“Nau, nau, nau. (Cestuy Celeume, dift Epistemon, n'eft hors de propos & me plait) car le iour eft feriau. Infe, infe, Bon. Os'eferia Epiftemon, ie vous commande tous bien efperer. Ie voy a Caftor à dextre.”
[Pantagruel, Les Oevvres de M. Francois Rabelais, Docteur en Medicine, 1596]
“Vea, vea, vea! huzza! This shout of the seamen is not amiss, and pleases me, for it is holiday. Keep her full thus. Good. Cheer up, my merry mates all, cried out Epistemon; I see already Castor on the right.”
[Pantagruel, Vol. 2, Urquhart, 1892]
VEYRA, a sea cheer; quas. veer a’.
VORSA, a sea cheer; quas. force a'.”
[The Complaynt of Scotland, glossary]
Vayra, veyra are words probably related to the Spanish word 'Vira!'—'Heave' or 'Hoist'—heard from ports of the Mediterranean to those of the Far East.
The pausarius in action:
“Of the Boats and Skiff
A fresh Spell is to releeve the Rowers with another Gang, give the Boat more way for a dram of the bottell, who saies Amends, one and all, Vea, vea, vea, vea, vea, that is, they pull all strongly together.”
[1627, A Generall Historie of Virginia, New England, and The Summer Isles, Vol.II, Smith, 1907 ed.]
a) The oarsmen will typically be greater in number than the rowing stations.
b) Big boats don't stop or start on a dime. The gods of interia demand a certain degree of accelerando in the restart tempo. otoh - emergency braking can be lethal to the oarsmen.