Don’t be a maroon, try rowing in June (is it here so soon?)

P1250884.JPGWe glide out of Swantown Marina on National Learn to Row Day. Jean Farber perches in the bow (left), with me just behind her. Daniel Farber is amidships in the burgundy sweatshirt. My wife, Barbara, was our event photographer.

IMG_7955THIS OLD DOG LEARNED A NEW TRICK on a recent visit to our friends Daniel and Jean Farber in Olympia.

“It’s National Learn to Row Day, and the local rowing club is offering free lessons on Budd Inlet, want to try it?” enthused Jean, a soon-to-be-retired teacher whom I had never suspected might become an aficionado of the oar and the eight.

So we headed down to Port of Olympia’s Swantown Marina on a calm and cloudy morning at 8:30 to sign up for a spot on a 10:40 a.m. outing with Olympia Area Rowing (OAR).

The Olympia club, based in an impressive little warehouse chock full of rowing shells of every size and construction, has been doing these recruiting demonstrations for years, and they were a model of good organization.

We started with a guided tour of their facility and learned that the big fiberglass, eight-person shell we would take out was valued at about $30,000, so they politely requested we not wreck it.

We then jumped on to ergometers for a warmup session and lesson on how to sequentially pull with our legs and back while not tangling the oar in our knees as they pumped up and down (tougher than it sounds!).

P1250854.JPGOur vessel bore the name “Salmon & The Seal,” with corresponding Salish tribal images.

Four experienced club rowers, plus a veteran coxswain, then joined four of us newbies in the boat, so each of us would have a model to mimic as we learned the technique. Jean and I were in the bow; Daniel was in seat 6; Barbara was our on-shore photographer.

After 45 minutes on the lovely smooth water that morning, with the state capitol dome on the horizon, I can’t say our crew was quite a well-oiled machine (a few oars splashed and we weren’t always in sync). But we returned the boat in one piece and all learned the basics. Jean, the new water nymph of Budd Inlet, said she wanted to sign up for more.  cropped-1-anchor.jpg

P1250923.JPGHappy on the water: Intrepid rowers Brian, left, and Jean.

7 thoughts on “Don’t be a maroon, try rowing in June (is it here so soon?)

  1. Rowing is so much fun – and much easier to watch and cheer on one’s favorite team – than it is to be in the shell and stay synched! I took one of these weekend classes when we lived on the houseboat at Lake Union when we moved here back in the late 90s. Amazing exercise!

    From: Cantwell’s Reef Reply-To: Cantwell’s Reef Date: Thursday, June 6, 2019 at 12:17 PM To: Subject: [New post] Don’t be a maroon, try rowing in June (is it here so soon?)

    Brian J. Cantwell posted: “We glide out of Swantown Marina on National Learn to Row Day. Jean Farber perches in the bow (left), with me just behind her. Daniel Farber is amidships in the burgundy sweatshirt. My wife, Barbara, was our event photographer. THIS OLD DOG LEARNED A NEW”

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  2. Washington has a proud history of excellence in rowing . The boys in the boat made me want to give it a go , but it fell to Andy to excel at slenders, boats so narrow I was amazed at how easy Benadryl’s it look . He’s been gone 13 years now but his presence , wit and humor still make me proud .

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  3. Love the report. . .did you detect any sore muscles the next day or was your experience too short to also cause old dog’s to ache in new places?

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