FAQ

Got a question? We might have answered it here in this light-hearted look at common rowing questions we hear.

Why do we need a dedicated LGBTQI+ club? Are other rowing clubs not accommodating?

That's absolutely not the case - we've found every other rowing club we've met wonderfully supportive and open and friendly.

Our aim is to promote the sport of rowing to people in the LGBTQI+ community, particularly those who might not otherwise consider it. We want to destroy the stereotype that LGBTQI+ people can't be good at sport, and give people a chance to show what they can do.

We're not just an LGBTQI+ club though - we're open to members of all genders and sexualities.

When's your next beginners' course?

We run courses several times a year, make sure you've registered your interest and we'll send you an email as soon as we have a date for the next one.

I tried to register for a course but it was sold out

Our courses are always very popular, so unfortunately they sell out very quickly. When we have dates for an upcoming course we'll give you notice of the day and time that registrations open, so you'll need to be fast to secure your place! Admission to courses is managed through an automated system - first come first served.

When you catch a crab, do you catch an actual crab?

Catching a crab just means you get your blade stuck in the water (as if you were fishing for crabs with it). No crabs were harmed in the making of this phrase.

You row, you must have really amazing arms?

Pretty much all the force in rowing comes from your legs - arm strength has very little to do with it. Rowers have strong legs and a core of iron, not to mention amazing bums.

Why do you get up so early?

Actually we don't - well, not all the time. On an average weekend, senior squad start training around 7.30am, our novices generally around 9.30am and our social squad tend to get an even longer lie-in. However, when getting to races we have been known to have the odd 4am alarm.

Don't you capsize all the time?

Not if you're careful. Beginners on our courses will find it almost impossible as we start off in very stable heavy boats which don't tip up easily at all. The larger racing boats are also difficult to capsize (though if you're careless, it's not impossible). Just remember, don't panic, and hold onto your blades at all time and you'll be fine.

What's the difference between a Head Race and a Regatta?

A head race is a longer-distance endurance race, run as a time trial down a river. A regatta is held over shorter distances with boats side by side racing at the same time.

Why do you all wear lycra?

It's very practical. Seriously. You can layer it up in winter, it dries very quickly if you get splashed, it's close-fitting so you don't have dangling sleeves or leg-openings to catch on everything. Anyway, are you trying to say it's not ultra stylish?

Why are Coxes so small?

A cox adds weight to the boat without providing any movement power - the rowers are having to haul them along as well as themselves and the weight of the boat, so the less extra weight to carry the better. But we love our coxes, and couldn't do without them!

Why are rowers so tall?

Actually at the London Otters we're not, but it's hard to deny that professional rowers certainly are. Taller people are at a natural advantage, being able to take longer strokes, so you can see why that's desired in a competitive rower!

So does the Cox beat a drum or set a rhythm for you?

No. The cox is in charge of the boat but the Stroke sets the rhythm. That's the rower in the seat nearest the stern (or at the front, from the viewpoint of the other rowers). If they take a stroke, you take a stroke.

Aren't you worried about sinking?

No. Boats are designed to stay afloat, even the wrong way up, so they make a good buoyancy aid in the unlikely event of ending up in the water. We also provide safety training - for example we recently did a capsize drill and swim test at a local pool.

Do you get wet?

If it's raining, yes. Or if you're sat behind someone who's a bit splashy.

What's the difference between sculling and sweep rowing?

For Sculling you have two smaller blades (one in each hand), for Sweep you have one big blade (both hands on it).

Do I need previous experience to join the London Otters?

Nope. However, you do need to complete our Learn to Row course before you can join as a full member, if you've never rowed before.

How about doing a naked calendar?

We have no firm plans for this... (firm... *smirks*) but you never know.

If you've got a question that isn't answered here, contact us or tweet us at @ottersrowing and we'll do our best to answer!