Question of the Day

Can you explain a few terms for me: bucket rigged, bow side, and stern side? And also how do you suggest rigging an 8? Starboard or port rigged? Thanks!

As far as rigging goes, there is no “right” or “wrong” side to rig it. In high school and college, every boat I raced in was port rigged because the women chosen to stroke those boats all rowed on port. The woman stroking my eight right now rows starboard, so we’re a starboard stroked boat. It was a little disorienting at first getting used to everything being on different sides but other than that I haven’t seen any clear advantages or disadvantages to the boat being rigged one side over the other. I think it’s best to determine who your stroke is first before you rig the boat instead of rigging the boat one side or the other and limiting who you can put in that seat right off the bat. It also eliminates having to de-rig and re-rig the boat to fit someone who rows on the other side.

Bucket rigged boats are boats that have two immediate rowers rowing on the same side. So, for example, instead of 5 and 6 being starboard and port, they would both be starboard. I’ve heard it called “tandem rigging” more than “bucket rigging” but both terms mean the same thing. The photo below shows a really aggressive example of how you could do this.

There was an interesting article that came out of MIT a few years ago that discussed the different types of bucket rigging. A mathematician was employed by the University of Cambridge to analyze the forces in rowing and he came up with “new” types of bucket rigs that help to eliminate wiggle (surprisingly, that is a technical term). It’s worth a read.

Bow-side is what I think nearly every country except the United States calls starboard. I’ve never heard the term “stern side” but the opposite of bow-side is stroke-side, so I’m assuming maybe that’s what you meant? Stroke-side is the port side of the boat, also a term that nearly everyone but the US uses.

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