Photograph: Werner Schmidt

Sunday, October 30, 2011

OUBC Film 1: Enjoy Suffering

On Saturday, 7 April, 2012, it’s time for the Boat Race between Oxford and Cambridge on the Thames in London.

Oxford Today is giving us a behind-the-scenes look what it is to row for this famous university in a four-minute film showing the boat club trails in September. There are interviews with former Blue, and Olympic medallist, Andy Hodge, Oxford Chief Coach Sean Bowden (seen on top), and OUBC President Karl Hudspith. The lovely music for this interesting short film is composed by David Hughes, a third-year music undergraduate at Somerville College. Go to the article and film by clicking here.

(Photograph: Tim Koch)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Pencil Oars As Trophy Blades

Yesterday, HTBS pointed out a very nice commemorative oar blade from the 1912 Head of the River Race on eBay. Earlier, HTBS has received e-mails from readers asking about ‘decorated oar blades’ and so called ‘pencil oars’, which are the narrow oar blades used in the 1950s, 1960s, and early 1970s. I remember rowing with these blades at my rowing club in Sweden, Malmö Roddklubb, which, I would like to point out, should not reflect on my age, instead my club’s policy that never throw out ANYTHING! I think that many rowing clubs around the world have the same policy – ‘you never know when these can come in handy…’.

Nowadays, the pencil oars are still used as ‘presentation blades’ (another name for the decorated oars), but fewer and fewer companies or people are doing this beautiful craft work. As a matter of fact, I could only find one company on the web that could offer you work like this, Trophy Blades in the U.K. Go to their web site by clicking here.

From now on you will find a link to the company on the right under 'Buy Rowing Stuff'.

Friday, October 28, 2011

A Good Oar!

If you happen to have £830 to spare and you would like to get yourself a nice piece of rowing history to put on your wall, I have found something for you! On eBay, the British site, is right now a rowing trophy which truly belongs in a museum: a decorated commemorative oar blade from the Head of the River Race in 1912, winner New College, Oxford. It is Bob Bourne’s famous eight with Gillespie, Burdekin, Wiggins, Pitman, Littlejohn, and the others who also took an Olympic silver medal in Stockholm that year. Some of the oarsmen also rowed in the victorious Blue boat that beat Cambridge for the fourth running year (with Bourne at stroke!).

The auction, which is a ‘buy it now’ item, ends on 2 November, so hurry, hurry….. To go to the item, click here.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Rowing Home Ahead Of The Rain

Rowing Home Ahead Of The Rain

They appeared flames
Flickering on the river,
The rowers in their red
Directly above which puffs of clouds
Took shape like candle snuffers.

Philip Kuepper
(September 2011)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Rowing Hall Of Fame Class Of 2012

The National Rowing Foundation (NRF) has announced the names of the Class of 2012, scheduled for induction into the National Rowing Hall of Fame on March 10, 2012, at Mystic Seaport in Mystic, Connecticut.

The Class of 2012 includes 19 of the United States’ most accomplished rowers. Selected for their achievements in the sport of rowing, the categories for induction are based on individual accomplishments or results in a specific boat.

The following athletes will be honored for their individual accomplishments: Jennifer Dore Terhaar, Jeff Klepacki, Robert Kaehler, and twins Mary McCagg and Elizabeth McCagg Hills.

The selected boats are being honored for their results: the 1972 Olympic men’s eight and coach (Michael Livingston, Cleve Livingston, William Hobbs, Gene Clapp, Timothy Mickelson, Peter Raymond, Fritz Hobbs, Lawrence Terry, Paul Hoffman, and Coach Harry Parker), the 1992 Olympic women’s pair (Anna Seaton and Stephanie Maxwell-Pierson) and the 2000 Olympic men’s pair (Ted Murphy and Sebastian Bea).

For additional information, contact Mara Keggi Ford (203) 525-6566, or Gillian Perry (860) 535-0634, or National Rowing Foundation, email:

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Greg Denieffe On The Mulholland Cup

Greg Denieffe, whom by now should be regarded as one of HTBS’s regular contributors, has great knowledge of Irish rowing. Here is a nice piece about the Irish Mulholland Cup:

The Mulholland Cup was presented by John Mulholland (later Lord Dunleath) for competition by the clubs on the Lagan and Belfast Lough. It was made in London by Edward and John Bernard and hallmarked with the date letter for 1866. It is a rowing trophy with elaborate chasing; bearing classic silver designs including Acanthus scrolled handles and garlanded cherubs. The cup is densely engraved with the names of the winners and it is now in the Queen’s University Belfast Silver Collection in the Naughton Gallery.

The cup was contested 11 times between 1867 and 1878 when it was won outright by Carrickfergus Amateur Rowing Club by virtue of winning it for the third consecutive year. During this period it was the premier rowing competition in Belfast and was raced in four-oared in-rigged gigs. In 1939, the IARU published History of Boat Racing in Ireland by T. F. Hall and the cup is mentioned in the chapter dealing with “The Connor Challenge Cup” [1890], “…the cup replaced another older trophy, the Mulholland Cup, which had been won outright by Carrickfergus some years earlier.”

Mulholland Cup Medal 1868. Courtesy of NRF.

There is a medal from the 1868 Race in the rowing exhibit “Let Her Run” at the National Rowing Hall of Fame at Mystic Seaport, Connecticut, USA. It is described thus in the Museum catalogue: Prize medal [obv] “Belfast Amateur Rowing Club” [rev] “Mulholland Cup, 1868, E. M. Adams, Stroke” The obverse shows the Coat of Arms of Belfast and the motto ‘Pro tranto quid retribuamus’. Translated from Latin, it means ‘what return shall we make for so much’. The name ‘Belfast’ originates from the Gaelic Béal Feirste, meaning mouth of the sandbars” or “mouth of the river”.

The medal pictured above was purchased by the writer in 2007. [Obverse] “CARRICKFERGUS AMATEUR ROWING CLUB”, [Reverse] PRESENTED TO, Winning Crew of, Mulholland Cup, 1872. 1873, S.McComb. No 1. It is probably gold (not hallmarked) and is similar in style to the silver medals presented at the 1876 Carrickfergus Amateur Regatta only slightly smaller at 27mm as opposed to 30mm.

The Irish Times
of Monday 7 July, 1873 reported on the race under the heading “THE BELFAST ROWING CLUB”,

The annual competition for the cup presented by John Mulholland, Esq, D L, took place on Saturday, under the auspices of the Belfast Rowing Club. The following boats started :- Holywood Rowing Club (Vedette), H Henderson, B F Bothwell, T Withers (stroke), and E Henderson (coxswain); Carrickfergus Rowing Club (Witch), McComb, D Pinkerton, C A Kirby, J B McFerian (stroke), and P Cairey (coxswain); Carrickfergus Rowing Club (Wizard), W McCombe, D B Alexander, J Dubourdieu, Robert Vint (stroke), and Singleton Vint (coxswain). The Witch carried off the cup, this being the second year it has done so.

It would be safe to say that the crew of the ‘Witch’ was the premier crew in Ulster that year. They won the Ulster Challenge Cup at the Belfast Regatta on 30th August beating Ulster Rowing and Athletic Club by four lengths over two miles. The names of the crew as recorded in The Irish Times are slightly different, but it is likely it was the same crew. Carrickfergus Rowing Club (Witch), S. McCombe, D. Pinkerton, jun; C. S. Kirby, J. B. McFerran (stroke), and J. Carrey (coxswain); Ulster Rowing and Athletic Club (Osprey), F. Lepper, E. Maginnis, F. W. Thomson, W. J. Brett (stk), and R. Coleman (cox).

The first race was held on 7th September 1867 and was won by Belfast Amateur Rowing Club. The winners of the Cup are as follows:

1867 Belfast Amateur Rowing Club beat Holywood Amateur Rowing and Swimming Club.

1868 Belfast Amateur Rowing Club beat Holywood Amateur Rowing and Swimming Club.

1869 No Race.

1870 Ulster Rowing and Athletic Club beat Northern Amateur Rowing Club who had earlier beaten Holywood AR&SC in a heat. The race was organized by Ulster R&AC and held on the Lagan at Queen’s Island. Winning crew; W.P. Wallace (Bow), W. J. Robertson (2), W. H. Dickson (3), T. R. Richardson (stk.) and T. S. Ronaldson (cox.).

1871 Ulster Rowing and Athletic Club beat Holywood AR&SC in a race held at Holywood. Winning crew; W.H. Mervyn (Bow), R. Richardson (2), J. W. Cochrane (3), J. Ireland (stk.) and T.S. Richardson (cox.).

1872 Carrickfergus Amateur Rowing Club.

1873 Carrickfergus Amateur Rowing Club [Witch] beat Holywood AR&SC [Vedette] and Carrickfergus ARC [Wizard]. See above for the winning crew.

1874 Ulster Rowing and Athletic Club beat Carrickfergus ARC and Lagan Amateur Boating Club. Raced at Belfast Lough. Winning crew; A. L. Ireland (Bow), S. J. Moore (2), W. C. Morgan (3), E. A. Maginnis (stk.) and R. Coleman (cox.).

1875 Ulster Rowing and Athletic Club beat Holywood AR&SC and Lagan ABC on the Queen’s Island course. Adverse weather conditions forced the Lagan club to retire from the race. Winning crew; W. D. Moore (Bow), S. J. Moore (2), W. Punsunby (3), W. S. Mitchell (stk.) and R. Coleman (cox.).

1876 Carrickfergus Amateur Rowing Club beat Belfast Boat Club.

1877 Carrickfergus Amateur Rowing Club beat Belfast Boat Club.

1878 Carrickfergus Amateur Rowing Club beat Belfast Boat Club and wins the cup outright by virtue of their 3rd consecutive victory.

John Mulholland, 1st Baron Dunleath (16 December, 1819-11 December, 1895), was an Irish businessman and Conservative Member of Parliament. He was the son of Andrew Mulholland of Ballywalter Park in County Down and was involved in the Mulholland family cotton and linen industry. He was a Justice of the Peace for Antrim and Down and High Sheriff of Down in 1868 and of Tyrone in 1873. He stood as Conservative candidate for Belfast in 1868, to be beaten by the Orange populist William Johnston of Ballykilbeg but was elected MP for Downpatrick between 1874 and 1885. In 1892, he was raised to the peerage as Baron Dunleath, of Ballywalter in the County of Down.

John Mulholland, 1st Baron Dunleath of Ballywalter (1819-1895).

For a more detailed history of John Mulholland, please click here. For information on the family home, click here.

Belfast Regatta
Early Belfast regattas had been held on the busy harbour course. Unsuitable racing conditions and other river traffic led to the regatta being cancelled after 1896. Belfast Regatta was resurrected in 1938 further upstream on a river course and The Mulholland Cup came back into service as a rowing trophy when after a lapse of 50 years it became a challenge cup for competition for Maiden Fours. Carrickfergus donated the cup and four others for competition at the revised regatta. It was once again retired when Belfast Regatta was discontinued in 1971. Twenty nine regattas were held during this period and many of the winner’s names are engraved on the cup alongside those from the 1860s and 1870s.

The programmes for Belfast Regatta described the event as follows:

THE MULHOLLAND CHALLENGE CUP. A Maiden Event. To be rowed in four-oared clinker-built boats by maiden oarsmen. Each boat to carry a coxswain. No oarsman (substitutes excepted) may enter and none shall compete for this Cup and any other Cup except the Greer or Bruce Challenge Cups.

Silver Sounds at the Naughton Gallery, Queen’s University, Belfast
Silver Sounds is a project that suggests that sound might be a way of uniting and reinterpreting the University’s silver collection. These soundscapes respond to the provenance of a particular piece of silverware and explore the reasons for its creation, donation and use and combine with the silver objects to create a new immersive artwork.

Jason Geistweidt is a sound artist currently based in Chicago. He was one of ten artists commissioned to create a piece for this project and his is based on the Mulholland Cup. His piece responds to the continual transformation of the sporting trophy as dates and names were added every few years as well as its static embodiment of particular events and memories etched in metal. Wishing to create a kinetic complement, he has incorporated elements which provide this object with a living context: the working of metal, the pull of the oar through water and the encouragement of the coxswain.

Entitled Stroke, the work incorporates the various ‘strokes’ encapsulated in the Mulholland Cup: the stroke of the silversmith, the stroke of the oar, the name of the crewman that sets the pace, and the stroke of the clock marking the passage of time. The project won the Times Higher Award for Excellence and Innovation in the Arts 2008.

To visit The Naughton Gallery at Queen’s, please click here.

Acknowledgments and further reading
Thanks to Shan McAnena Curator of Art at the Naughton Gallery, Queens University Belfast, Ken Morrow and Göran R Buckhorn for their assistance. Also to The Irish Times, the Public Records Office NI, and the authors of the following books:

T. F. Hall, History of Boat-Racing in Ireland (1939).
Donald McMeekin, Belfast Boat Club, The First 100 Years (1976).
Walter F. Mitchell, Belfast Rowing Club, 1882-1982 (1994).

Monday, October 24, 2011

The 2011 Wingfield's Is Coming Up

This photograph is showing Wally Kinnear’s Wingfield Scull medal with three bars for his victories in 1910, 1911, and 1912.

HTBS’s special London correspondent, Tim Koch, writes about the upcoming Wingfield’s,

The 171st Wingfield Sculls (The British Amateur Sculling Championship and Championship of the Thames) will take place on Thursday, 27 October 2011, over the ‘Championship Course’, Putney to Mortlake. My report on last year’s race gives the history of this special event, a ‘vision of glorious amateurism’, and explains why it is more than ‘just a battle of limb and lung size’.

The women’s race has three contenders. Anna Watkins is last years Wingfield’s Champion and winner of a bronze in the double sculls at the Beijing Olympics and gold in the doubles at the last two World Championships. Beth Rodford won a gold in the quadruple scull at the 2010 World’s and has won medals in various World Cup quad events. Ro Bradbury is the underdog, her best performance has been silver in the quad at the Munich World Cup.

Three-time-winner Alan Campbell will have another go at the Wingfield’s on 27 October.

The men’s race is between five contestants. Alan Campbell has won the Wingfield’s three times and is Britain’s leading single sculler having come first in the GB Senior Trials, 2005-2011. In the World Championships, he won bronze in 2010 and 2011 and silver in 2009. Tom Solesbury, an Oxford Blue and Henley winner, has qualified for the quad in the 2012 Olympics. Adam Freeman-Pask is a lightweight (rarely a good thing on the Thames Tideway) and has raced in the lightweight single in the World Championships, 2008-2011. Henry Pelly is a double Cambridge Blue and won the Stewards’ at Henley in 2008. Alan Sinclair won the Prince of Wales Challenge Cup (men’s intermediate quad sculls) at Henley this summer.

The two races will be umpired by Ellise Sherwell, the winner of the women’s race in 2007, and the prizes will be presented by the Lord Mayor of London elect, David Wootton. HTBS will, of course, be there and we hope to put some video of the races on the blog for all to view.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

2011 HOCR Results

Click on this link to get the results from yesterday's and today's Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston

2011 Red Bull XRow - A Race In Hell

There is no question about it, Red Bull XRow, a 18-kilometre rowing race and 7-kilometre running race with your 100-kilogram heavy eight on your shoulder, is a race in Pain. It must be the hardest rowing race in the world. This year’s race, from Zug to Lucerne, was won by Swiss Selection with Frankfurter RG Germania in second place and Seeclub Zürich coming in on third place.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Nominees For 2011 World Rowing Awards

Next month it is time for FISA to announce who will receive the 2011 World Rowing Awards. Here is what FISA writes about the nominees:

The shortlist for the 2011 World Rowing Awards was a mixture of regular representatives and new arrivals. Last year’s winner and regular nominee, Dick Tonks of New Zealand is back on the shortlist for World Rowing Coach of the Year.

First time World Champions and lightweight single scullers, Henrik Stephansen of Denmark and Fabiana Beltrame of Brazil (seen on the left) are both on their respective shortlist for the World Rowing Male and Female Crew of the Year. Two-time recipient of the World Rowing Adaptive Crew of the Year, Great Britain’s Tom Aggar has again been shortlisted. The award for Distinguished Service to International Rowing includes a number of people well-known for their positions on FISA commissions.

The annual World Rowing Awards began with chance for the public to nominate for the awards following the World Rowing Championships. This year nearly 2000 people made online nominations which resulted in the widest ever selection of nominees for the 2011 Awards.
The nomination list was then paired down to a shortlist by the FISA Council and then the final decision of choosing the winners will be made by the FISA Executive Committee. The winners will then be announced at the Gala Dinner during the World Rowing Coaches Conference in Varese, Italy on 11 November, 2011.

You will find the nominees by clicking here.

Friday, October 21, 2011

2011 Rowing At The Pan American Games

Argentina's Maria Abalo and Maria Best took the gold in the pairs.

The rowing regatta at the XVI Pan American Games in Guzman, Mexico, has now ended with Argentina finishing on top of the medal list with five golds, two silvers, and one bronze. The USA finished second, with four golds, two silvers, and a bronze. The nation taking most medals was Cuba, nine medals in 14 events, which took them to a third place on the medal table. Read more about these Games and get the results from FISA’s website.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

More About The Hot List!

It seems like Megan Kalmoe’s LIST, which HTBS wrote about on 11 October, has made quite a stir, not only in the rowing world. It was earlier this month, Megan, a member of the US National Team, published a list of Rowing’s 20 Hottest Male Athletes on her blog. I was happy to report that the Swedish oarsman Lassi Karonen, not only made the LIST, but actually landed on top of it!

In a Row2k interview on 17 October, Megan tells the story behind the LIST - an entertaining read. Of course, many male readers of Megan’s LIST, including yours truly, have been wondering where the list of Rowing’s 20 Hottest Female Athletes was to be found? In the interview on Row2k, Megan mentions that the Canadian rower Rares Crisan already last year published a female list on his blog, Rares Rhythm. Unfortunately, it comes without illustrations, which is a shame. However, there is a link to No. 7, Susan Francia, USA – don’t click on that link if you have a weak heart! You will find Crisan’s list here.

On the female list I was not surprised to find the Swedish twin sisters Sara and Lena Karlsson. The photograph on top shows Sara Karlsson sculling in her Hudson; it will give you an idea why Sara and her sister ended up on Crisan’s list, on fourth place. On third place was the Swiss rower Olivia Wyss, seen on the right.

This is, though, a list from last year. How about a 2011 list – anyone?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Harry Parker Awarded 2011 USRowing Medal

Yesterday, USRowing announced that longtime Harvard University and former Olympic coach Harry Parker had been awarded the 2011 USRowing Medal.

Given in recognition to a member of the U.S. rowing community, who has accomplished extraordinary feats in rowing, the Medal is the highest honor USRowing can bestow. Parker, 75, will be honored at the inaugural Golden Oars Awards Dinner on Wednesday, 30 November, at the New York Athletic Club in New York City.

“It is appropriate to recognize the achievements of Coach Harry Parker with the USRowing Medal of Honor at our first-ever Golden Oars Awards event,” said USRowing Chief Executive Officer Glenn Merry. “He is iconic in the sport of rowing and stands amongst the top coaches in the world. The U.S. Team benefited greatly through his coaching at several Olympic Games and many of our finest rowers developed during their time at Harvard. I suspect many rowers and coaches share my admiration for Coach Parker. It is with great enthusiasm that we celebrate his contributions to the sport and his life as an oarsman.”

“I recognize it’s a distinct honor and I appreciate it,” said Parker. “Honors are not my thing; my thing is coaching. That’s what I get a real sense of satisfaction from.”

Now in his 50th season as the Thomas Bolles Head Coach of Men’s Crew at Harvard, Parker is considered one of the most accomplished rowing coaches in the history of the sport. After being promoted from interim head coach to head coach in 1963 following Harvard’s victory over Yale University in the Harvard-Yale Race, Parker’s crews have achieved unprecedented success. His crews’ achievements include 21 undefeated seasons; 27 EARC Sprints titles; 21 junior varsity sprints titles; eight official and eight unofficial national championships, three IRA championships since 2003 and a 42-7 record over Yale in the Harvard-Yale Race.

Under Parker, Harvard crews have competed internationally at the 1968 Olympics and the 1967 World Rowing Championships. He was named the men’s Olympic coach for 1972, where he led the U.S. eight to a silver medal in Munich, Germany. He also served as coach of the first U.S. women’s crew to compete in the World Championships, winning a medal in 1975. Parker later coached the U.S. women’s eight to a bronze medal at the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal.

Parker attended the University of Pennsylvania, where he majored in English and learned to row. Following college, Parker began sculling competitively, and won the men’s single sculls at the 1959 Pan American Games. That same year, Parker finished second at the Henley Royal Regatta to six-time champion Stuart MacKenzie. In 1960, he represented the United States in the event in the Olympic Games in Rome, where he finished fifth.

Parker was inducted to the National Rowing Foundation’s National Rowing Hall of Fame as a coach in 1974 and as an oarsman in 1977.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Tribute To Hart Perry

As this is the 700th post on HTBS, I thought it should be something special.

Slightly more than a week ago, rowing historians Tom Weil and Bill Miller rearranged some of the artefacts in "Let Her Run", the rowing exhibit in the National Rowing Hall of Fame at Mystic Seaport. One of the exhibit cases now celebrates the life of and good rowing works by Hart Perry, NRF's executive director who was instrumental in getting and opening the Rowing Hall of Fame at the Museum in Mystic, and who passed away in early February this year.

Several times during his lifetime, Hart was honoured by having a boat named after him; the picture in the middle shows Hart on a Mystic Seaport dock by an eight from Stonington High School, carrying his name. The small picture on the right shows Hart in his little dinghy, which he bought from the Olympian oarsman, rowing journalist and writer, and fellow Henley Steward, 'Dickie' Burnell.

Tom and Bill had help from Hart's wife, Gillian, who had gathered some things from Hart's rich and fulfilling career which he so much loved, and, one can say, loved him back. That is, all the rowers and others within the sport whom he had helped and supported, looked up to this unselfish, good statue of a man with warm gratitude.

In the show case, you will find memorabilia from all the corners that Hart had touched with his magic wand: Dartmouth College, Kent School, Henley Royal Regatta, FISA, N.A.A.O., junior rowing, NRF, and the Rowing Hall of Fame, to now only mention a few institutions which have gained immensely from having Hart as a member, and in many cases, their leader.

Tom and Bill have done a great job. It is, indeed, a worthy tribute to our friend, Hart Perry.

As a Henley Steward, Hart met several Royalties, including Princess Anne, the Duke of Edinburgh, and Princess Grace of Monaco (the latter not in this picture).

Monday, October 17, 2011

Turkish Rowing Film On Czech Blog

How is your Czech? Mine is non-existent. Not that it really matters, because the Czech rowing blog Remigatio also has interesting posts in English. A post on 15 October, 2011, is about a 'rowing' film I have never heard of, Başka Dilde Aşk [“Love in Another Language”], a Turkish film from 2009 by the female director İlksen Başarır (seen on the right).

Here is the Turkish film trailer (with some rowing scenes):

The whole film is available on YouTube, but only in Turkish. However, I was curious and fast-forwarded through the film to find the rowing scenes in the movie; click here to go to the film. In the entry on Remigatio it is said that it differs from many other 'rowing' films in that the actor, who is playing the lead role and is the sculler in the film, Mert Firat, actually knows how to row, and I heartily agree, it looks like he knows what he is doing, which can not be said about some other 'rowing' actors.

From now on you will find the blog Remigatio on the right under 'Good Rowing Links'.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sorting Old Rowing Photographs

Pictured are some of Mystic Seaport PILOTS sorting and organising hundreds and hundreds of old rowing photographs. While leading this important project, rowing historian Tom Weil, at the head of the table, was throwing in some entertaining rowing anecdotes now and then.

Twice a year, Mystic Seaport hosts its so called PILOTS weekend. A PILOT is a volunteer who comes in to work for free (even paying a fee to work!) on Mystic Seaport projects which the Museum has not managed to do during the year. Yesterday, more than 100 PILOTS gathered at the Museum to work on boat projects in the Shipyard; paint porches, decks, and chairs; cleaning the grounds; attend the gardens; move artefacts; re-house photographs and negatives; and sort and date old wire-photographs of rowing.

When it comes to the latter project, six dedicated PILOTS showed up at the Blunt White Building, which houses the National Rowing Hall of Fame and the rowing exhibit, "Let Her Run", to sort tons of old rowing photographs from news agencies. The project was supervised excellently by rowing historian Tom Weil (with minor assistance from yours truly).

Work like this will help rowing historians and others to easily find images and other materials when they come to Mystic Seaport to do research. Well done, PILOTS!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Rowing On River Liffey

The good fellow Greg Denieffe sent a link to HTBS about the Irish programme Capital D on RTE One. In this particular programme, broadcast on 13 October, there is a very nice piece about rowing in Dublin. Representatives and members of the Neptune RC and the Dublin Municipal RC are interviewed, and then, add some lovely footage on and around River Liffey.

The rowing piece starts 6 min. 50 sec. in the programme, so fast-forward if you are not interested in the 'fashion' piece in the beginning of the programme. To get to Capital D, please click here (this programme will be available for 21 days).

Thank you, Greg, for sharing...

Friday, October 14, 2011

47th Head Of The Charles Regatta

A week from now it is time again for the Head of the Charles Regatta (HOCR), on 22-23 October. The two-day HOCR, which was rowed the first time in 1965, is 3.2 miles long and one of the world's largest regattas. The so called Official Coxswain Video (slightly more than 25 min. long), on top, gives you a good idea how it is to row the HOCR. You will, of course, find more on the regatta's website, and on There is also tons of information on row2k.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Golden Blades Of St. Petersburg

After some days of Indian Summer, we seem to have many gloomy days ahead of us here in New England. This makes me look back at the summer and some of the wonderful rowing races and regattas. One of the great events that I neglected to write about or even mention on HTBS, was the Russian ‘Golden Blades of St. Petersburg’. These 250-metre sprint races on 12 June, 2011, in the centre of the beautiful city, had several international athletes present.

The competitors were rowing in match races, ‘Henley style’, to be able to come up with the two finalists who were rowing for a ‘cup’. The Swede, Frida Svensson, who then was the reigning World Champion in the single sculls, won the Princess Olga Cup by beating the Czech sculler Mirka Knapkova, who later became the World Champion in Bled. The final in the men’s single sculls became an all-Russian affair, where Kleshnev, who had overpowered Mahe Drysdale on his way to the final, defeated Mikhail Fedorov to claim the Peter the Great Cup.

In the men’s eights, St. Petersburg surprisingly overcame Germany in the final. The women’s final was won by the Netherlands ahead of Canada. Hamburg University won the University women’s eights, while St. Petersburg University won the University men’s eights.

The wonderful video on top shows this event conducted under blue skies. It looks lovely, and it seems to have been a successful regatta as it is coming back next summer. Personally, I think that sprint regattas are great events, and if done the ‘Henley style’, with only two boats abreast, they can be raced on rivers and canals in towns and city centres where it is easy for spectators to gather to see world stars competing against each other. The short distance of a ‘sprint’ does not allow the athletes to do any mistakes on the water. I think it is a good way to popularize rowing.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

To Catch A Cheat

Sir Steve Redgrave reveals in an interview, published by Bloomberg. com, that he is “disappointed” at only getting four tickets for next year’s Olympic Games in London. Two of the tickets are for synchronized swimming and two for basketball. “We didn’t get tickets to go and see things as a family,” says Sir Steve in the interview. Of course, he does not have to worry about the tickets for the Olympic rowing regatta at Eton's Dorney Lake, as he is working for the media and that way will have access to the rowing.

It is a well-known fact that the British Olympic organizing committee, Locog, has run into major problems selling the tickets for the London Games.

During the last few days there have also been discussions in Great Britain whether or not athletes who have use banned drugs in the past will be allowed to compete at sports events, like the Olympic Games. In an earlier interview, Sir Steve said that he wholeheartedly stands by the British Olympic Association’s Eligibility by-law which aims to exclude athletes who intentionally dope from being selected to compete for Great Britain. Read the article by clicking here.

(Sir Steve was talking at a media briefing event on behalf of Prestige Ticketing Ltd, the exclusive in-venue hospitality partner for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games in London.)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Hottest Of The Hot!

The Swede Lassi Karonen, the hottest of them all?

Two day ago, Megan Kalmoe, member of the US National Team, who earlier this year took a silver medal in the coxed quadruple sculls at the World Championships in Bled, posted her list of the “Top 20 Hottest Male Rowing Athletes of 2011” on her blog (and it comes with a video!). I do not have any comments about this more than I am happy to see that a Swede made her list. Lassi Karonen is No. 1, but I do not really know if this means that he is on top of the list of these twenty ‘hotties’, or if there is no special ranking between these athletes.

In the name of equality, dare I ask that someone out there do a list of the 2011 Hottest Female Rowers in the World? While I have some suggestions whom I think should be on that list, I am not going there… I guess I am just too old for things like that. Instead, I hand over the idea to a younger man, who might get away with it (on the other hand, he might not!).

I did, however, earlier post something about the US Rowing Women Team’s Calendar, but that was not really because they were 'semi-nude', it was only to help them to sell more calendars to raise funds for their training. Here is a video showing how the calendar was shot:

Monday, October 10, 2011

In His Blood

In His Blood

He stood at the end of the dock
That stretched into the bay.
He inhaled, deeply, the morning,
Filling his lungs with light.
In his mind he rowed the race
He was to row that afternoon.
Already in his bones he could feel
The rhythm of the coxswain's call.
Already he could see the shadows
Of his teammates gathering.
He was in the race to row.
To row was to be.
In his blood the race never ceased.

Philip Kuepper
(September 2011)

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Leni's Infamous Photograph

During the mid-1930s, the world’s best sculler in the single was without doubt Gustav ‘Gummi’ Schäfer of Germany, being the winner of both the European title in 1934 and the Olympic title in 1936 - see entry on 6 October, 'The German Champion Gustav Schäfer'. As he was representing Nazi-Germany, I think that many interested in rowing and Olympic history still today look upon Schäfer in disbelief and with a critical eye.

One of Reichkanzler Adolf Hitler’s favorites was film director Leni Riefenstahl, who, in 1934, had made Triumph of the Will about the Nazi Party’s congress in Nuremberg. For the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, Hitler asked her to shoot a propaganda film about the Games, which Riefenstahl did. The result, Olympia (1938), is remarkable for its technical innovations. She has to be regarded as a pioneer in the film business, and the 20th century’s most prominent female filmmaker, despite her association with the Third Reich.

In my earlier entry about Schäfer there is a short video clip from the Olympic final in the single sculls showing the German winning easily. What we do not see in this video clip is when Gustav Schäfer, after having received the laurel wreath for champions, giving the so called ‘Hitler salute’ with his right arm raised. This image, from Riefenstahl’s Olympia, has become famous, if not villainous. Does this make Schäfer evil? The thing is that many of the German champion oarsmen gave the ‘salute’ already when they crossed the finish line, as did the whole entire German contingent of athletes when they walked in at the opening ceremonies. But in Schäfer’s case, now being an infamous photograph, the picture still causes grief and pain. See the photograph here.

One example is that when the rowing exhibit Let Her Run at the National Rowing Hall of Fame at Mystic Seaport opened in March, 2008, the photograph of Schäfer was in one of the display cases. Sadly, the photograph had to be removed later due to complaints from some Museum staff and visitors.

It is tricky to balance what is showing a historical event and what might cause too much pain doing so. I do not have an answer.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

On Rowing Writing And The 'Old Guard'

In the latest issue of Rowing News for November, I read that rowing historian and writer Chris Dodd is coming out with a new book, Pieces of Eight. It is about coach Bob Janousek and the British eight that put British rowing back on the Olympic medal stand, according to the short 'contributor' introduction piece in the magazine, where Chris has a well-written article about the World Championships in Bled earlier this year. I don't know if it has to do with Chris being a Brit and/or belonging to the Old Guard of rowing correspondents, like his fellow countrymen Dickie Burnell and Geoffrey Page, but his writing always carries a substance while still having an easy-going way about it.

I guess those of you who are going to the Rowing History Forum in Henley later this month, on the 29th, will hear more about Chris's new book. Unfortunately, I will not be able to make it, but for sure Chris will share some information at next year's Rowing History Forum, which will be on Sunday, 11th March, 2012 at Mystic Seaport, Connecticut, USA. The previous day, Saturday, 10th March, there will be rowers inducted in the NRF's National Rowing Hall of Fame, also in Mystic.

Going back to the Rowing News: I am not saying that young American rowing writers can not write. I good example, whom I already brought up in an earlier entry in September, is Bryan Kitch, who also in this issue of Rowing News has some very good pieces published. Of course, of the American 'Old Guard' we have 'Doctor Rowing', Andy Anderson. In this issue of the magazine, he is writing about the rowing cartoonist John Hooten, who had cartoons published in the old rowing magazine The Oarsman in the 1970s and 1980s, but then suddenly stopped publishing his cartoons. Well, 'Doctor Rowing' managed to track him down.

So, two thumbs up for this issue of Rowing News, too!

Photograph on top shows Chris Dodd (on the right) together with HTBS's Tim Koch at Henley this summer. Photograph: Hélène Rémond.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Poetry Of Motion

Yesterday, rowing historian Bill Lanouette sent me a photograph (see above). At first, I thought it was the famous Biglin Brothers rowing a pair under the bridge on the Schuylkill . But how could that be, as Bill said it was a photograph taken by Joel Roger showing Bill and his rowing buddy Chuck Levy rowing under Key Bridge on the Potomac? Well, there are for sure some similarities, don’t you think? (see Thomas C. Eakins’s painting of the Biglin brothers below.)

Bill, who is an expert on the Biglins, writes that there is a big difference, however: The Biglins have matching shirts! I also heard that rowing historian Bill Miller noted that the Biglins are rowing a starboard-stroked pair, while Bill and Chuck are in a port-stroked boat. Either way, both pictures show what the great rowing coach Steve Fairbairn called “the poetry of motion.”

Talking about poetry, yesterday, the Swedish Academy announced that this year’s Nobel Prize for Literature goes to the Swedish poet Tomas Tranströmer, an excellent choice, I think. I spent most of the evening yesterday re-reading a book of Tranströmer’s collected poems, in Swedish, of course…

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The German Champion Gustav Schäfer

Before Gustav Schäfer (1906-1991) began rowing, he played water polo, hockey, and football. But above all, he was interested in swimming, being a member of the swimming club in Dresden. It was also as a swimmer he got his nickname, “Gummi” [rubber], when he overran a favorite swimmer on a 1,500-metre course with the length of his hand, his opponent said: “Der Hund war zäh wie Gummi.” [“The dog was tough as rubber.” – alluding to Gustav’s family name, Schäfer, ‘shepard’.]

In 1929, ‘Gummi’ Schäfer was approached by the coach at Dresden Ruder-Verein and began thereafter successfully to row in fours and eights. However, by 1934, he was concentrating on the single scull, having joined another rowing club in Berlin, Skuller-Zelle, Berlin-Grünau, which had an English professional coach, Dan Cordery. With Cordery, Schäfer found the perfect trainer. In 1934, a little surprisingly, Schäfer became the German Champion in the single sculls, beating the favourite sculler, Herbert Buhtz. The same year, Schäfer also went to the European Championships in Lucerne and took the championship title in the single sculls.

The following year, ‘Gummi’, failed to defend his German title against Buhtz, but beat Buhtz at the 1936 German Championships and was selected to represent Germany in the single at the Olympic rowing event in Berlin. In the final, Schäfer did not have any problems winning the Olympic championship title with a couple of lengths ahead of Josef Hasenöhrl, Austria, and Daniel Barrow, USA. The favourite before the race, Ernst Rufli of Switzerland, Diamond Challenge Sculls winner both in 1935 and 1936, finished fifth. Here is a short clip from the single scull final (please, turn off the sound to get rid of the very annoying music):

After the Olympic gold medal, ‘Gummi’ Schäfer decided to quit rowing. Later that year, he and his rowing friend Georg von Opel founded the German Olympic Society. Schäfer’s old coach, Dan Cordery, tried to interest him to go back to sculling for the upcoming Olympic Games in 1940. But ‘Gummi’ was not game, and after the political climate grew worse in Nazi-Germany, Cordery left the country in 1938.

In a 1989 interview by Gisa Jacobus in Rudersport, the 80-year-old Schäfer, who by then was confined to a wheelchair remembers Cordery, “Mein lieber, englischer Trainer”.

Schäfer died in Munich in 1991.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The German Champion Herbert Buhtz

Herbert Buhtz and his “Master” Coach, Tom Sullivan.

Herbert Buhtz (1911-2006) was one of Germany’s best scullers in the beginning of the 1930s. He began to row as a teenager at Ruderclub Alt-Werder Magdeburg, the rowing club in his home town of Magdeburg. Buhtz was only 18-year-old when he and his partner in the double scull, Gerhard von Düsterlho, became the club’s first German Champions in 1929. They repeated their success the following year. In 1931, Buhtz began rowing for Berliner Ruder-Klub, which was coached by the New Zealander, Tom Sullivan, who took Buhtz under his wings. Buhtz became German Champion in the single scull that year.

In 1932, Sullivan sent Buhtz and his fellow club member Gerhard Bötzelen to race in the Diamond Challenge Sculls at the Henley Royal Regatta. The Diamonds final became an all-German affair when Buhtz easily beat his clubkameraden. Later that year, at the Olympic double sculls final in Long Beach, California, Buhtz and Bötzelen took a silver after having been in the lead up to 1,800 metres, when they were passed by the Americans Kenneth Myers and Garrett Gilmore. The latter had taken an Olympic silver medal in the single sculls in 1924.

Herbert Buhtz also won the Diamonds at Henley in July 1934, while the single scull European Championships title in August the same year was won by the German champion in the single scull, Gustav Schäfer. However, the following year, Buhtz became the German champion again.

When Coach Tom Sullivan left Berliner Ruder-Klub in October 1936 to move to Austria, Buhtz wrote a long celebratory article in the German rowing magazine, Wassersport:

“Although a German rowing club engages an Englishman [sic!] as trainer, this is in no way a matter of national feeling. The main point is what the teacher is capable of imparting and not what mother tongue he happens to have. […] Tom Sullivan was entirely worthy of the great confidence we had in him. Of the 490 victories won by Berliner Ruderklub Tom was responsible for 224 during the eleven years he supervised the training of the club. He was known as a master of the hard English school, of strict discipline and exact method of rowing. [- - -] His work and mature art convinced everyone. He was an Englishman with an international outlook and an honest admiration for the Germans, a fascinating personality whom young and old under his jurisdiction respected and whom oarsmen from all parts of Germany were attracted. [- - -]”
(From Hylton Cleaver: Sporting Rhapsody (1951), pp 48-49)

In a TV programme from 1989 about the Henley Royal Regatta, which I watched the other night (on a DVD), Herbert Buhtz was interviewed at Henley by the British TV crew. This German gentleman was utterly charming and praised the Henley spectators for their enthusiasm for the 1932 and 1934 Diamonds winner, although he was not an Englishman. (He elegantly steered away from the interviewer’s question about rowing for Nazi-Germany…)

After the Second World War, Buhtz was one of the old members that re-established the Berliner Ruder-Klub, and for a time also acted as coach at the club. He died in Berlin at the age of 95.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

David Lunn-Rockliffe Dies At 86

Yesterday, the Guardian published an obituary of former ARA Executive Secretary David Lunn-Rockliffe, who died on 23 August, at an age of 86. The obituary was written by rowing historian Christopher Dodd, whom together with Lunn-Rockliffe laid down the plans for what came to be the Henley River & Rowing Museum in Henley-on-Thames. Read Chris Dodd’s article here.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Why Should You Row A Boat Race?

The other day, I came across some writing about rowing by Associate Supreme Court Justice of the United States, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jnr (1841 -1935). He studied at Harvard University and at the outbreak of the American Civil War he joined Massachusetts militia and was wounded several times in different battles. At the end of the War, Holmes returned to Harvard to study law.

It was, however, at the Yale Law School commencement in 1886, where Holmes was the guest of honour, when he, in a speech, said,

“I never heard anyone profess indifference to a boat race. Why should you row a boat race? Why endure long months of pain in preparation for a fierce half-hour that will leave you all but dead? Is there anyone who would not go through all its costs and more, for the moment when anguish breaks into triumph – or even for the glory of having nobly lost? Is life less than a boat race? If a man will give all the blood in his body to win the one, will he not spend all the might of his soul to prevail in the other?”

Fine writing about rowing, indeed. I have, though, seen on some websites, which are quoting Holmes, his words set up as there were from a poem, which is obviously not the case. This might confuse some readers, who might think that it was actually written by Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes’s father, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Snr (1809-1894) who was a physician, poet, and essayist. As a poet, he is mostly remembered for his patriotic poem “Old Ironside”.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

New Rowing Documentary: 'Making Waves'

Boathouse Row is the setting for an independent documentary which looks at diversity in the sport of rowing.

A new film documentary on rowing, Making Waves, will air on Wednesday, 12 October, 2011, on the Philadelphia PBS channel, WHYY, at 10 p.m. Making Waves is produced by Shirley Road Productions, a Philadelphia-based, award winning non-profit production organization founded in 1991. In a press release the company writes,

“Philadelphia’s historic Boathouse Row, where great rowers and Olympic champions have trained for over 150 years, is the setting for Making Waves, a documentary that looks at the elite world of rowing and how it perpetuates exclusion in subtle ways. Beautifully shot in high definition, the documentary focuses on several passionate rowers from diverse backgrounds. Recounting their own experiences with exclusion and change as class and gender barriers have gradually worn down, their stories also reveal the sport’s failure to truly reflect today’s diverse society. Making Waves examines the nuances of race and ethnic relations, makes us think about the complexities of change, provides a lesson in basic fairness and encourages dialogue about inclusion and equal access to opportunity.”

Frances McElroy, producer and director at Shirley Road Productions, says in an e-mail to HTBS that she is working with Philadelphia’s PBS station on trying to air the film on a national level. Of course, the dream is also to get an international distribution, Frances writes.

Frances and her team at Shirley Road Productions have worked for four years with the film, which runs for 52:30 minutes. DVDs of the documentary are available for individual home viewing for $30, which includes first class postage and handling. The production company is still working with establishing a rate for institutions of higher education, public libraries, museums and other organizations.

Inquiries about purchase should be addressed to:

To watch the film trailer, please click here and then click on 'play trailer' by Making Waves movie clip.

Here at HTBS we are keeping our fingers crossed that Making Waves will be shown nation wide and eventually also reach rowers and rowing friends abroad.

With special thanks to rowing historian Bill Lanouette!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

USRowing Golden Oars Awards Dinner

Save the date!
USRowing Golden Oars Awards Dinner
Wednesday, November 30, 2011 at 6 p.m.

An annual Gala to recognize excellence in Rowing for 2011, and to support the athletes of the US National Teams and the America Rows and USRowing Adaptive Programs.

Co-hosted by USRowing and the National Rowing Foundation, the celebration will kick off the “Row to London” and will feature a presentation of several of USRowing’s highest honors, as well as the introduction of the Diversity and Adaptive Awards and new USRowing “Fan’s Choice” Awards. The evening will include a cocktail reception with open bar and hors d’oeuvres, seated dinner and a live and silent auction.

A portion of the ticket price is tax-deductible. Payment accepted via Mastercard, Visa and Discover Card or you may send a check, payable to USRowing:

Attn: Beth Kohl,
2 Wall Street
Princeton, NJ 08540

If you cannot attend please consider making a donation to the National Rowing Foundation

New York Athletic Club
180 Central Park South
New York, NY 10019
Phone: (203) 761-8643

Cost: Table of 10: $3,000; or Individual: $300