The Faroese Rowing Federation (Róðrarsamband Føroya, RSF) is an association of all rowing clubs in the Faroe Islands. Its purpose is to support, promote and spread interest in Faroese rowing. Representation at international level is also one of its goals. RSF is a member of the Faroese Sports Federation (Det Færøske Idrætsforbund/ISF), and ISF’s guidelines for “Good Behavior” apply to all work within the rowing federation.

RSF is also a member of Nordic Rowing and the Danish Association for Rowing (Dansk Forening for Rosport, DFfR). Since the Faroe Islands do not yet have independent membership in World Rowing, Faroese rowers participate in international competitions in indoor rowing (ergometer) under Danish membership. Efforts to achieve independent or associated membership in World Rowing have been ongoing for many years and continue.

In his book “Indberetninger fra en reise i Færø” from 1781, Jens Christian Svabo suggests the idea of organizing rowing competitions for the Faroese national day, St Olaf’s Day, on July 29. However, this idea only became relevant about 100 years later.

According to a newspaper from 1940, Føroyatíðindi, the first rowing competition took place in Tværå in the late 1870s. The first official rowing competition for St Olaf’s Day was held in 1887 and resumed in 1891.

In 1918, Andrea Árting initiated the formation of female crews for St Olaf’s Day.

In 1924, Danish Count Moltke visited the Faroe Islands for public affairs. As this was a significant event for the Faroese people, a boatrace was organized in Tórshavn for St Olaf’s Day. The winner received a trophy donated by the count. Since then, boatraces have been held for each St Olaf’s day.

In 1926, the boat “Havnarbáturin” was built.

In 1932, the rowing club “Kappróður” was founded in Tórshavn as the first rowing club in the Faroe Islands. The club later changed its name to “Havnar Róðrarfelag.” Froðbiar Sóknar Róðrarfelag (Tværå/Froðba) was established in 1934, Vágs Kappróðrarfelag (Våg) in 1943, and Sørvágs Róðrarfelag (Sørvåg) in 1956. Subsequently, several rowing clubs were founded in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s.

In 1959, ISF (Faroese Sports Federation) established standards for the measurements and weights of Faroese rowing boats. The standards came into force on January 1, 1960.¹

Today, representatives from RSF (The Faroese Rowing Federation) measure and approve all rowing boats. A valid authorization letter from RSF is a requirement for participating in the Faroese rowing championships.

The Faroese rowing championship has been contested since 1973. Each boatrace has been a significant event in the Faroe Islands and has played a crucial role in the development of Faroese rowing.

RSF was founded in May 1980 as an independent federation under ISF, having previously been a department within ISF.

In 2023, 26 clubs were registered under RSF, of which 21 were active in competitions. There are approximately 1300 active rowers, with around 250 also participating in competitive indoor rowing events. Faroese rowing clubs have a total of about 140 registered rowing boats.

On the website
www.urslit.rsf.fo  you can find all results from 1960 to the present day where it is also posible to search, filter and compare all results since 1960. You can e.g. see how often specific boats have been Faroese champions, how many competitions the boat has participated in, and other relevant information.

In 2021, the Faroese clinker-built boat, including the rowing boat, was added to UNESCO’s list of world heritage. More information about this can be found on the website
www.savn.fo under the section “Livandi mentan” (Living culture).

RSF is currently managed by two part-time employees. The board consists of six individuals directly elected at the general assembly for a two-year period at a time. In addition to the board, there is a judging committee comprising three members. Information about RSF’s activities is regularly updated on the website

Rowing is the national sport of the Faroe Islands. What characterizes Faroese rowing is the use of traditional wooden boats built according to ancient traditions. In Faroese rowing, boats compete against each other in various categories based on boat size, age, and gender.

There are four boat sizes:
– Five- and six-man boats with six rowers
– Eight-man boats with eight rowers
– Ten-man boats with ten rowers, each with a coxswain.

During competitions, eleven groups participate based on age and gender. Masters (both women and men) participate in the last three boatraces. 
Girls and boys up to 14 years old compete in a distance of 500 meters, while all other boat classes compete in 1000 meters.

In the five-man boat, the following groups row:
– Girls and boys in 5th, 6th and 7th grade
– Girls and boys up to 16 years old
Girls and boys up to 18 years old
– Women

In the six-man boat, the following row:
– Women and men
– Women masters

In the eight-man boat, men row.

In the ten-man boat, the following row
– Men
– Men masters

Girls and boys up to 14 years old compete in a distance of 500 meters, while all other boat classes compete in 1000 meters.

The Faroese Championship in rowing is held over seven regattas at various locations around the country during June and July each year. The season concludes annually in Tórshavn on the Faroe Islands’ national day, St Olaf’s day, on July 28.

Before the Faroese Championship begins, three sprint regattas (ódnartøk) are held in April and May each year. During these sprint regattas, boats compete in three rounds of 140 meters each day. The groups distribution for the sprint regattas is the same as for the Faroese Championship (FM) in rowing.

Indoor rowing is a relatively new sport in the Faroe Islands. Originally, indorr rowing was used solely as training equipment for Faroese rowing. The first Faroese indoor rowing competition was held in Klaksvik in 2002, and since then, indoor rowing has developed significantly.

Faroese indoor rowers participated in international competition for the first time in Boston in 2013, and the Faroe Islands have been represented at several international competitions since.

The Faroese Rowing Federation (RSF) organized the first Faroese Indoor Rowing Championship in 2018. Since 2020, RSF has also arranged Gran Prix competitions during the winter months, with the fourth and final competition also being the Faroese Championship.

In addition to national competitions, RSF has ensured that Faroese rowers could participate in the Open Nordic Indoor Championships. Open Nordic is a virtual event alternately hosted by the Nordic countries.

In recent years RSF has employed a national coach. The choach has focused on developing the sport and together with representatives from RSF, the coach has selected rowers to represent the Faroe Islands in international competitions, including World Championships, European Championships, and World Masters Championships. In recent years, the Faroe Islands have won several world and European champions, and Faroese indoor rowers are well-known in the international indoor community.

Recent results and news from national and international indoor rowing competitions can be found on the website

In 2018 RSF aimed to introduce coastal rowing to the Faroe Islands, especially with the aim of participating in Nordic and international competitions. Subsequently, coastal rowing has been included in the Olympic program for Los Angeles in 2028.

In 2020 RSF purchased two coastal boats, but coastal rowing has not yet started in the Faroe Islands.

¹ (From the book “Føroya Framá”, the book “Drekin ein róðrarsøga” and from the webpage “Livandi mentan” hjá Tjóðsavninum)

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