Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Sulkava churchboat racing

Tony Shaw teaches English in Helsinki, and has become wildly enthusiastic about rowing Finnish churchboats. He took part in the amazing mass churchboat gathering at Sulkava, claimed to be the largest rowing event in the world with more than 7,000 rowers competing. The boats leaving for the race through the islands in the lake near the Russian border make a spectacular sight.
Tony writes:
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!).
ALL regards

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.

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