50 Derby Sweeps And Sculls

Derby Sweeps & Sculls — New Haven Rowing Club
Derby Sweeps & Sculls — New Haven Rowing Club from www.newhavenrowingclub.org


Welcome to the world of rowing! In this article, we will explore the exciting world of derby sweeps and sculls. Whether you are a seasoned rower looking to expand your knowledge or a beginner curious about the different types of rowing boats, this article will provide you with a comprehensive overview.

What are Derby Sweeps and Sculls?

Derby sweeps and sculls are two different types of rowing boats. They differ in terms of their design, size, and the number of rowers required to operate them. Let's delve deeper into each type:

Derby Sweeps

Derby sweeps, also known as sweep rowing, are rowing boats that require a single oar per rower. Each rower holds one oar with both hands and rows on one side of the boat. Typically, a derby sweep boat will have four or eight rowers, along with a coxswain who steers and gives commands to the crew.


Sculls, on the other hand, are rowing boats that require each rower to use two oars, one in each hand. This type of rowing is commonly referred to as sculling. Sculling boats can have either one rower (single scull), two rowers (double scull), or four rowers (quad scull).

Derby Sweeps vs. Sculls: Key Differences

Now that we have a basic understanding of both derby sweeps and sculls, let's compare the key differences between the two:

Number of Oars

The most fundamental difference between derby sweeps and sculls is the number of oars used by each rower. Derby sweeps use one oar per rower, while sculls use two oars per rower.

Rowing Technique

Due to the difference in the number of oars, the rowing technique also varies between derby sweeps and sculls. In derby sweeps, rowers only row on one side of the boat, requiring coordinated movements to maintain balance and efficiency. In sculling, rowers use both hands to row, which allows for more even power distribution and greater maneuverability.

Boat Size

Derby sweeps are generally larger and heavier compared to sculling boats. This is due to the additional seats and oars required in derby sweeps. Sculling boats, being smaller and lighter, are often easier to maneuver and transport.

Number of Rowers

Derby sweeps typically have four or eight rowers, along with a coxswain. In sculling, boats can accommodate one, two, or four rowers, depending on the type of scull. This difference in crew size also affects the dynamics and communication within the boat.

Choosing the Right Type of Rowing

Now that you are familiar with the differences between derby sweeps and sculls, you might be wondering which type of rowing is right for you. Here are a few factors to consider when making your decision:

Personal Preference

Your personal preference plays a significant role in determining the type of rowing you enjoy. Some rowers prefer the teamwork and synchronization required in derby sweeps, while others enjoy the independence and control offered by sculling.

Skill Level

If you are a beginner, starting with sculling might be more manageable as it allows for a more even distribution of power. Derby sweeps, on the other hand, require greater coordination and balance, making it a more challenging option for beginners.

Weight and Size

If you are concerned about the weight and size of the boat, sculling might be a better choice. Sculling boats are generally lighter and easier to transport compared to derby sweeps.

Competition Opportunities

Consider the competition opportunities available in your area. If you are interested in participating in specific rowing events or races, it's essential to choose the type of rowing that aligns with the competitions available to you.


Derby sweeps and sculls offer unique experiences and challenges in the world of rowing. Whether you prefer the teamwork and coordination of derby sweeps or the independence and control of sculling, both types of rowing have their merits. Ultimately, the choice between derby sweeps and sculls comes down to personal preference, skill level, and the competition opportunities available to you. So grab your oars and dive into the exhilarating world of rowing!