From lifestyle to sport : Essentials of Rowing

March 23, 2009

A cursory glance into the history of the rowing sport. What is it? Where did it come from?

The history of the sport is that it wasn’t a sport at all. Originating as a mean of transporation in the ancient culture of Egypt, Greece, and Rome. Used in the time for wafare as well.

In the 1700s, rowing evolved into a sport through competition among the watermen that provided ferry and taxi services along the River Thames in London, England. Prices for wager races were encouraged by trade unions, a cartels,  secret societies, and/or trade associations.

Der Hamburger und Germania Rudr Club was founded in 1836 is one of the oldest rowing clubs in the world, an marked the beginning of the organized sport in Germany, which is second to Leander Club (Establishe in 1818) is the world’s oldest public rowing club.

Racing boats (Shells) are long, narrow, and broadly semi-circular in cross-section in design to reduce drag, the phenomenon of resistance to motion through a fluid. A fin located on the under-side, near the rear helps prevent the tendency o roll and yaw and to assist the rudder.

Materials began with wood, but today almost always shells are made from composit material like a carbon-fiber with reinforced plastic. Together use to acquire strength and weight advantages.

In rowing you have numbers of 1, 2, 4, or 8. You may have heard of coxswains, one who is charged with navigating and steering the shell. Cox that literally means “boat servant”. Ship also known as a swain. Boats are either coxless (aka “straight”), bow-coxed (aka “bowloaders”) or stern-coxed.

Sculling and Sweeping are nearly identical, but slightly different. Similar in terms of the possible number(s) of rowers. It’s the rigger configuration that differs.  Sweep rowing puts ONLY (1) oar into the rower’s hands. Alternating the riggers, for example with an 8, you would have eight rowers with (4) riggers on port and (4) riggers on starboard; Alternating provides a symetric # of oars per side.

So the configurations are as follows :

Sweep: straight pair (or coxless pair) (2-), coxed pair (2+), straight four (or coxless four) (4-), coxed four (4+), eight (8+) (always coxed)

Sculling: single (scull) (1x), double (scull) (2x), triple (scull) (3x) (very rare), quad (or quadruple) (scull) (4x), octuple (scull) (8x) (always coxed, and mainly for juniors and exhibition)

Sweep/Sculling: Queep, 2 scullers and 2 sweepers (very rare)

That’s a good review of the sport’s equipment and general history. More to review soon.



One Response to “From lifestyle to sport : Essentials of Rowing”

  1. Rower said

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    That’s interesting. Posted by news at Twitter. Thanks for the link!

    Rowing machine

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