Photograph: Werner Schmidt

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

John Betjeman's Henley Regatta Poem

A nice way to round off yesterday's entry about Leander's 1912 Olympic boat is to quote Sir John Betjeman's poem 'Henley Regatta 1902' where a member of the famous club can be seen in his 'pink Leander tie'. Sir John Betjeman (1906-1984) was appointed Poet Laureate in 1972.

Henley Regatta 1902

Underneath a light straw boater
In his pink Leander tie
Ev'ry ripple in the water caught the Captain in the eye.
O'er the plenitude of houseboats
Plop of punt-poles, creak of rowlocks,
Many a man of some distinction scanned the reach to Temple Island

As a south wind fluttered by,
Till it shifted, westward drifting, strings of pennants house-boat high,
Where unevenly the outline of the brick-warm town of Henley
Dominated bu her church tower and the sheds of Brakspear's Brewery

Lay beneath a summer sky.
Plash of sculls! And pink of ices!
And the inn-yards full of ostlers, and the barrels running dry,
And the baskets of geraniums
Swinging over river-gardens
Led us to the flowering heart of England's willow-cooled July.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Story About Leander's Olympic Boat

After yesterday’s entry about the 1912 Oxford crew who raced twice against Cambridge that year, let me continue with another 1912 eight who took the Olympic gold medal at Stockholm: the Leander crew seen above, who beat New College (with Bob Bourne as stroke) in the final. In the photograph are from the stern: coxswain Henry Wells, stroke Philip Fleming, 7 seat Alister Graham Kirby, 6 seat Arthur Stanley Garton, 5 seat James Angus Gillan, 4 seat Ewart Douglas Horsfall, 3 seat Leslie Graham Wormald, 2 seat Sidney Ernest Swann, bow Edgar R. Burgess.

In Tim Koch’s report of this year’s Rowing History Forum at the Henley River and Rowing Museum, Paul Mainds, RRM Chief Executive, is quoted saying that he hopes to have both the 1912 and 2000 Olympic eights on display at the muesum for next year’s Olympic Games in London. Leander’s 1912 eight is currently at the Sports Museum in Stockholm after being donated by one of the local rowing clubs in Stockholm, Stockholms Roddförening.

Stockholms Roddförenings club house acted as the Olympic Rowing Committee’s Headquarters during the Olympic regatta. On the right in the photograph is Leander’s George Duncan Rowe.

Actually, in 2003, I sent a note to Stockholms Roddförening asking how on earth Leander’s eight ended up in their boat house. I received a nice reply from Mr. Lennart Borgh, who had copied the club’s minutes from a committee meeting on 8 August 1912, which read: "The Vice President reported that Chamberlain Fredr. Löwenadler has donated Leander’s eight and oars to the club.” [My translation] Mr. Borgh informed me that old club members had stated that when the shell arrived at the club, the sliding tracks were slightly displaced laterally to increase the leverage. Sometime during the 1930s, the tracks were changed to be straight. Stockholms Roddförening donated the boat to the Sport Museum in the beginning of the 1990s.

So, how come Fredrik Löwenadler donated Leander’s boat to the Stockholm club? I really do not know. However, there is a link between this Swedish nobleman and Leander, I realised when I did a Google search. Lars Johan Fredrik Löwenadler, who was born in Stockholm in 1854, was a match merchant who also worked for the Swedish Chamber of Commerce for the United Kingdom in London at that time. In 1884, he married Miss Florence ’Flo’ Rogers, who was born 1863 in Weston-Super-Mase. They settled in Henley-on-Thames, where Fredrik died in 1915. His wife, Florence, died there in 1946. Living in Henley, Fredrik must have had some contacts with Leander Club!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Oxford 1912

Here is an interesting photograph of the 1912 Oxford crew: bow W.F.A.H. Pitman, 2 seat C.E. Tinne, 3 seat L.G. Wormwald, 4 seat E.D. Horsfall, 5 seat A.H.M. Wedderburn, 6 seat A.F.R. Wiggins, 7 seat C.W.B. Littlejohn, stroke R.C. Bourne, and cox H.B. Wells. At the first race on 30 March, in terrible weather, both crews got waterlogged, the Light Blues by Harrods and the Dark Blues at Chiswick Reach. Oxford managed however to get into shore to empty out the water from their boat. After the crew had taken a couple of strokes to continue on their way to Mortlake, the launch with umpire Fred Pitman showed up. Pitman told them that he had called off the race due to the weather conditions, which upset the Oxford crew as they were still afloat. When Bob Bourne, who was rowing his fourth race against Cambridge, picked up his oar again, Pitman barked at Oxford that he had postponed the race, whereupon Bourne said: “We are going to Mortlake ……. because there’s where we have our clothes”. On 1 April, at the re-row, where the photograph probably was taken, Bourne stroked his crew to a comfortable victory, at 22 min. 5 sec., six lengths ahead of Cambridge.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Father Browne’s Titanic Album

HTBS’s Greg Denieffe writes from England that Father Browne’s Titanic Album, the centenary edition, was launched in Cobh Heritage Centre on 23 November. There is an article about the launch in The Cobh Edition here. Greg continues:

Cobh is pronounced ‘cove’ and was known as Queenstown at the time. Cobh was the final departure point of the Titanic on 11 April 1912. The ship was built in Belfast and as the locals say “it was fine when it left here”.

The following about the Titanic is from Wikipedia:

“The vessel began her maiden voyage from Southampton, bound for New York City on 10 April 1912, with Captain Edward J. Smith in command. As Titanic left her berth, her wake caused the liner SS New York, which was docked nearby, to break away from her moorings, whereupon she was drawn dangerously close (about four feet) to Titanic before a tugboat towed New York away. The incident delayed departure for about half an hour. After crossing the English Channel, Titanic stopped at Cherbourg, France, to board additional passengers and stopped again the next day at Queenstown (known today as Cobh), Ireland. As harbour facilities at Queenstown were inadequate for a ship of her size, Titanic had to anchor off-shore, with small boats, known as tenders, ferrying the embarking and disembarking passengers to and from the ship. When she finally set out for New York, there were 2,240 people aboard.

“John Coffey, a 23-year-old stoker, jumped ship at Queenstown by stowing away on a tender and hiding amongst mailbags destined for shore. A native of the town, he had probably joined the ship with this intention, but afterwards he said that the reason he had smuggled himself off the liner was that he held a foreboding about the voyage. He later signed on to join the crew of Mauretania”.

And now for the interesting bit, RTE, Ireland’s radio and television network, have 12 photographs on view at this link. All the photographs are stunning but HTBS readers may find number six of interest. It is captioned “First class passengers, such as TW McCawley, could enjoy the use of the ship’s gym”. Photograph above shows Father Frank Browne who took the photographs and who was ordered by his superior to disembark at Cobh. RTE’s Six One programme on 23 November 2011 had a report about Father Browne and his extraordinary photographs. The report is at 38:10 and is available for a couple of more days, here.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

New Biography On Professional Champion Michael Rush

Australia has a rich tradition of professional sculling. Many of the Australian scullers reached the very top and became world champions at a time when rowing and sculling was the premiere sport in English-speaking countries. News arrived to HTBS the other day that a new rowing biography, Michael Rush: Champion Australian Sculler by Stephen Gard, has been published this autumn. The book is about the Irish immigrant Michael Rush (1844-1922), who with his six feet and 13 stones became a powerful oarsman on the Clarence River in northern New South Wales. He soon became Champion Sculler of the district, and later Champion of Australia.

In 1874 and 1875, Rush had beaten the prominent sculler Ned Trickett twice, but declined to scull against Trickett for the Championship title on the so called Championship sculling course on the Parramatta River in Sydney, instead demanding the race to be on his homewater, the Clarence River. Trickett refused and went to England to challenge the world champion, Joe Sadler, on the Thames in June 1876. Trickett won and returned home to Australia in triumph. Almost exactly a year later, Rush raced Trickett for the world title, but was severely beaten. He would never be able to win the world title, but he is “remembered for his unfailing courage, humour, warmth, and true sportsmanship, and he has earned a place in Australia’s history”, a press release mentions from the publisher, Bluedawe Books, Australia.

Book information: Michael Rush: Champion Australian Sculler by Stephen Gard is a hardcover edition with dust-jacket. Decorated endpapers. Illustrated throughout in black and white, plus maps, and six pages of colour plates. Includes Bibliography, Index, Glossary of Sculling Terms, and Chapter Notes, 320 pp., ISBN 978-0-646-55987-2. The book was published in September 2011 in a limited edition of 500 copies. Book weighs 1.60 kg packed. $AUD38.00 (plus postage).

Read more about the book and how to order a copy here.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Julian Grenfell: Oarsman, Poet, Soldier

During Remembrance Week in the U.K., which has just passed, among the poems that are read you will find the famous ‘Dulce et Decorum Est’ by Wilfred Owen and ‘In Flanders Fields’ by John McCrae, but rarely Julian Grenfell’s ‘Into Battle’, which nowadays is totally ignored, although it can still be found in anthologies of war poetry. The two first stanzas of ‘Into Battle’ read:

The naked earth is warm with spring,
And with green grass and bursting trees
Leans to the sun’s gaze glorying,
And quivers in the sunny breeze;
And life is colour and warmth and light,
And a striving evermore for these;
And he is dead who will not fight;
And who dies fighting has increase.

The fighting man shall from the sun
Take warmth, and life from the glowing earth;
Speed with the light-foot winds to run,
And with the trees to newer birth;
And find, when fighting shall be done,
Great rest and fullness after dearth.

The problem that scholars and ordinary readers of poetry have these days with Grenfell is also what he wrote in a letter in October 1914 about the Great War: “I adore war. It is like a big picnic but without the objectivelessness of a picnic. I have never been more well or more happy.” Seven months later, on 13 May 1915, Grenfell was wounded by a shell-splinter. He died on 26 May with his parents and his sister Monica at his bedside. The following day, his poem ‘Into Battle’ was published in The Times together with the announcement of his death. Two months later, on 30 July, Julian’s younger brother Billy was killed in action one mile away from where Julian had been wounded.

Julian Grenfell, who was born on 30 March 1888, was the eldest son of William Henry Grenfell (on the left) later Lord Desborough, a famous oarsman and sportsman. Julian was educated at Eton and then went up to Balliol College, Oxford, where he proved to be a happy-go-lucky chap, who excelled at writing poetry and essays, and at different sports, including rowing. It is said that he was a ‘golden boy’ who socialised with friends and dons alike, but also that he could be a bully. However, at the end of his studies Julian had a breakdown, which led to a poor degree. After Oxford, he joined the 1st Royal Dragoons, stationed in India and later South Africa.

The information about his rowing career at Balliol College is sparse, and if you find any it is confusing: “[Julian was] rowing in the college eight, which won the Wyfold cup at Henley in 1909”. At the time when Julian was rowing, the Wyfold Challenge Cup at Henley was rowed in coxless fours. Looking into if he was in fact rowing at Henley in 1909, Sir Theodore Cook shed some light in his Henley Races (1919). Julian’s Balliol four rowed in the second heat of the Visitors’ Challenge Cup against First Trinity, Cambridge. The Balliol crew, which was stroked and steered by M.B. Higgins, had problems with their course and went into the piles within their first rowed minute. First Trinity was already far ahead, when the Balliol boat got clear. However, the Oxford crew continued to steer badly and came over to the Berks station. The Cambridge crew won easily in 8 min. 4 sec.

Harry Blackstaffe of Vesta RC

The Balliol crew was also rowing in the Wyfold Challenge Cup, where the crew – in addition to Julian in the bow-seat and Higgins on stroke were V.A Barrington-Kennett in second-seat and J.W. Heinemann in third-seat – did not have any difficulties defeating Vestra RC; on the second-seat in the metropolitan crew was the 40-year-old veteran Harry Blackstaffe, who the previous year had become the Olympic champion in the single sculls. In their next heat, the Balliol crew, although again steering poorly, managed to get a lead at the Island against Molesey BC. At Fawley, the Oxford boat had a lead of a length and a half and won easily in 8 min. 3 sec. In the final heat, Balliol met another Oxford college crew, Christ Church. Both boats got a good start and were level at the quarter-mile post. At one point, Balliol was close to the booms, but was quickly back on the right course. At Fawley, both crews were in midstream, almost clashing oars. “The race was a good one to watch, the crews being dead level at the three-quarter-mile signal”, Sir Theodore writes. When Balliol put on a spurt, Christ Church tried to follow, but made some steering errors which led to falling behind and getting Balliol’s wash. Having another race later in the day, Christ Church gave up, and Balliol won easily in 7 min. 44 sec.

After joining the Army, Julian continued to write poems. In the summer of 1914, he was toying with the idea of leaving the Army, but when the war broke out in August the same year, he decided to stay and two months later he was in France. Julian was promoted to the rank of Captain, was mentioned in dispatches, and won the DSO. He declined a job as aide-de-camp as his regiment was short of front-line officers. From his hands came a light poem, ‘Prayer for Those on the Staff’ which reveals his humour:

Fighting in mud, we turn to Thee
In these dread times of battle, Lord,
To keep us safe, if so may be,
From shrapnel snipers, shell and sword.

Yet not on us - (for we are men
Of meaner clay, who fight in clay) -
But on the Staff, the Upper Ten,
Depends the issue of the day.

The Staff is working with its brains
While we are sitting in the trench;
The Staff the universe ordains
(Subject to Thee and General French).

God, help the Staff - especially
The young ones, many of them sprung
From our high aristocracy;
Their task is hard, and they are young.

O lord, who mad’st all things to be
And madest some things very good
Please keep the extra ADC
From horrid scenes, and sights of blood...

He was buried in the military cemetery on the hills above Boulogne in France. Go to Julian Grenfell’s War Diary here. See also HTBS's War Memorials.

This post was updated on 22 May 2014 to reflect the information in Comment 1.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Existential Rower

The Existential Rower

Oars would get him
To his destination,
Oars and his prowess,
The prowess of the athlete.
Discipline grew in him
Like a second being,
The regimen he did not fail
To follow like a religion,
The regimen that burned
His body lean,
Hard, until
His muscles and the singlet he wore
Seemed one, the suit
He wore to his office:
And his shell,
Sleek, slick in the water,
The grace of its shape
To which his body conformed,
The grace of them together on the water,
Each stroking of his oars
Another word in the prayer,
The Prayer of doing
That got him where he was going.

Philip Kuepper
(September 2011)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

50 Years Of Rowing At Trinity College

The oarsmen that could - fifty years after they started a tradition. Photo: Nick Lacy. Courtesy of Trinity College.

Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, is a small liberal arts school like many other educational institutions in the USA. Although there were some activities on the water in the early days, between 1856 and 1873, with some boys messing about in boats, ‘Doctor Rowing’ - Andy Anderson - writes in an article in the current Rowing News (December 2011, Vol. 18, issue 10), the sport of rowing vanished after one of the rowers drowned in an accident. In 1961, Baird Morgan and his friends at Trinity borrowed a shell to race against other schools, and so began a tradition. The boys kept the shell in an old Tobacco Barn.

Last month, the oarsmen, now maybe a little rounder and with some grey hair on their templates, reunited in the fairly new-built boat house by the Connecticut River to celebrate 50 years of oarsmanship at Trinity College. Rowing* has grown and is now one of the biggest sports at the college to the delight of both the old and younger rowers of today.

There is a nice piece on the Trinity College website about the rowing alums who visited the college for the October reunion, read the article here.

Below is a beautiful slideshow from the celebrations in October.

*Trinity College states on its athletic website that the school, both for women and men, has a rowing programme. (Not ‘crew’, we note.)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Film On 2011 Wingfield Sculls

2011 Wingfield Sculls with Adam Freeman-Pask in the lead, Tom Solesbury on the left, and Henry Pelly closes to the camera.

The 171st Wingfield Sculls - The British Amateur Sculling Championship and Championship of the Thames - took place on Thursday, 27 October 2011, as reported earlier on HTBS by Tim Koch. With great weather conditions it looked as it would be an open affair in the men’s race, especially as last year’s champion, Alan Campbell (winner also in 2006 and 2009), had withdrawn due to injury. It was left to Adam Freeman-Pask of Imperial College, Henry Pelly of London RC, and Tom Solesbury of Leander to fight it out on the Thames. In the end it was Freeman-Park who crossed the finish line first in a new record time, at 19 min. 21 sec.
As Rosamund Bradbury withdrew in the women’s race, it became a match between Anna Watkins of Leander, who won last year, and Beth Rodford of Gloucester. Watkins took an early lead, and did not have a problem finishing the race in a new record time at 20 min. 55 sec., beating the old record by almost a minute.

While Tim was one of the first to write a report about the 2011 Wingfields, HTBS is also proud to present Tim’s film from this year’s two races. Enjoy!!!

(Special thanks to Dr Robert Treharne Jones, press officer at Leander Club, for allowing HTBS to publish his photographs.)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

2011 Ernestine Bayer Award

USRowing has announced the recipient of the 2011 Ernestine Bayer Award, Mayrene Earle, founder of MastersCoaching in 2002. The award, formerly known as the Women of the Year Award, is given in recognition of outstanding contributions to women’s rowing and/or to an outstanding woman in rowing and is selected by the female members of USRowing Board of Directors. Earle will be honored at the USRowing Annual Convention in Hartford, Connecticut, on 1-4 December.

“It’s quite an honor,” said Earle according to USRowing’s press release. “I’d like to think that I’ve contributed a lot to women’s rowing in the 30 to 40 years I’ve been doing it, particularly since I started this master’s coaching group.” She continued “Coaching for masters women isn’t a high priority on most coach’s lists in club programs, so they come to me for a little extra coaching. I’d like to think that I’m making a huge difference in their lives on the water as well as off the water.”

The Ernestine Bayer Award is named after Ernestine Bayer, who pushed her husband, Ernie Bayer, 1928 Olympic silver medallist in the coxless four, to allow her to row on the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia. There she founded one of the first women rowing clubs, the Philadelphia Girl’s Rowing Club. Bayer was the first woman inducted to the National Rowing Foundation’s Rowing Hall of Fame, and the first woman to receive the USRowing Medal. She died in 2006, at the age of 97.

Read more about Mayrene Earle and the The Ernestine Bayer Award here.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

HTBS Celebrity News

Who says that the Daily Telegraph is not like any other tabloid paper in the U.K.? The paper’s section ‘Celebrity News’ is spreading the rumour that Pippa Middleton, ‘Her Royal Hotness’, is back dating her old chum, George Percy, the eldest son to the Duke of Northumberland. Well, who actually cares? I for sure do not, but I had to come up with some text to go with the photograph on the left. It is really only the odd looking fixed pins for the oars that I find interesting….

Friday, November 18, 2011


In December, a very special crew will try to cross the Atlantic, they are British former soldiers who have been injured in Iraq and Afghanistan. Please click here if you would like to watch a video and read an article in the Daily Telegraph about their voyage. Last September they rowed in the Great River Race on the Thames in London to get some practice, although, the Thames is maybe not as wild as the Atlantic. Read more about these brave men’s campaign Row2Recovery to support service men and women, here.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Gig Rowing

It seems Falmouth Pilot Gig Club, which Tim Koch wrote about earlier in January, has had a great season, ending it by racing in Holland. Read about that competition and the race in Holland here. On the same note Annabel Vernon, member of Great Britain Rowing Team, wrote the other day about her first outing in a Cornish pilot gig on her BBC blog. This was her first try in this boat type, although she is a Cornishwoman. Fun stuff, read it here.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Busy Peter...

Peter Mallory (on the left) with rowing historian and writer, Chris Dodd of the RRM, which has published Peter's four-volume book.

No one who is interested in rowing history can have missed that rowing historian and writer Peter Mallory has just published his Magnum Opus, the four-volume The Sport of Rowing. His masterwork has been published in two editions, a luxurious and a ‘standard’ edition. The standard edition ran into a little mishap in October; it arrived with an unsatisfactory cover that was still ‘sticky’ which made the copies clue together. (I am afraid this is a common mistake at book binderies, where they pack the newly bound book copies in boxes while the cover is still ‘wet’ – why do they never learn?)

However, in an e-mail Peter reports that 500 sets of his book have now been rebound with perfect covers – hurrah!!! There are now few copies of the standard edition for sale at Richard Way Bookshop and at the River and Rowing Museum, both in Henley.
Richard Way: tel. INT+44-(0)1491-576663
RRM: tel. INT+44-(0)1491- 415600.

Peter has a long schedule of rowing business going on this autumn, winter, spring, and summer. He writes, “Over the next several months I will be available to get more involved with supporting my many California friends and teammates at Long Beach Rowing Association, California Yacht Club, UC Irvine, Orange Coast College, Newport Aquatic Center, UC San Diego and San Diego Rowing Club. My latest book is just the beginning of my efforts to give back to the world rowing community which has been my family for nearly 53 years.

“I will also be coming east frequently from our home in Los Angeles. I look forward to seeing many more friends at the USRowing Golden Oars Banquet in New York on Wednesday, November 30, and to personally thank honorees Harry Parker and Bill Stowe for their participation in my research. From there I will visit the Granby High School Rowing Team in Norfolk, Virginia, where my son Philip coaches. This is what it’s all about, making the world a better place by passing on the life lessons of rowing to the next generation.

“I will be very excited to attend my first Power Ten Dinner on Thursday, January 19 in New York. I will be the featured speaker at the Annual Dinner of the Cambridge Boat Club on Saturday, February 11. This invitation from Bill Becklean, 1956 Olympic Gold Medalist and my good friend, is especially heartening to me 40 years after I represented Cambridge as a lightweight single sculler in Europe. I will attend the National Rowing Foundation Hall of Fame Induction at Mystic Seaport on Saturday evening, March 10. Most of the inductees are recent collaborators on my book. The Friends of Rowing History are also firming up plans for our biennial Rowing History Forum to be held there earlier that same day. […] On May 11-13 I will attend my 45th Reunion at the University of Pennsylvania, and hopefully we can get an eight of old Penn Lightweights onto the Schuylkill waters while we are all gathered. Then there are the Olympic Games….”

A busy schedule, indeed for Peter, but that’s the life of a best-selling author. Well done, Peter!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Olympic Torch

In 1952, an eight from Malmö Rowing Club, in the south of Sweden, picked up the Olympic torch in the habour of Malmö and rowed the flame on the canal in to the club house. From there it was further transported to Helsinki.

For the Olympic Games in London next year, the Olympic torch will be transported on an 8,000-mile (12,874 km) tour around Great Britain. The flame will also arrive to Henley-on-Thames on 10 July, the local newspaper the Henley Standard mentions in an article. Thereafter, it will be rowed from the River and Rowing Museum to Reading, and then go on a journey around England, Wales, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and outlying islands. “The relay will conclude with the flame travelling along the River Thames to reach the Olympic Stadium on July 27,” the newspaper writes.

The names of the rowers who are taking it to Reading have not yet been publicized. Of course, the town of Henley has a great Olympic tradition, being the host of two previous Olympic regattas in 1908 and 1948. The River and Rowing Museum is celebrating the Olympics and Paralympic Games with an exhibition called “The Perfect Rower — 100 Years of Racing for Glory”. Read the whole article in the Henley Standard here.

For the 1952 Olympic Games in Helsinki, the Olympic torch was fetched in the habour of Malmö by an eight from my rowing club, Malmö Roddklubb. The oarsmen elegantly rowed into the canal and to the club house, where it was picked up by the local canoe club. When I began rowing in the club, the older members, whether they had been in the crew or not, still talked with pride of carrying the Olympic flame – a great honour for the club, indeed.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Writing on the Water

Writing on the Water

Between the railroad bridge
And the Mystic Drawbridge,
The rowers oared their shells
In competitive heats.

I thought them words
In the act of being
Written, each one
A noun acting as verb.

They were subject and predicate in one.
They were the act and the act
Of being, the effort of their performances
The ink they used,

Invisible ink on the papery water,
All, to my eye, erased
as quickly a it was written,
Yet all etched, indelibly,

On the river of the rowers' souls.
This, then, was
The script of the race
Written as I watched.

Philip Kuepper
(The Battle Between the Bridges,
September 2011)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

2011 FISA World Rowing Awards

In a press release, FISA, the International Rowing Federation, has named the winners of the 2011 World Rowing Awards for Coach of the Year, Female Crew of the Year, Male Crew of the Year, Adaptive Crew of the Year, and Distinguished Services to Rowing.

“Following public nomination which attracted nearly 2,000 submissions, the final selection of awardees was made by the Executive Committee of FISA,” the organisation writes on its website. The winners were announced at the World Rowing Coaches Conference Gala Dinner in Varese, Italy, last Friday.

Greece took two of the awards: the Coach of the Year Award, which goes to Gianni Postiglione (seen up on the right), and the Female Crew of the Year, which goes to Christina Giazitzidou and Alexandra Tsiavou who are rowing in the lightweight’s double sculls.

The World Rowing Male Crew of the Year goes to New Zealand’s pair Eric Murray and Hamish Bond. Alla Lysenko (seen above) of Ukraine was awarded the World Rowing Adaptive Crew of the Year, while Ricardo Ibarra of Argentina is this year’s recipient of the World Rowing Distinguished Service to International Rowing Award.

Read more about these athletes here.

(Photographs from

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Chivalry On The Water

Is being a gentleman on the water something of the past? You know like Bobby Pearce stopping at a 1928 Olympic rowing race to let some ducks pass his lane, or Jack Beresford (seen above), who was in the lead of the 1921 Diamond Sculls final, but stopped rowing to wait for F.E. Eyken of the Netherlands, who had hit the booms. At the end, the Dutchman was the stronger sculler and won with a length and a half.

I am happy to report that chivalry on the water is not dead. To the great names of Pearce and Beresford we can now add James Konopka and Nick Mead of Episcopal Academy in Philadelphia. These young men recently received the Thomas Eakins Medal of the Schuylkill Regatta for showing “great presence, maturity and selflessness and the true spirit of the sport of rowing”. In an under-17 race in the double scull on the Schuylkill, Konopka and Mead stopped rowing to assist another pair of competitors, whose boat had capsized. They stayed with the other boat until a referee’s launch arrived to the spot. Konopka and Mead then continued to row, coming dead last in this 2.5-mile race.

So acted true gentlemen of the sport of rowing! Kudos, gentlemen. (Read more here.)

Friday, November 11, 2011

Is Winning Everything?

I stumbled over a new ‘rowing book’ the other day. The book, Chariots and Horses (October 2011), might interest the readers of HTBS. The book is by Canadian Jason Dorland, who is an author, performance coach, and professional ‘motivational speaker’. Dorland shares his experiences as an Olympic athlete, coach, and entrepreneur with the intention of inspiring and motivating others to re-think their approach to business, sport, and life. On his website Dorland writes “Growing up in a culture so focused on results – namely winning – it’s no wonder that athletes today have forgotten to engage in the process of finding, and being satisfied with their own personal excellence.” Read more about the book here.

I have to say that I found this quote interesting. When I grew up in Sweden, I never felt any pressure to perform in a winning way. It was first when I moved to the USA, I felt how the whole society is pushing people, especially children in school and in sports, to do their utmost to win; if you are playing a game, you are doing it to win, nothing else. There is not such a thing as playing for fun. Well, I have a problem with that attitude, so my book order is in, and I am looking forward to receive and read Dorland’s book. More about the book later.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Ladies In Boats

Today, may I recommend that you HTBS fans read Chris P.'s entry about the Swedish illustrator Brynolf Wennerberg on the eminent blog Rowing for Pleasure. Very interesting, Chris!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Erg!

Let's face it, it's time to get ready for indoor activities, unless you are lucky enough to be able to go for an outing in the middle of the day (I am not that lucky!). I think the above little video clip will help you whether you are a novice or if you have been on the rowing machine, the erg, for years. Good Luck!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Rowing On Lake Sävelången

Above is an unusual ‘rowing’ postcard. The picture is showing pupils of the handcrafts school at Nääs Castle in Floda in the province of Västergötland, Sweden. From 1872 to 1960, the school was renown for its education in different crafts. It was an old tradition in Sweden to educate children from poor families to keep them ‘off the streets’ and to give them an education in traditional woodworks (for boys) and textile and cooking (for girls). The education at Nääs Castle became so famous that, from 1880 to the outbreak of the First World War, people from forty countries around the world would come to the school to take part in special seminars about woodwork, textile, cooking, but also to take part in tending gardens, games and athletics, song and dance. Today, Nääs Castle is a museum.

The postcard shows a boat, probably on lake Sävelången, which is located by the castle, with students from the school, seven boys and one girl, all dressed-up for a particular occasion. If we count the oars, it’s a six-oared gig with a coxswain or boatsteerer. It is the boys, in their ties and berets, who are in charge of the oars and the rudder, and the girl is acting as the passenger of the boat, at least when the photographer is taking the picture. I can well imagine that the girl would demand her turn at the oar, just like other girls and women have taken their turn at the oars if they were living by a lake, a river, or along the Swedish coastline. In the Swedish maritime history, there are many stories about powerful women fishing or trading, plying the oars in a boat going between islands and the mainland.

At the bottom of the card, someone has written ‘Lycka på resan’ [‘Have a good trip’]. The postcard is to a Fröken [Miss] Bernhardina Andersson in Hisingsholm, which is close to Gothenburg. There is no stamp, or date, so it’s impossible to know when the card was sent (if it was sent…). It’s an interesting picture of a time long gone.

Monday, November 7, 2011

It’s Movember – Grow A Mo!

So, you think it’s November? Well, you are wrong, it’s Movember. What is Movember you ask? Movember - ‘celebration of the moustache’ - is a global campaign to raise funds for men’s health, and in some countries, like the UK, the campaign is mainly concentrating on raising funds to fight prostate and testicular cancer. So on 1 Movember/November many men around the world sign up with a clean-shaven face at to raise money for this campaign, promising not to shave during the whole month: Grow a Mo!

British Rowing and many of its rowers, both men and women, ‘Mo Bros’ and ‘Mo Sisters’ (of course, the later with a fake or painted moustache), are participating in this month-long event. Last year, £11.7 million was raised around the UK alone, British Rowing's magazine Rowing & Regatta writes in its latest issue.

To actually find a famous British oarsman with a really good looking ‘Mo’, I had to go back in time, to two of the most well-known oarsmen of their time: Ernest Barry and Harry Blackstaffe, two handsome chaps. In the photograph on top, Barry, in the bow-seat, was the professional world champion in 1912, and Blackstaffe, in the stroke-seat, was Olympic champion in the single sculls in 1908. Between them, their clean-shaved friend Wally Kinnear, Olympic champion in the single in 1912.

Although, I wholeheartedly support a campaign like this, my dear wife, Mrs. B., made it clear already when we dated (in Wales, as a matter of fact) in the 1990s that our relationship would never last if I grow a moustache, or any other facial hair. Then, on top of that, a couple of years ago, our cute children could not stop laughing when I showed them my old Swedish drivers license from the beginning of the 1980s showing me with my elegant ‘Mo’.

But to you who are allowed: Grow and Groom!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Olympic Posters

Following the tradition from the 1912 Olympic Games held in Stockholm, ‘local’ artists have been commissioned to design the posters for next year’s Olympics and Paralympics in London. Twelve British artists’ work have now been made public at the Tate Britain (earlier known as the Tate Gallery), the Daily Telegraph wrote the other day. While there maybe are some nice modern art pieces among these posters, personally, I think that none of them are thrilling enough to be an Olympic poster. And honestly, I do not understand which is going to be the Olympic poster, if one has been selected yet. Have a look at these posters here.

The Daily Telegraph is also offering a gallery of the Olympic posters from the start of the ‘modern’ Games in 1896, and some comments of how good or bad they were. One could of course poke fun of the nudity in the Stockholm poster above, but it is at least trying to be international with all of the flags of the competing nations - and the Union Jack is right behind the Swedish flag. To see the old Olympic posters to determine for yourselves, click here.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Archie Nisbet: Oarsman, Coach, Rowing Patron

Some weeks ago, I found a copy of the pamphlet London Rowing Club 1856-1956 (n.d., probably 1956) online. While I have Chris Dodd’s eminent book on the history of the London RC, Water Boiling Aft (2006), I did not have this 36-page pamphlet. As it was only a few pounds, including shipping, I quickly ordered the little booklet. The other day it arrived; a slightly faded cover in blue with crossed oars and the London emblem and the title in silver.

The pamphlet has a short history of the club, lists of Henley winners from the club, lists of Officers and Members of the club, and some interesting advertisements from the time of the printing of the publication. However, what really caught my eye was an ex-libris, or bookplate, which was attached to the inside front cover, showing a former owner’s crest with a motto: Vis Fortibus Arma – ‘Vigour is arms to brave men’. Beneath the motto is the owner’s name, Anthony Nisbet. The crest showed the three boar heads of the family of Nisbet. (An ancestor, Alexander Nisbet (1657-1725), was a famous author of Scottish heraldry, also on the Nisbet Clan.)

I do not know how Anthony was related to Robert Archibald ‘Archie’ Nisbet (1900-1986), who was a famous oarsman and member and one of the vice-presidents of the London RC. Archie began his rowing career at Pembroke College, Cambridge. Although he never got a ‘Blue’, Archie was a good oar and rowed bow in the 1923 Pembroke eight in the Grand which lost to Thames RC in the final. For a stint thereafter, he was a member of Thames RC, but left to take on the Captainship of London RC in 1924.

In 1927, Archie joined forces with Terence ‘Terry’ O’Brien to win the Silver Goblets at Henley. They were picked to represent their country in the pair at the 1928 Olympic rowing on the Sloten Canal in Amsterdam, even though some weeks earlier they were beaten in an early race in the Silver Goblet by Jack Beresford and Gordon Killick of Thames RC. Both Beresford and Killick were also members of their club’s eight that took the Grand that year. In the Olympic rowing in August, Archie and O’Brien rowed a good race in the final, but they were overpowered by the German duo, Bruno Müller and Kurt Moeschter, who were trained by the English professional, ex-champion, Ernest Barry. The Henley winners in the pair, Beresford and Killick, also took a silver medal at the Olympics, in Thames’ club eight.

During this time at London RC, Archie Nisbet was still in contact with his Alma Mater, and helped to coach their eight. When Pembroke’s bow man suddenly could not row in the first heat of the Grand in 1931, his seat was taken by Coach Nisbet. There is a photograph of November 1934 of Archie with his back towards the camera talking to a crew in the Cambridge trail eights on the Cam. His bicycle indicates that he has followed the eight along the towpath. It states that Archie was an ‘old blue’, which he was not. See photograph here. The following year, in 1935, Archie was one of the ‘official’ Cambridge coaches. This year the light blues had Ran Laurie at stroke and behind him his good friend Jack Wilson. Cambridge won with four and a half boat lengths.

Here is a short film clip of the 1935 Cambridge eight training on the Thames. On race day Laurie was moved from sixth-seat to stroke. You will see a quick glimpse of Coach Nisbet, too.

Archie was still coaching after the Second World War and was elected vice-president of London RC in 1951. According to Dodd, in his Water Boiling Aft, Archie retired from the London RC’s seat on the ARA council in 1975, only to become the Chairman of the Head of the River Race two years later.

Despite Archie’s success as an oarsman and as a coach, there is maybe one accomplishment that rises above the rest, at least in the eyes of rowing historians; Archie was the one who got Steve Fairbairn to begin coaching at London RC after Steve had left Thames RC due to an argument with Jack Beresford’s father, Julius. Steve started to coach London RC crews in April 1926 and the club would thereafter have a long run of success, also many years after Steve had died, in 1938.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Tim Koch On 2011 Wingfield Sculls

The 171st Wingfield Sculls (‘The British Amateur Sculling Championship and Championship of the Thames’) in 181 years took place on Thursday, 27 October 2011, over the ‘Championship Course’, Putney to Mortlake in London. It was also the fifth year of the Women’s Wingfield Sculls race. My report on last year’s challenge gives the history of this special event and my preview posted last week gives a brief biography of the competitors who had entered. On the day, however, two things happened to make both races notable.

Firstly, mild weather with little or no wind and a strong tide coincided to make a potentially fast race (though times on a tidal river are, of course, no real reflection of ability). Secondly, Alan Campbell, indisputably the fastest British single sculler and a Wingfield’s winner in 2006, 2009, and 2010, had to withdrew due to injury. This left the men’s race wide open. Leander’s Tom Solesbury (98 kg, 200 cm) was the biggest man in the race but with little sculling and Tideway experience. London’s Henry Pelly was a little smaller (92 kg and 188 cm) but had spent a reasonable amount of time in a sculling boat and on the tidal Thames. Adam Freeman-Pask of Imperial College was a lightweight (70 kg and 185 cm) but he knew the course and was a sculler first and foremost.

At the start it was Pelly on Surry, Solesbury on centre and Freeman-Pask on Middlesex. They were not to stay on their stations for long and umpire Elise Sherwell had to do a lot of flag waving in the first few minutes. The water between Putney and Hammersmith had started to get a little rough and the less experienced Solesbury was clearly uncomfortable and started to fall back. Freeman-Pask was always in front but in the first mile he had little clear water between himself and Pelly. Solesbury had gone wide by the end of Putney Embankment but when he started to move back into fast water he began to catch the other two up and this was reflected in the times to the Mile Post (AFP 4'24'', HP 4'25'', TS 4'27''). All three went very close to the large buoy just down from the Post and Pelly missed a few strokes as he had to let his bowside scull pass over it. Solesbury tried to take advantage of this but his efforts caused him to move out of the fast water again. His tragedy (and also to some extent that of Pelly) is that either his steerers were not communicating with him or he had forgotten that, uniquely, this race allows competitors to receive steering signals from someone following in a launch. Had Solesbury remained in the stream it may have been a different race. In contrast, Freeman-Pask steered a very good course throughout. Just before Harrods the river was much calmer and Solesbury found the fast water again and started to overtake Pelly for the first time. Both were about two lengths down on the leader. As soon as the Leander man passed into second place he put on the power and quickly pulled away in pursuit of Freeman-Pask.

Adam Freeman-Pask of Imperial College, the winner in the men’s race.

At Hammersmith Bridge the official times were AFP 7'33'', TS 7'34'', HP 7'37''. Unfortunately from here Solesbury hugged the Surrey shore on a flood tide, denying himself the advantage of the deepest part of the river. He corrected this just before Chiswick Eyot and reduced the IC man’s lead considerably. The times to Chiswick Steps were a new record for all three scullers, AFP 12'06'', TS 12'07'', HP 12'20''. The old record was 12'21''. From the top of the Chiswick bend to just before Barnes Bridge, the two leading scullers were almost level and there was some fine side by side racing but this was due to great efforts from Solesbury while Freeman-Pask always looked as if he was in command of the race. Near the band stand umpire Sherwell took the decision to overtake Pelly. Approaching Barnes Bridge, Solesbury suddenly dropped behind, beaten either physically or mentally, with the result that he reached the bridge in 16'34'', seven seconds behind the leader (though both beating the old record of 16'45''). From here the race was really over and Adam Freeman-Pask reached Chiswick Bridge in 19'21'', while Tom Solesbury followed in 19'52''. Both were inside Peter Haining’s 1994 record of 19'58''. It was a fine race and a very good illustration of the various skills need to win the Wingfields, an event were you need more than just a 28 kg weight advantage.

In the Women’s Race, Rosamund Bradbury withdrew so it was a contest between last year’s winner, Anna Watkins of Leander (79 kg, 183 cm), and Beth Rodford of Gloucester (77 kg, 178 cm). In conditions promising a fast time, Watkins went off at 40 (to Rodford's 35) and took an early lead. They settled to 32 and 28 respectively and Watkins had a three length lead by the end of Putney Embankment. At the Mile Post both had gone down to 28 and the Leander sculler recorded 4'44'' (beating the old record of 4'46''), her opponent got there in 4'49''. All the other times were record beaters for both women. The timings at Hammersmith Bridge were: AW 8'03'', BR 8'10'' (old record 8'29''). After Hammersmith Watkin’s lead opened up to five lengths. The other times were: Chiswick Steps, AW 12'48'', BR 12'58'' (old record 13'30''). Barnes Bridge, AW 17'28'', BR 17'37'' (old record 18'11''). Finish, AW 20'55'' and BR 21'06'' (old record 21'53'').

2011 Wingfield’s winner, Anna Watkins of Leander.

Guy Pooley (Wingfield’s Treasurer and Champion in 1991 and 1992) said of the women’s race:

“(It) was a powerful display from last year’s Champion. She went off the start meaning to get ahead and stay ahead and sculled very well indeed..... She had it all, technique, endurance, power..... a worthy winner.”

At the prizegiving at the Tideway Scullers School boathouse, Bill Barry (Champion 1963-1966) praised the efforts of Wade Hall-Craggs (the Wingfield’s Secretary and Champion in 1993) and Guy Pooley in keep the event running and relevant. When Henry Wingfield started the event in 1830, he said that he wished it to continue ‘forever’. Wade and Guy are both working on some innovative ideas to ensure that this will be the case - watch this space.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Beautiful Rower

The Beautiful Rower

Swans floated, looking perplexed.
Cormorants stood
Skeptical watch atop pilings.
Seagulls laughed
At the "ugly duckling"
Rower trying
To be one of them?

Philip Kuepper
(September 2011)

Reading this poem, I cannot help thinking of Bobby Pearce (seen on top) and his encounter with some ducks in one of his heats in the single sculls at the 1928 Olympic Games in Amsterdam. Read that story here.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

More USRowing Awards

USRowing has announced two new award recipients, who will receive their prizes at the Golden Oars Award Dinner in New York on 30 November. Bill Stowe (on the left), oarsman, coach, leader, and author, will receive the Jack Kelly Award, while the organisation Row New York is the recipient of the USRowing Anita DeFrantz Award, a newly established award which will, according to USRowing’s web site “be given annually to honor leaders in diversity and inclusion”.

The Jack Kelly Award, named after Jack Kelly Jr, ‘Kell’, is “given to outstanding individuals who represent the ideals which Jack Kelly exemplified”, it is also said that “the award recognizes superior achievements in rowing, service to amateur athletics, and success in their chosen profession, thereby serving as an inspiration to American rowers”.

In USRowing’s press release Stowe is quoted saying: “I think it’s very kind. Kell was a good friend, and this award is very much appreciated. It’s exciting. I’m looking forward to being recognized in New York at the dinner.” Stowe has written a book, All Together (2005), about the Vesper eight, which took a gold medal at the 1964 Olympic rowing. Stowe was in the stroke seat in that boat. Read more about Bill Stowe and his career here.

Row New York, which has been named the first recipient of Anita DeFrantz Award, started nine years ago to make rowing accessible to young people from the city’s urban neighborhood who maybe otherwise would not have the opportunity to try the sport. “The program provides both athletic and academic opportunities to over 300 young people from New York’s under-resourced communities and is a leader in the effort to increase minority participation in rowing,” USRowing’s website states.

Amanda Kraus, Executive Director of Row New York, said that the organisation is “thrilled to be recognized for these efforts by USRowing.”

The award is named in honor of Anita DeFrantz (on the right), who won a bronze medal in the U.S. women’s eight in the 1976 Olympics, the first time women were allowed to compete in rowing. DeFrantz was the U.S. rowing team’s captain. “She has been, and continues to be, a leader and advocate for women’s inclusion in sport. In 1986, the International Olympic Committee appointed DeFrantz to lifetime membership”.

Read more about DeFrantz, who was inducted in the National Rowing Hall of Fame in 2010, and the award here.

For more information about the Golden Oars Awards Dinner, click here. To purchase a ticket or secure a table, please click here.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

2011 Rowing History Forum At Henley

Tim Koch, HTBS’s London correspondent, reports from a most enjoyable Rowing History Forum at the River and Rowing Museum in Henley on Thames:

Saturday, 29 October saw the third Rowing History Forum at the River and Rowing Museum (RRM), Henley on Thames, an event co-hosted by The Friends of Rowing History. Around forty people attended for a full and varied day of talks, updates and demonstrations. Many of those present had got themselves in the mood by attending a very enjoyable dinner at Leander Club the night before.

Opening remarks were by Paul Mainds, the RRM Chief Executive. He spoke of the links the museum was building with other sports museums and the efforts that were being made to have an exhibition at the 2012 Olympic Regatta site, something which could perhaps attract 5,000 visitors a day. One of the things he hoped to do was to bring together the shells that won the 1912 and the 2000 Olympic eights for Britain. The older of the two craft is still in Sweden where Leander left it after the Stockholm Olympics nearly one hundred years ago!

Chris Dodd of the RRM, rowing historian and journalist, reminded us of the next Forum in Mystic, USA on 11 March 2012. Among other updates on recent RRM acquisitions he announced that the Oxford Cambridge Boat Race archive would be organised from the museum. Chris also spoke of two great men of rowing and rowing history who died in the past year, Hart Perry and David Lunn-Rockcliffe.

The morning session belonged to the three keynote speakers, Tom Weil, Peter Mallory, and Guin Batten.

At the Forum, Tom Weil talked about women in rowing from 1850 to 1900.

Tom Weil owns the world’s largest private collection of rowing memorabilia. Fortunately for us, he is incredibly generous in sharing it with both sides of the Atlantic. He spoke on ‘Cheers and Jeers, perspectives on women in rowing from 1850 to 1900’ and illustrated his talk with a small selection of contemporary pictures from his collection. His broad thesis was that historically there have been four classes of ‘rowing women’ each of which has superseded the other. The four are manual labour, working women, middle/upper class women, and university women. He feels that this is a much neglected aspect of rowing history and that there is still much work to be done.

A happy Peter Mallory (on the left) showing Chris Dodd one of the volumes of his work The Sport of Rowing. The book has recently been published by the River and Rowing Museum.

Peter Mallory has spent the last seven years working on his magnum opus, a four-volume, 2500-page work entitled The Sport of Rowing. It is now printed and ready for sale. He talked about his research methods and how he reconciled people’s different views and memories of the same event. There cannot be many people of note in the rowing world that Peter has not interviewed but he paid particular tribute to Hart Perry, Mike Spracklen and Joe Burk.

I was not looking forward to Guin Batten’s contribution. A fine athlete (in 2000 her quad made history by winning Britain’s first ever women’s Olympic rowing medal) is not necessarily a good speaker. As it turned out, Guin gave the most thrilling presentation of the day. Her theme was ‘The Glass Ceiling, the rise of the GB women's rowing team, 1996-2000’. She spoke on how marginalised women’s rowing was when she entered the sport in the late 1980s but how it was also the beginning of a period of rapid growth. She noted that the Women’s Head of the River Race for Eights had sixty entries in 1986 but had two hundred and sixty by 1996.

Guin holds that the current success of British women’s rowing started with three factors coming together. These were the National Lottery funding of individual athletes which was based on success and not gender, the international standard coaching of Mike Spracklin and the fact that women were being fed through to international level from the increasingly active clubs and universities. A further important change was the dropping of the coxed four as an Olympic class boat after 1988. It helped shift the emphasis from sweep rowing to sculling, the discipline in which the post 2000 success has been enjoyed. (Guin claims that she only got herself moved from the eight to the single when she challenged coach Bill Mason to a game of table football with the agreement that she would remain in the big boat if she lost but would expect to scull if she won. Whatever the accuracy of the story, she did beat Mason and did move to two blades, not one).

By beating her coach in a game Guin Batten managed to go from sweep rowing to sculling.

At the end of her presentation, Guin talked us through a video of the Sydney 2000 quad race. We all knew the result but few of us could help but hold our breath at the end. The British women’s quad has won silver in 2000, 2004, and 2008. The British women’s double has won bronze in 2004 and 2008. The one sweep oar medal was silver in the pair in 2004. The next step is, clearly, gold in 2012.

Following lunch there were short presentations on a variety of topics.

Chris Dodd read a chapter from a work in progress, a book on the Czechoslovak, Bob Janousek, the man who began the revival of British rowing in the 1970s. One of Bob’s greatest advantages was that he spoke no English and so had no chance of getting sucked into the old boy network of the Putney Mafia which was responsible for the moribund state of British rowing.

Maurice Phelps talked about the famous Phelps and his forthcoming book about the family.

Maurice Phelps of the famous Putney rowing and boat building family (watch a film about the Phelps here) announced that, after seven years and five edits, his book, The Phelps Dynasty would be published in mid-2012. He showed us a table with ten generations of his family tree, all watermen and lightermen save for the present generation. He was keen to emphasise that his book would be part social history, not romanticising the grinding poverty and deprivation suffered by many of his ancestors, even down to his own father. Maurice also said that his work would show his anger at the division between the ‘amateurs’ and the ‘professionals’ as defined at the time. He holds that this categorisation worked to the detriment of the professionals, depriving them of employment and driving many of them abroad to work, particularly as coaches, their skills lost to British rowing.

In other presentations, John Clayton shared his researches on the forgotten rowing clubs of the Medway River, John Hall-Craggs talked on the women of Lady Margaret Boat Club, Terry Morahan introduced us to a collection of characters from Irish rowing, I read extracts from a transcript of an audio recording that I recently discovered of Wally Kinnear, the 1912 Olympic Sculling Champion, and Bill Washburn gave us a preamble to the screening of the film A History of Rowing on the Hudson.

Jerry Sutton (3rd left) observes Peter Martin shaping a spoon on a part finished wooden oar.

The day ended at the RRM Education Building where Bill’s film was screened to great interest and where and Jerry Sutton and Peter Martin gave a practical demonstration of wooden oar making. It is always fascinating watching a skilled person working in wood especially when it is done largely by eye with little measuring or use of templates. There is still a good demand for wooden oars, not least from the thriving Cornish Gig Racing scene.

The splendid room in the River and Rowing Museum in which we met in had a fine view of the river and of people boating from Henley Rowing Club opposite. This was rather distracting on a fine, mild and sunny day that was just made for going on the water. This would be my only complaint about a most enjoyable day, my thanks to the RRM, the Friends of Rowing History and to all the contributors.