Rowing in a gale: how to get yer bum wet!

IMG_8507Its funny how things turn out. I didn’t think I would be a rower, when I came to Southland. I certainly didn’t think I would be going to the New Zealand Masters games as a rower! Still, one week till the Southland masters rowing regatta and it has been windy here to say the least.

Gales and a wee racing quad don’t really mix, and at times it has been so choppy we have had to call it off. But, this week I decided to brave it, what the heck, the worst that will happen is I will get wet! Its the height of the rowing racing season at the moment, and I am actually not sure if they continue in the winter! I hear tales of when they used to go out rowing in the dark, and not be able to see the shore! It doesn’t sound that much fun to me! 

They are such a light hearted crew that when I went down the other week, and said I wouldn’t make all the sessions because Dad was here, they said where was he and why wasn’t he joining them! So i took him down the next time and off he went in a double, gales and all! He seemed to really enjoy it and said that if he lived here, he would definitely do it again!

On Wednesday this week, the winds were roaring but we decided to try it, in a bigger boat. They joke about rowing ‘uphill’ when we are into the wind and into the tide, and I tell you it felt like it! You aren’t meant to see white horses and waves crashing over your rigging! Wet, yep, I was! On the way back, we had so much speed from the wind and the tide, it was difficult to get purchase on the water with the sculls! We were back in half the time!

Today a guy on a mountain bike said he had just ridden down to our turn point, and we rowed around 10km there and back (and that is a normal day). Further than I thought.

Today was race start practice, and that is totally frantic! Specially with a side wind! 1/2, 1/2, 3/4, 3/4, full full is the pattern, but the speed it all happens is just mad!! I still have to really concentrate hard, and everything goes to pot if I get distracted! When you’re in a four and you mess up, everyone knows it because it usually also means someone else gets wet and sculls clash!

Once again, totally soaked but its such a relaxed atmosphere that it makes going down there to row really great. Which is just as well because it would be mighty boring rowing 10km if no one spoke!



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