell at the bow and stern that are covered with varnished fiberglass cloth or, more recently, with a thin plastic material.
Ergometer Called an "erg" by rowers, the ergometer is a rowing machine that is designed to imitate the actual rowing motion.
Feathering turning the oar blade parallel to the water during the recovery, lessening wind resistance.
Oarlock the piece that holds the oar in place at the end of the rigger
Port left side of the shell -if facing forward in the boat. Note that rowers face backward, coxswains face forward.
Power 10 a call for rowers to do 10 of their most powerful strokes, a strategy used to make a move and pull ahead of, or hold off, a competitor.
Puddles swirls of water created by the movement of the oars.
Pull through or Drive when the legs go down as the body opens up, levering the boat forward.
Rating (or beating) the number of strokes taken in a minute.
Recovery when the rower's body moves toward the stern in preparation for the next stroke.
Repechage a second chance race. Boats that fail to advance to the next round can qualify for repechage. Typically, winners advance to the next round.
Rig the arrangement of the rigger to the boat.
Rigger the triangular-shaped metal bar bolted onto the side of the boat, holding the oars in place.
Shaft or Loom the mid-section of the oar/scull (thin and round).
Shell racing boat.
Sling a support for the boat when it is on land being rigged or prepared for rowing. Slings often look like a modified camp stool, with a metal or wood frame and a canvas cradle.
Split time for each of the four 500-meter segments of the race.
Starboard right side of the shell -if facing forward.
Stern back of the boat.
Stroke two meanings, a part of the rowing action OR the person sitting at the stern who sets the pace for the rest of the crew.
Swamped a boat is swamped when it is full of water and can't be rowed.
Swinging a crew in perfect unison.
Understroke to row at a lower stroke rate, but with greater efficiency, than a rival boat.
Washing giving another boat a wash with churned-up water.