Friday, 31 July 2009

Rowing on Lac Leman

Brian Pearson has been learning to row an Echo recreational rowboat on the lovely Lac Leman in France (or Lake Geneva as it is known over the border in Switzerland). He writes:
Hi Chris
Just back from a great holiday in Meillerie, just along the shore from Evian.
I loved the Echo, just so well resolved. Light enough to carry and launch singlehanded. Easy to launch from the beach, in thigh deep water. Just sit on the gunnel, the hull and deck have enough buoyancy to support you, and swing your legs inboard.
Feels tippy at first, in the same way a kayak does for the first ten minutes, but then ok. So much to learn to row smoothly. Improved each day, though usually worse to begin with at the start of each row. By the end of the holiday I was finding skimming the blades along the surface on the recovery stroke helped keep things much more balanced. Hooked!

Lots of other rowing going on as well. Meillerie had it's rowing regatta on the 18th July. All the local villages compete during the summer. They use just two boats, 10m long gigs with 8 rowers and a cox, and share them between all entries. They have a schedule of timed starts all evening long, the men do two figures of eight and ladies just one figure of eight. They were still racing in the dark. Terrific sight flying past the start platform at hull speed, full on shouting and grunting - just the men, ladies much quieter.

A neighbour had bought a lovely Flashboat, strip planked by a New Zealander in Cornwall. Super boat and very quick. Here is a pic as they arrived back from the Swiss shore, with Alinghi in the background, the new 90' Americas cup boat out on sailing trials. So, a great rowing holiday!

You do look a bit nervous in that picture, Brian, but you seem to have learned fast. Top tip: never let go of both oars at once!
The Meillerie gig looks fabulous and judging by the number of outriggers can take twelve oars, which should make it move a bit. The flashboat looks great too. Thanks!

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