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Induction Pack

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									 Induction Pack

                          Induction Pack
Dear New or Prospective Member
Welcome to Auriol Kensington Rowing Club (better known as AK).

Our goal at AK is to get people moving boats as fast as possible, whilst holding down a day job and
having a life away from rowing. Whether you join us with previous rowing experience or as a complete
beginner, young or old, male or female – we aim to provide our members with the facilities, equipment
and coaching that you need to achieve this goal.

This induction pack has been prepared for all new members and consists of the following sections:

Section 1 (Page 2)      The Club
Section 2 (Page 5)      Training and Racing
Section 3 (Page 7)      The River Thames
Section 4 (Page 8 )     The Sport of Rowing in Britain

How much of this pack you read is dependant upon your background and experience.
We appreciate however that it cannot answer all of your questions so please don’t
hesitate to ask any of our members.

I hope that you will enjoy your time at AK. If you are happy here, please tell others. If
you are not, please tell me or any member of the team, and we will try and do
something about it.

Nick Hubbard, Club Captain

Last Updated – 12th April 2005 by Nick Hubbard
 Induction Pack

                                SECTION 1 – THE CLUB
AK is fortunate in being located only a 5 minute walk away from Hammersmith Broadway with its excellent
transport links.

If you are travelling by Public Transport, Hammersmith underground station is served by the District,
Hammersmith & City, and Piccadilly lines, and is less than 20 minutes by tube from the West End of
London. The bus station provides good links with most of West and South West London.

If you are travelling by car, you will find that parking meters are in operation between 08.30 and 18.30,
Monday to Saturday in the immediate vicinity of the club. At all other times there is no charge for parking.
On Saturdays, free parking can be found all day on and around Upper Mall (first left turn along the A4 out
of Hammersmith) and on the south side of Hammersmith Bridge in Barnes. Security is an issue in the
area and members are advised not to leave any valuables on show within their vehicles.

Whilst we encourage members to cycle to the club, bikes must not be stored in the boathouse. Instead
they may be chained along the railings between the clubhouse and the ARA, or on the cycle racks nearby
at Furnivall Gardens. Please be aware that Lower Mall is a cycle theft “hot-spot” even for those bikes with
the best security lock/chain systems.

           AK and Hammersmith                             Barn Elms Boat House in relation to AK

Auriol Kensington Rowing Club was formed in 1981 from the amalgamation of A              uriol Rowing Club
(founded 1896) and Kensington Rowing Club (founded 1872); Auriol was based on the old 1 floor and
Kensington on the floor above. The club has a strong tradition of turning out talented oarsmen and women
and has produced National, World and Olympic Champions. In fact AK has produced the only two British
World Champions in single sculls (Wally Kinnear and Peter Haining), and the plaque above the side
entrance is dedicated to Wally Kinnear, winner of Olympic Gold in 1912. Traditionally a men’s rowing club
- women have played an increasing part in the success of the club and the club is now evenly balanced in
numbers between Men and Women. Since the mid 1990’s AK has established itself as one of the most
successful clubs on the Tideway.

In December 2004, the club re-opened after a major 6 month refubishment project, providing us with
increased space on our existing 2 floors and a new 3 floor. Today, AK has arguably the finest rowing
club facilities in London.

Green and Pink are the club colours, and reflect the colours of the forming clubs; Auriol (Green and Blue)
and Kensington (Pink and Black) Rowing Clubs.

The Auriol Boathouse Company was formed in the immediate post war years when members of Auriol
R.C. clubbed together their demob money to buy the freehold of the present clubhouse building. In the
early eighties, the company also bought the freehold to the West End Boathouse (next to Furnivall). The
Company is funded through the rental of racks to both AK and Furnivall, and from a business providing
medals and trophies to rowing events.

                                               Page 2 of 12
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The club operates out of 2 buildings; the AK Clubhouse and the West End Boathouse, both of which are
owned by the Auriol Boat House Company. In addition, the club hires the Barn Elms Boathouse for
training sessions during weekday evenings

The recently refurbished AK Clubhouse is the heart of the club. Pairs, Doubles, club and private sculls
are racked in the boathouse, along with privately owned sculling blades. The club training room, men’s
and women’s changing rooms, and toilets are all located on the 1 floor. The club bar (with balcony) and
kitchen are located on the 2 floor. Finally, we have an additional function/training room with roof terrace
on the 3 floor giving panoramic views of the Hammermsith bend. Outside, the club’s launches are stored
securely on the pontoon. You will usually find the club open Monday to Thursday evenings between 18.30
and 21.00, and all day on both Saturdays and Sundays throughout most of the year.

The West End Boathouse (WEBH) is situated 100 metres along the Lower Mall and is shared with
Furnivall Sculling Club, Orion, and the American School of London Rowing Clubs. It is here that the club’s
larger boats are stored. In addition, the club’s outboard engines, fuel tanks/storage, rowing blades and
sculling blades are stored here. Keys to this boathouse are found on the “keyblock” that is stored in AK’s
boathouse. Members are asked to enter and exit the WEBH through the far doors (except when carrying
boats), rather than through Furnivall’s main entrance.

Barn Elms Boathouse is located about a mile down the towpath towards Putney on the south side of the
river, and provides the club with a circuit training facility as well as an indoor rowing tank.

At all three facilities, security is an unfortunate issue. The front door is closed and locked when not in use,
and a key is required to open it. Combination locks are fitted to the changing room doors to provide a safe
place to leave belongings although members are asked not to leave valuables unattened. For copies of
keys and/or details of the combinations, please speak to a member of the committee. Members are
advised not to bring or leave unattended any items of value at the club. In addition (and primarily for
safety reasons) members should never run alone between the Hammersmith and Barn Elms Boathouse.
If you need to report a theft, inform a member of the committee and call Hammersmith Police Crime
Prevention Unit on 020 8563 1212.

The Club Committee is responsible for the management of AK, meets monthly, and is formed of the
following officers:

President – Acts as the figurehead of the club and chairs the committee’s monthly meetings
Captain – Manages and Directs the rowing side of the club
Vice Captains – The Captain’s representatives within, and the main focal point for, the main squads
Honorary Secretary – Acts as the point of contact for external communications
Treasurer – Manages the club’s finances and accounts.
Safety Advisor – Responsible for ensuring the club meets ARA safety standards
Membership Secretary – Collects membership subscriptions and maintains members’ contact details.
House Steward – Coordinates the maintenance of the clubhouse and all of its services.
Honorary Steward – Manages the club bar (which provides a large chunk of the club’s income).
Social Secretary – Organises and co-ordinates social events and functions at the club.

All positions are voluntary, and are elected at the club’s Annual General Meeting (typically held in
September). In addition to these positions, the Captain is responsible for appointing a number of
additional roles to ensure the smooth running of the club. These are:

Head Coaches – Set goals and training plans, provide coaching and select crews.
Boatman – Maintains the club’s fleet of boats and co-ordinates repairs - either in house or externally.
Entry Secretary – Submits race entries, collects fees from members & maintains ARA details.
Logistics Secretary – Coordinates the transport of boats and other equipment to competitions.
Kit Secretary – Orders pre-selected club clothing for members.

The Captain holds regular Captain’s Meetings with his Vice Captains and Head Coaches.

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AK have are well known for “playing” as well as “training” hard. Events and parties are organised
throughout the year, and are co-ordinated by the Social Secretary. The club hosts a number of formal
annual functions including the Port & Stilton Party (December), Vice President’s Sherry Party (June) and
holds its annual dinner at an external venue during late autumn. Additionally, the club also organises a
day at Henley Royal Regatta (usually the Friday) when members can be given the opportunity to
purchase tickets for the Stewards Enclosure and hopefully see some AK crews still in action!

The club bar and 3 floor room is managed by the club’s full time Functions Manager, who is responsible
for generating as much income as possible to the club through the hosting of functions. The bar is open to
members on Thursday evenings and Sunday Lunchtimes. At all other times it remains locked. Members
are welcome to hire the venue for any personal or work occasion and will receive a 50% discount on the
normal hire fees. The Honorary Steward is responsible for the running of the bar for club sessions and


Membership provides the club with one of its primary source of income. These funds support the repair
and purchase of boats and equipment, and pay the club’s bills. Annual subscriptions are currently as

Active Membership       £360             For members wishing to actively train and compete
Student Membership      £180             As above, but for full-time students
Junior Membership       £120             As above, but for under 18’s.
Ordinary Membership     £100             Voting rights, but unable to use club equipment
Coxes                    £90
Social Membership        £35             No voting rights and unable to use club equipment

Membership is due every January, covers a calendar year and is pro-ratered depending on when in the
year that you join. The Club Committee will approve membership only after the membership form has
been completed, proposed and seconded, on the noticeboard for a full month, and the cheque for subs


We do not impose many rules on members in their use of the facilities, as we want the club to feel like
their 2 home. Although the primary function of the building is to support rowing and its associated
activities, it is important to recognise t hat is also functions as a commercial vebue for events. It is
therefore important for all members to abide by the following rules:

    §   Do not wear muddied or soiled shoes/boots/wellies (i.e. after a run or an outing) above ground
        level within the building. Instead – take them off before climbing the stairs, carrying them to the
        changing rooms.
    §   Avoid carrying bags or other equipment over your shoulder in order that walls do not become
        scuffed or damaged.
    §   Push doors open – don’t kick them!
    §   If you unavoidably damage or break something, please report it to the Captain, Function Manager
        or House Steward. We promise you will not be chastised and it allows us to repair the damage as
        soon as possible. Additionally, if you spot something that is damaged, please do the same.
    §   Enjoy the facilities!

Members’ Charter

The club is an amateur sporting club and as such is run by volunteers – all of whom have day jobs. In
order to support these volunteers, and to ensure that the club achieves its goals - the club has produced a
Members’ Charter which outlines what we expect members to do and how to behave. This charter is
available on the website and noticeboard. Additional copies can be obtained from the Captain.

                                               Page 4 of 12
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                       SECTION 2 – TRAINING & RACING
The club consists of four active squads; Men, Women, Veterans and Development (or Beginners).
Members new to the sport initially join the Development squad through a formal induction programme
before progressing to either the Men’s or Women’s squad. Experienced rowers normally slot straight into
the Men’s, Women’s or Veteran’s squad. Some of the club’s members train and compete in smaller
groups outside of the main squads.

Each squad has a Head Coach supported by a team of coaches. This team is responsible for setting the
training plans and objectives that contribute towards the overall goals of the club, and for selecting crews.
All of the coaches either hold or are working towards ARA coaching qualifications and are unpaid

The 4 active squads have a carefully scheduled training routine to avoid congestion at any of the club’s
facilities. Land training takes place during the week; the Senior Squads typically train 4 evenings per week
(Fridays off). Circuit training takes place at either Barn Elms or on Furnivall Gardens, and ergos in the 1
floor training room in the clubhouse. The Development squad will initially train 2 evenings per week;
Tuesday’s on the Rowing Tank at Barn Elms and Thursday’s on Ergos at the club. After a month they are
expected to train closer towards the intensity of the senior squads. All members are asked to refer to the
noticeboard for their weekly schedules of training.

The Senior Squads each row between 3 and 4 outings at a weekend, alternating with each other between
mornings (8am-12pm) and afternoons (12pm-4pm) on both Saturday and Sunday. They will also
occasionally go on the water during weekday evenings or early mornings. The Veterans typically row on a
Sunday morning, followed by a second outing at the bar! During the spring and summer months, crews
from all four squads more regularly boat during weekday evenings.

The club traditionally goes away for a week in the early spring for a training camp. Over recent years this
has been abroad in Spain or France and provides an ideal opportunity to get away from the distractions of
home and focus on rowing in a more pleasant environment. Whilst not subsidised in any way, a co-
ordinator will normally negotiate group deals on accomodation and transport in order to keep costs as low
as possible

The club has a well maintained fleet of boats, comprising typically of 5 eights, 10 fours (coxed and
coxless), 8 pairs and 2 club singles. Experienced scullers may find owners of private sculls amenable to
loaning them with prior agreement.

The club also has 2 launches for coaching and safety purposes (only experienced drivers may use these).
Finally, the club has 8 Model C Ergometers (rowing machines) located in the 1 floor training room of the
clubhouse for use by all members of the club.

Typically, the club will spend close to £30,000 per year on the purchase and maintenance of equipment.

There is a strict policy for the usage of equipment, titled “Safe use of Club Equipment”. It outlines when
and in what conditions you may take equipment out (in line with the ARA Safety Code), and identifies
which equipment you may use. This policy is in place to ensure your safety, to maintain the quality of the
boats, and to ensure that each squad has an adequate provision of equipment. If you are in doubt over
which boat you should use, ask the Captain, Vice Captain’s or Coaches.

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All crews are required to log-in and out using the Equipment Log Book both before and after all outings.

The club has a dedicated Boatman who coordinates the maintenance and repair of all boats. Most
damage occurs when boats are taken in and out of the boathouse, run aground on shingle, or collide with
other boats! If you are involved in an incident in which a boat or other equipment is damaged, report it in
the incident book hanging from the club noticeboard and contact the Captain, Vice Captains or Boatman.

All 4 squads actively compete throughout the season and across the UK, typically attending between 20
and 30 events in a year. The goals and key events of the season are largely dependant on the level at
which groups within each of the squads are training and racing.

The main club goals however are centred around the Men’s and Women’s Head of the River (March),
Women’s Henley (June), Henley Royal Regatta (June/July) and National Championships (July). As well
as attending many of the local and AK-run events, we also traditionally attend events at Dorney Lake at
Eton (Wallingford and Metroplitan Regattas), Peterborough (Head of the Nene, Peterborough Spring and
Summer Regattas) and events elsewhere on the Thames (Richmond, Kingston, Molesey).

All entries are co-ordinated by the Entry Secretary, who enters crews for races on behalf of the coaches,
manages the central club entries account. Members are required to pay for each race they enter and to
debit “AK Entries” on a regular basis to ensure that they are always in credit. The Entry secretary regularly
issues updates as to who is in credit and who is in debt, and he is instructed by the Captain not to enter
any member that is in debt.

AK is also responsible for organising events and hosts approximately 3 Head Races and 1 Regatta every
year, including the Hammersmith Head (March), Hammersmith Amateur Regatta (April), and the Tideway
Small Boats Head (December). Many of the club’s members volunteer to help with the organisation and
running of these events.

Members can purchase club kit for training and racing from the Kit Secretary. Information on how to order
kit can be found on the club noticeboard. Orders are processed a number of times during the season.
Members and crews representing the club in competitions are required to wear uniform club kit.

The club relies heavily on the use of its website ( www.akrowing.com) and of email for communicating
news amongst its members. Members should subscribe to the akwholeclub@yahoogroups.com
distribution list, which can be done via the club website. Each squad also has its own distribution lists.
Please speak to your Vice Captain to ensure that you are on these lists.

The club also produces a quarterly newsletter which is sent to all of its members through the post. It is
therefore important to ensure that the Membership Secretary has your latest contact details.

UK rowing is fortunate in having a number of very useful webs that between them provide you with all of
the information that you need.

www.ara-rowing.org                  The website of the Amateur Rowing Association includes the forms
                                    you need to join the association, information about what the GB squad
                                    is up to, plus information about the organisation of the sport in Britain.
                                    Also includes the ARA Safety Code.
http://users.ox.ac.uk/~quarrell /   Rachel Quarrel’s Rowing Service is the definitive website for rowers.
                                    Updated daily, it contains the latest news from the sport and contains
                                    every possible link you may need.
www.biddulph.org.uk                 David Biddulph’s Rowing Pages provide a superb online rowing
www.twrc.rowing.org.uk/slug/        The Tideway Slug provides the latest gossip from the Tideway.

                                                  Page 6 of 12
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                        SECTION 3 – THE RIVER THAMES
Flowing 205 miles from its source in the Cotswolds, out through the London Metropolis into the Thames
Estuary and the North Sea - the River Thames is the home of rowing in Britain.

Downstream from Teddington Lock, the Thames is subject to tides and is known as “The Tideway”.
Depending on the time of year, the river rises and falls (twice a day) by anything up to 7 metres (24ft) and
takes longer to flow out (between 6 to 9 hours) than it does to flow in (4 to 5 hours). With the falling tide,
the foreshore - or river bed - is revealed, a neglected and unappreciated part of the river, whose mud and
shingle conceals fascinating clues to London’s rich past. The river changes character many times as it
flows to the nation’s capital: suburban gardens and parks rub shoulders with Georgian mansions set
alongside new luxurious riverside homes built on former industrial wharves.

There is no longer any commercial river trade above Wandsworth Bridge. During the summer months
however, passenger boats coming upriver from Central London stop at Richmond, Kew, and Putney en
route for Kingston and Hampton Court. Smaller privately owned motor boats are also a common sight to
the river during the summer.

The Port of London Authority (PLA) is responsible for the management of navigational safety on the tidal
Thames, and its Harbour Service patrol the river every day of the year to enforce the regulations and offer
advice and assistance to all river users. Similar in appearance to some of the police patrol boats, they
inspect licensed river works, oversee the conduct of river traffic and respond to marine and riverside
incidents. More recently the Royal National Lifeboat Service (RNLI) has introduced a station at Chiswick
providing a 24 hour search and rescue service in their distinctive orange motor launches.

To ensure that you and others enjoy the river safely, we ask that you follow the PLA Riverside Code

    1.  If you see anyone in difficulty in the river, dial 999 and ask for the emergency services.
    2.  No swimming - the tide is too strong and boats may not see you until it's too late.
    3.  Don’t throw rubbish in the river - it puts people and wildlife at risk.
    4.  Always walk down steps or ramps to the river - they could be wet, muddy and slippery.
    5.  Always make sure you can get off the foreshore quickly - watch the tide and make sure the
        steps, stairs or ramp you use are close and clear. Remember, tides rise quicker than they fall.
    6. Always wear shoes or boots on the foreshore - broken glass and other sharp objects could be
        hidden there.
    7. Beware of muddy areas - they are soft and deep.
    8. Alcohol, drugs and the river don't mix - cold water, strong currents and drinking could kill.
    9. Tell the Police if notices, lifebelts or barriers have been vandalised - it puts lives at risk.
    10. Cover any cuts, scratches or broken skin with a waterproof plaster. If you cut or scratch
        yourself, wash the affected area well and put antiseptic on it. If you feel ill within a week of
        being near the river, visit a doctor. The river is much cleaner than it was but there is still a
        small risk of infection.

A report in the 1950’s reported that there was no fish life between Kew and Gravesend. A determined
effort was made in the 1960's to clean up the Thames in London with the result that it is now one of the
cleanest urban rivers in the world. It is hard to believe that the rather murky looking waters now contain
over 115 different species of fish and a huge variety of invertebrates, supporting a growing population of
birds such as herons and cormorants. Hammersmith even has a resident Seal!

All members are required to understand and obey the rules of the river. These are described in section 1
of the document “ afe use of Club Equipment” and can be provded by the Safety Advisor or Club

                                                Page 7 of 12
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Rowing is often described as the ultimate team sport, but here's a little history behind rowing as we know
it today.

The earliest records tell of the military use of the oar. In 54 BC Julius Caesar depended largely on oars
when crossing the English Channel. In 296 AD the Roman Fleet rowed up the Thames to re-occupy
London, and in 893-4 AD the Danes rowed up the estuaries of the Thames and the Lea.

In England, racing in boats dates from the days when there were few bridges, and rivers were crossed by
ferry or ford. Passengers were dependent on the watermen who operated ferries or skiffs. In the early
1700s some 10,000 watermen were licensed to work on the Thames above London Bridge. These
London boatmen wore a special livery and betting developed between the gentry on their speed and skill.
The race for "Doggett's Coat and Badge", the foundation of boat racing, was established in 1716 and is
still held each summer.

Early amateur oarsmen and scullers were also often boxers, with some rowing clubs also including boxing
sections. Rowing was introduced at Oxford University in the late 1700s and in 1806 the sport arrived at
Eton College. The first eight man boats appeared at Brasenose College, Oxford in 1815. Leander, the
oldest club still in existence, was founded in London at about this time.

The oldest regatta in the rowing calendar is Chester, which dates back to before 1814. The first University
Boat Race between Oxford and Cambridge was staged at Henley in 1829, and Henley Regatta was
established ten years later. The Amateur Rowing Association was established in 1882.

Britain's first international competition came at Henley in 1872, and the first Olympic Regatta was staged
in Paris in 1900. Although the European Championships were founded in 1892, British crews did not
compete until 1947. The Olympic Regatta was held at Henley in 1908 when British crews won four gold
medals - a feat since unsurpassed.

In 1973 Britain opened its first multi-lane international course in Nottingham and the World
Championships were subsequently staged there in 1975 and 1986. This new facility coincided with a
renaissance in British international rowing. The British eight won a silver medal in the 1974 World
Championships; the first medal won by a British crew for 10 years, and Olympic silvers for the eight and
double scull followed at the 1976 Montreal Games.

Since then, Britain has remained amongst the world's leading rowing nations. Success at World
Championships are too many to mention however a gold medal in each Olympics since 1984 is a record
unrivalled in British sport. The sports international successes can be found on the International Rowing

At Sydney Olympics rowing's most well known practitioner, Steven Redgrave, achieved an unbelievable
fifth successive Olympic Gold medal, something never achieved by a British Olympian in any sport. No
rower, competing over the brutally strength sapping 2000m course, has ever matched it, although Jack
Beresford won five medals in successive games from 1920-36.

The ARA is the governing body for the sport of rowing in Great Britain, responsible for representing GB's
interests to FISA, and for the preparation, training and selection of GB teams. The ARA is also
responsible for the organisation and development of rowing in England. They are also based only 100
metres away from AK!

Affiliated to the ARA are over 500 clubs and 250 competitions on the national calendar with rowing taking
place all over the country.

In order to race in an ARA competition, you must be a member of the ARA. Membership provides you
with third party liability insurance up to £5m and personal accident insurance whilst taking part in any ARA
organised event. In addition, you will receive monthly editions of Regatta magazine. Membership costs
£40 pa for an adult racing membership and only £20 pa for a non-racing adult.

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The rowing season lasts effectively from late September right through to mid August and is divided into
two parts:

The Regatta Season is the traditional season, and takes place between April and September. Regattas
see crews race side-by-side and over distances typically ranging between 500m and 2000m. Increasingly
regattas are becoming multi-lane as new courses (such as Dorney Lake at Eton) are built.
The Head Season was introduced in the early 20 Century as a means of providing competition between
crews that were still training over the winter. Treated just as competitively as Regattas, they take place
between October and March. Heads are time trials over distances typically ranging between 2500m and
7000m, and where crews are given running starts at intervals of approx 10 seconds between each other.

ARA competitions are divided into categories based on boat type, gender and status (except for Junior
and Veteran events which are graded by age). The status of a crew is determined by the combined
number of points that the crew members have. Individuals within a crew earn a point every time the crew
they are in wins a qualifying regatta (but not a Head race). Rowing points and sculling points are earned
separately. Coxes do not count regarding status.

Maximum Points for Categories are as follows:

                          Single              Pair/Double           Four/Quad               Eight
Novice                       0                      0                   0                     0
Senior 4                     0                      1                   2                     4
Senior 3                     2                      4                   8                    16
Senior 2                     5                     10                  20                    40
Senior 1                     8                     16                  32                    64
Open or Elite             No Limit              No Limit             No Limit              No Limit

In addition, some events offer additional categories for lightweight competitors and for mixed crews. The
latter don’t qualify for points.


The boats (or shells) are basically of two types and reflect the two forms of rowing: sweep rowing and
sculling. In sweep rowing each rower handles a single oar (about 12.5 ft or 3.9 m long) in sculling a rower
uses two oars, or sculls, (each about 9.5 ft or 3 m long). The word shell is often used in reference to the
boats used because the hull is only about 1/8" to 1/4" thick to make it as light as possible. These shells
are also rather long and as narrow as possible.

Each rower has his back to the direction the boat is moving and power is generated using a blended
sequence of the rower's legs, back and arms. The rower sits on a sliding seat with wheels on a track
called the slide.

                                                   Boat - the boat itself. Sometimes referred to as the
                                                   Bow Side - the right side of the boat - when sitting in
                                                   the cox's seat, looking forward; sometimes referred to
                                                   as starboard. Oars for this side of the boat often have
                                                   a green marking.
                                                   Stroke Side - the left side of the boat - when sitting in
                                                   the cox's seat, looking forward; sometimes referred to
                                                   as port. Oars for this side of the boat often have a red
                                                   Stern - the back end of the shell, where the cox
                                                   usually sits; also the end of the boat with the rudder
                                                   and/or fin.
                                                   Bow - the front end of the shell, covered by a bowball.
The Bowball is a small rubber ball that covers the end of the bow; intended to prevent/reduce damage
upon collision. The Fin is located under the stern of the boat which helps to keep the boat on course. The

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Rudder is a small, movable part, usually metal, that sits under the stern of the boat; allows the coxswain
to steer the boat.

The boats are steered either by the coxswain, or by the bow seat (in boats without a coxswain - called
"coxless" boats). Cox's use a rudder to steer the boat, which they control using cables that are connected
to it. To help keep the boat on course, all boats have a small fin in the stern.

There are two types of boat - rowing and sculling. There are also boats which can be used for either
rowing or sculling, depending on how they're rigged (i.e. the boat comes with two sets of riggers - see the
next section for information about riggers). Rowers (sometimes called sweep) have one oar each, while
scullers have two oars each.


Originally made of wood (some still are) rowing shells are
now usually made with layers of carbon fibre, fibreglass and
plastic. These boats are extremely lightweight and narrow,
allowing the rowers to slice through the water. Each bow is
covered by a bow ball - a small round piece of rubber that not
only helps to judge photo finishes, but also helps to protect
people from serious injury if the boat collides with another

Each rower sits on a sliding seat that rolls on wheels along a
fixed track called the slide. Feet are tied into shoes which are
bolted onto footplates in the boat. Each oar is held in place
by riggers, which extend from the saxboard. The rigger
holds the gate in which the oar sits.

The gate is carefully set up so that the oar is held in the water with a specific amount of pitch or tilt. This
is usually about 5 degrees at the midpoint of the stroke although it does not change through the stroke.

Footplate or Stretcher - fixture in boat that contains shoes screwed into a piece of wood. This
contraption holds the rower's feet into the boat and is the only part of the boat where the rower is firmly
attached. The shoes have quick release velcro straps, but should not be over tightened as you may need
to release your feet in the event of a capsize. The position of the feet is adjustable to accommodate
different height rowers. This is achieved by loosening the three wing nuts securing the stretcher to the
tracks and then lifting and sliding the footplate to the required position. If you are rowing in the same boat
regularly, it is a good idea to remember the position of the shoes so that you can adjust the boat before
you get in.

The Saxboard is the top side of the boat - the edges onto which the riggers are bolted.

The Gate is the small plastic part at the end of the rigger that opens at the top. The rower opens the gate,
places the oar into it, then shuts the top metal bar, screwing it tightly shut. The gate holds the oar in place
during the rowing stroke.

The Rigger is the metal support attached to the saxboard that holds the gate.

The Slide is the tracks underneath each seat which the wheels of the seat slide on, allowing the rower to
move back and forth in the boat, utilising their full leg power.

The Cox Box is the device used by the cox, consisting of a microphone and speakers that amplifies the
cox's voice throughout the boat.

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Oars are referred to as blades for rowing and sculls for sculling. They are made of carbon fibre although
you may start with wooden blades; wooden blades are heavier but can make the boat easier to balance
for beginners.

Cleavers are the most commonly used type of oar, made out of fibreglass and carbon fibre. The shafts of
the oars are hollow, making them as light as possible. Macons were originally created in the 1960's, was
the blade of choice until cleavers came into existence. Macon blades are used for novices as they put
less strain on your back if you have bad technique. The Blade or Spoon - the end of the oar that is places
in the water and used to propel the boat forward; also the oar itself is often referred to as a blade. The
Shaft is the long, (now commonly hollow) length of the oar. The Collar or Button is a small plastic piece
that is placed against the gate to keep the oar from slipping out.


Each person in the boat has a position, starting in the bow. The person closest to the bow is called bow
seat. Every other seat is called by the number of the seat, except the lead rower, who is the stroke.
For example a crew in a four would be referred to as bow, 2, 3, stroke. In an eight it would be bow, 2, 3, 4,
5, 6, 7, stroke (BGSBC have no eights as the River Aire is not wide enough to allow for easy turning of
such a long boat).

Coxswain (cox) - the person steering the boat who also motivates the rowers, helps them keep their
pace and helps to correct technique and unify the crew.


Catch - The point where the legs are compressed in a 90 degree angle, the arms are stretched out, the
body is angled forward and the blade is enters the water.

Drive - the part of the stroke where the legs are pressing down, then the back and arms swing backward,
sending the body to the bow.

Finish - the point where the rower pushes down on the handle of the oar to pop the blade out of the water
and begins to push the arms out of the bow.

Recovery - the time spent winding the body back up to the catch, it is like compressing a spring; first the
arms extend, then the body angle is achieved, finally the legs are pulled up to the catch.

Square blades - keeping the blade perpendicular to the water on the recovery.

Feathered blades - keeping the blade parallel to the water on the recovery.

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Crab - an unfortunate incident when the blade gets caught in the water and the handle of the oar hits the
midsection of the rower; can result in getting tossed out of the boat. It is caused by the blade not entering
into the water fully square, when pressure is applied to the blade it will just go deeper into the water.

Most coxing commands are done "in three" or "next stroke". For example, if you want the crew to lift the
boat up, you would say, "lifting the boat to shoulder , in one; two; three!" On the word three, the rowers
would respond and lift the boat up. Or if you want the crew to stop you would say, "next stroke, easy
there!" this gives the crew time to respond and stop together.

During pieces, (a term that means whatever distance the rowers are doing, ex. 500 meter piece) a cox will
often count tens; for example, "let's take a ten for quick catches". The cox will then count the next ten
strokes for the rowers.

Hands on - put hands on the saxboard and get ready to lift the boat.
To waist - lift the boat to waist level, holding the saxboard with both hands.
To shoulders - lift the boat up to shoulder height and rest the saxboard on the shoulder.
Above heads - lift the boat over the heads, one hand on each saxboard.
Full Crew, Rowing from backstops, Are you Ready, Go! - This is a classic command, the cox specifies
who the command is to, what they are to do, gives them time to prepare and when the cox can tell the
crew is ready they say Go.
Easy There - stop rowing, while maintaining the arms away position and leaving the blade feathered
above the water, letting the boat glide over the water.
Drop - after telling the crew to easy there the cox will give the command to drop, the crew can then drop
their blades on the water, this is a bit like the "at ease" command in the army.
Hold it up - put the blades into the water at an angle, causing the boat to decelerate quickly.
Firm/Full Pressure - pull on the oar with 100% of your power.
Three Quarter Pressure - rowing with 75% of your power.
Half/Medium Pressure - rowing with 50% of your power.
Light Pressure - stop rowing with pressure and just lightly pull the blades through the water.
Back it down - push the oar backwards through the water to move the boat toward the stern -
predominantly used to turn the boat around (back it down on one side).


Stroke - The rower sitting nearest the stern (and the coxswain, if there is one). The stroke is responsible
for setting the stroke length and cadence (with the coxswain's gentle advice).
Ratio or Contrast - The ratio of the recovery time to the drive time. The recovery time should always be
longer than the drive time (how much longer I won't say ... as someone wrote, the idea is to `move the
boat on the pull through (or drive) and take a ride (i.e. relax) on the recovery without sacrificing the very
speed that they have generated'). Some say the recovery should be twice as long as the drive.
Rating - The number of strokes per minute. Also known as stroke rating.
Stern Check - Bad technique that slows the boat down. Essentially, the momentum of the rowers sends
the boat in the opposite direction. Any abrupt deceleration of the shell caused by some uncontrolled
motion within the shell; an interruption in the forward motion of the shell. The coxswain is probably the
most acutely aware of this abrupt deceleration and it has been known to cause whiplash in some extreme
Airstroke - The rower starts the drive before the catch has been completed (or even started in some
cases). This is also referred to as rowing into the catch.
Rushing the Slide - Bad technique that causes stern check. Comes from coming towards the catch from
the recovery too fast.
Skying - The fault of carrying the hands too low during the recovery especially when a rower dips his or
her hands just prior to the catch (i.e. a sort of winding up). This usually results in the blade being too high
off the water's surface.
Puddles - A measure of your power (and of run). If your blade leaves behind little dinky ripples, then
you're not pulling hard enough. If you leave tidal waves after you pull your blade out of the water, then
you're pulling just right.
Pyramid Rowing - Strength/endurance building drill where the coxswain calls an increasing series of
power strokes, then a decreasing series of power strokes. e.g. Power 10 10 normal strokes Power 20 10
normal strokes Power 10.
Ergometer (Erg) - An ergometer is a rowing machine that closely simulates rowing in a boat - a coxless
quad, to be more precise. Feel the Pain!

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