In a rowing crew, the coxswain (aka cox) is the member who sits facing the bow (all other team members face the stern). He or she steers the boat and coordinates the power and rhythm of the rowers.
Being a cox is very responsible role. Consider for a moment that a typical Commercial eight can cost €25,000. The cox is answerable for the safety of the vessel. Indeed, in the event of a collision, the coxswain is accountable under maritime law as ‘Master of the vessel’. He or She is therefore treated as such. At Commercial, we summarize this Jurisprudence with the practical aphorism ‘One Voice in the Boat ‘.
The cox has control of the rudder, enabling her or him to steer, and also has a microphone, wired to a ‘cox-box’ (pictured left). The cox-box enables calm communication with the rowers without having to shout. The cox-box is an expensive piece of kit. If you come and cox with Commercial, you will be given instruction on how to use and care for it.
At Commercial, we have an enlightened understanding of the importance of a good coxswain. They are treated as integral members of the crew ( and certainly not perceived as outside ‘help’). Experienced coxswains often provide a service as useful as that of a coach. Indeed, it is the cox who implements the Coaches’ race strategy. Although coxswains have traditionally been thrown into the water after a regatta win, this practice is not encouraged at Commercial (unless of course your name is ‘Herbie‘).
The cox is an organiser, a motivator, a cheerleader & a drill sergeant. Watch this video (right) to see an excellent example of how an experienced cox can actually win a tight race. Make no mistake – the cox won this race.
If you think you have these leadership attributes, Commercial Rowing Club is interested in hearing from you
Tomas Mulqueen is a highly experienced coxswain from UCC. He has produced this excellent coxing manual: –