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boats 101

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TYPES OF BOATS

Shell: the term for a crew boat. There are various types of shells.

Sweeps – shells rigged for one oar per rower. Sweeps are the most common shells in crew competitions.

Pair – for two rowers, usually coxless, called a straight pair.
            
Four – for four rowers, either coxed or straight.

Eight – for eight rowers, always coxed. The highest regarded races are                              
               between eights, akin to a heavyweight fight in boxing.            
Sculls – shells that are rigged for each rower to use two oars. These are not nearly as popular as sweeps, with the exception of singles.

            Single – for an individual rower, with no coxswain, i.e., coxless.

            Double – for two rowers, usually coxless, called a straight double.

            Quad – for four rowers, either coxed or straight.

            Octuple – for eight rowers, always coxed. (Relatively rare)

Coxed: a coxswain rides along in the boat to coach and steer.

Straight: a boat without a coxswain, so the rowers need to steer by looking over their shoulder or by observing buoys and other racing-markers they pass.

BASICS OF A BOAT

Directions:in crew it’s vital to understand which direction is which.

            Bow – the front of the shell as it moves forward through the water. Rowers’ backs point at the bow as they row.

            Stern – the rear of the shell. Rowers face the stern as they row. The coxswain sits closest to the stern, facing the bow.

            Port – the left-hand side of the boat when facing the bow.

            Starboard – the right-hand side of the boat when facing the bow.

PARTS OF A BOAT

Bow ball: a small rubber ball affixed to the bow tip of a shell. Used for grasping the front of the shell and sometimes for delineating the very front of the shell in tightly contested races.

Collar: a wide ring placed on the oar near the handle, which when placed correctly in the oarlock prevents the oar from falling out of the shell.

Footplate/Footstretcher: where the rowers place and strap their feet in to provide a push-off point for each stroke. Along with the seat, the footplates provide the rower with a stable anchor to the shell.

Gunwales: the lengthwise sides of the boat to which the outriggers attach.

Rudder lines: two rope or wire cables attached to the rudder, which a coxswain uses to steer the shell.

Oarlock: a rectangular plastic frame attached by a swivel to the outrigger. The top portion opens and closes, screwing tightly to lock an oar into place so that it does not fall out of the shell.

Outriggers: the metal tripod attached to the side of the shell. The tip of the “V” nearest the top of the gunwales is where the oarlock is located.

Rigging: the configuration of outriggers that comprises the boat. Sculls have the same type of rigging. Sweeps can vary rigging, mostly based on the stroke:

            Port-rigged – the stroke’s oar enters the water on the port side of the shell.

            Starboard-rigged – the oar enters the water on the starboard side of the shell.

Slides: the fixed rails that act as a track below each rower’s seat.

            Backstop – barriers on the bow-end of the slides that prevent a rower’s seat from detaching at the end of each stroke.

            Frontstop – barriers on the stern-end of the slides that prevent a rower’s seat from detaching at the beginning of each stroke.

            Rollers – the wheels of the rower’s seat that run along the slide.

Rudder: a submerged fin at the stern of the shell that turns in order to steer the shell.

Skeg: a submerged fin that stabilizes the shell.