Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Rowers of all ages and capabilities are welcome to participate on the 2,000-metre long course from the start north of the I95 Highway Bridge rowing downriver to the finish line at the museum’s North End. There are races for singles, doubles, coxed fours, and quadruple sculls for Youths, Open Class, Masters, and Veterans. For more information and to register please click here.
The day before, on Saturday 18 September, the 8th annual Battle Between The Bridges Invitational Regatta will take place in Mystic. The participants – all top elite U.S. scullers – will row an almost 500-metre course just north of AMTRAK railroad bridge upriver to the drawbridge in the historical downtown of Mystic. Good places to watch these sprinter races are the lawn outside the Mystic Art Center or the Mystic River Park.
To read last year’s HTBS report, please click here. Both these rowing events are part of what popular is called the Mystic Weekend of Rowing, MWOR.
Monday, August 30, 2010
“In view of adjusting to the rapidly changing and increasingly challenging global environment, World Rowing, the media and marketing arm of the international governing body of rowing, has been conducting a full internal review of the sport in all its form, the events and the organisation.
Now, we would like to broaden this review by asking our wider rowing audience to contribute to the process.
We would be grateful if you could take the time to fill out our on-line questionnaire; it should not take more than fifteen minutes to complete. Please be forthright and honest. Your views will be extremely valuable in helping us to shape the future of World Rowing.
Thank you very much in advance, for your valuable time and input.
Yours, Matt Smith, FISA Executive Director”
Go to the survey by clicking here.
Sunday, August 29, 2010
Saturday, August 28, 2010
Thursday, August 26, 2010
HTBS's special correspondent, Tim Koch in London, gives here a brilliant report of this year's Wingfield Sculls. Tim writes:
On Tuesday, 24th August 2010 the title of ‘Champion of the Thames’ was contested for in the 170th Wingfield Sculls. In 1830, lawyer Henry Colsell Wingfield presented a pair of miniature silver sculls ‘to be held by the best’ as long as they agreed to race in single sculls on his birthday, 10th August, ‘for ever’. Eighty six men and, since 2007, three women have held the title ‘Champion’ The course is the 4 ½ mile (6.8 km) ‘Championship Course’ (most famously used by the Oxford–Cambridge Boat Race) from Putney to Mortlake complete with tide, bends, shallows, rough water, driftwood and other river users. I was lucky enough to be in the umpire’s launch for this year’s race.
The Wingfields is organised by a committee of former winners who also appoint an umpire from their number. This year it was Rory Henderson (Champion, 1990). The present Hon. Secretary is Wade Hall-Craggs (1993) who organises the event with great passion and who has also done a marvellous job in collecting and preserving the race archive. Interestingly, the Hon. Treasurer, Guy Pooley (1991, 92), told me that one of the main sources of income for the event is from shares in the Guinness brewing company which were donated by Lord Iveagh (Rupert Guinness, Champion 1896) in 1962 (HTBS 24th August 2010). There has also been generous support from the Wingfield Family Society. They have presented the race with a new flag and, when the Women’s Race was started in 2007, with a silver trophy based on the 1830 original awarded for the men’s event.
The 180th anniversary produced a rare and unexpected event, in-depth newspaper coverage of a sculling race that is obscure even within the sport. On 24th August The Times published a full page preview by Patrick Kidd and, on the following day, a half page race report. Unfortunately, you have to pay Rupert Murdoch a pound to view this online but, as it is such a rare occurrence, it is probably worth it.
In his race preview, Patrick Kidd writes: “[The race is] above all…about athletes being taken out of their comfort zone. Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympics, once said that rowing was the ideal sport because it was so hard for people to watch and thus worth doing purely for its own sake. In the Wingfield Sculls, that vision of glorious amateurism remains alive…”
Kidd also quotes Wade Hall-Craggs: “Top class rowers today are used to racing on plastic lakes where so many of the variables have been taken out and it is just a battle of limb and lung size. This is a different challenge.”
This was illustrated in the 2009 race when Alan Campbell beat Mahe Drysdale. At that time, and on a ‘plastic lake’, most people would have expected the result to be different but, in rough conditions on a ‘living river’, Campbell was the better waterman. He demonstrated this again in 2010. One of the idiosyncrasies of the Wingfields is that the competitors can legally be ‘steered’ by signals from following boats. Until at least the 1920s this was done by the bowmen of following eights, not rowing and facing the wrong way. The picture above shows the three boats steering the competitors in the men’s race. The gentleman standing in the far boat is Bill Barry, coach of Alan Campbell and great nephew of Ernest Barry (HTBS 19th March 2010).
The 2010 Women’s Race was between Sophie Hosking (London) Champion, 2008 and 2009, Beth Rodford (Gloucester), Anna Watkins (Leander), and Ro Bradbury (Leander).
Rachel Quarrell, rowing correspondent of The Daily Telegraph, webmaster of The Rowing Service and a Henley Royal Regatta winning coxswain saw the race like this: “Anna and Ro were quickest off with Sophie a little behind and Beth surprisingly far back, I think she was very cautious about her rate. Anna got ahead along the Putney Embankment. For the next three minutes Sophie and Ro were pretty much side by side (in joint second). Just after the Mile Post, Beth did a huge push which moved her from fourth to second [...] which was very impressive […] Anna always led but Beth remained two to three lengths behind.”
Anna Watkins won in 23’07’’ with Beth Rodford five seconds behind.
The men’s race was between Alan Campbell (Tideway Scullers) Champion 2006 and 2009, Marcus Bateman (Leander), and Brendan Crean (Agecroft).
Rachel Quarrell again: “All three had a quick start, Alan going off at his usual very high rate. One of the most crucial parts of the race came in the first two minutes. Alan pushed slightly ahead of Marcus and encroached on his water. Race rules allow this as long as they do not actually touch - and Alan just avoided it. He stayed a few feet ahead until the Mile Post when they were both hit by the wash of a cruiser. Alan realised that he was going through it well, put in a big push and moved away from Marcus. After that it was a fairly straightforward race. It was very rough around Chiswick and anyone could have fallen in. Huge credit to all three of them that no one did so. A fascinating race but one that was over very early.”
Alan Campbell won in 22’34’’ with Marcus Bateman fifty one seconds behind.
Anna, Jurgen, and Alan.
In my entry on rowing medals of 15th January 2010 I forgot that the Wingfields gives such an award to every first time winner. GB coach Jurgen Grobler presented Anna with her ‘Champion’ medal and Alan with a 2010 bar to join the 2006 and 2009 ones on the ribbon of the ‘gong’ he first won in 2006.
WS medal and bar.
The evening of the race saw eighteen past winners meet at London Rowing Club for their decennial dinner. My entry of 26th March 2010 mentions the first winners’ dinner in 1930 and attached are pictures of three of the previous four dinners. They nicely echo the one seventy years earlier. Soon I hope to post a picture of the 2010 celebration which will have its female champions present for the first time. What would the gentlemen of 1930 have made of that?
WS winners at the 1959 WS Dinner.
WS winners at the 1980 WS Dinner.
WS winners at the 2000 WS Dinner: (l.t.r.) T.J. Crooks (1977, 78, 80); M.D.A. Carmichael (1979); G.R. Pooley (1991, 92); R. Henderson (1990); O.W. Hall-Craggs (1993); M.J.B. Kettle (1997); G.M.P. Searle (1998, 99); P.M. Haining (1994, 95, 96, 2000); B.T.H. Bushnell (1947); S.C. Rand (1954); D.V. Melvin (1955, 57); A.J. Marsden (1956); J.M. Russell (1959); W.L. Barry (1963, 64, 65, 66); N.P. Cooper (1967); K.V. Dwan (1968, 69, 70, 71, 72, 75); G.A. Mulcahy (1976).
In conclusion, I think that, while few winners of the Wingfields have not been worthy champions, often the event has not been contested or has been a token contest. I would suggest that this is because of a lack of depth that has almost always existed in British sculling. Occasionally we have produced outstanding individuals but, historically at least, I think the British have regarded sculling as ‘second’ to sweep rowing. Thankfully though, things seem to be changing. Whatever happens, it looks as though the Wingfield Sculls will continue, as Henry wished, ‘for ever’.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
My thanks to Bill Lanouette for pointing me in the direction of Mullins's article in the Washington Post.
In his Life’s A Pudding (1939), Guy Nickalls writes about Guinness (by then the Earl of Iveagh) “Rupert Guinness, although not what any one would term a born sculler, confined himself to sculling and obtained useful proficiency by dint of long and careful practice with East.” East, that Nickalls is mentioning, is the professional oarsman William G. East, Doggett winner (1887), sculling champion of England (1891), and author of Rowing and Sculling (1904).
Rupert Guinness would later be elected president of Thames RC, and in 1927, he succeeded his father as Earl of Iveagh and as chairman of the family’s famous brewing company in Dublin. When Guinness was depicted by Spy for Vanity Fair in November 1905 (on the right), he had become a little rounder all-over. Earl of Iveagh is also mentioned in an entry by Tim Koch on 26 March 2010, and a follow-up entry on 27 March 2010, and Hélène Rémond's entry from 8 April 2010.
Monday, August 23, 2010
A single eye of fire held sway;
A single rower just off shore
Could sit becalmed day after day,
A world from oar to dripping oar;
This stanza, from a poem called “The Day of the Eclipse”, was written by James Ingram Merrill (1926-1995), a famed poet who won the Pulitzer Prize in 1977. In 1955, he relocated from New York City to the village of Stonington, Connecticut, together with his partner, David Jackson. They moved in to 107 Water Street and from the apartment's windows and from the terrace above the apartment they had a lovely view over the harbour of Stonington with its fishing fleet and the waters of Fishers Island Sound.
Merrill bought the whole house and today the James Merrill House is maintained by the Stonington Village Improvement Association, which is also running a Writers-in-Residence programme which began in 1995. During the past Saturday and Sunday the association invited the public to see the James Merrill House. One of the docents was Michael Snediker, writer-in-residence during the autumn of 2006.
The weather was beautiful and the little village was crowed with tourists and visitors, and one would think that the apartment would be packed with people who would like to see this wonderful colourful flat with its memorabilia which once belonged to one of America’s most famous poets during the late twentieth century, but no, during my one hour visit, not more then ten ‘locals’ found their way up the stairs.
From the terrace one can see water both east and west, so anyone who is working on a collection of rowing poems maybe should look into James Merrill Writers-in-Residence programme. I cannot remember being in a more charming spot for that purpose.
Saturday, August 21, 2010
“Drexel’s varsity eight won the Elite 8 championship and the Sports Council Cup on June 20 at the prestigious Henley Women’s Regatta on England’s Thames River. The Dragons were recently honored for that achievement in a celebration attended by Drexel president John Fry and U.S. congressman Patrick Kennedy. Drexel became just one of four American schools to win the regatta, joining Yale, Brown and Radcliffe.”
To read this article in The Day, click here. To read the results from the Henley Women’s Regatta, click here.
Friday, August 20, 2010
Tim, this was a wonderful find. Thank you for sharing this film with the HTBS readers.
A little foot note: Seeing the Princeton crew rowing, it made me think of Jim Dietz, Head Coach of the University of Massachusetts Women’s Rowing Team. He gave a very interesting talk yesterday evening at a cocktail reception at the Mystic Art Center. This event sort of kicked off the upcoming Coastweeks Regatta weekend held in Mystic, Connecticut, on 18-19 September (more information about this rowing weekend will be posted on this blog shortly).
Jim Dietz talked about how he is coaching the coaches so to say. He is giving seminars and travels around the U.S. to help rowing coaches to teach out the right (sweep) rowing and sculling techniques. He would not approve of the way the Princeton crew is rowing in this film!
Thursday, August 19, 2010
However, talking about naked rear ends, I saw a picture on the Fototac blog – this ‘paparazzi de l’aviron’ - which claims to have been taken in Sweden, a male nudist watching some eights racing on a river. Whoever posted it swears that it was taken in Sweden and that it is not a montage where the man has been placed in a ‘rowing image’. I do not know about the latter, but I do not believe this photograph was taken in Sweden. Why? We don’t have that many eights, sadly but true!
Looking around on Fototac, I realise that the photographs I thought I pinched from a Greek blog the other day were actually stolen from Fototac, which probably nicked it from another blog. It is really a 'dirty business' running a rowing blog...
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Rowing naked makes perfectly sense if you have read Rob Hamill’s book The Naked Rower (2000) which is about the first ‘modern’ Atlantic Rowing Race in 1997, which Hamill won together with his fellow New Zealander Phil Stubbs.
While I therefore understand the smile of the sculling lady above, I really do not comprehend why the fellow in the wrecked single is smiling – you just destroyed a beautiful boat, you fool!
Monday, August 16, 2010
“Red Bull X-Row is brand-new, innovative event concept that combines the popular Swiss sport of rowing and running. The Swiss landscape has long been calling out for bullish rowing event, with its picturesque backdrop and beautiful lakes. In days gone by rowing and running went hand-in-hand, and Red Bull are going back to the glory days in a race crossing three separate lakes, and also the land between them with the boats hoisted on the teams’ shoulders. 40 teams of 8 rowers plus cox will compete, among them the Switzerland national rowing team and British former World Championship and Olympic rower Toby Garbett, ensuring that Lucerne is welcoming the very best caliber of athlete back to its shores.”
Get more information by visiting Red Bull’s web site.
Sunday, August 15, 2010
Slide-one A has a slide rail made of aluminum. The rail has a support bar in the aft end.
Slide-one A version is used as retrofit from old conventional slide systems which often also have hatches, bungs and other similar components places at the boat deck where Slide-one A will be fitted.
Slide-one A has for that reason a support plate of foamed plastic which should be cut off at the places for these components.
Slide-one consists of a slide carriage and a slide rail. The slide carriage has a seat and an undercarriage with two cylindrical wheels each with a guiding track and two ball bearings. The slide rail, fitted to the boat, has a flat upper side with a guide cam for the wheels guiding tracks. The sternward part of the slide rail has a conical shape.
The bow ward wheel has full contact length to the slide rail along the whole rail even when the slide carriage is in contact with the sternward's end stop. No risk for side tipping. In other words, by side guiding the wheel tracks to the rail cam, the slide rail can be made narrow and longer in its sternward end, passing between the rower’s legs with no risk for interference.
Slide-one suits all rowers, no matter his or her length. Only the adjustment of the foot stretcher to the best position in relation to the center of gravity of the boat is necessary. The length of the oar stroke will never be limited. The only limit is the human body.
Two overload ribs at the undercarriage structure are moving with a small clearance to two underside surfaces of the rail and then prevent tilting which may occur when the rower is entering or leaving the slide seat when one of the oars is in contact with the bridge.
At transports of the boat on land, the slide carriages are normally locked by rubber band or other type of bands.
Slide-one has a locking device in the front end of the slide rail based on a spring plate acting against the front wheel’s track. At releasing, the free end of the spring plate is pushed down. In some cases the slide rail should have a certain tilting angle to get the rower in a higher position at the end of a rowing stroke. In that case the plastic support plate is made as a wedge.
Saturday, August 14, 2010
In the June issue of the Swedish rowing magazine Svensk Rodd, editor Per Ekström has an interesting article about some innovations by a Swedish engineer and MSc designer, Gustav Rennerfelt. Mr. Rennerfelt, who is a member of Lidingö Roddklubb, outside of Stockholm, sculls almost daily in the beautiful archipelago of the Swedish capital. In an e-mail, Mr. Rennerfelt writes that so far, this year, he has sculled approximately 500 kilometres in his Filippi single in which he is using his innovation the Slide-one™. This is a special sliding seat, not running on the ordinary two rails, but on one. “And having used it for about a total of 800 kilometres, it shows no sign of wear and tear,” Rennerfelt writes.
He got the idea from studying the so called mono rail used on an erg, but the Swede’s model is not as wide and he has also used other materials and designs for the wheels. After trying several prototypes, Rennerfelt now has one that he is using in his own single scull. But it is an on-going project, he mentions in an e-mail. Just a couple of days before he sent his e-mail to me, he had heard from a company producing plastic material that they were able to help him create a vacuum-formed, light sliding seat (see illustration up on the left) which will avoid discomfort for a sculler with a ‘delicate butt’.
What then, are the advancements with Slide-one™? It leaves more space for the legs, which means the calves will not ‘hit’ against the rail ends; unlimited rail length allows longer oar strokes; the foot stretcher can stay in one position as rail adjustments for shorter or taller rowers are not needed if the boat is used by more than one sculler; the sliding seat is running more smoothly and silently; a special ‘lock’ for the seat makes it stay in one position when the shell is carried on land.
Slide-one™ is approved by the international rowing federation, FISA, to be used in international regattas.
Another innovation by Gustav Rennerfelt is the Boat Care System. This is a rail system that is the most efficient way to use the space in a boat house as twice as many shells can be kept there. It also reduces damages to the boats as it is easier and more comfortable to handle the boats being taken in and out of the boat house. The pictures below show how sixteen single sculls are stored. There is only about 8 inches (0.2 metre) between the boats but they are easily and safely secured in this rail system.
The Boat Care System can also handle other boat types, double sculls, fours, and even eights. Mr. Rennerfelt’s club, Lidingö Roddklubb, is of course using his system. There is also a Kayak Care System. Both systems are produced in Sweden.
You will find more information about Slide-one™ and the Boat Care System on Gustav Rennerfelt’s web site and how to contact him. Mr. Rennerfelt is interested in finding representatives in other countries for his innovations.
Saturday, August 7, 2010
Here are some more photographs from the Atlantic Water Games that Hélène hopes will give you HTBS readers an idea of the atmosphere at the Games.
Great report, Hélène - many, many thanks!
Friday, August 6, 2010
This was the 16th edition of the Atlantic Water Games since it started in Brittany in 1995. Twelve European regions participate every year, among them Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, Ireland, Norte Portugal, Galicia, etc. About 400 young athletes are competing in sailing, scuba diving, surfing, kayaking and, of course, rowing! All went smoothly with nice weather conditions. I am happy to report that the region I come from in France, Brittany, ended up at the top of the podium, winning the over-all points! On second place came Cantabria, and on third, Catalonia.
You will find all the over-all results here.
For the rowing results please click here.
The rowing competitions were actually taking place in Camargo, a few kilometers from Santander.
The three girls in the single sculls received medals in their category: from left to right they represent Brittany, Aquitaine and Pays de la Loire (they were respectively 3, 1 and 2).
The four girls from Catalonia in the quadruple scull won their class and Joan-Albert interviewed them for the local ‘nautical’ radio station, 360radio.
The black and white flag is the flag of Brittany, the yellow and red one is Catalonia. The boys in red are from Cantabria.
The winner in the boys’ single scull, on the right, came from Nantes, which is only an hour drive from my home town, Rennes.
Thanks to the radio reporter, Joan-Albert, I got an interview with the two guys in charge of the young rowers from Brittany, Antoine and Olivier. The Games proved to be a good experience for them. It was the first time they only had rowers under 18 years to take part in these events. They had won 1 gold medal and 2 bronze, so Antoine and Olivier were happy with the results.
In Spain, they sometimes use traditional boats called traineras. These boats were used by fisherman in the past. There are many regattas with traineras during the summer.
Not only are these Games giving each region a good opportunity to promote its water sports, they also offer culture events like music and dancing. People from Brittany dressed in a traditional way were performing in the Bay of Santander. There was a traditional band called Bagad that played wonderful music. And let’s not forget that gastronomy also plays an important part in these Games: you should really try the Brittany crêpes!