Oars move the boat through the water and act as balances. Sweep oars are
longer than sculling oars and typically have wooden handles instead of
rubber grips. The shaft of the oar is made of extremely lightweight carbon
fiber instead of the heavier wood used years ago.
The popular hatchet blade -- named because of its cleaver-like shape --
is about 20 percent larger than previous blades. Its larger surface area
has made it the almost universal choice among elite-level rowers.
- Sculls and Shells
All rowing boats can be called shells. Rowing boats with scullers in them
(each person having two oars) are also called sculls (e.g., single scull,
double scull, quadruple scull). Originally made of wood, most new boats
are made of honeycombed carbon fiber. They are light and appear fragile,
but are crafted to be strong and stiff in the water.
The smallest boat, the single scull, is approximately 27 feet long and
as narrow as 10 inches across. At 58 feet, the eight is the longest boat
on the water.
The oars are attached to the boat with riggers, which provide a fulcrum
for the levering action of rowing. Generally, sweep rowers sit in configurations
that have the oars alternating from side to side along the boat. Sometimes,
most often in the 4- or 4+, the coach will rig the boat so that two consecutive
rowers have their oars of the same side in order to equalize individual