Boat and Rowing Jargon Explained

For those people not familiar with boat building and rowing jargon the book will contain an explanation chapter.

This was written by Nicholas Boyde a grandson of Sid Radley the last Radley boat builder, and son of Shirley Boyde nee Radley an England crew member in the early 1950s

Boat jargon explained

Clinker-built. A method of boat building in which horizontal lapstrake hull planks overlap the planks below. Viking ships were clinker-built.

Racing Shell. (aka Fine Boat or just Shell). A method of boat-building where a long smooth semi-circular cross-section hull is extended to minimise water resistance. Usually without a keel, relying for stability on the crew’s ability to “sit it up” and a small fin under the rearmost part of the hull, forward of any rudder.

Restricted boat. A clinker or shell-built boat with a full length keel. Very stable. Now mostly used as training boats.

Sculling. A method of rowing in which a short sculling oar (scull) is held in each hand, as opposed to rowing proper, where both hands are used to pull just one long sweep oar.

Sweep Oar Rowing. A method of rowing where an even number of oarsmen, equal numbers per side, each control one long sweep oar. Modern configurations are Pairs, Fours and Eights. Pairs and Fours can be with, or without, provision for a cox. Eights are always coxed.

Skiff. An open clinker built sculling boat generally used for pleasure rowing and of a much wider construction than racing boats to increase stability for pleasure boaters. Skiffs usually have fixed seats with movable foot-rests for one or two oarsmen, a double-width rear bench seat for the passengers, and space for picnic baskets etc.

Whiff sculling boat. A sculling boat, lightweight clinker built on racing lines, primarily used for training in the 20th century, often without bow or stern covering.

Single sculling boat. Rowed by one person with two sculls. Double scull: two persons with two sculls each. Doubles and Quadruples are common. Triples, quints and sexts and even octs have been built.

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