Nov 21, 2016


L to R
Richard, Dave, Sarah, Fran, Raj, Elena, Michael & Janet 

It seems easy, conceptually it all makes sense.  

9 adults in a fiber glass shell, 20 inches wide, holding onto and attempting to control and synchronize the stroke of EIGHT, 12 foot long oars.

It sounds simple. 

The last week of October I participated for the firs time in a Learn to Row class at the Jacksonville Rowing Club and 4 weekends later, I was in a shell yesterday with my class and with Mary, our coxswain and we rowed by eight. ! ! ! 

We actually rowed by eight for the first time on Saturday, it was certainly an accomplishment for us all.  For about 3 to 4  minutes on Saturday we were in perfect synch, you could feel the rhythm, we were in unison, one crew, one coxswain and it was wonderful. 

I loved the crisp sound of the oars catching the water as they went in and the swoosh of the shell moving across the water. It was awesome. Sunday we rowed by eight with some adjustments, it was certainly windier and much colder.  The video link for the Sunday practice is at the end of the post.  

In 8 sessions, we learned a new vocabulary, rowing terminology, body positions, stroke positions, equipment terms, lifting the shell, moving the shell, washing the shell, storing the shell, commands, reacting to commands, and all while being comfortable and confident in a tooth pick shaped vessel skimming the surface of the Saint John's River. 

I was up for the challenge and so were the other crew members, Dave, Raj, Michael, Fran and Sarah. To round out the eight we always had two experienced members from the club in the shell with us, always in the bow and stroke positions.  And the coxswain, key, absolute key to the success of the crew.  

I can only imagine the feeling when you row by EIGHT for a sustained length of time. I plan to get there. I'm going to join the club and sign up for practices on Saturday or Sundays.  

The club email goes out on Monday to confirm how many people will be available to row on the weekends, then Mark and his wife, assign rowers to the shells taking into account skill, strength and what your overall goals are in the club, rowing for enjoyment or rowing to one day be a member of a racing crew.  The rowing practices are every Saturday and Sunday from 6:30am to 8:30am, certainly a sport for the early riser.  

If I ever entertain the idea of learning to row in a skull, the opportunity is also available at the club.  My goal, get very comfortable and confident in an EIGHT person shell and then one day, progress to learning the skull. 

Class Practice Video from Sunday 11/20/2016