First and Third Trinity Boat Club
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Rowing at University in Cambridge

Rowing Jargon

For descriptions of particular events, see the Results by event page.

2k - n. 1. a test that consists of rowing 2000m on an erg as quickly as possible, often used as a judge of general fitness and aid to crew selection - 2. A time from a 2k test
adjustable - n. an adjustable spanner (type 2)
all-in-one - n. a one-piece rowing kit item with no arms
ARA - n. Amateur Rowing Association, the former name of British Rowing
AT - n. Aerobic Threshold. a type of training at high intensity, usually on an ergometer, in two equal parts with recovery time (cf. UT1, UT2)
backstops - n. the position with legs straight at the end of the stroke as the oar leaves the water
bank-party - n. person or people who cycle alongside a crew during a race, providing coaching/encouragement and carrying spare kit
Black Prince - 1. n. The name given to the boat rowed by the First and Third Trinity's 1st men's VIII in the May Bumps - 2. n. First and Third Trinity's alumni club.
blade - 1. n. an oar - 2. v. To bump up, or row over head, at all four opportunities during a set of bumps races
Blondie - n. the Cambridge University second women's crew
Blue Boat - n. an Oxford or Cambridge University top crew
Boat Race - n. annual races between Oxford and Cambridge which are held in London on the Thames tideway
boatie - n. a person who rows
bow - n. the rower who sits in the bows of the boat in front of all other rowers
bow ball - n. the rubber ball placed at the end of the bows of a boat as a safety device
bow-rigged - v. having all of the riggers attached on the unconventional side, so that the rower at stroke has their rigger on bow-side, and the rower at bow has theirs on the stroke-side. The usual reason for adopting this rig is wanting a boat to be stroked by someone who rows on bow-side
bow side - n. the right-hand (starboard) side of the boat (i.e. the left-hand side of the boat from a rower's point of view) for which the oars have a green stripe
bows - n. the front of the boat, i.e. the end behind rowers as they sit in the boat
British Rowing - n. the national governing body for rowing, which deals with registration, insurance etc for rowers
buft - v. the act of reminiscing about rowing in the past by buftys, typified by prefixing sentences with "I remember when..."
bufty - n. 1. a person not at university who rows or used to row, especially for a Cambridge college - 2. one who bufts
bump - n. the act of a boat hitting another boat, usually the one which started in front, in the bumps - v. to make a bump
BumpIt! - n. game, run by First and Third in which users try to predict the outcome of bumps
bumps - n. the bumping races held over four days in Lent and May terms, involving several divisions of eighteen boats starting 1½ lengths apart with starting orders which are retained from day to day and year to year, in which each boat attempts to catch and bump the next while avoiding being bumped by the boat chasing them
burst - n. a short training piece, usually less than a minute
Cam - n. the river, flowing through Cambridge, on which we row. It is about 40 miles long.
cane - v. to defeat hideously
castles - n. a type of training involving several sets of twenty or so strokes at full pressure, each one at the same (usually high) rating, usually with steady state rowing in between
catch - n. the point where the spoon enters the water - v. to take the catch
(catch a) crab - v. to slice a spoon into the water, usually after to failing to square fully, sending it deep into the water and twisting the oar parallel to the boat. The most extreme can throw the rower who catches them out of the boat - an ejector crab
cleaver - n. a type of oar used by more experienced rowers (cf. macon)
course - n. the course over which the bumps is rowed , from Baitsbite lock to Chesterton footbridge
cox - n. the person, usually very small, who sits facing the bows and is responsible both for steering the boat and for coaching and encouraging the rowers
cox-box - n. device used by a cox to time pieces, measure the rate (using a magnetic sensor under the stroke seat), and relay commands through speakers installed in the boat
coxless - adj. (of a boat) not having a cox. Indicated by a minus sign at the end of the symbol for a boat (eg. IV-).
Croker - n. a manufacturer of oars (cf. Ultralight)
CUBC - n. Cambridge University Boat Club, which races against Oxford in the annual Boat Races on the Thames tideway
CUCBC - n. Cambridge University Combined Boat Clubs, which regulates rowing by Cambridge Colleges, and organises various races (most notably bumps)
CUL/CULRC - n. Cambridge University Lightweight Rowing Club, which is now part of CUBC but was a separate club until 1 August 2020
CUW/CUWBC - n. Cambridge University Women's Boat Club, which is now part of CUBC but was a separate club until 1 August 2020
dig - v. to place one's blade too deep in the water, a common rowing fault
double (scull) - n. a boat for two scullers (cf. pair)
draw - n. a stroke of between half and three quarters of normal length, taken at the start of a race with a standing start and used to give the boat some initial acceleration - v. to take a draw stroke
eight - n. a boat for eight sweep rowers
Empacher - n. a manufacturer of rowing equipment, particularly yellow boats used by the top crews. (cf. Janny)
erg, ergo - 1. see ergometer - 2. n. a piece of training on an ergometer - v. to train on an ergometer
ergometer - 1. n. a rowing machine - 2. - ergometer test - n. a test on an ergometer where a person rows a set distance as fast as possible or as far as possible in a set time
Fairbairns - n. the main race of Michaelmas term, rowed after the end of term over a course of about 5km between Jesus College and the motorway bridge
FAT - 1. see First and Third - 2. see T W Rose
FD - n. For Distance. a type of training similar in structure to AT but at a higher intensity
feather - v. to rotate the oar so that the spoon is parallel to the water during the recovery
filth - Oxford University (Boat Club)
fin - n. a fixed device under the boat, just in front of the rudder, which aids stability and direction
finish - n. the point where the spoon leaves the water - v. to make the finish
First and Third - n. the boat club of Trinity College, so-called because of the three original boat clubs from Trinity, the second (for students of divinity) folded at the turn of the century and the two remaining clubs (of which First Trinity was restricted old Etonians) merged in 1947. See our history for more details.
flag - n. - The flag colour is set by CUCBC based on weather, and restricts who can go out the river. A Green Flag means that there are no restrictions on who can boat. The flag status can be checked online
four - n. a boat for four sweep rowers
frontstops - n. the fully compressed position with legs bent at the start of the stroke as the oar enters the water
gate - n. the contraption on the side of the boat next to each seat which holds the oar in place
GDBO - God Damn Bloody Oxford.
Goldie - n. 1. the Cambridge University second men's crew - 2. the CUBC boathouse on the Cam, now used as an administrative base and fitness centre
Head - n. the crew or boat club holding the Headship
Head race n. a race in which crews compete and are timed over a set distance (cf. regatta)
Head of the River Race- n. a race which takes place in April on the Thames, along the same course as the Boat race, but in the opposite direction. The Women's VIII race is often referred to as WeHORR, and the Men's ManHORR
Headship - n. top position in either the Lent or May bumps
heart rate - n. the number of beats of a person's heart per minute , usually taken on the neck or wrist
heart rate monitor - n. a device involving a chest strap and wrist piece which displays information relating to the bearer's heart rate. This allows the user to accurately tell which training zone they are in (see UT2, UT1, AT)
Henley - 1. n. Thames Valley town, home of Leander club, the Henley Royal Regatta and formerly the women's and lightweights' University boat races - 2. n. see Henley Royal Regatta
Henley Boat Races (HBR) - n. annual races between Oxford and Cambridge women's and lightweights' crews which used to be held in Henley. These now take place in London instead (see Boat Race).
Henley Royal Regatta (HRR) - n. an historic International Regatta held late June on the Thames at Henley
HORR - see Head of the River Race
HRM - see heart rate monitor
Janny - n. colloquial name for Janousek, who made many of our boats. (cf. Empacher)
jump - n. to wind up the rating in the middle of a race as a desperate measure to accelerate suddenly, usually as a final attempt to escape being hit in the bumps
kipper - n. a rower or cox with poor technique or discipline - v. to behave like a kipper
Lady Margaret Boat Club - n. the boat club of St John's College. According to (untrue) legend, so-called because St John's College was banned from the Cam in 1901 after a spike on one of their boats killed a Trinity cox. The story is probably based upon the death of Clare's 4 man in 1888
Lents - n. the Lent bumps
lightweight - n. a rower under 11½ stone (approx.) who is entitled to compete in competitions for light rowers
LMBC - see Lady Margaret Boat Club
lycra - n. very tight material worn by most rowers at some times
macon - n. a type of oar used by less experienced rowers and novices (cf. cleaver)
Maggie - n. slang for Lady Margaret Boat Club
Mays - n. the May bumps
Message-boards - n. the Cambridge Rowing Messageboards, university-wide forums and chat groups which have seen various incarnations over time
novice - n. someone who has never rowed before (cf. senior) - v. to learn to row
outing - n. a rowing training session on the water
overbump - n. a bump on the boat which started three boats in front in the bumps, occurring after the boats in between have stopped after having bumped or been bumped - v. to make an overbump
pair - n. a boat for two sweep rowers (cf. double)
patisserie - n. see quiche
piece - n. a training item rowed at full pressure and race rating
pressure - n. the amount of effort (usually ghost/zero, light, ½, ¾ or firm/full) put into each stroke
pyramids - n. a type of training involving several sets of twenty or so strokes at full pressure, each one at a higher rating than the next, usually with steady state rowing in between, until a peak rating is reached at which point the reverse takes place, with each set of strokes at a lower rating than the last
quad (scull) - n. a boat for four scullers
quiche - v. to refrain from fully exerting oneself. The origins lie within the phrase "real men don't eat quiche", taken from Bruce Feirstein's 1982 book of that name. In a rowing context, though, "quiche" has lost its association with gender politics and is now a catch-all term for unwarranted softness and/or crapness, used by oarsmen to describe things both on and off the water ("England were more talented than Greece but struggled to a draw because they were clearly quiching"). The word has become incredibly versatile, existing as a verb ("3, you're quiching like m*th*rf*ck*r"), an adjective ("Even for a 3 man, he's unbelievably quichy") and a noun ("The first piece was pretty good, but the second one was complete quiche"). Some non-rowing organisations have cottoned on to the need to identify and isolate the causes of rowing ineffectiveness, hence in Sainsbury's you will often find an aisle labelled "Pies and Quiches".
racks - n. a set of bars in the boathouse on which boats rest when not in use (cf. trestle)
rate - n. see rating - v. to have a rating of
rating - n. the number of strokes being taken per minute
recovery - n. the part of the stroke from finish to catch during which the spoon is out of the water
red scum - see LMBC
regatta - n. a competition, sometimes lasting several days, with many different events, usually involving both coxed and uncoxed boats of all sizes in both sweep rowing and sculling, and often involving heats and semi-finals as well as a final for each event, and in which all boats in direct competition row side by side simultaneously from a standing start (cf. head race)
Regatta - n. a monthly rowing publication, subscribed by all rowers
rep - n. slang for repechage
repechage - n. a race for boats who did not qualify for the final or semi-final outright from their heat but were close enough to merit a second chance, usually with the top two or three boats qualifying
rigger - n. the metal framework attached to the outer shell of the boat next to each seat which holds the gate in place
rig - v. to put riggers on
rigger jigger - n. a small spanner for adjusting riggers, with a 10mm spanner on one end, and a 13mm on the other
rip - v. to attempt to wrench the oar through the water rather than taking a controlled stroke
rolling start - n. a race start in which boats are timed from a starting point at which they are already travelling at full speed (cf. standing start)
row over - v. to row a day of the bumps without bumping or being bumped
rudder - n. the device under the boat, controlled by the cox, which helps the boat change direction
sandwich boat - n. the boat which leads any division (except the first) of the bumps once that division has been completed, and must race again at the bottom of the division above (with no chasing boat)
saxboard - n. the thin wood round the edge of the boat
scull - n. a boat for one person in which an oar is held in each hand (cf. sweep) - v. to row in a scull
scum - see LMBC
senior - n. a rower with some experience, or (specifically for people who novice in Michaelmas term) one who has rowed in Novice Fairbairns (cf. senior)
settle - n. the point after the wind in a race with a standing start, once the boat is moving at full speed, at which the rating is lowered and the stroke length is increased - v. to carry out the settle
shell - n. the chassis of a boat
slide - n. the two metal strips on which a seat in a rowing boat slides
slider - n. a sliding device on which an ergometer can be placed to imitate the feeling of rowing on water
spack - v. see spanner (1)
spanner - 1. v. to row in a frantic and panicked fashion at the expense of co-ordination, efficiency and power - n. a person who spanners regularly - 2. n. a device for undoing and tightening nuts
splash top - n. a type of waterproof jacket for the colder rower
spoon - 1. n. the painted end part of the oar which enters the water - 2. see spanner (1) - 3. v. to be bumped at all four opportunities during a set of bumps races
square - v. to rotate the oar so that the spoon is perpendicular to the water at the end of the recovery to prepare for the catch
standing start - n. a race start in which boats must start from a stationary position with rowers at front stops (cf. rolling start)
steady state - n. a part of training at a low rating (usually about 22 spm) but a high pressure
stern - n. the back of the boat, i.e. the end that rowers face as they sit in the boat
stomp - n. ritual confrontation between LMBC and First and Third before breakfast on each day of bumps
stroke - 1. n. one cycle of the oar, usually starting and finishing at backstops - 2. n. the rower who sits in the stern of the boat in front of all other rowers and is responsible for setting the rating
stroke side - n. the left-hand (port) side of the boat (i.e. the right-hand side of the boat from a rower's point of view) for which the oars have a red stripe
sweep - n. rowing in which each person has one oar and rows on one side (cf. sculling)
tap - n. a light stroke used to straighten a boat - v. to take a tap
tap down - v. to lower the hands at the end of the stroke to remove the spoon from the water
ten mil - n. a spanner with diameter ten millimetres, used to tighten most of the rigger's nuts (cf. rigger-jigger)
thirteen mil - n. a spanner with diameter thirteen millimetres, used to tighten the top nut (cf. rigger-jigger)
trestles - n. a set of (usually two) portable stands with straps used to support a boat (cf. racks)
trial - v. to trial for a given boat, usually a university boat
triallist - n. someone who trials
ultralight - n. a type of oar (cf. Croker)
UT1 - n. a type of training with expected heart rate 150-170 (cf. AT, UT2)
UT2 - n. - 1. a type of training with expected heart rate 140-150 (cf. AT, UT1). - 2. A mythical training zone, never done by any member of First and Third
wind, wind up - n. the period at the start of a race with a standing start where the rating is increased quickly to get the boat moving at race speed - v. to carry out the wind

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