Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Rowing in Art

I spent a jolly time on Tuesday rowing Tim the Telly Art Historian round Portsmouth Harbour as he explained to the camera that this painting by Turner is not, as assumed for over a hundred years, a view of Venice but in fact of Gosport.
It was recently discovered that it represents the arrival of Louis Philippe, King of France, at the Royal Clarence Yard in 1844.
Apparently the light was regarded as too brilliant for dreary old Pompey, and the truth only came out by examining the artist's diaries and sketches. There is, admittedly, very little detail to go on in the picture.
By coincidence I had visited the National Gallery the week before and had a look at the huge Turner depicting Dido building Carthage, and the accompanying work by Claude entitled Seaport with the embarkation of the Queen of Sheba.
Both pictures feature rowing boats, curiously.  I took a couple of close-up shots with my new Moto G 3rd Gen phone.
Claude's boat is very detailed, being rowed across the water briskly by its crew of seven. Yes, seven. There are four rowers on one side and three on the other. There is no cox and it looks very likely they will hit the boat on the right. And their oars are ridiculously short.
Turner shows a royal barge with a cabin and a gilded lion on the bow. It seems to be four oared, the oars being the correct length and shown in the easy position. The boat has poise and elegance. Turner has clearly seen rowing boats, while Claude evidently didn't have a clue.

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Champs again!

Cap'n JP captured a precious moment from the Great River Race, the time we finally powered past Witchoar.
At the finish we were rather despondent however. Solent galley Bembridge had finally achieved their only GRR objective and overtook us just before the finish line, and we failed to catch the only other Glaydon skiff ahead of us, crewed by a nice bunch of 30 year olds (estimate) from Gravesend.
But our main concern was that we had not seen the other boat crewed by a supervet crew, so it looked as though our decade long domination of the old farts category had come to an end.
We even missed the award ceremony, so only Chris Bream (rowing bow in the picture) heard the call and picked up the V60 trophy, ours for the 11th time. We really must give it a polish this year.
For me, however, the greatest success of the day was the Under 16 crew in the Salter skiff 15 Seconds. Annika, Claudia and Molly were coxed by Annika's mum Katy to a stunning victory - they came 3rd in the Under 18s! Really well done to them.
Here they are at the start.

Friday, 11 September 2015

Great River Race Runup

It's the Great River Race tomorrow and I am watching boats being launched at the finish point in preparation for towing to the start. I took Gladys the hard way, towing her to the start at Millwall and then bringing the trailer through central London. Every year I swear it is the last.
Anyway, of you are in town tomorrow get to the bank or a bridge and cheer the Codger Crew on!

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Launch Day, Cobnor

Snarleyow's launch was recorded by Graham Neil on his trusty smartphone and he has sent over the pictures.
The new name was applied:
A suitable quantity of prosecco was applied to the bow and the rest drunk by the congregation. Then the floor show, provided by three big blokes who decided they didn't want to make three trips to their boat when they could all cram into the tender as long as they held their breath:
Then it was up sail and away, moving away from the shore and out of harm's way under oars as God intended:
There was then a lot of faffing about and near misses with moored yachts as I struggled to get her under control and under way, which Graham was kind enough not to record, bless him.
A great first day.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

A Concerned Reader Writes

Reader Patrick asks: "New RFP rule? The skipper of the new Snarleyow is apparently a stickler for the wearing of PBAs. Unlike the previous bloke."

Patrick: This blog is committed to safety and always does a risk assessment for its activities, as follows:
Hazardous Event
Risk Assessment
Risk Mitigation
Sudden immersion due to capsize, being knocked overboard by boom or falling overboard when moving about in boat.
Severity: High
Likelihood: High
Risk: High
Wear lifejacket
Rower sits in middle of boat which is stabilized by two 10ft poles.
Severity: Low
Likelihood: Low
Risk: Negligible
No mitigation measures required

Sunday, 23 August 2015

I am sailing

Friday was my first long sail in Snarleyow, from Cobnor to Langstone to see a flotilla of WW2 canoes that took part in the Cockleshelll Heroes operation. They were transporting two blue plaques to commemorate Cdr Goulding, CO of the various naval establishments on Hayling Island that trained and operated waterborne special operations, including the original Special Boat Service.
Approaching Langstone I came up with Mike Gilbert out sculling, who took this picture of me looking very, very smug.
Then I went to the Royal Oak for a quick pint and returned tooking, if possible, even smugger. If that's a word.

New Toys

I have been playing with my new toy at the Dinghy Cruising Association's annual camp at Cobnor, a peninsular in Chichester harbour close to Bosham. 
Yesterday my chum Paul and I took her up to Dell Quay in company with Chris Waite in his self-designed and built sailing dinghy Polly Wee. As the wind was in the east, unusually, I decided to test Snarleyow's performance under oars by rowing the long straight reach at Itchenor while Chris beat up, tacking in and out of the lines of very expensive yachts. I am happy to report that we kept up with him nicely.
Chris had to return early but Paul and I hauled the rig up and carried on to the Crown and Anchor. On the beach was a family experimenting with its new toy, an RS Aero that had clearly recently been bought for No1 Son, seen here installing the daggerboard. He seemed to be having a lot of fun too.