Thursday, 5 March 2009

Rowing in Poland

Boatbuilder and rower Wojtek Baginski started the rowing season on Sunday by rowing down the Vistula from the marina to the south of Warsaw to the centre of the city where he met his friend Wojtek Holnicki, who took the photos. Then he hoiked the boat out of the water on a dolly, and pushed it round to Mr Holnicki's house where he stowed it in the garden.
The Vistula is a wide and fast-flowing, especially when the snows are melting, but it is built up only on one bank which makes it an attractive river to navigate.Wojtek built the boat to Jim Michalak's Robote design, a very simple and light stitch and glue hull that is easy to propel and to cartop. It is called Flaneuse. A flaneur is a 'gentleman stroller of city streets', according to Beaudelaire, but a boat is feminine so this one is a Flaneuse of course.
Wojtek writes:
I keep my boat at the small river marina next to the most southern Warsaw bridge, about 20 or 30 minutes drive from my home. My usual practice is to launch the boat in 3 minutes and row upstream leaving Warsaw city. The river is beautiful there. Usually I'm able to row about 8-10km, depending onthe water level which generates faster or slower current. Next, being tired, I row downstream to the marina.
Last Sunday it was the first time I decided to row downstream, and I arranged the place in my friend's garden first. I probably will row back again, but I will wait for a bit lower water level. Or I will cartop my boat back, to practice rowing upstream out of the city as usually. The rule is that a trip upstream takes three times more than a trip downstream at average water level.
More excellent pictures here.

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