Novice Coxes

The cox is the voice of the boat.  They have a very important role in making the boat go smoothly. Here’s some tips for beginners.

Getting the Boat Out

It’s your job to “call” getting the boat out: you need to give clear commands which all the crew can follow at the same time.

As with all coxing calls, say the command, take a breath, and say “go!” The crew will follow your
command at the ‘go’. Taking a breath is important to give them time to prepare to carry out your command. If the ‘go’ is too soon, they won’t do the action at the same time!

Section 1: inside the boathouse

  • “Hands on”
  • “Racks out”
  • “Stroke/bow side under”
  • “Lift” (usually to waists — say which)
  • Racks in
  • Bring her out

Section 2: into the water

  • “To shoulders” (when clear of hitting the other boats in the bay)
  • “Clear” (when the stern is out of the door and won’t hit anything if the crew head to the river)
  • “To heads” (when the boat is parallel with the river)
  • “In!”

Remember… “READY, GO!”


Eights are very long! Don’t forget this when you’re looking out for things ahead. There is room for 8
rowers to completely extend their legs, and extra length in the bow and stern.

On either side of your seat there are knots/grips in a rope/wire. You alter the position of this wire to use the rudder of your boat.

The rudder is useful but you have to plan ahead to use it — think 3-4 metres ahead! It isn’t powerful enough for big last minute turns.

The rudder works better when Bow pair/four are rowing.

You will also steer using your rowers. Bow pair are the most important rowers for steering.
A tap/stroke from 2 will turn the boat to the right. A tap/stroke from Bow will turn the boat to the left.

Your Rowers

It’s very helpful for you to know the parts of the stroke so you can call timings effectively. But you can’t see your rowers’ bodies, so you need to know the stroke by the position of their blades.

The Basics:

 The Stroke:

Hand Heights:

Backing Down

This is“rowing backwards” and is restricted to Stern pair/four. ‘Back it down’ with Stern pair to
get out of a knot of boats. Use Stroke or 7 to alter the direction of the bow if Bow or 2 are unable to
take a stroke (this could happen if your bow is close to a houseboat or the bank). For this, you need to get the rower ON THE SAME SIDE as the way you want to turn to ‘back it down’.

Parking at the Boathouse

Not an easy task! But if you can get blades on the hard without bashing the bow into the bank then you should be set. Your bank party will grab a blade and pull the boat the rest of the way in.

Once you’re close to the bank, these steps should get you in without too much trouble:

Please refer to the pdf for the full guide.

Novice coxing guide.pdf

For more details, please refer to the CUCBC coxing guide.

Caitlin Saunders