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Stern / Aft: back of boat

Transom: the very back of the boat

Astern or going astern: going backwards

Rudder: the part that steers the boat behind the transom on a gig

Thwart: The seats on a Gig

Port: left hand side of the boat facing forwards

Starboard (larboard): right hand side of the boat facing forwards

Amidships (midships): Middle of the boat.

Forward: (pronounced Forard) the front of the boat

Bow: the very front of the boat

Keel: the very bottom of the hull

Bilge keel: the small keel at the sides of the hull

Gunnel: the very top plank of the hull


Oar: referred to as blade, paddle or kit

Leather: the leather on the oar

Blade: the end of the oar that is put in the water

Thole pins or pins: the pins you row between both soft and hard

Stretcher: the wooden bar you rest your feet on

Bow side: the rowers on the same side as the number one or bow rower

Stroke side: the rowers on the same side as the number six or stroke rower

Easy Oars:  stop rowing

Hold water / stop the boat: stop rowing and hold the oar in the water

Pull up: Row either all together or bow side or stroke side

Back up: row backwards either all together or bow side or stroke side

Tap up: row slowly (maybe in percentages)

Ship your kit: put your oar away

Mind your kit: take care your oar is about to hit something either bow side or stroke side

Timing: the oars all entering the water at the same time, called the catch

Rate: the number of strokes per minute

Rowing technique is split into 4 sections. This will be explained / coached:

1. The Catch   2. The Drive   3. The Finish   4. The Recovery



Never tread on the seats!

The very front seat is the pilot’s seat and is for a passenger, spare rower or pilot.

The next seat back from the bow (front) is seat number 1.This has the bow rower in it. This seat has pins on both sides so that the bow rower can toss and row on the other side. This is done on races when the bow rower has to throw his oar over the boat to row on the other side so that the turning mark can be rounded more quickly with four rowers pulling on the stroke side. When the mark is rounded he tosses the oar back over the boat. For this reason the bow rower is sometimes called the tosser.

Each seat is then numbered 2-6 as you move down the boat from the bow, rowing alternately on stoke side then bow side. Seat number 6 has the stroke rower. The stoke rower is responsible for the number of stokes a minute rowed at a steady and consistent rate.

The last seat is for the Coxan, who steers the Gig via the ropes on each side of the rudder.



Your cox will be an experienced rower and will have local knowledge

of the Camel estuary. The cox will be conversant with all the safety procedures and you should follow their instructions.

The cox thinks he/she is god! However his/her instructions/orders should be obeyed at all times. The cox's primary responsibility is for your safety and well-being and secondly for the safety of the boat. Usually if the boat is handled properly and safely then the crew is safe as well. The cox issues orders and sometimes shouts, this so that he/she can be heard at the other end of the boat, especially when it is windy. Coxes should never be angry or rude but they do give orders. You should carry these out and undertake them efficiently and as quickly as possible. Never question their decisions at the time but please ask questions after the row if you have not understood why certain things were said or done.


Make sure you have with you on the row suitable clothing, bearing in mind it is usually colder on the water and the weather can change quickly. A waterproof jacket is essential and warm clothing is advisable as you can always remove items of clothing if you are too hot. Wellington boots should not be worn when rowing, trainers, crocks or sandals are best. Coxans will not let you go out if you do not have suitable clothing.



Life jackets are available. Please ask for a life jacket if you would like to wear one. This is obligatory if you are under 16years old



A capsize is very unusual but should it happen DON’T PANIC.Take orders from the coxswain. Stay with the boat and stay together.



Don’t panic. Take orders from the coxswain.



The club follows the CPGA (Cornish Pilot Gig Association) Guidelines and policy. Our aims are clearly set out in the constitution. Further details are available from the web site or the Welfare officer, whose details are on the website. Should you have any issues you would like to discuss in this regard please contact the welfare officer. Should you wish to discuss any other matter the details of the officers and committee members and their role are on the website together with their photograph.

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