Thursday, 20 May 2010

Rowing and Sculling

A recent comment from Soulgirl: 'What is sculling?' prompted me to find some images which clearly show the difference between sweep rowing (the sort of rowing that I do and James coxes most of the time) and sculling.

The crucial difference is that in a sweep rowing boat, everyone holds one oar, known as a 'blade' each, and in a scull, each rower has two oars, known as 'sculls'. Sweep rowing is more common on the Cam, mainly I think because it has so many corners that lots of practice and skill is required to be able to steer and row well on this river without a cox - the smaller sculling boats don't have coxes, except for some training quads. Sculling is a much more symmetrical movement, and juniors are not allowed to begin sweep rowing until they are fully developed.

These images, from visualdictionaryonline are the best I've found:

Sculling boats. Quads, quintets and octuples also exist although the latter two are rare!

Sweep rowing boats


  1. The wiki articles aren't great but do include pix:

  2. This is useful. Despite having a rowing brother I can never remember the difference between sculling and rowing! (My brother was a member of the coxless four which won the Veteran Fours Head of the River race last year for London Rowing Club.)

  3. I've been sweeping for 3 years now, and have only sculled 3 times. Funny thing you said juniors must learn sculling before sweeping.

    I still have much difficulty with sculling. What makes things even worse is I'm only proficient in sweeping one side. Meaning, during the rowing season, my body's pretty messed up (as you said sweeping is unsymmetrical). *high five*

  4. Thanks for that Amy, I wondered what the difference was but didn't have time to ask! :-)
    Kath (nb Herbie)