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Founded in 1818, Leander Club is the world's oldest public rowing club.[17] The second oldest club which still exists is the Der Hamburger und Germania Ruder Club which was founded 1836 and marked the beginning of rowing as an organized sport in Germany.[18] During the 19th century, as in England, wager matches in North America between professionals became very popular attracting vast crowds. Narragansett Boat Club was founded in 1838 exclusively for rowing. During an 1837 parade in Providence, R.I, a group of boatmen were pulling a longboat on wheels, which carried the oldest living survivor of the 1772 Gaspee Raid. They boasted to the crowd that they were the fastest rowing crew on the Bay. A group of Providence locals took issue with this and challenged them to race, which the Providence group summarily won. The six-man core of that group went on the following year to found NBC in 1838.[19] Detroit Boat Club was founded in 1839 and is the second oldest continuously-operated rowing club in the U.S. In 1843, the first American college rowing club was formed at Yale University.[20] The Harvard–Yale Regatta is the oldest intercollegiate sporting event in the United States,http://rowinghistory.net/Time%20Line/TL%20-1849images.htm[21] having been contested every year since 1852 (excepting interruptions for wars).
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The first known "modern" rowing races began from competition among the professional watermen in the United Kingdom that provided ferry and taxi service on the River Thames in London. Prizes for wager races were often offered by the London Guilds and Livery Companies or wealthy owners of riverside houses.[10] The oldest surviving such race, Doggett's Coat and Badge was first contested in 1715 and is still held annually from London Bridge to Chelsea.[12] During the 19th century these races were to become numerous and popular, attracting large crowds. Prize matches amongst professionals similarly became popular on other rivers throughout Great Britain in the 19th century, notably on the Tyne. In America, the earliest known race dates back to 1756 in New York, when a pettiauger defeated a Cape Cod whaleboat in a race.[13]


In sweep or sweep-oar rowing, each rower has one oar, held with both hands. This is generally done in pairs, fours, and eights. In some regions of the world, each rower in a sweep boat is referred to either as port or starboard, depending on which side of the boat the rower's oar extends to. In other regions, the port side is referred to as stroke side, and the starboard side as bow side; this applies even if the stroke oarsman is rowing on bow side and/or the bow oarsman on stroke side.
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