Peterhouse Boat Club


This page lists the general news. For race reports see here and here for alumni-related news.

Coxing A Race

Posted by Admin on Sunday 16th March 2008
The Start
A marshal will tell you what to do at the start - make sure you listen to his/her instructions. In most races you will be asked to raise your hands until you feel you are straight. Ask two and bow to tap it to adjust yourself at the start. Make sure you do this as quickly and efficiently as possible to avoid any delays. Remember that once your hand is down, the marshal can say go at any point!

You will have probably practiced your start lots of times before the race, but here are the main start strokes you will have:

Draw: short strokes, often at half or three-quarter slide, to get the boat moving.
Wind: The aim of these strokes is to get the rating up, so quick strokes with sharp catches.
Build: Long, powerful strokes to really get the boat moving. Generally emphasis on the legs.
Stride/Lengthen: This is a key part of the start; it aims to slow down the recovery by around 2 strokes per minute whilst keeping the speed from the start. This generally involves slightly slowing down the recovery. It is good to practice this a lot, as most crews will either not respond to the stride call, or take the rating down 4 or 5, which will make a big change to the boat speed. A good call to use at this stage is 'Sit back', with the emphasis on the finish, to make them lengthen their slide.
Push: Some crews will respond well to a push for 10 shortly after the start.

Coaches will "construct" a start sequence from a combination fo various types of stroke. Typically there might be 3 short "draw" or "sat up" strokes followed by 5-10 "build" strokes. However, some crews (especially 1st senior men) will go off full-length from stroke one and just row.

On the start, especially with crews who have not rowed together for that long, the issue on the start will be the timing. Make sure you tell them if they are not in time, as well as telling particular people to keep in time or not rush the recovery. You may also need to relax the crew and dissipate some nerves.

During the Race
During the race, listen out for any marshals giving you instructions. If applicable, listen to your coach, and pass on any technique instructions he may give you, as your crew probably won't hear him during the race.

Get stroke to tell you if there is a boat closing in on you, or if you have clear water in a side-by-side race, how far clear you are. An experienced stroke will generally also tell you if they feel something is wrong with the timing, pressure, etc.

It is good practice (if not vital) to tell your crew their rating at regular intervals. The stroke and cox should ideally work together on this during the race. Often the rate will drop while the rudder is applied around a corner, you may have to work with stroke to get the boat speed back up once the boat is straight again.

Make sure your crew knows what to do in case of a crab/crash (i.e. help anyone who's crabbed/push off, do a new start, and take it from there). In bumps for example, it is very important to repeat several times to your crew before the race to listen to you and stay alert in the event of a bump, and know what to do. It is at times like these when you need quick thinking, and it is particularly important that you consider in your decisions the position of other boats relative to you.

After the Race
Unless told otherwise, you will have to continue rowing after the finish. Your rowers will probably stop rowing though (especially more inexperienced crews), so make sure you are expecting this and know what calls to make at this stage.

On the row back, keep your crew moving to avoid any cramps. Make sure you let the rowers know what you thought of the race, and what you still need to work on as a crew


Posted by Admin on Sunday 16th March 2008
The Basics
The basics of steering are quite simlpe (in theory):

Left Hand Forward: Boat Turns Left
Right Hand Forward: Boat Turns Right

There are different ways of holding the rudder strings:

You can hold them with all of you fingers and thumb,
Or you can grip them with your thumb and index, and place your other fingers on top of the sax-board.

The second is recommended for greater control and to avoid excessive over-steering.

Tip: Ensure your rudder wire/string has a marker in the middle so you can tell when the rudder is straight.

Steering Technique
Rudders greatly vary in size: the ones in novice boats will generally be larger, while those on senior first boats will tend to be smaller than a credit card. The effects of this on the boat are noticeably different!

As a general rule, the rudder slows the boat down as well as steering it, so the less you use it, the faster the boat will go! Put the rudder on too quickly and too hard, and you will not be able to steer properly, while the rudder will act as a brake and slow the boat down.

There are different techniques for steering, but the most common one is to gradually put the rudder on during the drive, keep it on until you don't require it anymore, and then ease it off at that point, again during the drive. In any case, try to avoid putting the rudder on during the recovery, as the balance will be affected a lot more.

With more confidence and boat speed it is possible to steer by just using the rudder during the drive and letting the rudder stay straight during the recovery.

Bear in mind too that the rudder takes a few strokes to have an effect, so start steering for corners before you enter them. Also remember that the rudder is at the stern of the boat: this means that when you steer, the stern will swing out before the boat starts going in the direction you want it to go, so watch out for this when you are close to the bank.

When It Goes Wrong
Every so often (and often quite frequently when learning!) you will misjudge a corner/obstacle.

In this situation it is always better to stop rather than hitting the bank. This is because boats and oars are easily broken by hitting the bank and are hugely expensive to repair but also because rowers can be seriously injured if the oar they are holding hits anything hard.

Hold it up (on one side if necessary) well before you hit anything.

Committee Elections 2008

Posted by Admin on Wednesday 6th February 2008
The following notice, along with the nomination form, will be displayed in the JCR until Thursday 21st February.

A list of confirmed nominations is available here.

The Peterhouse Boat Club Committee would like to invite nominations to the five elected Committee positions for the coming year:

Captain of Boats
Honorary Secretary
Junior Treasurer
Women's Officer
Men's Officer

Those wishing to stand for election should add their names to the attached notice along with the signatures of two current voting members of the Club willing to propose and second the nomination. Candidates should also confirm their desire to stand in writing to the current Captain of Boats (Will Richards, prior to nominations closing.

Members proposing/seconding candidates should support, at most, one candidate for each position and be prepared to answer questions on the candidate's behalf in case of their absence from the elections.

Elections will be held at the Annual General Meeting which will be held in the Music Room at 7pm on Saturday 23rd February. Nominations will close at 7pm on Thursday 21st February prior to a complete list of candidates being posted online at

The newly elected Committee will take office on Sunday 2nd March (after the Lent Bumps) and will open nominations for the co-opted positions soon after that date.

Candidates are strongly encouraged to discuss their candidacy with either the current officer holding the position of interest or the current Captain. Candidates are also advised that the Constitution and Committee Handbook are both available online at The Committee Handbook explains the duties of each Officer in detail as well as the experiences and skills likely to be required in the execution of these duties. Confidential areas of the Handbook may be made available to candidates upon request to the Captain.

Will Richards
Captain of Boats

Clare Novice Regatta - The Women (Race Report)

Posted by Admin on Sunday 13th January 2008
Our first round was versus Trinity Hall First Novice Women. Our girls got off to an incredible start, increasing their lead on every stroke until disaster struck: stroke's blade came out of the gate! In the time it took to sort it out, Tit Hall gained a lead of around 4 lengths and it looked as if all was lost. Peterhouse came storming back off their second start however, and were gaining ground fast. When they had drawn level and were starting to take the lead again, the Tit Hall cox took an interesting racing line, steering straight into the bank to give Peterhouse an easier win than they were anticipating! Peterhouse deservedly won by some lengths with strong tidy rowing all the way.

The second round was against First and Third's First Novice Women. Peterhouse put up a very good fight, with some impressively gutsy rowing but unfortunately FaT were simply faster, and won by around 6 lengths.

Clare Novice Regatta - The Men (Race Report)

Posted by Admin on Sunday 13th January 2008
Given the promising performance of the novice men at Winter Head, everyone was keen to see how they would perform in Clare Novice Regatta. The novice men were a little unlucky in drawing Caius A for their race, but the mood was still optimistic at the start. Just into the start sequence stroke caught a crab which caused significant difficulties and Caius were able to pull away from us. The crew recovered, however, and they were quickly gaining on Caius. Unfortunately, an extremely severe crab caught by seven meant the boat had to stop and start again, destroying the gains that had been made on Caius. The men rose to the challenge and were soon gaining
on Caius, but there was not enough river left to catch them. The result was a disappointing one for the novice men, especially as it seemed they were the faster crew.
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