Open Water Rowing

No, ergs don't yet float, but some of us do, and here's where you get to discuss that other form of rowing.
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Yankeerunner
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Re: Open Water Rowing

Post by Yankeerunner » December 16th, 2017, 11:59 am

Thanks for clarifying. :mrgreen:

Next year, Jim and I will practice first! Maybe. :lol:

ThomasSalt
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Re: Open Water Rowing

Post by ThomasSalt » March 31st, 2018, 12:48 pm

Hi there,
Sorry to gate crash this group, but I stumbled across the forum and i think we're working on something that one or two of you might be interested in. A group of us have setup an Offshore rowing series in the English Channel which starts this summer between Mid July and early September. It is made up of six legs, with each leg lasting up to a week. The boats are identical and ones that you live aboard in crews of 6 people. If anyone is interested in taking part, then please do get in touch. The website to find out more is http://shoreseekerchallenge.com/offshorerowingseries
Many thanks,
Tom

PaulG
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Re: Open Water Rowing

Post by PaulG » April 3rd, 2018, 12:28 pm

The open water competition in the northeast US is starting. See
http://rowopenwaterne.com/ for a schedule. The first competition is the Essex River Race in Essex MA on May 12.

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Re: Open Water Rowing

Post by PaulG » May 28th, 2018, 8:22 pm

I’ve read that you can’t step into the same river twice. It’s always flowing and always changing. That was certainly the case in the 2018 Essex River Race hosted by the Cape Ann Rowing Club and Riverview Restaurant and Marina in Essex Mass. The day was cold and a little drizzly but not much wind. With last year’s third place finish in the sliding seat touring division, I was hoping to repeat on the podium. Looking at the start list it was clear that my race was for third place. Ben Booth, the US open water champion was in the race along with a guy who has regularly beaten me. It looked my competition for third place would be a guy in an Echo Classic and I was in my Echo Islander, the Bluefish.

Launching was easy this time and I got to the start line in plenty of time. I hovered near the north side of the start line and got a good start, not running into any fellow competitors, sea shrubbery, or outboard motors (as opposed to last year). Ben and the guy who beats me took off into the mist leaving me and Mr. Classic with other competitors behind. The race is out the river, around Corn Island and then back in. If you look on Google Earth for you will see several salt marsh islands as the Essex River widens out west of Corn Island. This year they were gone. There were several strong Northeasters (I refuse to call them Nor’easters, that’s a word made up by out of town TV weathertalkers) in March that may have eroded them, or maybe it was an exceptionally high tide. After several years of participating in the race I use them for navigation and they weren’t there.

It’s hard to explain how disorienting it is to navigate in limited visibility on a low relief coast surrounded by salt marsh. Everywhere you look you see the marsh, including the channel you need to find to get around the south side of Corn Island. The salt marsh to the east of the channel seems to make it look like a dead end. This obviously confused Mr. Classic as he was ahead of me and well to the north of where he should be and then just stopped. He called for help and I was about 400 m to the south and responded “over to me!” He returned the favor by taking an intercept course and entering the channel around the island in front of me. Once around the island we rowed north in a cross chop and he lengthened his lead. Finally we completed the circumnavigation and headed back up river. Again, the visibility was limited, relief was lacking, and it looked we were completely surrounded by saltmarsh. It was hard to find the mouth of the river. Mr. Classic drifted to the south this time, spotted me and intercepted my course as the bay narrowed before we entered the river.

Then I found the islands I missed on the way out. I ran aground on them as the tide dropped. Twice. It seems they had eroded but not completely disappeared. The second time I had to put a foot overboard and push off the mud to get going again. My race for third place was over so I tried to finish strong with a little dignity.
Mr. Classic thanked me profusely after the race saying without my help he might still be out there. I finished in fourth with my fastest time despite the close encounters with saltmarsh islands. Talking to people after the race enjoying PBR and pizza provided by Riverview, I heard many people say that they also ran aground in places they did not expect to. You can’t row the same river twice. They are always changing.

Edward4492
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Re: Open Water Rowing

Post by Edward4492 » May 29th, 2018, 10:11 pm

Nice write-up Paul and nice display of sportsmanship. I'll be racing in two weeks and will dutifully file a report, although mine will be a relatively mundane 1000m sprint in the Schuylkill in a mixed 2x. Not too adventurous, but fun.

PaulG
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Re: Open Water Rowing

Post by PaulG » June 18th, 2018, 11:39 am

I have a soft spot for old New England mill towns. Some, like Manchester NH, Lowell, MA, Newburyport MA have done quite well in recent years and have undergone a renaissance. Even smaller towns like Amesbury, MA have rebounded well since the 1970s. Others have not fared as well. With that in mind I traveled down to New Bedford MA for the Buzzards Bay Open Water Challenge hosted by the Buzzards Bay Rowing Club. As I traveled by the old mills I could see that many had been renovated with new businesses inside. Later I found out the unemployment rate was 5%, a far cry from the near 20% in the late 1970s when I was a student at nearby UMass Dartmouth (then Southeastern Massachusetts
University).

The event was held at Fort Taber Park, a city park at the south end of the city. The park was in very good condition with good facilities. As I pulled into the parking lot I wondered who would be the competition. As soon as I shut off the engine a car with a Maas 24 pulled in next to me and I correctly figured him to be the eventual winner. The race was about 3 miles long (may activity tracker had it at 3.2 miles rowed) in absolutely flat, oily conditions that favored the Maas 24 and portended a thunderstorm. Mr. 24 and I took off together and he quickly took a lead and finished about 2 minutes ahead of me, although it should have been more because he headed for the wrong pier at the finish. My time was 30 minutes which gives me an average speed of about 6.4 mph or a pace of about 2:55/500 m. I feel that is as fast as I can push that boat for any length of time, although I occasionally see speeds of 7 mph on my activity tracker which would be a 2:40/500 pace. It's interesting to compare times between flat water and open water boats such as Ed's in a recent post.

It was a fun, well-organized race with a lunch afterwards interrupted by a short thunderstorm. New Bedford is worth a trip to visit the historic downtown where you can trace Ishmael of Moby Dick's steps. If you are a fan of Brutalist mid century architecture (like I am) visit UMass Dartmouth and Battleship Cove in nearby Fall River has the Battleship Massachusetts that my mother helped build during WW2 in the Quincy Fore River Shipyard. The mill towns are coming back.

Cyclist2
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Re: Open Water Rowing

Post by Cyclist2 » June 18th, 2018, 3:34 pm

Nice writeup, Paul. I'd like to get back into it and maybe even race again.

What boat do you have? I've been looking for used Maas boats, but they are more rare than hen's teeth around here and any I've seen on Craigslist or row2k are gone before I can call. May just splurge on a new one.
Mark Underwood. Rower first, cyclist too.

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Re: Open Water Rowing

Post by PaulG » June 20th, 2018, 10:43 am

Cyclist2 wrote:Nice writeup, Paul. I'd like to get back into it and maybe even race again.

What boat do you have? I've been looking for used Maas boats, but they are more rare than hen's teeth around here and any I've seen on Craigslist or row2k are gone before I can call. May just splurge on a new one.
Mark, I'm in an Echo Islander, 18 ft and at least 60 lbs. it's a very good boat in heavy weather.
If you can't find a Maas 24 or Maas Aero consider a Peinert Dolphin or Peinert Zephyr.

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gregsmith01748
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Re: Open Water Rowing

Post by gregsmith01748 » June 20th, 2018, 1:31 pm

I love my Maas Aero. It is stiff, light, stable and responsive. I've had it out in all kinds of different water and wind conditions and while rowing into 2 foot whitecaps and a 20 mph breeze was punishingly slow and wet, the boat was rock solid. Surfing those waves on the way back was just about the most fun I've ever had in a boat.

I sometimes wonder if I made the right pick between the aero and Maas 24. I row in Wellfleet and the chop can be pretty nasty, so I thought the extra beam would be a good idea, but when you give up 3 feet of length you definitely give up some speed in flatter water.

I'd be interested to hear a comparison from people that have rowed both flavors of Maas boats.
Greg
Age: 55 H: 182cm W: 90Kg
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Cyclist2
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Re: Open Water Rowing

Post by Cyclist2 » June 22nd, 2018, 12:50 am

I just bought my second Maas Aero this evening (I sold the first years ago when I was more into bike racing). You might have seen the ad in row2k this week. I can't wait to get back out on the water!

I considered a Maas 24, but the weight is just the same, and me being an old guy, the "extra" speed would be insignificant. Like Greg says, the Aero is solid, I can row it relaxed and just concentrate on rowing, not tipping over, even in heavy chop. I'm not into surf, but I have slid down a few swells in the past.

I'm off for a month's vacation in the mountains so the boat will sit, but the timing was right and I'm thrilled to be a rowing shell owner again.
Mark Underwood. Rower first, cyclist too.

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gregsmith01748
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Re: Open Water Rowing

Post by gregsmith01748 » June 22nd, 2018, 5:35 am

Congratulations on your purchase!
Greg
Age: 55 H: 182cm W: 90Kg
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Dendy
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Re: Open Water Rowing

Post by Dendy » June 25th, 2018, 10:22 am

Cyclist2 wrote:I just bought my second Maas Aero this evening (I sold the first years ago when I was more into bike racing). You might have seen the ad in row2k this week. I can't wait to get back out on the water!

I considered a Maas 24, but the weight is just the same, and me being an old guy, the "extra" speed would be insignificant. Like Greg says, the Aero is solid, I can row it relaxed and just concentrate on rowing, not tipping over, even in heavy chop. I'm not into surf, but I have slid down a few swells in the past.

I'm off for a month's vacation in the mountains so the boat will sit, but the timing was right and I'm thrilled to be a rowing shell owner again.
congratulations

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Re: Open Water Rowing

Post by PaulG » June 25th, 2018, 8:11 pm

Cyclist2 wrote:I just bought my second Maas Aero this evening (I sold the first years ago when I was more into bike racing). You might have seen the ad in row2k this week. I can't wait to get back out on the water!

I considered a Maas 24, but the weight is just the same, and me being an old guy, the "extra" speed would be insignificant. Like Greg says, the Aero is solid, I can row it relaxed and just concentrate on rowing, not tipping over, even in heavy chop. I'm not into surf, but I have slid down a few swells in the past.

I'm off for a month's vacation in the mountains so the boat will sit, but the timing was right and I'm thrilled to be a rowing shell owner again.
The Aero is a very nice looking boat with clean lines and pure functionality. It's nice to be able to use aircraft of equipment that looks nice and achieves its desired function.
Paul

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Re: Open Water Rowing

Post by PaulG » June 26th, 2018, 4:20 pm

The Aero is a very nice looking boat with clean lines and pure functionality. It's nice to be able to use aircraft of equipment that looks nice and achieves its desired function.
Paul
"aircraft" ?

I meant: " equipment that looks nice and achieves its desired function." Although some aircraft may do that also.

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Re: Open Water Rowing

Post by PaulG » September 25th, 2018, 8:49 am

Sometimes you just have to go back and do things right. Like an itch that needed to be scratched, a fear that needed to be conquered, a ghost that needed to be exorcised, a rower that needed to be exercised, (insert favorite simile here) I was never happy with my previous performance in the Minots Light Roundabout in 2014 (see page 5 of this thread) sponsored by the Cohasset Maritime Institute. Even though I finished on the podium, I flipped my 18 ft Echo Islander, the Bluefish, twice and I was pretty much scared as hell for much of the race. I made light of it in my writeup but it has bothered me since then. I haven’t competed in this race since 2014. The race was cancelled at least once due to fog, they rowed a shortened course one year due to bad weather, and schedule conflicts prevented me from entering in other years. This year there were no excuses so I had to go.

The weather was good with light winds 5-7 mph from the NW predicted, but the race director said there were 2-3 foot swells out by Minots Light. I didn’t want to hear that, but I also knew that most wave heights are overestimated. Minots Light is an impressive 87 foot granite lighthouse marking Minots Ledge, one of the many outcropping between Scituate and Cohasset Massachusetts. The Wikipedia page contains some interesting history. Due to the very rough bottom conditions and strong currents, seas are often confused and unpredictable. The course was well marked including hazards and the Cohasset Maritime Institute ran a well-organized race. A few buoys along the way were to be left to starboard and two buoys a safe distance from Minots Light marked the turnaround.

The race started slightly SE of Sandy Beach in Cohasset and passed several ledges with water breaking over them. I made my way out to the starting line and saw the other two sliding seat boats in my class. One was a FISA yole type shell that is the design for international competition. It is a very sturdy and heavy boat with an open stern for water to wash out. This is a good boat for rough conditions. Mr. Yole regularly beats me in competitions and I expected him to win. The other shell was more of a wherry type but with lower gunwhales (or maybe a highsided ocean shell?) and I expected to compete with him for second place. There were several different classes in our heat, but these two boats had drifted well over the start line with one minute to go. They motioned for me to come up next to them to make it an even start but I expected the starter to call them back. Wrong again, the horn went off and I was at a 20-30 m disadvantage.

We started off in a cross chop and I was rowing very conservatively. My strategy was to keep the round part of the boat wet and the pointy parts dry and slowly close the gap on second place. I was whittling away at the lead with ½ to ¾ slides but was having a hard time getting the horsepower to the water because it was so choppy. As we dodged ledges and approached Minots Light I was following my competition. However, as we got close to the light, a sliding seat 4 person boat crewed by Cohasset Maritime Institute crossed my bow on a different heading. I’ve learned to follow the locals and I looked over my other shoulder and saw that my competition and I were headed for the second buoy not the first that marked the turnaround. I was able to make the course correction in time but Mr. Wherry didn’t realize his mistake until he rounded the second buoy. He had to go back and round the first buoy and by that time I was well ahead. I cruised back in to the beach in second place. Navigation is part of the race.

So I’m glad I competed and erased the previous effort from my to do list. However, I don’t think I will do it again because I never got into a rhythm and I felt like I was fighting the boat and conditions the whole time. I think this would be a great race for someone in a multi person boat or a dory, but the Bluefish and I will probably skip it from now on. We’ve conquered the course.

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