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.

2 comments:

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.