Saturday 11 December 2010

Pleasure in Rowing in Buenos Aires, despite Everything

Robert Ayliffe of Norwalk Island Sharpies in Australia, who handles the designs of Iain Oughtred and Alec Jordan's kits down under, visited Buenos Aires recently and went for a boat trip on the River Plate. He was very impressed with the number of lovely wooden rowing skiffs being taken out by families, and even more impressed by the conditions they had to battle to get out on a river that seems to be a watery version of the M25.
Here is Robert's report (click the pictures to enlarge):

These are some of the boats that I saw in the River Plate Delta on the outskirts of Buenos Aires early last week. Could not believe my eyes! 
There are hundreds of [Iain Oughtred's skiff design] Badger lookalikes complete with sliding seats for public hire on this amazingly turbulent, highly trafficked water way.
Bullfighting has nothing on this; it is a tribute to the type that they survive at all!
Note the vessels that they coexist with.
Note the extensive use of buoyancy vests.
Argentineans fear nothing!
I love them!
Amazingly similar to Badgers and Moles, here is just one of the hire fleets; at first I thought I was dreaming!
I could not believe the aplomb and resilience of these boats and their crews in the face of such wild turbulence. They just rose over the wash, barely moving off course.
Wonderful to watch. Made me feel even more enthusiastic about recommending Iain Oughtred's Badger and Mole designs design to my fellow antipodeans. We have several of Alec Jordan's excellent kits of these boats being built in Australia and New Zealand.
My company acts as Iain's and Alec's agent in Australia and the Pacific.
A new web site is being built: , which will incorporate NISBOATS and the Jordan/Oughtred range.

Thanks, Robert. This is my favourite picture. Clearly, young men take their girls out on the River Plate just as they do on the River Thames.


Bursledon Blogger said...

great boats - I remember my parents taking me out on similar thames skiffs rented from Goldings in Windsor - early60's

Alberto A. Villa said...

Hello!, I'm from Buenos Aires and I usually practice rowing in Tigre's Delta; in the post the place was mentioned as "River Plate Delta" but the right name is Delta del [río]Tigre in spanish.

Most of our boats are about 70 year old. In fact, the first rowing club in Buenos Aires was founded in 1873 by british inmigrants [*]

Thank you very much for the article, I really enjoyed it.


See more at:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your words Chris,
I´m an argentine rower who often experience all of the situations you have wrote about!

Alberto A. Villa said...

About Tigre's Delta, places and rowingboats, see more at:

thanks again!

Anonymous said...

Is there a manufacturer still making these beautiful boats in Argentina ?

Alberto A. Villa said...

[AnonymousAsk] Is there a manufacturer still making these beautiful boats in Argentina?

[aav] ¡yes!. see