Thursday, 29 December 2011

Rowing for Heroes

I recently posted a lengthy whine about the condition known to doctors as 'skiffer's arse', but the latest blog post from transatlantic rower Rory Mackenzie puts it all in perspective.
Cpl Mackenzie, an Army medic, had his right leg blown off by a roadside bomb in Basra. Now he is taking part in the Atlantic Challenge with an Army crew including three other amputees - Row2Recovery.
However hard you train, the real thing is always tougher and Rory discovered as then pushed westwards that the pain was unbearable. Some previously undetected fragments of shrapnel, just pinhead size, were working their way to the skin as the muscles were working.
So this was Rory's Christmas:
"On Christmas Day I dosed myself up on some pretty hard core painkillers and spent ages gazing in the mirror at my behind – not recommended – and picking away with a pair of tweezers to try and pull out the offending shrapnel. I also scrubbed the area pretty aggressively as well. To be honest I was pretty spaced out while I was doing it but it seems to have done the trick."
Amazingly, he is back in the rowing seat and pleased as Punch: "I feel like I’ve been given a new lease of life. It’s so good to really feel like I’m playing my part in things rather than just being a big lump that the rest of the boys have to row across to Barbados."
We saw Row2Recovery come in at the Great River Race, when they got a storm of applause. They are clearly going from strength to strength, currently positioned fourth in the twelve boats still in the race.
You can follow them here, and please donate lavishly here.

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Ralph Stockton's Rowing Girls

I love this. Modelmaker Ralph Stockton, based at Setley Pond in the New Forest, has created a remote control coxless pair.
The girls have a very odd circular rowing action and they can't feather, but they have the boat under complete control and manage to avoid a threatening narrowboat half way through the film.
I'm almost inspired to create a model rowing boat with a proper stroke including feathering, but I'm too busy rowing.

Friday, 23 December 2011

Slow Rowing

This should be the worst rowing boat ever. She is short, fat, flat-bottomed and has a 'bow' that is even wider and blunter than my Simbo. Rowing should be a mighty pain, taking huge amounts of effort to get nowhere in a very long time.
But for Water Dancer's builder, Thomas Mauer in Pennsylvania, she is the best rowing boat ever. As he relates in an article in the brilliant online boating magazine Duckworks, she is great for fishing from, as a base for swimming and as a picnic table (as shown in the picture).
The design is the Puddle Duck Racer (PDR), a sailing boat for youngsters designed to be as much fun as an Optimist at a tiny fraction of the price. The box shape makes it easy and quick to build, and she sails well because it forms a V in the water when heeling. But she was not designed to row.
Thomas's big discovery is that you can often go out under oars when sailing is impractical, and that a wide, stable boat is great for a lot of things that aren't rowing, such as fishing, birdwatching and picnicking.
I have discovered this recently. My sliding seat skiff Snarleyow (pictured in the masthead) is not getting used as much as she used to be, because I like doing the stuff that you can't do in a boat so narrow you can't let go of the oars without risking a sudden immersion.
There are always times, of course, when nothing will hit the spot except a fast and furious bash round the harbour in Snarleyow. For all those other times, a boat designed for comfort rather than speed is what I need. 
Slow Rowing? Yes please!

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Shortest Day + 1

Went out in Kittiwake at dawn, which at the winter solstice at 50 degrees North is 0803 hours. Not hot, but not cold either. Light breeze. And had the whole harbour entirely to myself.

Monday, 19 December 2011

Skiff Calendar for sale

Here's the ideal present for any traditional rower - the Skiffs of Loch Broom calendar for 2012, featuring lots of lovely glossy pictures of St Ayles skiffs by Ali Foote, Chris Perkins and others. A slideshow of the pictures is here. Tremendous value for a fiver plus P&P - just drop an email to to place your order.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Rowing Tat

I am fairly tolerant when people assume that because I love rowing I will love to own rowing-related ornaments and display them in my home, but I wish to announce right now that if anybody gives me this for Christmas there will be swift and bloody vengeance.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Anyone know Chesapeake Bay?

I have received the following email:
I enjoyed reading about you and your little craft. I have a Tanzer 16, and hope to camp cruise the innerside of the Delmarva this spring. Any thoughts on availability of sandy beach, camp grounds, laws pertaining to beach camping, etc.?
David J. Cortes
Unfortunately I know nothing about waters below 50degN, so can anyone help David out?

The picture above, by Pink Pfeffernüsse, shows racing at the Mid-Atlantic Small Boats Festival at St Michaels, MD, last year. See the splendid blog 70.8% for a report on this year's event.

Monday, 12 December 2011

Traditional Rowing at the Carrow Cup

There were some lovely traditional boats at the Carrow Cup Festival. Above is Adrian Hodge's lovingly restored Thames double skiff JoJo, complete with video camera on tripod. I'm looking forward to the film!
Sliding seat skiff
A couple of Victorian sliding seat doubles with outriggers made an appearance (right), looking very elegant with their slender planks and little transoms.
Roland Harris bought Raineach, a Shetland faering designed by Iain Oughtred and built in real tree-wood by Adrian Morgan in Ullapool. Apparently the larch of the planks took up faster than the oak of the frame which caused some problems in the first few years, but she has now stabilised. That's real wood for you, I suppose.
Finally, the ferry from the Norwich Rowing Club to the Carrow Yacht Club where we launched was a totally non-traditional plastic dory. Adrian rowed us back after the prizegiving as the sun went down on a truly great day.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Carrow Cup Traditional Boat Race

Solent Galley Bembridge rowed in the Traditional Boat Division at the Carrow Cup in Norwich today and we won!
Only by 12 seconds over a Cornish pilot gig, but that's good enough. Especially as their crew was a lot younger than us (the codger crew of 60 year olds that have had a very good year).
More later when the pics come back from Boots get uploaded.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Currach for Sale

The Irish currach is one of those survivals that win because they are still the best boats for the job in the wild Atlantic swell off the west coast. Skin on frame, they are rowed with narrow sea oars that may lose on grip in the water but don't clip the waves so badly on the return (and it may also be something to do with short supply of long knot-free timber thereabouts).
Mike Morris in Chester has a nice example for sale. He writes:

Hi Chris,
I have a currach for sale and was wondering if anyone would be interested in her. 
She is a 14 ft Toraigh (Tory) Island currach made by Holger Lonze as part of the Loch Neagh boat project he ran. She has a replacement skin which I put on. 
These currachs have the advantage of a false keel, which means you can drag and launch them more easily than others, and she tracks much better, which is good for river rowing, although she is designed for the sea. The history of this type is set out on the Meitheal Mara website. She is very stable and good for a single rower plus passenger (she can take two rowers if desired). I imagine she would be good for lake fishing. Drawback is that although she can be put atop a large car or van, this is quite a task and she really needs a trailer, in which case she can be launched single-handed. She has original oars but really needs a set of new ones, which are fairly easy to make. She can also be fitted out with a rudder and for sailing.
She's a nice little boat with a real pedigree and I'm only selling her because I already have a 16 foot Naimhog from Meitheal Mara and have now built a wood/canvas canoe which I can car-top myself. 
She really needs someone who loves rowing and has an interest in skin on frame boats to get her out on the water. For anyone who hasn't rowed a currach, the narrow oar blades used are a revelation, and never fail to surprise people over the power they generate.
Her name is Branagan Mhara, ('Little Crow of the Sea') and I've cut and pasted the original canvas patch with her name on onto the replacement skin.
If anyone is interested, I'd be happy to discuss her further and go for a test row on the Dee in Chester, which is five minutes from my house. I can also make suggestions about usage, maintenence, etc. based on my trial and error experience of currach ownership. The sail can be included but there is no mast or rudder.

If anyone is interested, drop me an email and I will put you in touch with Mike. I'm off to Norwich now, to take part in the Carrow Cup Festival tomorrow. Should be a hoot (but a bit chilly) - a report will follow.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Frozen Rowing

I went rowing today and found it hard work in a F5 breeze against the tide.
Exhausted, I slumped in front of the telly to watch David Attenborough's latest triumph, Frozen Planet. And he showed people who have it really tough.
The Aleut peoples of Chukotka, the bit of Russia that Sarah Palin can see from her bedroom window, hunt in boats made of walrus skin on wooden frames. They kill walrus by throwing huge weighted harpoons attached to inflated walrus bladders to stop them from diving.
The unfortunate walrus even provide puncture repair outfits - holes in the hulls are repaired with dobs of walrus fat.
I admire the hardihood and self-reliance of these people so much. Their timing could be better though. And they used a very short, sharp stroke. Could that be to cope with rougher conditions?
The Frozen Planet series is the best thing on the TV right now by a country mile - if you are in the UK and haven't watched this superb programme already, watch it on BBC iplayer NOW.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Cockups make rowing interesting

This is what happens when you leave a boat unattended on a rising tide with the wind offshore.
Embarrassing. Everyone walking their dogs along the foreshore stopped to watch. Luckily the breeze blew her into the shadow of the pub and the tide brought her back in before anyone had to get wet waist deep to stop her floating off to France.
Later, an inexperienced cox failed to notice a mooring buoy, catching the rope with the rudder and bringing us to a sudden and inglorious halt.
As I hung over the stern up to my elbows in cold water disconnecting us, a voice rang out from the pub: "Should've gone to Specsavers!"

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Soaked again

The Cutters met for a row to Emsworth in what the met station said was a Force 3 gusting 4, but turned out to be a lot brisker than that.
We had an awkward number of crew, so Marcus and I took Lottie out without a cox, always hard work in any sort of breeze because she has a strong tendency to lie beam-on to the wind. We laboured down to Marker Point, much further than the other boats who went directly to Emsworth for coffee.
Coming back, we took the short cut along the north channel. A pair of channel markers have recently been put up. I mean, I know the channel is narrow there, but they were so close together we couldn't row between them.
Got back straight into the wind, smashing down into the waves and getting thoroughly soaked.
We do this for fun, y'know.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

An Evening Row

I had to spend the day writing a very boring piece on Business Strategy Change Execution, so when I finally finished and looked out of the window to see a cloudless sky, I just had to go for a quick row in Kittwake before sundown. There was just enough tide.
Passed a plastic boat with the three occupants trying desperately to make some way against the tide using two very small paddles and the bailer: their outboard was doing what outboards do best, sulking. I rowed over to a fishing boat across the harbour and got them to go to the rescue.
As the sun went down, nothing but the cries of the birds, now over for their winter stay, and the roar of the waves on the harbour bar a mile away.
The Royal Oak was a welcome sight on my return.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Rowing and Towing

No, this isn't my car. The picture was posted on Proper Course, where ace Laser sailor Tillerman says he doesn't know much about rowing but isn't something wrong here?
I spent much of the weekend towing stuff, as it happens, including taking our majestic 30ft long Solent galley Bembridge to the Hamble. Proceeding at a stately 60mph past a motorway turnoff, I looked in my wing mirror and saw a hot hatch zoom up on the outside lane trying to overtake me before the turnoff. Then he (yes, of course it was a guy) discovered he had totally misjudged how long the boat is and had to hit the anchors and drop round our stern so he could make the turn. Much slower. HAHAHAHAHA.
Which reminds me. Doing the same trip a few weeks ago with our Clayton skiff Gladys behind, I was overtaken by a house. It is very alarming to look out of your side window and see a front door drifting past just a few inches away (it was a very wide house) at a good 70mph.

Saturday, 12 November 2011


Rowed up the Hamble in Bembridge with Langstone Cutters today and it was fab - the trees are taking on their autumn golds and russets, the water was flat calm, the sun was warm and the beer was cool.
At the hard at Swanwick we met Bernard with his Selway Fisher-designed skiff. He wanted removable outriggers, especially as he transports the boat on his car roof. I know from bitter experience how scratchy outriggers are on a car roof.
Bernard developed a simple and elegant removable outrigger to solve the problem. One end fits in a hole in the thwart and the middle slots into a fitting on the gunwale, secured by a grub screw. He sawed aluminium tube to fit and got a local welder to weld it up.
Judging by the speed Bernard got from the Horse and Jockey back to the hard at Swanwick, this is a very egronomic arrangement.

Thursday, 10 November 2011


The Swedish illustrator Brynolf Wennerberg (1866-1950) produced some charming stuff including some attractive images of ladies rowing.
Unfortunately, his work has two drawbacks for today's British art lovers. One is that his best-known work was propaganda for the First World War German High Command - he had emigrated from his native Sweden to Munich, where he changed his name to Bruno and worked for various magazines. Actually it is pretty fluffy stuff including a series of postcards of horrific war scenes such as a girl tending a gruff soldier convalescing from what is clearly a flesh wound, and another of a girl greeting a postman bearing the grim news that her fiance has a slight hangover after winning a bar to his Iron Cross. In the card on the right, a couple of girls are taking a brave soldier out for a good time on the lake, the lucky fellow.
From a rowing point of view, however, Wennerberg commits the cardinal sin of portraying the lovely oarslady above sculling right-over-left. Tsk tsk.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Museum of London Docklands

I was forced to go up to that London last weekend despite the tides being perfectly suitable for rowing, to take my darling daughter and her delightful cousin to a gathering of exhibitionists called Comic Con at the exhibitionists centre on the Royal Victoria Dock. While they were there I visited the new outpost of the Museum of London in Canary Wharf.
Frankly, I was expecting to spend half an hour looking at a poster display, but the Museum of London Docklands is brilliant and I ended up spending most of the day there. An all-inclusive history of London as a port, starting with the Romans. There is a superb model of Old London Bridge, based on all the known sources and probably the best representation now possible, and 'Sailortown', an evocation of the darkness, squalor and smells of the old East End.
And, of course, there is lots of stuff about rowing, with models of the wherries, peterboats and barges that used to ply their various trades on the river. It is not easy to take pictures of exhibits behind glass, but above is a model of a wherry with a waterman in traditional garb with his badge on his sleeve, plus a crutch (not a rowlock). Another model is shown below.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Fin de siecle elegance

There was a young lady from Thrace,
Whose corsets grew too tight to lace.
Her mother said, "Nelly,
There's more in your belly,
Than ever went in through your face!"

This ad is for sale on eBay.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Spring in New Zealand

Owen Sinclair is out early this spring - spring in New Zealand, of course. An early trip was to lovely Lake Rotoroa (above), dramatic scenery that we don't have much of in England.
Owen writes:
Lake Rotoroa is great. It is one of two vehicle-accessible lakes in the Nelson Lakes National Park and the Department of Conservation discourages waterskiing and jetskis from it, in favour of them using the other (Lake Rotoiti) This helps maintain the serenity to some extent. The fisherman on the lake are normally in powerboats but there aren't too many and they are generally orderly.
The lake looked prettier in some ways a few months ago when the mountains were coated in snow. On the other hand, when I rowed there the weekend before last the kowhais (yellow flowers) along the lakeside were in flower with tuis feeding on them and calling and there was native clematis (white flowers) relieving the green of the forest in places. Plus eels at the Durville Hut jetty (sorry no photos of those)
Here is a slide show of Owen's recent trips from Marahau to Falls River and return, and around Lake Rotoroa. Thanks Owen!

Monday, 31 October 2011

Carrow Cup

The Carrow Cup has been fought for most Decembers since 1822 on the River Wensum in Norwich. Originally the boats were traditional wherries with fixed seats, but as sliding seats and outriggers came in the racers adopted them. Nowadays, the main race is for fine boats but last year Norwich Rowing Club added a second race for traditional boats, organised by the Norfolk Skiff Club - judging by the pictures, they had a jolly festive time.
Just a few boats took part, but this year the turnout looks set to be very much larger with at least 17 boats planning to enter, including Langstone Cutters with our Solent galley Bembridge and possibly a Clayton skiff as well. All the members of the old codgers crew that triumphed in the Great River Race have signed up, so we should be in with a chance of some sort of win.

Sunday, 23 October 2011


I look very jolly in this picture, taken by that intrepid sailor Liz Baker at a picnic lunch on Fowley Island last weekend. As you can see, the weather was fabulous, the last knockings of our Indian summer, and it had been lovely to catch up with members of the Dinghy Cruising Association. I am rowing Kittiwake, which is rapidly becoming one of my favourite boats for aimless paddling.
But under the smile was bitter pain. I was trying out a new set of high-tech underpants in the hope that they would prevent my recurring problem with chafing on the bum.
A pair of Berghaus trews made of spandex had helped, but I had come to the conclusion that the main culprit was the Marks and Spencer cotton/polyester boxer shorts I favour. There seems to be very little advice available on the web concerning this fundamental problem, though I bet it is more widespread than many admit.
Cyclists are much more open on the subject, and they recommend special underpants to prevent saddle sores. So off I trotted to the cycle shop and invested more money than I have ever spent in my life on a pair of knickers - a score. Outrageous. And when I got them out of the box and saw the thick pad that is supposed to protect you from the saddle, I just knew they wouldn't work.
In fact, they made matters far worse, causing an extremely painful chafe that took all week to heal.
So the next day I popped into Aldi and there found a running set consisting of breathable vest and pants in some sort of stretchy polymer for the very reasonable price of a tenner (Aldi is cheapskate heaven).
On Wednesday I tried them out on a trip round Langstone Harbour in the teeth of a Force 5, and they gave no trouble in the botty department at all. I hope I may have cracked it.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Oar length

I've been discussing oar length with Gavin Atkin of intheboatshed. He has received the exciting news that the first Oarmouse has been built to his plans for a fast, stable, easily-built sculling boat that can be made from just two sheets of ply.
The builder, Fred Rodger in the US, says it fulfils all his expectations but needs a skeg to stop it turning too fast. A skeg is under construction. He is also rethinking the outrigger and thole pin arrangement.
Thole pins are very ancient and still used in many parts of the world, mainly in traditional fishing communities. The rope holding the loom of the oar against the thole is called a humlibaund in Scotland and an estrop in Catalonia. 
Fred doesn't say how long his oars are but Gavin thinks they may be too short.
There are lots of formulae for calculating the 'correct' length of oars of varying complexity ranging from a simple 'half the span, times three, plus six inches' (span is the distance between the thole pins) to the widely-quoted Shaw and Tenney equation that you need a computer to calculate.
I personally use trial and error. Start with oars that are too long and take them out for a thrash. Then cut them down by half an inch. Repeat the process until you feel really comfortable. Then go rowing.
With modern oars, you will need to adjust the button that holds the oar in place against the rowlock to maintain balance, but with Fred Rodger's thole pins it will mean simply repositioning the strop.
It is also worth looking at the height of the rowlock. Even a small change in the height will make a big difference to the height of the handles above your knees - raising the rowlocks just a little can transform an uncomfortable and cramped stroke into a lovely casual swing.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Flatpack Rowing

As a fully paid-up gadget freak, I love this. Demonstrated at a design show on the Regent's Canal in London last month, the Foldboat is cut from a single 2.5 by 1.5m sheet of polyethylene, cleverly creased so to pop up into this little rowboat.
The designers claim it can be assembled in a couple of minutes, bolting together at the bow and the ends of the transom.
The Foldboat was developed by Max Frommeld and Arno Mathies, students at the Royal College of Art. They also created the novel oars with blades cut from the same sheet of plastic as the boat - the shafts are ash.
The Foldboat comes in two versions. This one is quick to set up but must be stored as a single sheet, though it would easily hang on the garage wall.
Another version folds down into a flat pack a mere 1.5 by 0.6m, so it could be transported in the back of a car or even carried around.
More information on the designers' very stylish blog.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Man on the Danube

I love this picture. Partly because it shows the wonderful Hungarian parliament building in Budapest, which rivals the British parliament in its Gothic splendour and riverside setting. But mainly because it is one of those pictures where you have to look closely to find the real subject - that little boat in the bottom left-hand corner.
It is Giacomo De Stefano's Clodia, a Ness Yawl designed by Iain Oughtred, which he is rowing and sailing from London to Istanbul via the Thames, Rhine and Danube. You can read about his exploits and aims in full on his blog, Man on The River.
It seems that Giacomo's epic voyage will pause for the winter in Budapest.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Free Fleet Trow on offer

The Fleet Trow is one of the most specialised of traditional boats, having been developed for use on the Fleet, a lagoon in the lee of the Chesil Bank, one of the largest shingle banks in Europe. The trows are flat-bottomed and with hardly any rocker, designed to be rowed around the shallow waters of the lagoon, especially to transport mackerel landed on the beach by seine-netters to railheads inland.
Traditional wooden Fleet Trows are still being made by Clark's Boatworks in Portland, and Daan Eysker owns a rather nice example. He writes:
"I have an 12ft 9 inch Fleet Trow made by Clark's Boatworks in Dorset. It is in a very good state, varnished inside and out.
It’s free , so if you know some one who wants it , let me know!
I live in the Netherlands though.
Daan Eysker"

If you are interested in Daan's Trow, drop me a line and I will pass the message on.

Friday, 14 October 2011


This guy rowing what looks like a Cornish flashboat is Exhibit A in a British Rowing poster explaining the definitive method of fixed seat rowing. It is excellent, by which I mean that it reinforces all my prejudices. Download it here.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

A baby St Ayles Skiff

Alec Jordan, originator of the Scottish Coastal Rowing project, has created a little sister for the St Ayles Skiff that is proving a roaring hit round the world.
Designed by Iain Oughtred, the Wemyss Skiff is a single or pair sculling boat, that can be rowed with or without a cox. It should be a valuable addition to any coastal rowing club where members want to broaden their oarsmanship skills or simply get out when they can't get a crew together for the big boat.
A very interesting aspect of the boat is its complete adjustability. The stretchers (1) can be moved, of course, but so can the thwarts (2), which rest on flotation tanks running down the sides of the boat. And the swivels (3) can be moved too, so rowers at both ends of the height spectrum can tune their position to get the best possible action.
Alec writes:
Just thought I would let you know that there is a smaller skiff in build here. I'm meant to be taking the prototype up to Ullapool next weekend, but it is touch-and-go as to whether I will have her finished in time. I had intended launching on Wednesday, but I think it is probably going to be next Saturday morning in Ullapool!
It is called the Wemyss Skiff because I live in East Wemyss, and it was hearing about the coal miners' regattas here in times gone by that planted the seed for the St Ayles project. Length is 16'7", beam 4'9". Disp 610lbs.
Iain Oughtred has made some changes to the hull form, and I am wanting to make mods to the planking - giving her a 9mm garboard and some changes to the buoyancy arrangements. The kit will need to be completely re-designed!
The idea is that she can be used as a single, a coxless double, or coxed double for youngsters.
She will be in Watercraft's Grand Designs in the next issue - maybe on the water, maybe not...
As you can see, Alec got her into the water at Ullapool last weekend where Chris Perkins took these pics (more are at the Ullapool Coastal Rowing Club site). Chris reports that the Wemyss Skiff is lovely and quick despite not being quite finished - the buoyancy tanks are not fitted yet and the stretchers are still missing.
It should make another great rowing boat kit.
Notes for non-pedants:
(1) Footrests
(2) Seats
(3) Rowlocks

Monday, 10 October 2011

Summer is Icumen In...

...well, south of the Equator it is. In England, as the poet Timothy Shy trilled. "Winter is icumen in, Lhude sing goddamn!"
In Australia, Alec Morgan is planning a summer expedition to Fraser Island, which is something close to paradise if the pictures on Panoramio are to be believed. 
Alec's blog follows him preparing his home-built boat, a Flint dinghy designed by Ross Lillistone, and plots his course up the landward side of Fraser Island, a national park on the coast of Queensland, to Wathumba Creek.
This is my type of cruising. Alec plans to float with tide and wind, do a bit of fishing and have a relaxing time generally.
His boat is my type of boat too. He has rigged it with a small sail right in the bow, the shape taken from Micronesian examples. The whole rig can be put up or taken down in a couple of minutes at sea, and the spars fit inside the boat. Alec says it has good downwind performance, which is what you want.
The latest operation has been to prepare the oars, which are standard chandlery oars improved by shaving so they balance better and give a nice bit of spring, but are still strong enough to use for the inevitable fending-off.
Alec leaves next month, when I suspect we in the frozen north will be fretting indoors, cursing the weather.
(Picture of Wathumba Creek at top by JWarnes on Panoramio)

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Brighten up your walls this Winter

This shows how propagandists fail to understand anything. The woman rower is not HANDICAPPED - she is EMPOWERED. The wind just has to veer round and she will still be progressing when that smug sailor is tacking fruitlessly and quite possibly backwards. And at the end of the race, she will be much fitter and he will still be a fat slob. Go girl!
A reproduction of the poster is available on eBay at eight quid.
Also on eBay, an essential weapon for any rower competing for space on a congested jetty (about £13 but unfortunately in Texas).

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Discussion Point

“When one rows, it’s not the rowing which moves the
ship: rowing is only a magical ceremony by means of
which one compels a demon to move the ship.”
Friedrich Nietzsche

Monday, 3 October 2011

Indian Summer

You wouldn't believe this pic was taken today, October 3. An Indian summer has struck southern England, bringing the warmest October days since records began. So we are all furiously getting out to enjoy it as it will be the last chance we get for months and months and months.
One of the few joys of being one's own boss is that one can give the worker permission to skive off occasionally, so as the rest of the year is predicted to be dreary and cold I sloped off in the afternoon to take Kittiwake out for a little fishing trip down the harbour. Didn't catch anything, predictably, but had a lovely, lovely time.
See how the current holds Annie against the pontoon.
On Saturday I rowed up the lovely River Hamble with Langstone Cutters, but left my phone in the car so these pics are courtesy of crew member Graham Lloyd. No fewer than 13 people turned up wanting to get the good row in before it gets cold, so we took Clayton skiff Mabel and Mike Gilbert's Cornish pilot gig Annie. Hamble River Rowers were out in strength too.
Lessons learned:
1) When launching into a river with the tide making at high speed, don't move the boat from the slip to the pontoon however convenient it looks. The current will jam you up on the pontoon and you will have to fight the boat off. Launch directly off the hard where there is no current.
2) When securing the boat on the trailer, check the loose ends of the tie-downs are properly secured or they will wrap round the axle and bring you to a complete halt on a busy intersection and you will be very embarrassed.