Photograph: Werner Schmidt

Monday, June 29, 2009

Mystic Mystery Boat

What an event it was, this year’s WoodenBoat Show at Mystic Seaport during this past weekend. We had three glorious days with weather much better than the weather guys promised in their forecast. I met some of the local rowing celebrities, but also some non-locals. Two different young ladies rowing teams came to visit the Rowing Hall of Fame, and they were amazed at the very nice wooden eight that hangs from the ceiling in the museum’s Visitor Center.

Other non-local aquatic aficionados were Tom Weil of Woodbridge (CT) and Peter Mallory of San Diego (CA), two of America’s most well-known rowing historians, and Directors of Friends of Rowing History. Both gentlemen were working hard on their research at the Rowing Hall of Fame. Graeme King of Putney (VT), famous wooden boat builder - he once restored the eight in the Visitor Center - was visiting the Show together with two friends from Australia. I was also happy to see my dear friend Fred Roffe, who is maybe not an oarsman or a prominent historian within the field of rowing, but should be regarded as nobility within the rowing family. Fred is a descendant of the famous British professional rower and boat builder Harry Clasper. Very generously, some years back, Fred donated some “Clasper stuff” to the National Rowing Foundation. These Clasper memorabilia can now be viewed in the rowing exhibit “Let Her Run” (please click here).

Furthermore, I had a short and pleasant chat with WoodenBoats Book publisher, Scot A. Bell, about Darryl Strickler’s coffee table book, Rowable Classics – Wooden Single Sculling Boats & Oars (2008). I had hopes that Strickler would be present at the Show, but unfortunately he was not. Right now, I am working on a little piece, a book review, for the Swedish rowing magazine, Svensk Rodd, about his book.

I also had the great pleasure of talking to Steven Ferlauto, owner of Riverschoolboats. He showed me a “mystery boat”, which brand name "tag" regrettably was unreadable (please see photos). At my rowing club in Sweden, we had a lot of shells built by old famous boat builders in Europe: Sims in England, Pirsch in Germany, Karlisch in Germany, and Stämpfli in Switzerland, etc. But this single was a mystery to me. Is there anyone out there that has an inkling where this shell was built and by whom?

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