Dear CP - Thanks for the VERY FINE collection of rowing trivia and triumph on your blog - it ties in with my excitement about Sulkava, which is its participatory aspect.
My scratch crew of 14 exceptionally varied rowers, aged from 20 - 70, including five women, bonded to manage 70 kms in 2 days with very little discomfort - maybe thanks to perfect summer weather...churchboats were all about spirit!
Though many boats are sponsored by companies for their staff, there is a very powerful fun element, eg the interim evening dance and karoke!
I used to row at school, and even turned out for York University in their Roses Weekend vs Lancaster Uni - in the 1970s. Over here I hardly touched an oar until three weeks ago when I joined a scratch crew for a public invitation row in Helsinki. I seem to be hooked again (as many 50-something readers of yours are!).
Tony took the pictures, except for the top one which comes from a massive album of excellent photos of the event. There's a longer report from Tony at Hear the Boat Sing.