Rowing FQA’s

A Rowing Description

Rowing is a complex art form that combines the entire body to leaver the boat past the point of the blade’s connection with the water. Sounds simple enough! Around 60% of the power comes from the leg drive, 30% from the body swing and 10% from the arms drawing towards the chest.

Rowing is a complex interaction of technique, strength, stamina, teamwork and, most importantly, mental toughness. Rowing is incredibly demanding of one’s time, social life, physical and mental ability.

Rowing is extremely rewarding. An individual will receive in return the same proportion of the effort he or she outputs. 

RSA Lightweight 4- (Coxless Four) Epitomising the Essense of Rowing

Rowing Olympics

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Bishops Rowing FQA’s

The difference Between Sculling and Sweep Oar (Sweep):

There are two types of rowing, sculling and sweep. In sculling, each rower has two oars, each about 9.5 ft. long. In sweep rowing, each rower has only one oar, about 12 ft. long. The smallest boat is a scull and the biggest is the 8.

In boats with no coxswain, one of the rowers is responsible for steering the boat. This is role changes according to the make of boat and country. In South Africa it is normally the stroke (rower closest to the front of the boat). This is done in pairs and coxless fours have a toe-steer, meaning that their foot is attached to a wire that can move the rudder. In sculling and doubles they steer by directing other rowers in the boat to adjust how hard they are pulling.

Boats in each discipline are identified by numbers, each has a specific name and requires varying skills sets.


Scull (1x): 8.2m long. Sculling an individual is alone, 

Double (2x): 9.8 – 10.4m long.

Quad (4x): 12.8 – 13.0m long.

Sweep Oar:

Pair (2-):  10.4m long. A 2+ (+ = cox) also exists but a pair with coxswain are rare in the modern rowing era.

Coxless Four (4 -) & Coxed Four (4+): 12.0 – 13.7m long.

Eight (8+): A coxswain is a permanent feature. 16.5 – 18.5m long.

In both kinds of racing, rowers are able to take long powerful strokes with the oars because their seat moves while their feet are in shoes attached to a footboard. The design of a shell creates a dynamic combination of speed and strength.


Oars not only move the boat through the water but act as balancers to help “set,” or balance the boat. Each oar is mounted in a swivel oarlock, which is attached to a rigger.

A Few Tips for The Trade!

  1. Boats have right of way! If you hear “heads,” people carrying a boat are trying to get someplace with it and you are in the way, make sure in move or duck!
  2. Oarsman is a general term for all rowers in the discipline. Rowers who row an 8+, 4-/+ or 2-, any sweep boat, are called sweep oarsmen. If you can row both stroke and bow side you are a bi-sweeptual rower! Rowers who row a 4x, 2x or 1x, any sculling boat, are called scullers.
  3. If you hear a rower say “I caught a crab”, he/she isn’t talking about any life below! If a blade enters the water at an improper angle, it can get caught under the surface. The oar handle drives into the stomach and has the potential to throw the rower out of the boat.
  4. It is Boatrace. Not Boatraces.

Gear – Essentials & More

  • Towels for showering and for at the water,
  • Torch Lip ice Sunblock –  NB,
  • A water bottle that can be used to mix energy drinks,
  • Hand sanitiser,
  • Mosquito repellent, e.g. Tabard (very important as they sleep close to the water) &
  • Grade 8s – tent, mattress, pillow, sleeping bag and towel.


  • Tracksuit,
  • 2 x lightweight Bishops shorts,
  • 1 x Bishops Rowing shirt (golf style),
  • Trisuit,
  • Long-sleeved blue Rowing shirt,
  • Rowing cap and/or brimmed hat – it can get really hot,
  • Running shirts,
  • Casual clothes (shorts, t-shirts, top, etc.),
  • Underwear,
  • Socks,
  • Takkies,
  • Slops,
  • Towel/s,
  • Swimming kit,
  • Toiletries,
  • Any personal medication &
  • Please note that the evenings can get cold – please pack warm clothes.


  • 1x 10mm spanner and 1x 13mm spanner &
  • Book, cards, rugby/soccer ball for relaxation periods.

Banned Drugs List:

Please follow the link below.

WADA Prohibited Drugs List – WADA

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Directions Page – Where?

Be Inspired

Boys in the Boat