Saturday, October 13, 2012

The clashing of oars ~ a viking duel of sorts

Up at 4:30am today for participating on the ladies' crew in the annual rowing race of South End Rowing Club vs. Dolphin Club (I was part of the Dolphins) ~ we launched the John Wieland around 6:10am in the dark... headed due West for a warm-up and some full-power sets of ten and twenty strokes as well as some practice starts. Both boats of this match race lined up at the bell buoy to the West of Alcatraz around the starting time of 7am when the sky was lightening. There was a strong flood tide pushing the boats toward Alcatraz at almost 5 knots, some chop and a slight breeze but clear and cool. After some slight adjustments to the alignment of both boats, the race commenced. We were looking good for all of 45 seconds until the South End boat came at us, literally steering into our port side (see below for "fierce but friendly rivalry"). We rowed on as our three port oars clashed with their starboard oars in what felt like a viking duel of which I only wished someone could have filmed it for review. The combination of sounds included the coxswain/coach shouts/counts, the sliding seats on the metal tracks, the oarlocks banging out the timing at the catch and the strain of pulling the oars with the force of legs driving the seats. With all six of our hearts pumping ~ the sprint with increased rate for the duration of the 12 minute race from Alcatraz to the Aquatic Park was a quick one and we were tired in the end. We came in second to find the match was called on the penalty of our boats touching. No points were gained by the perceived victor. The entire experience was exhilarating to say the least.

from Wiki: The South End Rowing Club maintains a fierce but friendly rivalry with its next-door neighbor, the Dolphin Club. The clubs hold an annual triathlon in rowing, swimming, and running. As of 2010, the South End Rowing Club has won the competition 29 of the past 31 years. The ladies' crew from the South End races its wooden barge against the ladies' crew from the Dolphin Club.

This is the link to all of my photos from the past several weeks of preparing for the race.

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