Open Water Mistake

No, ergs don't yet float, but some of us do, and here's where you get to discuss that other form of rowing.
Post Reply
RikR
Paddler
Posts: 3
Joined: August 1st, 2016, 10:05 am

Open Water Mistake

Post by RikR » August 31st, 2017, 6:31 pm

I have been on an Egr for years and just bought a recreation rowing shell and it may have been a huge mistake.

1) It is 45 miles round trip to any rowing water
2) Winters are 7 to 8 months long and too nasty and cold to row
3) I am 70 years old and while pretty fit getting the beast on top of my car is a pain in the ass!!

I have been out three times and the hassle for the experience does no seem worth it.

Anyone else felt this way

Thanks

jamesg
Half Marathon Poster
Posts: 2133
Joined: March 18th, 2006, 3:44 am
Location: Trentino Italy

Re: Open Water Mistake

Post by jamesg » September 1st, 2017, 4:28 am

If there's a boathouse where you can leave your shell and you learnt to row and scull when at school, stick with it. Presumably "recreation" means the gearing is not too high and the boat won't flip too easily.

Where there's water we can usually camp in summer and often plenty of choice, sculling, swimming, kayak, walking, mtb, all better than staying at home.

If you really want to go afloat whatever the weather, better get rid of the 1x and use a kayak, K1 or K2. The stable seagoing types are fast, safe and easy to use, and we see where we're going. Some can be split for transport.
77y, 188cm, 85kg, MHR 160. Last 2k (May 1018) 8.37@23

User avatar
gregsmith01748
10k Poster
Posts: 1311
Joined: January 8th, 2010, 2:17 pm
Location: Hopkinton, MA

Re: Open Water Mistake

Post by gregsmith01748 » September 1st, 2017, 12:14 pm

I think that open water rowing is a blast, but it is definitely a lot of faffing around to get on the water.

One problem with rec shells is that they are heavy, which makes cartopping a lot harder. I paid a bit extra for a lighter open water shell (Carbon Maas Aero). I like how stiff it is on the water, but the fact that its a few pounds lighter makes the long carry from the car to the beach a lot easier too.

To make car topping easier, look into the yakima (or thule?) kayak racks that slide down so you can get the boat more easily.
https://www.rackwarehouse.com/yakima-80 ... 3_EALw_wcB

Also look into a little wheel thing so you can drag instead of carrying.
https://www.dickssportinggoods.com/p/ha ... 0oEALw_wcB

It will take a while to get comfortable in the shell, but after that, I think you will find yourself really looking forward to rowing outdoors when time and weather allows.
Greg
Age: 55 H: 182cm W: 90Kg
Image

Cyclist2
5k Poster
Posts: 599
Joined: December 13th, 2006, 8:20 pm
Location: Bremerton, WA

Re: Open Water Mistake

Post by Cyclist2 » September 2nd, 2017, 3:13 pm

RikR wrote:I have been out three times and the hassle for the experience does no seem worth it.Anyone else felt this way
Yes. I owned two different shells; a Pocock single, but I never got comfortable in it, so I got a Maas Aero that I could row on almost any water.

Once I was on the water, there was nothing better. Period. But to get in a one-hour row took all morning with the travel, lifting, setting up, etc., etc. At the time I was still working, so time was a consideration. I sold the boat, bought some slides for my erg and when I wanted an outdoor workout, I'd hop on my bike and leave from my house. We bought a tandem bike, so at least I get an enjoyable ride, and some epic adventures, with my wife.

I don't know how experienced you are at rowing, but once you get proficient at it, I think you'll agree it is a beautiful feeling. Maybe your three times were "tainted" by all the hassle to get there, plus getting the feel of rowing can be a little frustrating too. But stick with it, would be my suggestion.

Now that I'm retired, I wish I would have just let the Aero collect cobwebs for a few years because I'd rather row than cycle (not racing bikes anymore, either, which was pretty exciting). Sigh. I guess I could go get another open water shell, but the hassles to get on the water are still there, even if I now have the time.

I would follow gregsmith01748's advice and do (almost) whatever it takes to get on the water since you already have the boat. Like I said, it's heaven out there. I miss it. Guess we'll plan another big tandem adventure to compensate.
Mark Underwood. Rower first, cyclist too.

Edward4492
10k Poster
Posts: 1593
Joined: March 7th, 2014, 11:34 pm

Re: Open Water Mistake

Post by Edward4492 » September 2nd, 2017, 6:04 pm

One of the things that got me on the water was the perfect situation I'm in. I have a national, possibly world class venue (Cooper River in Camden NJ) 5 min from work and 30min from home. I'm able to store my shell there and prior to that I joined the club and had access to a variety of boats. Which means I can row six days a week.

I always liked the erg, it's the ultimate in convenience. Not sure I would have gotten into OTW rowing without my current situation

Steve1960VA
2k Poster
Posts: 225
Joined: March 5th, 2017, 11:31 am

Re: Open Water Mistake

Post by Steve1960VA » September 3rd, 2017, 8:01 am

I'm approaching retirement - not necessarily in age, but in reality. I'm 57 YO and I can see full-time work going away within the next year or two. Might possibly continue working at current workplace for 20-30 hours per week, for a few years, freeing some time for whatever.

I usually motorcycle to work, but work is only about 5 miles from a nice, ~mile-long, mountain lake. On nice summer weekends it's a busy place (lake surface and surrounding area), but for most of the year I have the lake mostly to myself (hiking, etc.).

I've begun to think, just casually thinking, for now, of buying a single-place shell (if that's the correct term) to use out there. Even if work was out of the picture that lake is only ~15 miles (20 minutes) from my house, and I might combine (sculling?) and mountain hiking and, maybe, lunch there in mornings. Would be a nice place to spend half-days a few times a week.

I have zero on-the-water experience though, and zero experience loading / unloading a shell (no safe storage there), so I might grow, too, to think it's just not worth it.

Ergs can give me all I need from a fitness perspective, and riding my motorcycle to the lake is a very enjoyable and quick and easy experience, for the other activities (hiking, picnicking, etc.). Might be best to just stay with that and be satisfied. Hmmm... :)
Male. Virginia, USA. Born 1960. 6'4" (1.93 m). 268 pounds (122 kg). C2 Model D, PM 5.

Am erging for fitness. Weight loss OK if it comes.

User avatar
gregsmith01748
10k Poster
Posts: 1311
Joined: January 8th, 2010, 2:17 pm
Location: Hopkinton, MA

Re: Open Water Mistake

Post by gregsmith01748 » September 3rd, 2017, 10:43 am

Steve,

Do some research before you take the plunge.

First, figure out where and how you can launch a boat on the lake. Find out if there is good parking near the launch site.

If you have access to a learn to row class, take it. I see you are from Virginia, if you can spare a weekend to go to http://www.calmwatersrowing.net/ for a sculling camp, you will be able to master the fundamentals and get off to a good start.

If what you want to do is enjoy the outdoors on the lake, you might think about a kayak, they are a bit lighter and less unwieldy. But if you like the feeling of rowing and want to do it outdoors, then buy a shell.

I love rowing on the water and I think it's a wonderful way to enjoy the outdoors.
Greg
Age: 55 H: 182cm W: 90Kg
Image

Steve1960VA
2k Poster
Posts: 225
Joined: March 5th, 2017, 11:31 am

Re: Open Water Mistake

Post by Steve1960VA » September 3rd, 2017, 1:08 pm

Thanks Greg, for the suggestions.

There's a good, simple, small, boat ramp (for trailed boats, normally). Also a nice, small wooden platform a foot or two above the surface of the lake. I think I could get it launched, especially with some practice. Plenty of good, safe parking too, so no worries there.

Thanks for the link. I'd definitely want to give it a try, preferably a few times, before spending the $.

My wife and one of my kids have kayaks they use occasionally on that lake. I guess I like the look of shells and think I'd like the speed and feeling of really propelling the shell. Maybe just want more OTW experience with "real" rowing.

For a mountain environment, my situation's not bad. Lake is "only" about a mile long (maybe a bit more), but is sometimes glassy smooth, and often nobody else on the lake...

Wish there were more shells hereabouts to see...

Again, thanks. :)
Male. Virginia, USA. Born 1960. 6'4" (1.93 m). 268 pounds (122 kg). C2 Model D, PM 5.

Am erging for fitness. Weight loss OK if it comes.

User avatar
jackarabit
Marathon Poster
Posts: 4343
Joined: June 14th, 2014, 9:51 am

Re: Open Water Mistake

Post by jackarabit » September 4th, 2017, 10:39 am

Steve, the devil is in the details and nowhere more than putting in (and getting oneself aboard), most especially from any fixed dock or float more than 6" above water level. Outrigged shells are not handy at coming alongside!! If your lake has a shoal sand beach (adjacent a swimming beach can be a good choice), a great deal of potential damage to back, boat and ego can be avoided by boarding astraddle in shallow water. Not a good cold water choice and attention has to paid to avoiding damage to hull and fin from submerged rocks and shingle.

Second Greg's suggestion that getting a 3 day intro to sculling (and to intricacies of getting shell and self safely afloat) at Calm Waters on the Upper Neck in tidewater VA is a very judicious first move. Calm Waters uses a dammed millpond which will closely resemble your lake so no worries with tidal bore. Part-time employment may be the opportunity to pursue your need for speed. For knockabout transportation and contemplation, canoes and kayaks are the better choice but people do manage to fish and photograph from rec shells.
There are two types of people in this world: Those who can extrapolate from incomplete data

M_71_5'-7"_164lb
Image

Training Log

Steve1960VA
2k Poster
Posts: 225
Joined: March 5th, 2017, 11:31 am

Re: Open Water Mistake

Post by Steve1960VA » September 4th, 2017, 11:12 am

Thanks for the comments Jack.

The local lake does have a sandy beach / swimming area. It's at a very nice VA state park (Hungry Mother State Park). I could put in there nearly any time. There'd be little risk of damage to the shell once launched from sand (or, maybe, later, from the low dock). Much greater risk of ego damage, as you suggest. :lol:

Well before buying, if I ever do, I'll definitely find a way to get in a bit of time. The Tidewater spot sounds fine to me.

The retirement, or partial retirement, issue is a bigger, more difficult issue. Including half-time to nearly-full-time employment for 8 years while in high school and college, I've been working for 41 years with no breaks other than a PTO / "vacation" day or week here and there. That sounds like plenty, but I don't know just what I'd do with the time. I could fill some of it, especially in Spring, Summer & Fall, but winter might get long...

Anyway, issues for a future day, but casual sculling does hold an allure for me. Again, thanks.
Male. Virginia, USA. Born 1960. 6'4" (1.93 m). 268 pounds (122 kg). C2 Model D, PM 5.

Am erging for fitness. Weight loss OK if it comes.

Post Reply