Sunday, July 03, 2011

Row, Row, Row your boat

When I graduated with my Ph.D. and got a "real" job, my brother Marc asked me what new hobbies I was going to start with all my new free time. We moved to Indiana and bought a small hobby farm, which promptly swallowed all my free time and money. I miss the cows, our pigs, and my dog Sam, but I do have more free time.

When I was surfing around the internet (Do people say that still?), I ran into some wooden boat sites and really liked this boat:

It is an Adirondack guideboat, a rowing canoe essentially. I have never used a rowboat, but I liked the principle of it. Loud motors aren't really enticing to me and I love canoes and kayaks. I have been ocean kayaking in Hawaii and Mexico and canoed at scout camp as a kid. Emily and I went kayaking in Gig Harbor and it was the highlight of our trip.

In addition, while in Gig Harbor, Leila and I visited the Gig Harbor Boatworks and looked at his rowing/sailing boat the "Melonseed". It had beautiful clean lines, a thoughtful design, and a big price tag. I have always wanted to be a sailor, but never have had the chance. When the owner of the boatworks showed us the workshop and their boats they were building, he told us that there was about a 3-5 year delay between someone showing interest and someone buying one of his boats. Yeah, not going to get one any time soon.

My next step was to see how much a canoe, kayak or row boat was going to cost me. I could get a canoe or kayak for 400-900 dollars. I found a kit boat site with kits for wooden rowboats, canoes and kayaks around 1000 dollars per kit. Then, I found the Des Moines rowing club, for less than 150 dollars I could join the club and row on one of the novice teams.

I was hooked. I need to get some pictures of rowing on the lake with the team. We meet once a week on Saturday mornings. The instructor/coach/cox sits in the back of the boat and instructs and guides the boat. We went out the first day on a 4 person sweep boat that glided along like an iceskate. It also balanced like a knife on the water. Two inch movements with the oars or seat threatened to capsize the boat. It is odd to face backwards the whole time. In that way I prefer canoeing, but it sure moves fast when everyone rows in sync.

So, for now my new hobbie is rowing. I still miss our little farm, and my garden and chickens help fill that void, but I am having a great time learning to row.

Maybe next year I will take up sailing.


Dave at gig harbor boats said...

Actually, our boats are in the lower range for new, quality rowing and sailing craft. Yes, they require some investment but amortize that by a lifetime of exercise and adventure combined with high resale.... Not a bad deal

Brian G. said...

I completely agree. The melonseed is really the best boat of its size and functionality that I have seen. It is definitely a great boat and I want one. Unfortunately, even though they are very reasonable for the quality, functionality and fun built into them, the price is more than I can afford at this time.