“Ready All? Pull Together!” Rowing Whaleboats!
Some of my friends are happy for me when I announce that I’m going rowing with a team of other guys at 5:45 in the morning, but they’re happier still that they’re not with us!
This is the first post in a new category called “Ready All? Pull Together!” in which I hope to give you a glimpse of the sights, sounds and experiences of this activity.
One whaleboat, 29 feet long. Five rowers and one boatsteerer. That’s all the power we need.
I’ve always been an early riser, so rowing three times a week at 5:45 in the morning is never an issue for me. But to get out there, on the water, and make this little vessel go using only the power that each of us arrived with, is the draw for me. No engine to power up or maintain. No fuel costs either! No sails to hoist, trim, set or care for either. Just me, just five others, oars, camaraderie, and time on the water.
Our rowing team is part of a non-profit organization called Whaling City Rowing, and we row out of Pope’s Island Marina in New Bedford, MA. New Bedford Harbor is a working waterfront, with scores of fishing boats, tankers, tugs and every sized boat in between coming and going throughout the year.
Our team is called the “Grey Buzzards” and is comprised of about seven to eight rowers in total, depending on the time of year. We’ve got a CEO, a minister (okay, two ministers) a business specialist, two lawyers, a retiree, a pharmacist and a social worker. We get along. We even like each other. The common denominator for us all is our joy of being on the water, getting some good exercise and the friendship as we row.
The “Buzzards” row year round, or at least we try to. We’ll row until the temperature drops to 15 degrees, or some combination of wind and temp, when factored together, make it insane to even think about heading out in a long, fat rowboat. During the coldest of the winter months, ice will sometimes either lock us in, or keep us from getting very far. Some of our rowing in ice stories are pretty funny, and I’ll be sharing some of those in future posts as well.
I have quite a few images also of us and other teams on the water, and I’ll include them also as we go along.
“Avast. Trail and Ship Oars.”
(PS: “Ready All! Pull Together,” means we start rowing. “Avast” means stop rowing and wait for the next command. “Trail and Ship Oars” means to bring oars alongside the boat, remove them from their oar locks and place them inside the boat. They’ll be a quiz!)
Text by K. Lee