What Are Olympic Rowing Boats Called?

If you’re an avid rower or a fan of the Olympic Games, the Olympic rowing boats will certainly be familiar to you. But have you ever wondered what these impressive vessels are called? We’ve collected all the details and answered all your questions in this article – from sculls to coxed eights, read on to find out about all the Olympic rowing boats and their names!

What Are Olympic Rowing Boats Called?

Different Kinds of Boats Used in Olympic Rowing

In the exhilarating world of Olympic rowing, you’ll find an array of boats, each masterfully designed to amplify performance and speed. These vessels are broadly divided into two groups that make up the heart of this sport: ‘sweep’ rowing and ‘sculling’.

Ever wondered what the difference is? Well, in sweep rowing, each rower holds one oar, like they’re sweeping the water aside. In sculling, on the other hand, each rower handles two oars, skillfully maneuvering them through the water.

Now, let’s dive a bit deeper. In these two categories, we have different types of boats. What distinguishes them? The number of rowers and whether they carry a coxswain.

Let’s start with the sweep boats. We have the coxless pair and the coxless four. Now, you might be thinking, “What does ‘coxless’ mean?” It simply means that these boats do not have a coxswain. A coxswain, you see, has the vital job of steering the boat and coordinating the power and rhythm of the rowers. Then we have the coxed eight, a larger boat that does include a coxswain.

Moving on to the sculling category, there’s the Quadruple Sculls. This event features four rowers in a scull boat, typically long and narrow. Why this design, you ask? It’s all about reducing resistance, allowing the boat to slice through the water for maximum speed.

Regardless of the type or category, all these boats share a common name: shells. In sculling events, they’re also referred to as sculls.


What are the Advantages and Disadvantages for Each Type of Boat

  1. Coxless Pair: This duo offers a unique blend of power and precision. The advantage? It’s all about connection and balance. They can achieve a harmonious rhythm with just two rowers, making the boat glide smoothly through the water. However, the flip side is that maintaining this balance requires immense skill and coordination. One wrong move can disrupt the rhythm, affecting speed and stability.
  2. Coxless Four: In this boat, the power increases since we have double the rowers. This means faster speeds and potentially quicker race times. But remember, with great power comes great responsibility. With no coxswain to guide them, the four rowers must be perfectly synchronized to avoid the risk of imbalance or even capsizing.
  3. Coxed Eight: Here’s where things get really interesting. This is the largest boat in rowing, packed with power thanks to the eight rowers. Plus, they have a coxswain to steer and coordinate, allowing the rowers to focus solely on their strokes. But, the downside? More rowers mean more potential for discord. Even slight variations in timing or technique can ripple through the boat, reducing efficiency and speed.

Now, let’s turn our attention to the ‘sculling’ boats.

  1. Single Sculls: The ultimate test of individual skill, the single sculls boat allows the rower to control their own destiny. They can adjust their pace and strategy as they see fit. On the downside, it’s a lonely endeavor. Without teammates to rely on, the single sculler must possess exceptional endurance and mental fortitude to maintain performance throughout the race.
  2. Double Sculls: Two rowers mean double the power and the ability to share the physical load. It also opens up strategic possibilities, as rowers can adapt their rhythm based on their partner’s strengths and weaknesses. But like the coxless pair, synchronization is crucial here. Any lack of harmony between the rowers can disrupt the boat’s movement and speed.
  3. Quadruple Sculls: As the largest sculling boat, the quadruple sculls bring a significant advantage in power. However, synchronizing four rowers can be a challenging task. Misalignment in strokes can lead to instability and reduced speed.

How to Choose the Right Boat for Your Needs

Let’s start by asking ourselves a simple question. What will be the primary purpose of your boat? Are you looking for a peaceful fishing retreat, adrenaline-pumping watersports, or perhaps a vessel for long-distance cruising? Identifying your main goal will help steer us in the right direction.

For those of you looking for a tranquil escape, a small fishing boat might be just what you need. Compact, easy to handle, and equipped with all the necessities for a successful fishing trip, these boats are your ticket to a serene day out on the water. Just imagine yourself, rod in hand, waiting for that exciting tug, surrounded by nature’s beauty. Sounds idyllic, doesn’t it?

But maybe you’re more of a thrill-seeker, someone who craves the rush of wind in your hair and spray of water on your face. If that’s you, then a speedboat could be the perfect match. Designed for high-speed action and watersports like skiing and wakeboarding, these boats promise exhilarating experiences. Remember, though, with great speed comes great responsibility, so safety should always be your top priority.

Now, for those dreaming of extended voyages across the open sea, exploring new horizons, a cruising yacht might be your ideal companion. These boats are designed for comfort and endurance, capable of accommodating you for days or weeks. Picture this: waking up to a breathtaking sunrise over the ocean, spending your days discovering untouched islands, and your evenings under a canopy of stars. Sounds like a dream, doesn’t it?

Once you’ve figured out your primary purpose, consider other factors like budget, maintenance, storage, and operation skills. Remember, owning a boat is a commitment, not just a one-time purchase. It’s like adopting a pet; it requires ongoing care and attention.

In the end, choosing the right boat is about finding a balance between your dreams and practicalities. It’s about understanding your needs and matching them with the right vessel. And remember, no matter which boat you choose, the most important thing is the joy, freedom, and adventure it brings to your life.


Q1: What is the difference between ‘sweep’ rowing and ‘sculling’?

Ah, an excellent place to start! In sweep rowing, each rower holds one oar, like they’re sweeping the water aside. In contrast, in sculling, each rower handles two oars, skillfully moving them through the water. It’s like the difference between using one hand or both hands to stir a big pot of soup!

Q2: Can you describe the various types of Olympic rowing boats?

Of course! Let’s imagine we’re at the Olympics, standing on the sidelines watching the boats go by. First, in the category of ‘sweep’ rowing, we have the coxless pair and coxless four, which do not have a coxswain. Then we see the coxed eight, a larger boat with a coxswain to steer and coordinate the rowers. Now, we turn our gaze to the ‘sculling’ boats, where we find the Quadruple Sculls. This event features four rowers in a scull boat, long and narrow to reduce resistance.

Q3: What are the advantages and disadvantages of each type of boat?

Ah, the heart of strategy! Each boat brings its unique blend of power and precision, harmony and challenge. From the intimate connection of a coxless pair to the thrilling power of a coxed eight, each boat presents its own set of pros and cons. Similarly, in the sculling category, single sculls offer individual control but require exceptional endurance, while double and quadruple sculls provide shared power but demand flawless synchronization.

Q4: How do I choose the right boat for my needs?

Imagine yourself as a captain, ready to embark on your sea adventure. The first step is to identify your main goal – peaceful fishing, adrenaline-pumping watersports, or long-distance cruising. Once you’ve figured this out, consider practical factors like budget, maintenance, storage, and operation skills. Remember, owning a boat is like adopting a pet; it requires ongoing care and attention. It’s about finding a balance between your dreams and practicalities.