Sunday, July 8, 2012

Rowing, Rowing, Rowing

My niece just got back from Hurricane Island Outward Bound School.  The school recently introduced a modern 30' Sharpie Schooner pulling boat that is completely different from the one that I used when I attended in the late 70's.

2007 Hurricane Island Outward Bound Sharpie Schooner
The new boat looks like a lot of fun.  Notice those very deep reefs in the main sail and foresail.  Fast, shallow, seaworthy.

Old Spritsail Pinky
The old boats were carvel planked wooden spritsail cat ketches, "Pinky" style.  They were slow, heavy and didn't point well.  One thing both boats have in common is lots of oars and one thing that both our trips featured was lots of rowing (separated by 35 years).  When she got back last week, my niece arranged a fourth of july sailing afternoon with friends and siblings aboard my father's Drascombe.  Before long the whole crew was rowing.

The Drascombe rowing into a headwind
Julie and I have been talking about rowing lately because we are training for an upcoming Watertribe event which could involve many hours of rowing, depending on the wind conditions. To help with our training, we bought a used Concept 2 rowing machine.

Rowing machine with sail
(sail laid out in preparation for sewing the third reef)
We like the full body workout that the rowing machine gives us and even if we don't do the race it was a good purchase.  This morning we went out for a short row to see how our training has helped.  

Julie powered
It went OK, but the oars were a little hard to control.  Both of the oar leathers had slipped and the oars were bumping against the top of the oar ports.  To make things easier, I've added "buttons" to the oar leathers using a turk's head knot.  

Turks head knot for oar buttons
Before today, I didn't know how to tie this knot so I tried following the instructions in my copy of "The Young Sea Officer's Sheet Anchor", (pub 1819), but in the end I figured it out by watching this video on YouTube.  I am amazed at how tight this knot can get.  The leathers were slipping the length of the oar loom, but now they stay put.