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Boat Classifications

Wonder which different boats will be racing at Rio? Check out what quad, four and double all mean below.


All boats have a full name and an abbreviation which describes what boat types they are. Each boat type abbreviation follows the same order:

  • The weight requirements of the boat. LW if it is a lightweight crew. There will be no letters if it is an open weight crew.
  • The gender of the crew: M, Men’s; W, Women’s; Mix, Mixed – equal numbers of either gender.
  • The number of rowers in the crew, i.e. a ‘4’ or ‘2’ means either four or two people rowing.
  • The type of rowing: x for sculling (two oars); nothing for sweep (one oar).
  • The final part of the abbreviation shows if it is a coxed boat: + for coxed; – or nothing for coxless.

Rowing/Sweep Boats

The four rowing / sweep boats are the pair (2-), the coxless four (4-), the coxed four (4+)  and the eight (8+), as marked out below. In the racing commentary you may hear some of the boats be named ‘four’ or ‘pair’ rather than their full name, such as the coxless four.

From left to right: Coxless Pair (2-) and Coxless Four (4-):
From left to right: Eight (8+) and Coxed Four (4+):

Sculling Boats

The sculling boats are called quads, doubles or singles.

From left to right: Quad (4x-) and Double (2x):
Single (1x):

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