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What is crew?

  • Rowing is the ultimate team sport. Our program will teach valuable skills of teamwork, dedication, accountability, sportsmanship, athleticism, motivation, confidence, perseverance, goal setting, time management, and the rewards of hard work. There are no super stars in rowing. It takes everyone on the team to make a crew successful. The skills learned in rowing will carry you through your lives in whatever you pursue.

  • Crew is the sport of rowing. The crew is a group of rowers positioned in the same boat to move their long racing boat/"shell" through the water using oars. A coxswain is the person who steers and directs the boat by moving the rudder and giving instructions to the crew using a microphone. The crew faces backwards to go forward. The coxswain faces forward to guide the crew.


Does everyone get to participate?


  • While the coaches strive to ensure that each rower participates in every event, there may be times when this cannot be accomplished (odd numbers, rowers not ready to row safety, rower/equipment conflicts, etc.). In all cases the decision of who will be selected for a particular boat remains with the coaching staff. During some practices it may be necessary for crew members to observe from the coaches launch. While it is obviously beneficial for rowers and coxswains to be in the boat, there is great value in observing as well. There is no guarantee that rowers and coxswains will participate in every event, but the goal is to have everyone participate as much as possible.


Do you need experience?




How many seasons are there?


  • Two seasons: spring when the crew participates in short sprint style races, and fall when endurance is emphasized in head races (long distance races of one to three miles).

  • We also offer a winter training program and summer camps


Can I row just 1 season?


  • Certainly!  We hope you will row both seasons, but we always have rowers that can only row 1 season … but don’t be surprised if you love crew so much you decide to do both every year!  


How do I get information during the crew season?


  • Website: Please refer this website often; daily is best.  It will be updated frequently.  

  • E-Mail: subscribe to our e-mail list. Pertinent info will be e-mailed to current rowers and their parents

  • Any last minute info (such as weather related changes to practice) will be sent via text message 

  • Subscribe to our twitter feed and facebook page.

Can I get a college scholarship from rowing?

  • Many rowers receive rowing scholarships. Don’t row just for that reason, but it is very possible for our top rowers. 

Is it OK if I am short, tall, big or small?

  • Yes. We want everyone to row. We need different sizes for different jobs; tall is always good, but small is great if you’re a coxswain!

Does crew do anything in the off season?

  • Yes! We offer a coach-Ied Winter Training Program after school on Monday through Thursday. Contact Coach Mark with questions. This program, or some form of exercise, is highly recommended.

General Information

What are the season dates normally?

  • Fall season begins when school starts (just after Labor Day) and ends in early November. Spring Season indoor gym training begins in March and water practice begins in April, as soon as spring thaw wanes enough to make the river safe.  Spring typically lasts until June. Please see the calendar for exact dates.

Where do I get the forms to register?

  • When you receive the notification you are on the team, you will receive a link to register online

Who runs HB Crew?

  • We have a board of directors made up of volunteer parents. Please visit the "Our Board" section of this website.


Are donations to HBCC tax deductible?


  • YES! We are a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Please contact your accountant for further information.

How much does it cost?

  • Cost is $550 per rower, per season. There is additional cost for uniforms.


Is crew safe?


  • HB Crew takes safety very seriously. Our coach will follow the boats during practice in a launch that is outfitted with life saving devices. It is rare for a rower to fall out of a boat, but it can happen, so we are prepared.  We also don’t row if the river is too fast or the weather is too questionable. For more information, please ask Head Coach Mark Lewis.


What are the uniforms like?


  • Our varsity racing uniform is a rowing tank/trou (shorts) or unisuit for girls and a unisuit for boys.  First year rowers may wear HB Crew tech shirts and trou.

  • IMPORTANT: The HB Crew uniform beanie is "strongly recommended" by our coaches because it is lightweight, quick drying, navy blue, and features our logo for our team to look really cool on the water!  HB Crew coaches require beanies of some sort be worn at cold regattas for top performance. It is essential to be warm in order to row well. Preferably the beanie you choose, if it is not the uniform beanie, will be lightweight, quick drying, and navy blue.

  • Spandex is needed as tight, flexible clothing won't get caught up in the sliding seats when you row. Mainly, it's best not to wear baggy clothes as there is a possibility of a rowers hands and the oar handle getting caught up in loose fitting shirts or pants during the stroke or recovery, which can cause them to get ejected from the boat.

  • Rowers quickly learn that spandex is the preferred and accepted standard crew uniform and will look out of place at regattas if they are not wearing it. Some rowers wear sweats over the spandex and remove just prior to entering their boat.  

  • Visit the Uniforms section of this website on our Team webpage


As a parent, how can I get involved?


  • Please don’t wait to be asked. We have a very busy board of directors. Consider yourself asked. We always need help with fundraising, volunteering to help with the food tent, boat/trailer maintenance, as well as help with special projects. We have LOTS of ways that you can help. Please get involved. Shore chaperones are needed for each practice, a relaxing way to spend an afternoon on the Nashua River.

Is it OK for parents or family members to attend crew practices?

  • It is not recommended that parents or family members attend crew practices. The coaches, rowers, and coxswains need this valuable time together without distractions. HB Crew coaches will take into consideration special requests for family members to attend a practice. 


How does a coach determine who is in which boat?

  • Several factors: Attendance, erg time & results, coach-ability, rowing technique, size, dedication, attitude, teamwork, opponent, # of races, type of races, etc.


What is expected from a Team Captain?

  • Proper attitude and behavior at all times, leadership, involvement, helpful to less experienced rowers, helpful to coaches and more

Should coxswains bring an extra set of clothes to a race?

  • It is tradition that after a big victory, a boat of rowers could toss their winning cox into the water … it’s best to be prepared.

Practice Information


Where is crew practice held?


  • If weather is questionable, river conditions are unfavorable, or an erg test is scheduled, practice will likely be moved to the HBHS gym. Normally, we row out of Lone Pine Hunters Club in Hollis, NH. PLEASE DRIVE SLOWLY ON LONE PINE PROPERTY!

How do I get to practice and to races?

  • You may drive on your own, or form your own carpools from HBHS to Lone Pine right after school and/or one from Lone Pine to Brookline after practice

What happens if I can’t make it to a practice?

  • When you join crew, you are part of a team of nine in your boat.  Your team needs you to be there to man your position. You are expected to make every practice. We understand that things happen that are beyond your control. On those rare occasions, please notify us ASAP via the Absence Report on the home page. Excused absences must be sent before 8:00am on the day of practice.  Please see our Attendance Policy below.


Do we ever row 7 days a week?


  • No. We normally row/train 5 days per week. We have Fridays off plus usually one day on the weekend, depending on the regatta schedule.


Can I wear gloves when I row?

  • Not in a race, maybe at practice … most don’t but you can ask your coach. "Pogies" are made for rowers to keep their hands warm while rowing. They are sold at JL Rowing and sometimes at local large-scale regattas.


What to Wear/Bring to Practice: This is all very important. Please read!


What to Wear/Bring For Practice

  • "Trou" (tight spandex rowing shorts), tight spandex style bike shorts (same type of thing as Trou), or spandex leggings. No jeans or cargo shorts for safety reasons.

  • Form fitting synthetic tee shirt (or tight cotton if you do not have synthetic)

  • 2 pairs of sneakers so you always have a dry pair of shoes and you are always prepared to go for a run.  Details about shoes can be found in the uniform section (scroll down to the end).

  • Mandatory: Re-useable plastic water bottle (NOT disposable) labeled with name. If you must use a metal bottle, please put a sock around it to protect the boats. No sharing water bottles.

  • Towel

  • Extra socks (a wool pair is helpful when cold after practice + rowing socks in case your original pair gets wet while launching)

  • Extra set of rowing clothing that can be left in clubhouse. All rowers are required to change clothes if they fall into cold water. While this is extremely rare, it is best to be prepared for anything that could occur.

  • Warm Sweatshirt for after practice or when not rowing

  • Gloves or pogies (special rowing gloves)

  • Warm hat that covers your ears. Mandatory in cold weather!

  • Rain jacket that can double as wind breaker

  • Hand warmers optional

  • Coxswains must dress in layers. Beanie is critical, Fleece, long underwear, gloves, wool socks, neck warmer, waterproof ski pants, jacket, etc.

Additional Notes:


Label your HB Crew navy T-shirt + uniforms with your name!  They all look alike!


Dress in layers: Synthetic is preferable to cotton in the event it rains & for it's wicking ability.


Wear tight fitting clothing to row: Trou (spandex shorts) or long tights are preferable. Loose clothing can get caught in the seat tracks and can cause hands and oar handles to get caught up in excess material. If you do not have trou or tights, wear something as snug as possible.


Athletic pants or shorts can be worn over tight fitting spandex before & after rowing.

Rowers usually wear socks while rowing in shoes that are secured to the boat. They put them in their pockets while boarding the boat, then put them on before leaving the launch area.


MANDATORY: Please bring a plastic re-fillable, non-disposable water bottle, labeled with name to practice. If you must use a disposable on that rare occasion, please label it & don't forget to pick it up after practice. Remember to hydrate in cold temps, as well as warm. No sharing water bottles. If you must bring a metal bottle, please put a sock around it to protect the boats.



Attendance Policy


ALL absences and late arrivals MUST be reported via the "Report an Absence" link on the home page of the team website. This is the only acceptable way to report an absence. Reporting absences well in advance is important, as coaches need adequate time to set boat line ups. Last minute changes will delay the entire crew from getting on the water in a timely fashion.


When a student joins the club, it is expected that the student will show up for practice on a regular basis and attend all regattas except for extenuating circumstances or illness.




1. The student needs to miss a practice and submits an absence report  BEFORE 8:00am on the day of practice (Friday morning at 8am for Saturday practice) however advance notification is preferred.


2. The student leaves school early for illness and an absence report is submitted before the start of practice.


3. The student is sick at the end of the school day, a text is sent to Head Coach Mark, and an absence report is submitted ASAP. Cell phone contact info is on the roster.


4. The student has a short notice doctor appointment for a current illness (not a routine visit).


NOTE: Students are not permitted to participate in crew on a day they were absent from school due to illness.


5. The student reports an absence two weeks prior to a planned regatta.




1. The student does not show up for practice.


2. The student fails to submit an absence report by 8:00am the day of practice. (8am Friday for Saturday practice.)


3. The student leaves school early and fails to submit an absence report immediately.


NOTE: Last minute (AFTER 8:00AM), notification due to routine doctor’s appointments, homework, projects, teacher meetings, social events, etc., ARE NOT excused. This involves time management and can be scheduled around crew.


ATTENDANCE IS CRITICAL TO CREW.  Poor attendance and unexcused absences will affect boat placement.




Late arrivals (20 minutes or less) must be kept to a minimum. On the rare occasions this is necessary, please notify us via the absence report. No arrangements will be made to pick you up if your boat is on the water when you arrive.


Early departures cannot be accommodated. The coaches launch is a safety vehicle, and cannot leave the rowers to deliver an individual rower back to the dock. If you cannot remain with your crew for the entire practice, please report your absence via the link on the website.




Check out Parenting 101 presented by our friends at Northeast Rowing Center in Raymond, Maine. Bill Miller who compiled this info over the course of 24 years while developing the Northeast Rowing Center, along with the current Director Barb Grudt, kindly gave us their blessing to share this wonderful info. While you're on their website, check out their great summer camp in their 26th year!


Northeast Rowing Center: Parenting 101


What is a Regatta?


  • A regatta is a rowing race. We try to have at least 3 per season and sometimes have as many as 4 or 5 races. Crew and parents love race days. They are a lot of fun.


What is an Ergatta?


  • It is an indoor rowing competition. HB Crew held its First Annual Winter Warmer Ergatta on January 16, 2016 and Central holds the Queen City Icebreaker in March.  Our rowers compete against the other area high schools and even our parents participate for fun. See our Winter Warmer Ergatta info page or for more information.


Where are race events held?



What is the food tent?


  • EVERYONE'S favorite thing about crew. Regattas are very social events: they are basically a tailgating party!  Everyone that comes (parents, siblings, relatives and friends) can join us for food at our tent.  We usually start off with a variety of wholesome breakfast snacks & beverages, then move on to a BBQ lunch for all.


Who brings the food? What do we bring?

  • Kate Stoll is our Hospitality Coordinator. She will ask each family to bring certain things to each race by sending Sign Up Genius links. Noodles, trail mix, baked goods, fruit and water are always good. If you interested in being the Food Coordinator for an event, please let us know!


Do we stay at a race all day?


  • Most of the time, yes, and it is so much fun that you probably won’t want to leave. We need rowers to be there to unload boats early in the morning and put them back on the trailer after the races and then have team meetings.


What should I bring to a Regatta as a rower?


  • A waterproof bag or container for dry clothes, your racing uniform, warm clothes for when not racing, extra socks, something to drink, personal snacks if you have specific dietary needs


What should I bring to a Regatta as a parent/sibling/pet?


  • Food tent items, warm clothes, umbrella, chair, cow bell (to cheer on team & be heard), binoculars, camera

What should I wear to a race as a family member?

  • Warm is important, but HB Cavs BLUE is just as important. The shirts, jackets, hats and other crew wear we sell are just as much for parents and siblings as they are for rowers. Show your school team spirit! Visit our Spirit Wear/Casual Apparel store when it is open for hoodies, polos, tote bags, sweatpants, synthetic practice tees, gym shorts, etc.

Rowing Terms & Information

Check out Parenting 101 presented by our friends at Northeast Rowing Center in Raymond, Maine. Bill Miller who compiled this info over the course of 24 years while developing the Northeast Rowing Center, along with the current Director Barb Grudt, kindly gave us their blessing to share this wonderful info. While you're on their website, check out their great summer camp program in their 26th year! They have a program for coxswains too!


Northeast Rowing Center: Parenting 101


What is an Erg?


  • It’s an ergometer or rowing machine. It is used for general exercise, technique practice, and to provide coaches with a gauge of rower speed. During inclement weather when the team is unable to row on the water, practice is typically moved inside to the HBHS gym where erg machines are in high demand.

  • Concept 2 is a well known/well respected company that sells ergs:


My child said he/she “Caught a Crab” today … is that bad?


  • Every rower catches a crab once in a while … it’s when the oar gets “trapped” in the water and it’s hard to get it out to keep rowing.


What is an Erg time? What should it be?


  • Erg tests very in length just like races do. Typically they are held in 2k increments. Your rower will likely know their 2K time and their 6K time. The erg time is just one of several factors that coaches use to determine boat placement. We strive that our #1 men’s boat reaches the 7:00 mark for a 2k and 8:00 for the women, but we haven’t made that goal yet. New rowers typically start at 9 or 10 minutes for a 2k.


Is fall season like Spring? What is a Head Race?


  • Fall is typically longer races and the boats leave the start one at a time and are timed to determine winners. Spring they line up and start together on shorter race lengths (usually 2km) and the first to cross wins. Both are fun. Fall races are typically referred to as heat races, while spring races are referred to as head races.


What is a Coxswain?


  • Arguably the most important person in the boat is the coxswain or cox (pronounced coxin). That is the boat leader who steers the boat and sets the pace with their commands. Small people make great coxswains and don’t add much weight to slow down the boat!


How many people are in a boat?


  • We typically row eights. That means 8 rowers plus a coxswain, so 9 in a boat. Our coaches may also decide to row fours (4 rowers and a coxswain so 5 in a boat).


How does a boat work?


  • An 8 boat is a 56 ft long hole in the water filled with $28k worth of fiberglass and equipment. The seats slide on rails and the rowers feet are in “shoes” that stay attached to the boat. The oars are locked in place at the end of a metal support bar called a rigger. The cox has a microphone that is wired to a “cox box” that amplifies their voice to speakers in the boat so the rowers can take direction from the cox.


What are the different boat positions (Stroke seat, etc.)?


  • The “engine room” are the 3-6 rowers in the center of the boat. Bow and Stern Pair are the other 4. The stroke seat (#8) is the first rower and the rest of the rowers all watch the rower in front of them. The stroke (with pace direction from the cox) determines the moment each oar enters the water. The rowers are referred to as #1 through #8 in position, so you know where your rower will be sitting if you have their seat #. They are numbered in ascending order from the bow to the stern.


What is port and starboard?


  • When facing the bow, port is on the left and starboard is on the right.


Is the rudder attached to the skeg really that small?


  • Yes, the rudder is the size of a credit card a steers a 56 ft long boat. The skeg is the center support section on the underside that the rudder attaches to.


What is a rigger?


  • The metal supports that are attached to the sides of the boat to support the oars.


What is a novice versus varsity rower?


  • It’s not as easy as this, but generally novice is a first year rower and after two seasons you are a varsity rower. Once we have several varsity boats we may call them V1, V2, etc.


What is a lightweight?


  • This may change as there are weight limits by the organization controlling the race that determines a maximum weight for a lightweight race. Juniors (high school) are typically men’s limit of 150 lbs and women’s of 130 lbs.


What is feathering?


  • Feathering is the gentle glide of the oar, parallel to the water on the return stroke.


What is sculling vs. sweeping?


  • If a rower has both hands on one oar, it’s sweeping and what we do mostly. Sculling is two oars, one in each hand, which is mainly on smaller boats and there is normally no cox.

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