Wednesday 19 June 2013

Naval Rowing at Beale

The Historical Maritime Society (HMS - geddit?) demonstrated their replica of an 18th century frigate's launch at Beale Park.
The replica is very impressive, 23ft long and pretty well made and accurate as far as I could see. The costumes looked good, giving an excellent impression of what a naval crew would have looked like in the age before uniforms.
Most of the crew needed to lose a couple of stone and at least three decades to look the part properly though.
Their rowing needs to sharpen up too. The authentic rowlocks, simple slots in the gunwale, obviously limit the swing of the oar but they must be able to come forward more and lean back a little further. Arms straight, boys!
And their timing is awful.
Apart from that, a top job.


Neil said...

Well thanks for this. Very helpful I'm sure.

We did our best with several new volunteers in our boat over that weekend - including some of the exhibitors who wanted to have a go at rowing on the day, having asked if they could have a go at pulling a large launch for the first time.

HMS is an organisation consisting of enthusiasts and not athletes. We are well aware of our limitations and that we can always improve.

What a pity, therefore, that you spurned the opportunity to come over and introduce yourself - along with your interest and the benefit of your expertise - to tell us how poor we were on the day - but I'm guessing that it's all a lot easier (and less confrontational ) online isn't it?

For what it is worth, I think your reference to weight loss is both gratuitous and personal. An easy hit.

However you're entitled to your opinion, for what it's worth. As I am to mine.

With kindest regards and best wishes

Neil Stott

Chris Partridge said...

Hi Neil,
Sorry to have given offence - rereading the post, I was bit more acid than I meant.
It is of course impossible for historical re-enactors to recruit lots of fit 20-30 yr olds in the interests of authenticity. At least you don't have the problem of mounting a cavalry charge when nowadays almost all horsemen are women.
I should have come over for a chat - next time I will. And I would love to row your boat. Next time you have an outing near the south coast let me know if you would like extra muscle. I am, of course, far too old to be authentic but there you go.

Unknown said...

Well, just followed this from another site.
I am one of the overweight old gits you have decided to slag off. Got to say I rather agree with Neil - always easy to crit online, not quite as simple to go for it face to face.

I shall immediately retire to the gym and try to lose some weight, can't do much about the years however. Incidentally about 1/16 of the crew of the Victory were over 40, a not insubstantial amount.

As to our rowing style I can only tell you, it is what it is. On long rows that we have done such as the Queen's Diamond Jubilee or our regular excursions up the Sharpness canal it is slow but inexorable. We have tried many different ways of doing it but have discovered that small oar slots filled with square section oars somewhat limit the amount we can pull at each stroke. We are also impeded when we have the sailing gear up as the maze of ropes, masts and spars rather get in the way.
Basically what I'm saying is don't knock it till you've tried it.
Pip Pip
Chris Jones
Chairman HMS