(None of the photos below are of Dan or his specific boat. But they will illustrate for newcomers some aspects of this wonderful sport.)

I have been rowing sculls in the northeast since I was 14 years old. On and off, except for one break of 15 years. It’s a great sport, a non-impact kind of exercise. You’re on the water, which gives me a good feeling, and is a nice place to be. I love going so fast.

singles rowers in foreground—notice squarish, symmetrical oar shapes

singles rowers in foreground—notice squarish, symmetrical oar shapes

It’s great cardio, uses every muscle in your body. You use your legs, arms, feet and back. I’m usually in pretty good shape.

Actually it’s not just exercise. It’s a total experience, being part of nature. I don’t even mind rowing if it’s raining.

I row close by each summer, beginning in April or May as soon as the ice is out. I’m off the lake early October. I usually row four to five times a week for an hour and a half each time, so it’s about two hours total round trip. I go around 7 to 7:30 in the morning or 7 to 7:30 in the evening, when there is a beautiful sunset.

Mt. Tom Pond, where I row, is about 65 acres, and I can go about 0.9 mile per lap. I do 6 to 8 laps each session. After it is too cold to row on the water, I use my Concept 2 rowing machine. (see photo below)

before the stroke with seat near feet—notice legs bent before pulling the oars

before the stroke with seat near feet—notice legs bent before pulling the oars

A scull is a boat in which your feet are fixed in foot stretchers, and the seat moves forward and backward on wheels in a track. There are two long oars that the rower uses.

Some rowing boats have 2, 4, or 8 oars, but each rower only handles one oar. These are called “sweeps.”

racing shell—notice legs extended after finishing the stroke

racing shell—notice legs extended after finishing the stroke

I have two different boats. One is a shell (a racing scull), which is 26 feet long, 11 inches wide—pretty narrow—and weighs just 45 pounds. I use it in the warmer weather. It’s made by a company called Schoenbrod.

The other is a wherry, an English style rowboat that is sleeker than what you usually see here. It’s about 15 feet long, 30” wide and weighs about 140 pounds. I use it when the water is cold and icy. Mine is a Heritage 15 design by Little River Boat Works. Read the rest of this entry »

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