Physics of Rowing

Prepared by Anu Dudhia ( from Oxford University Atmospheric, Oceanic and Planetary Physics Recent modifications:
This site contains a series of pages covering the basic Physics of Rowing and, below, some frequently asked questions related together with links to where answers can be found.



... of some or all of these pages (If you make a translation of these web-pages, send me the link and I'll add it here, but remember to update the internal links so that they either point to your translated pages or back to my originals)

None of the following information is copyright, so feel free to reproduce any or all of it, credited or uncredited as you see fit (although I might be a bit miffed if anyone else tried to pass it off as their own work).

FAQ: Basic Physics of Rowing

  1. Propulsion
  2. Resistance
  3. Kinetic Energy
  4. Centre of Mass
  5. Speed Variation
  6. Balance
  7. Levers
  8. Gearing
  9. Newton's Laws of Motion

FAQ: Physics of Weight & Rowing

  1. Introduction
  2. Relationship between Power and Weight
  3. Power/Weight Ratios
  4. Relationship between Weight and Erg Speed
  5. Relationship between Weight and Boat Speed
  6. Speeds of different Boat Classes
  7. Effect of deadweight
  8. Relationship between Erg Score and Boat Speed
  9. Effect of Boat Weight on Boat Speed

FAQ: Physics of Stream/Depth & Rowing

  1. Introduction
  2. Viscosity
  3. Boat Resistance
  4. River Flow
  5. Upstream/Downstream Resistance
  6. Shallow Water Resistance
  7. Upstream/Downstream times

FAQ: Physics of Ergometers

  1. Introduction
  2. Mechanics of Rotating Bodies
  3. Power Dissipation
  4. Power Supplied
  5. Changing the Cog
  6. Changing the Damping
  7. Measuring the Damping
  8. Measuring the Power Supplied
  9. Indicated Speed (Splits) and Distance
  10. Indicated Power v. Indicated Speed (Splits)
  11. Power v. Indicated Calories
  12. Dynamic v. Static Ergs
  13. Effect of Rating
  14. Effect of Altitude
  15. Glossary of terms used in Rotational Mechanics

Bibliography and References

  1. Atkinsopht
  2. Concept II
  3. Durham Boat Company
  4. Federation Internationale des Societes d'Aviron (FISA)
  5. Balance of Racing Rowing Boats (Steve Kerr, document now hosted locally)
  6. Hydrodynamics Articles (Leo Lazauskas)
  7. Weight/Sex/Age Adjusted Ergo Ladder (Jeremy Martin)
  8. Rowing Physiology and Performance (Stephen Seiler)
  9. Physics of Sport (Tom Steiger, originally from Ken Young)
  10. Simulation of Rowing (Marinus van Holst)
  11. Rowing FAQ (Hannes Hofer)
  12. RowPerfect
  13. rowing-x.pert Rowing Bibliography (Florian Caspari)
  14. Physics of Rowing [PDF file] by Chris Pulman, University of Cambridge.
  15. Rowing Rigger Design (Virginia Tech)
  16. Article on Sliding Riggers (from Hear the Boat Sing)


The following people have also contributed to the content of these web-pages:
Paul Blomerus, Carl Douglas, Scott Gordon, Dena Hirchak, Marinus van Holst, Dick Nixon, Hans Lohse, Jon Williams.
Anu Dudhia (