Coxswain (rowing)

A coxswain (also coxswain, tax Ling or plural control people ) in certain classes of boat canoe and rowing a member of the boat crew that does not actively participate in the movement of the boat, but with the help of a control device and commands to the active sportsman, the boat leads, and thus ensures the safety of the crew.

In canoe racing and the race rowing the helmsman is in observation of the race course and tactical commands - such as sprints or an increase / decrease the stroke rate - to the athletes. He fires over the whole race to the team and gives information about the yet to be overcome distance and the position of the team in the race. When the dragon boat race tactics is the responsibility of the drummer, who also makes the announcements over an intercom.

Classes of boat with coxswain are several crew boats in rowing, dragon boats and all the roller - Canadian canoe racing. In boats without coxswain another team member takes over driving the boat.


Minimum weight

In rowing regattas helmsmen must have a minimum weight of 55 kg in men's boat classes and 50 kg in women's boat classes in order to be eligible to start. A lower weight up to 10 kg may be offset by additional weights to be carried.


In rowing boats there are two different places for the helmsman: When gig boats and many older, mostly made ​​of wood racing boats the tax man sitting in the stern of the boat behind the entire team. The area in front of the bow of the boat is therefore difficult to see for the helmsman and is therefore occasionally monitored by sitting in the bow athletes. An advantage of the placement of the helmsman in the stern, however, is the direct contact with the seat in front of him team.

In Sculling placement of the helmsman lying in Bugkasten is particularly advantageous in two with coxswain and four with coxswain reasons of optimal weight distribution. This fact was discovered in the 1950s by Georg von Opel. The helmsman can see the area in front of the rowing boat then indeed he has but a good feel for the width of the boat, including Skulls or belts have. With an intercom from microphone and speakers in the hull, the so-called Cox - Box, the helmsman may also be from this position instructions to the rowers, he can not see.

The rear of the influence of the placement of the helmsman on the weight distribution because of the boat length of around 17 meters is low. Because of the enormous difficulties of controlling a rollercoaster from the Bugposition, and for safety reasons the helmsman is usually placed in the aft in the stern. A Cox box with two to four speakers in the crew cabin is still used frequently because the rowers the helmsman else can barely hear the bow. Previously mouthpieces were used instead of electrical Cox box in the aft.

Control devices

Sits the helmsman at the stern, it controls the boat mostly on a tightrope that is stretched on both sides of the seat and leads to the rear of the boat where the rudder is attached. If the helmsman in the bow, called the control line is pulled through the entire hull and crossed at the rear. In the nose, a lever is mounted, with which the cable is moved. The crossing is necessary so that the lever end always points in the direction in which the boat is traveling. This facilitates taxes significantly.

Boats with coxswain

  • Wedding One
  • Two with coxswain
  • Four with coxswain
  • Eight

Boats coxless

In coxless boats is one of the rowers of the boat chairman, responsible for security. The seated in the bow bowman looks around regularly and gives instructions in the direction the boat is to control. The change in direction can then be effected through a Fußsteuer, which is operated by a foot of the rower, and is secured to the stretcher, or by the one-sided covering of the rudder blades. Boats coxless are:

  • Skiff
  • Double Sculls
  • Two coxless
  • Sculls and coxless four


In the eight - Canadians and dragon boat, the helmsman is always in the rear. Controlling the Canadiers done with a steering paddle. Dragon boats are conducted with a 3 m long rudder, which is connected to a transversely projecting from the boat tax Holm.