|Junior C or U15||A rower is a junior C or under 15 (U15) until December 31 of the year in which they reach the age of 14.|
|Junior B or U17||A rower is a junior B or under 17 (U17) until December 31 of the year in which they reach the age of 16.|
|Junior A or U19||A rower is a junior A or under 19 (U19) until December 31 of the year in which they reach the age of 18.|
|U23||A rower is under 23 (U23) until December 31 of the year in which they reach the age of 22.|
|Senior||A senior is any rower who is older than U23.|
|Masters AA||A rower is in the AA category of Masters during and beyond the year in which they reach the age of 21.|
|Masters A||A rower is in the A category of Masters during and beyond the year in which they reach the age of 27.|
|Masters B||A rower is in the B category of Masters during and beyond the year in which they reach the age of 36.|
|Masters C||A rower is in the C category of Masters during and beyond the year in which they reach the age of 43.|
|Masters D||A rower is in the D category of Masters during and beyond the year in which they reach the age of 50.|
|Masters E||A rower is in the E category of Masters during and beyond the year in which they reach the age of 55.|
|Masters F||A rower is in the F category of Masters during and beyond the year in which they reach the age of 60.|
|Masters G||A rower is in the G category of Masters during and beyond the year in which they reach the age of 65.|
|Masters H||A rower is in the H category of Masters during and beyond the year in which they reach the age of 70.|
|Masters I||A rower is in the I category of Masters during and beyond the year in which they reach the age of 75.|
|Masters J||A rower is in the J category of Masters during and beyond the year in which they reach the age of 80.|
|Masters K||A rower is in the K category of Masters during and beyond the year in which they reach the age of 85.|
To back down is to use the oars in reverse (pushing water forwards) in order to move the shell backwards. Backing down can be done evenly to move the shell backwards or on just one side to turn the shell.
Rowing shells have little or no stability. They will only stay upright if the rower uses the oars to maintain balance. Balance is dependent on rowers keeping their hands level during all parts of the stroke and their torsos upright and centred in the boat.
Backsplash is the water that is thrown forwards towards the bow as the oar blade enters the water at the catch. A well executed catch will create a small backsplash. An imperfectly executed catch will provide an impromptu shower for the rowers closer to the bow.
The front end of a shell is the bow.
A bow ball is a solid white ball shape having a minimum diameter of 4 cm that is firmly fastened to the bow so as to cover the point of the bow.
A bowloader is a coxed shell where the cox sits in the bow.
Bow Person, Bow Seat
A bow person is the rower sitting in the bow seat. The bow seat is seat closest to the bow of the shell. If a shell does not have a coxswain, the bow person is in charge and gives directions to the rowers in the shell.
A buoy is any floating object that is used to mark a course. Most commonly, a buoy is a small coloured plastic ball. Buoys are occasionally large inflated plastic markers.
The catch is that moment in the stroke when oar blades enter the water. The catch separates the recovery from the drive. Once the oar blades are in the water, the rower will push with their legs to start the drive.
At the catch, the rower is scrunched up at the stern end of the slide. The rower's shins are vertical. The knees are up near the chest. The back is straight and tilted slightly towards the stern. The arms are extended out straight towards the stern and slightly outwards.
When a rower moves up the slide and approaches the catch, they have no alternative but to push with their feet to stop their motion up the slide. The pushing force transmitted through the footstretcher causes the boat to lose speed. The goal of the rower is to reduce the amount of push so as to minimize the loss of speed. Checking is probably the most common cause of speed loss.
Some shells have a seat for a coxswain (abbreviated cox). A coxswain is in charge and gives directions to the rowers. The coxswain steers the shell if it is equipped with a functioning rudder. During a race, the coxswain will be watching the other shells and making tactical decisions. The coxswain will also motivate the crew to provide their best effort to satisfy the tactical plan.
A crab (also referred to as catching a crab) refers to an oar getting out of control of the rower. If an oar is placed in the water at the catch with the wrong angle, the forward motion of the shell can drive the blade downwards with great force. If the rower does not let go of the oar handle, that force can be sufficient to eject the rower from the shell.
A double is a sculling shell for a crew of two people. Doubles are 31 to 34 feet long. Longer doubles are intended for heavier crews. Doubles are typically faster than singles but slower than quads. A double tends to be more stable than a single and less stable than a quad.
The drive refers to that portion of the stroke where the oar blade is in the water and the rower is pulling hard on the oar to propel the shell forwards.
An eight is a sweep shell for a crew of eight people. Eights are 57 to 60 feet long. Longer eights are intended for heavier crews. Eights are typically faster than fours and pairs. An eight tends to be more stable than a four or a pair. An eight always has a cox sitting in the stern.
The engine room refers to the rowers in the middle of a shell. In a four or quad they are the rowers in the 2 and 3 seats. In an eight they are the rowers in the 3, 4, 5 and 6 seats. The engine room rowers are typically the biggest and strongest rowers who provide more than a fair share of power to the shell.
Ergometer or Erg
An ergometer (abbreviated as erg) is a rowing machine, just like the ones you would see at a fitness club. Ergs are used for endurance and strength training. The name derives from a unit of energy in physics.
During the recovery portion of the stroke, the oar blade is out of the water while the rower moves back up the slide in preparation for the next stroke. As the rower moves, the blade moves forward towards the bow of boat at a speed much faster than the water underneath. To reduce air resistance, especially in a head wind, the blade is rotated a quarter turn to be horizontal or parallel to the water. The act of rotating the blade to be horizontal is referred to as feathering the blade. The action is similar to feathering the propellers of an airplane.
Every shell has a small fixed metal fin attached to the bottom of the hull near the stern. The fin provides directional stability to the shell. The fin is designed to break off without damaging the hull if it strikes an obstruction in the water. Without the fin, it is very difficult to keep the shell moving in a straight line. The shell will veer to one side or the other if the rowers do not perfectly balance the force applied to the oars on both sides of the shell.
The finish refers to that point in the stroke where the rower has finished pulling on the oar. At the finish, the rower's legs are straight, the arms have been pulled in to the chest and the rower is leaning slightly backwards towards the bow of the shell. The finish is the transition point between the drive and the recovery.
The footstretcher is an inclined metal plate to which the rower's shoes are attached. The metal plate is inclined at an angle between 38 and 42 degrees (40 degrees nominal). The footstretcher's position is adjustable within three tracks to accommodate rowers of different height.
A four is a sweep shell for a crew of four people. Fours are 39 to 43 feet long. Longer fours are intended for heavier crews. Fours are typically faster than pairs. A four tends to be more stable than a pair.
A four may optionally have a cox, in which case, it is referred to as a coxed four. A coxed four will have a seat for the cox in either the bow or the stern. A four that does not take a cox is referred to as a straight four.
A head race is a longer distance endurance race, usually 3 km or more. Unlike a sprint race, the course is typically not straight and requires the crew to turn the shell during the race. To avoid bunching up in (possibly tight) corners, head races use a staggered start with shells being started at, for example, 15 second intervals. Each shell is racing against the clock. The shell with the fastest time over the course wins.
A rower is considered to be a junior until December 31 of the year in which they reach the age of 18.
Let It Run
A rower is considered to be a master during and beyond the year in which they reach the age of 21.
A pair is a sweep shell for a crew of two people. Pairs are 31 to 34 feet long. Longer pairs are intended for heavier crews. Pairs are typically slower than fours. A pair is less stable than a four. A pair may optionally have a seat for a cox.
PogiesPogies are specialized mittens for rowing in cold weather. Pogies have a hole in the side through which the oar handle is passed. The rower can hold on to the oar handle inside the mitten.
Port refers to the left side of the rowing shell. Since a rower faces backwards, port will be on the rower's right side. The bowperson or cox will refer to the port and/or starboard sides when extra oar pressure is needed on one side to turn the shell.
A quad is a sculling shell for a crew of four people. Singles are 39 to 43 feet long. Longer quads are intended for heavier crews. Quads are typically faster than both singles and doubles. Quads tend to be more stable than both singles and doubles.
A quad may optionally have a cox, in which case, it is referred to as a coxed quad. A coxed quad will have a seat for the cox in either the bow or the stern. A quad that does not take a cox is referred to as a straight quad.
Each crew position in a shell has a rigger. The rigger extends outwards from the side of the shell on just one side (sweep) or both sides (scull). An oarlock is attached to the outer end(s). The rigger transmits the force applied by the oar to the shell. A rigger is required because racing shells are too narrow to place the oarlock directly on the hull.
Older boats have stayed riggers. There are typically two main stays protruding directly outwards from the side of the hull, one above the other. The lower main stay angles upwards to support the upper main stay at the outer end. The primary function of the main stays is to position the oarlock. A stayed rigger will always have a forestay that is attached to the hull a few feet behind the rower's back i.e. towards the bow of the boat. The other end of the forestay is attached to the outer end of the main stay. The forestay transmits a significant portion of the oar's force to the hull of the shell. A stayed rigger may optionally have a backstay that is attached to the hull a few feet in front of the rower i.e. towards the stern of the boat. The stays of a stayed rigger are welded to plates that are bolted to the side of the hull.
Newer boats are more likely to have wing riggers. Wing riggers are constructed from welded aluminum tubing. The tube shape is reminiscent of an airplane wing that is approximately 4" wide and 1" thick. A wing rigger is welded from a main cross tube and one (sweep) or two (scull) oarlock support tubes. The main tube crosses the top of the hull at a right angle to the centreline of the shell. The main tube is bolted to the top edges of the hull. The oarlock support tubes are welded to the outer end of the main tube at an angle to correctly position the oarlocks out beside the rower. Initially the main tube was attached to the hull in front of the rower (towards the stern) and the oarlock support tubes angled towards the bow. Wing riggers have now been introduced with the main tube attached to the hull behind the rower (towards the bow) and oarlock support tubes angled towards the stern.
Rowing Canada Aviron
Rowing Canada Aviron (RCA) is the national governing body for the sport of rowing in Canada.
Rushing the Slide
The rower sits on a formed carbon fiber seat. The seat is attached to a wheeled carriage. The wheels of the carriage roll along two slides (U-shaped rails) that are fastened to the seat platform. The seat, wheeled carriage and slides allow the rower to move back and forth during the stroke. This motion allows the large leg muscles to be applied towards moving the boat.
The wheeled carriage is comprised of two furks (support brackets), two axles and four wheels. The furks are attached to the underside of the seats parallel to and over the slides. The axles run crosswise between the furks, one at the rear and one at the front. The wheels are bolted through a hole in the furk into the ends of the axles.
Each furk has an L-shaped bracket in the middle. The bracket extends downwards and hooks loosely underneath the slide. The bracket prevents the seat from coming off the slide, especially if the shell flips over in the water.
Shooting the Slide
A single is a sculling shell for a crew of one person. Singles are 25 to 30 feet long. Longer singles are intended for heavier rowers. With only one rower, singles are typically slower than doubles and quads. A single is the least stable sculling shell.
SlingA sling is used to support a rowing shell on land rather than placing the shell on the ground. A sling is so named because they are typically constructed from lightweight aluminum tubes supporting a cloth sling.
A sprint race is a short race on a straight line course. Junior and olympic rowers will race on a 2000 metre course. Masters rowers will race on a 1000 metre course. The Deep Cove regattas for newer rowers are held on a 500 metre course. Sprint races are often held on a course that is buoyed to mark separate lanes for each shell. In sprint racing, boats are started at the same time and the first boat to cross the finish line wins.
Squaring up is the reverse of feathering the oar blade. At the end of the recovery, before the oar blade is placed in the water, the oar blade must be rotated a quarter turn from the horizontal feathered position back to a vertical orientation.
Starboard refers to the right side of the rowing shell. Since a rower faces backwards, starboard will be on the rower's left side. The bowperson or cox will refer to the starboard and/or port sides when extra oar pressure is needed on one side to turn the shell.
The rear end of a shell is the stern.