Photograph: Werner Schmidt

Sunday, October 31, 2010

U.S. Women Rowing Calendar

On 5 October I wrote about the Canadian women's calendar 'We Row: The Canadian Women of Canadian Rowing' (click here to go to that entry), and now the U.S. Women are offering their calendar 'Power and Grace 2011 Portraits of American Women Rowers Fundraising Calendar'. If you like to support the U.S. Women, you can pre-order their calendar at a special price, $9.50 (plus shipping & handling: USA $3.95; Canada $4.95; rest of the world $7.25) until 15 November. After that date the calendar price will be $19.95. Hurry up to order your copy by clicking here.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Age And Experience In Rowing

HTBS’s special London correspondent Tim Koch writes in an e-mail from this morning that he has found two articles with “two contrasting stories of age and experience in top level rowing. One concerns the comeback of 38 year old Greg Searle [on the left] (1992 Olympic coxed pairs champion) at the World Rowing Championships which started today. His aim is to row at the 2012 Olympics at the age of 40. Searle is interviewed by Martin Cross in yesterday's The Guardian (click here to read the interview).

The other is a story that I missed at the time but have since found on the Henley Royal Regatta web-site, ‘A Henley win after just ten months’. It reads:

Henley’s finals day was a dream come true for the Huskies’ powerhouse, Ryan Schroeder. Not only did the rookie rower help power his crew from Washington University to an emphatic victory over Nereus’ students, of Holland, on the 4th of July but Schroeder won his coveted Temple Challenge Cup medal with a mere 10 month’s rowing experience behind him. ‘I only made the switch from baseball to rowing this September’, said the exhausted six-man. ‘This is better than my wildest dreams. I only started rowing in September. I’ve walked straight into a great boat and it feels fantastic to have brought it home on the 4th of July.’"

See also HTBS 12 April 2010 for more on Greg Searle’s comeback and earlier rowing career.

Mallory's 'The New Generation Of U.S. Scullers'

American rowing historian Peter Mallory is working with an incredibly task and project called The Evolution of the Rowing Stroke. The other day Row2K posted another chapter of Mallory’s work, called The Next Generation of U.S. Scullers. Read this chapter by clicking here.

Friday, October 29, 2010

World Championship Medals?

So, who are we to watch at the 2010 World Rowing Championships on Lake Karapiro which begins on 31 October? The International Rowing Federation, FISA, has some ideas. On their web site is a summary of the 14 Olympic class events, including the four blue ribbon events (men’s and women’s single sculls and men’s and women’s eights), with an overview of the rowers to watch in those boat classes. Read FISA’s summery here.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Boyne On Shooting 'The Social Network' 8

Dan Boyne of Harvard University continues here his story, published on Row2k, how he helped the film crew of The Social Network to find suitable locations for the rowing scenes. Part 8.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Boat Race's Crews' First Video Blogs

“The University Boat Club squads for the 2011 Xchanging Boat Race have been announced and they include one of the biggest concentrations of home grown oarsmen and undergraduates for many years,” it says on The Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race’s web site. Read the whole article by clicking here.

The crews have also started their so called crew blogs:

Here is Oxford’s first video blog:

Here is Cambridge’s first video blog:

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tim Koch On Andy Holmes: 'A Man Of Modesty'

The news that Andy Holmes died on Sunday, 24 October, only 51 years old, came as a shock to the Rowing World. HTBS’s special London correspondent, Tim Koch, writes:

In the tributes to Andy Holmes there have been many comments on his modesty, something rare in a top athlete. There has been particular reference to the story that one of his daughters only found out that her father was a double Olympian from a school book. I witnessed an example of his self-effacing attitude at a reception given by the Mayor of Hammersmith and Fulham held to mark the centenary of the 1908 Olympics (which was staged in the borough). Many British gold medallists from the 2008 Beijing Games were feted as guests of honour but Andy was there only as one of the representatives of Furnivall Sculling Club where he was involved in simple club level coaching. He wore no special Olympic blazer or tie and made no mention of his wins. It amused me to see that he was the most successful Olympian in the room but most people present did not know this, including, I suspect, most of the 2008 medallists. Victorian sporting amateurs held that ‘modesty is inseparable from true merit.’ This was certainly true in Andy’s case.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Rowing Champion Andy Holmes Dies, Age 51

Earlier today the news came that British oarsman Andy Holmes, who was born on 15 October 1959, died last night, 24 October, age 51. It was reported last Monday that he was taken ill of what the doctors thought was a bacterial infection called the Weil's disease. Holmes began to row when he was 12, and won the Thames Challenge Cup at the age of 19. At the 1984 Olympic Games, he won the gold medal in the coxed four, together with Steve Redgrave, Richard Budgett, Martin Cross, and cox Adrian Ellison. Holmes and Redgrave also took the gold in the coxless pair and the bronze in the coxed pair at the Seoul Olympic Games in 1988.

Read Rachel Quarrell's article in today's The Daily Telegraph by clicking here.

Find The Daily Telegraph's obituary here.

Read Peter Nichols's obituary published in The Guardian, here.

Martin Cross, Holmes's former team mate, remembers him in The Guardian, here.

Here is a short clip from Andy Holmes's and Steve Redgrave's race in the Seoul Olympic Games, final coxless pair with 1,000 metres to go:

Click here to read what British Rowing is saying about Leptospirosis or Weil's Disease.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

2010 HOCR Results

Click on this link to get the results from yesterday's and today's Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston.

World Championships On Lake Karapiro, NZ

Soon it is time for the World Rowing Championships on Lake Karapiro in New Zealand, 30 October – 7 November. The International Rowing Federation, FISA, said the other day that slightly more than 800 athletes will race on Karapiro, where the Championships were also held in 1978. The USA has the largest team with twenty-four crews. Click here to get to the official World Championships site.

Below is a video clip about the Championships and the New Zealand rowers:

Here is a video clip about the British rowers and a short interview with Jürgen Gröbler:

And here is a clip from U.S. team member Megan Kalmoe's blog at their last practice at Princeton:

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Rowing - The Preppiest Of Sports?

One of this year's sponsors of the Head of the Charles is the American clothing company Brooks Brothers who held a cocktail party in one of their stores in Boston the other day to celebrate the re-publishing of the Official Preppy Handbook from 1980, now as True Prep. It seems rowing now is the preppiest of sports, which Brooks Brothers shows in an ad, which you can view below. This inevitably brings to mind the Gant Rowing Race which was held in Stockholm in May between two of Sweden's best known private schools. In this case the Gant clothing company sponsored the event and dressed up the crews which can be seen in the 'race video', which, of course, was more like an ad for the company. With one major difference, the youths rowing in the Gant race video are actually the real rowers, not hired models.

Here is the Brooks Brothers video:

And here is the Gant video:

Friday, October 22, 2010

2010 HOCR

Here is a great link with information if you are going to Boston this weekend to see the 46th annual Head of the Charles Regatta. If you cannot go, there is a live webcast from the rooftop of the Cambridge Boat Club. Click on that link and you are there!

Boyne On Shooting 'The Social Network' 7

Dan Boyne of Harvard University continues here his story, published on Row2k, how he helped the film crew of The Social Network to find suitable locations for the rowing scenes. Part 7.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

'Ready all!' With Buster Keaton

Are you getting tired of all the hoopla about the movie The Social Network? Or you are just tired after work and would like to relax and maybe get a good laugh at something rowing related? You came to the right place! Click on the film clips below from the film College from 1927, starring Buster Keaton, who also directed it together with James W. Horne. This is an early 'rowing movie'. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Boyne On Shooting 'The Social Network' 6

Dan Boyne of Harvard University continues here his story, published on Row2k, how he helped the film crew of The Social Network to find suitable locations for the rowing scenes. Part 6.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Book About Kent's Henley Champions

Tucked away in the northwest corner of Connecticut is Kent School. The school, which is beautifully located by the Housatonic River, was founded in 1906 by the thirty-two-year-old Episcopal monk Frederick Herbert Sill. Early on, Father Sill wrote that the school would “provide at a minimum cost for boys of ability and character, who must presumably upon graduation be self-supporting, a combined academic and commercial course of instruction, and also preparation for college and university courses. Simplicity of life, self-reliance, and directness of purpose are to be especially encouraged in the boys.”

In the beginning the school had problems making ends meet, but Sill solved these financial difficulties with fundraising and with what would become a famous Kent School ‘self-help philosophy’; the boys had to do almost all the school’s chores themselves, cleaning, washing, waiting the tables, managing the athletic teams, etc. And everyone had to help, boys from wealthy families and boys from families of more modest means were all threated alike. In 1922, when the school had a firm economic base to stand on, Father Sill bought a wooden eight for $800 to add on to the old boats that were already in a boathouse on campus.

Rowing was not a ‘new’ sport for Sill. In 1895, when the newly founded Intercollegiate Rowing Association invited schools to a four-mile championship race for eights at Poughkeepsie, New York, the winning Columbia University boat was steered by Sill.

The Kent crews immediately met with success and already during the winter of 1926/27, Father Sill received an invitation from the Henley Royal Regatta to have a Kent eight compete in the Thames Challenge Cup (as the regatta lacked a true Cup for school boys) in the summer of 1927. The invitation was picked up by The New York Times who wrote about the glamour and glory with an America preparatory school eight going to the famous regatta in Henley. “Sill was not happy with the publicity,” Rick Rinehart writes in his eminent book Men of Kent, which was published by Lyons Press a couple of months ago. Rinehart quotes Sill saying that “I believe there are some features of English sportsmanship that it would be well for us in the United States to assimilate.” Rinehart writes “Father Sill’s ascetic view of sportmanship gave rise to a Kent School Boat Club, KSBC, ethos that was still very much in practice when I joined the club.” Rinehart continues “Humility was the watchword. Neither defeat nor victory was to be worn on one’s sleeve.”

In their first, and only, heat of the 1927 Thames Challenge Cup, Kent met Thames RC who won by a quarter of a length, and ultimately won the trophy that year. Kent then returned to Henley in 1930 and 1933, the latter year taking the Thames Cup. Kent crews would carry on winning cups at Henley also after Father Sill had stepped down as a coach. He was superseded by ‘Tote’ Walker, who “might have been mistaken for one of the Marx Brothers.” Rinehart states. But despite Walker’s rough appearance, he was a true gentleman, who believed that ‘winning was enough’ and therefore told his crews to not win with more than two boat lengths. (Though, a couple of exceptions are known: at one time, when Walker was verbally insulted by another crew’s coach, he allowed the Kent boat to totally whip the other boat in the race.)

In the beginning of the 1960s, Walker took an assistant coach under his wings, William Hartwell Perry Jr., who had coached in Honolulu while stationed there with the Coast Guard. Hart Perry had begun to row at Noble and Greenough School in Dedham, Massachusetts, when his baseball coach gave him the hint to “consider another sport”. Perry successfully took up rowing, and continued to pull an oar at Dartmouth, but was soon banned from sports until he had improved his grades. However, he rowed his sophomore year, but at his junior year he had been, as Perry himself would say, “growing the wrong way,” that is, Rinehart writes, “too heavy for lightweight rowing and too short for heavyweights.” In 1964, Hart Perry was appointed head coach at Kent School.

So, having been a student at Kent since 1968 and having tried most of the sports available at the school, and having “excelled at nothing”, Rick Rinehart joined the KSBC in 1971. For the 1972 rowing season Rinehart was sure to make the second or junior boat. When one of the oarsmen in the first boat, Mike ‘Pa’ Brown, had injured his wrist, Coach Perry moved Rinehart over to join Charlie Kershaw, Fred Elliott, John Rooney, Geoff O’Keefe, Clint Whistler, Charlie Poole and Murray Beach, and coxswain Roger Stewart. The crew developed rapidly and their progress was rewarded with a new boat, Frederick Herbert Sill, designed and built by Helmut Schoenbrod.

In their first race in April 1972, with cruel rowing conditions on the Housatonic River, the boys from Kent handsomely beat the crews from Yale and the Coast Guard, but were disqualified as their boat in the choppy water had gone over in another boat’s lane. The Kent crew would never let that happen again. They would win the following races and to this day, some of the crew members are still amazed by the swing the boat had in those pre-Henley races, Rinehart writes. Finding their “rowing mojo,” as Rinehart says, after easily winning the New England Interscholastic Rowing Association’s Regatta, the nine boys and their coach were ready to take on the world, which in rowing terms means the Henley Royal Regatta, where they were going for the Princess Elizabeth’s Challenge Cup. As a spare oarsman they brought the stroke from Kent’s second boat, Garth Griffin, and little did they know at the time what a lucky choice that would turn out to be.

A few days before their first heat, Geoff O’Keefe came down with a severe virus that left him in a hospital room. The boys’ practice on the Thames in Henley had gone swimmingly well, and continued to do so, now with Garth Griffin, the spare man, in the boat. Their first opponent, the British crowd’s favourite and cup holder, Pangbourne, proved not to rock the Kent boat, nor did Brentwood in the final.

The Kent crew of 1972 is still the school’s latest Henley champions, although a fine crew from Kent almost upset Eton in the Princess Elizabeth’s Challenge Cup earlier this summer.

Rick Rinehart’s Men of Kent: Ten Boys, a fast Boat, and the Coach who made them Champions is a well-written and elegant tale of some schoolboys who, together with their coach, show us that real teamwork, and to borrow father Sill’s word “a directness of purpose”, will lead to result as long as we never give in. What Dan Boyne’s fine The Red Rose Crew might have triggered women to keep thriving to reach higher and higher Men of Kent will goad and inspire all high school and college rowers to go for the top level. But it is not only the excellently told parts about rowing that gave me pleasure reading this book. I very much enjoyed Rinehart’s frank way to tell us his story, about his school, parents, a young man’s friendship among other young men and his hope to find future happiness with his girlfriend. It is true that there are several rowing history mishaps in the book – the author is especially stumbling and tripping over which year certain rowing events happened – but this will not cloud my opinion that this is a great rowing book with, what Hart Perry said to me the other day, “a hell of a story”.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Flood

mctsou of the Greek rowing blog Kopilasia sent me a link to a video clip with TAKE THAT’s new song The Flood - thank you. Earlier on 3 August 2010 HTBS reported how the video was shot with the group and some oarsmen on the Thames. However, I am afraid the video link was blocked in the USA on “copyright grounds”, but as HTBS never gives up (actually it was my dear wife who found it...) here is another link. Enjoy the music, and damn the poor rowing!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

1972 Famous Kent Crew

Yesterday, author Rick Rinehart was signing his latest book, Men of Kent, at the bookstore at Mystic Seaport Museum. The book is about the ten boys from Kent School who in 1972 went to Henley Royal Regatta to compete, following a fine Kent tradition to race in this famous regatta. In an article in Rowing News in June 2007, "The Greatest Eights: High Schools and junior Clubs", Andy Anderson writes "For American schoolboy crews, a trip to the Henley Royal Regatta has long been the reward for a stellar season. And every rower who's had his passport stamped has Kent to thank for this tradition."

After the book signing, a little reception was held in the Blunt White Building that holds the National Rowing Foundation’s Rowing Hall of Fame. Besides bowman Rinehart and his wife Amy and some other family members and friends, were some of the ‘boys’ that rowed in Kent’s famous 1972 eight that took the Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cup: Fred Elliott, Murray Beach, John Rooney, Garth Griffin, and their coach, William Hartwell Perry, called ‘Boss’ by the ‘boys’.

Hart Perry, now Executive Director of the National Rowing Foundation and in charge of the Rowing Hall of Fame, had decorated the lobby in the Blunt White Building with memorabilia of his Kent crew, an oar blade with the names of the victorious crew, a shield carrying the boys’ names, and a special book he received from Kent’s headmaster at the time, Father Pete Woodward.

I dropped off after I had taken some photographs and got the present crew members signatures in my copy of Rick Rinehart’s book. And, no, I will not sell it on eBay in a couple of weeks time…

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Henley Sequence

Following is a short clip from the movie The Social Network, a sequence from Henley Royal Regatta, filmed on the spot earlier this year (see also HTBS 23 July 2010). Music playing is Edvard Grieg's Peer Gynt, Act II, Scene 6, 'In the Hall of the Mountain King'. (This famous melody has been use in several films, for example Fritz Lang's M, 1931.) For those of you who are interested in 'movie mistakes', observe that there is no umpire in the box when the boats are crossing the finish line!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Boyne On Shooting 'The Social Network' 5

Dan Boyne of Harvard University continues here his story, published on Row2k, how he helped the film crew of The Social Network to find suitable locations for the rowing scenes. Part 5.

Chabon's Introduction To The Long Ships

Earlier this year, the brilliant novel The Long Ships by Swedish author Frans G Bengtsson came out in a new edition. Michael Chabon wrote an excellent introduction, and the HTBS reader who is interested in this introduction will find it the June issue of the Paris Review. Click here to read it. (Please observe the little drawing on the right hand side of the sub-line ‘the Paris Review Daily’ – a single scull!) I still think that you should buy Bengtsson's book, and I think you will after reading Chabon's text. The cover on the right is from a previous edition that the Swedish publisher came out with in the 1950s.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

An October Race 131 Years Ago

The other day rowing historian Bill Lanoutte of Washington DC sent me an e-mail with an article from Omaha Daily Bee, Saturday October 10, 1874. On the front cover of the paper is a report of a race on the Hudson between professional scullers John Biglin (picture from Daily Graphic 16 July 1873) and Joseph Ten Eyck (in the article as ‘Teneyck’). This 131-year-old article reads:

A large crowd of sporting men assembled this morning to witness the great boat race between Joseph Teneyck and John Biglin, distance three miles, for $1,000 and the State championship. At 9 o’clock preparations were made for the contest.

Charlie Ward was selected as judge for Biglin, and Thomas Lewis for Teneyck. Commodore Voorhees was appointed referee. At 9:20 Teneyck launched his shell, and a few minutes later Biglin rowed up to the starting point. The betting, which had been at $100 to $80 on Biglin, was now $100 to $60.

Teneyck took the lead at the start but was soon passed by Biglin, who rowed a much more powerful stroke.

At the coal dock, half a mile from the start, Biglin was leading Teneyck by half a length, and the latter struggling hard to again lead. As boats approached the upper stake boat Biglin began to ease up, and Teneyck by a powerful spurt drew up to a level with Biglin, when the latter shot his boat to the front and turned his stake boat, one mile and a half from the starting point in eleven minutes. The return race was an exciting one, Teneyck drew up level with Biglin and a hard struggle ensued for the first position; here Biglin’s splendid staying qualities began to tell, and he took the lead and won the race. Time 23 minutes; Teneycke’s time was 33:02.

My thanks to Bill for sharing his find!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Boyne On Shooting 'The Social Network' 4

Dan Boyne of Harvard University continues here his story, published on Row2k, how he helped the film crew of The Social Network to find suitable locations for the rowing scenes. Part 4.

Men Of Kent Booksigning

On 4 August I posted an entry about a a new rowing book published by Lyons Press in Connecticut, Men of Kent by Rick Rinehart. The book is about nine boys from Kent School in the northwest corner of Connecticut who went to the Henley Royal Regatta in the beginning of the 1970s. They were coached by Hart Perry, who later would become the first foreigner to be elected a Steward at Henley.

This Saturday, 16 October, Rick Rinehart is doing a book signing between 3 and 5 at Mystic Seaport Museum Bookstore on 75 Greenmanville Ave., Mystic. Call 860-572-5386 for more information or to get a signed copy set aside for you.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Silvester Family Affair

The photograph is showing (from left to right) Henry Thomas Silvester, Doggett’s winner in 1932, in the middle is Henry Thomas’s younger brother William Fredrick Silvester, Doggett winner in 1937 (photograph taken in August 1937 owing to his victory), and their father, Henry Silvester, Doggett winner in 1905.

It seems I was wrong in my entry yesterday, when I thought, or that is, the source I had, proved to be wrong regarding the Doggett’s Coat and Badge Race winner of 1932. True is that all three gentlemen are Silvesters.

The always alert Tim Koch writes,

“A copy of the picture that you recently posted [HTBS 11 October] of the Silvester family Doggett’s winners hangs in the Auriol Kensington Rowing Club bar (because of the Hammersmith connection). I think that you may be wrong when you say that the gentleman in the middle is HT Silvester, winner in 1932. I think it is WF Silvester, winner in 1937. HT is on the left and Henry (winner 1905) is, as you say, on the right. The Times report of the 1937 race also claims that WF’s grandfather won. If this is true, he was not a Silvester, but perhaps was a relative from the female line.”

Above I have reposted the photograph with, what I hope, is the correct information about the two Silvester brothers and their father. On another note Tim continues on my thoughts about the Doggett’s Coat and Badge Race connections with brothers, fathers, uncles, etc. He writes,

“My HTBS report of 10th july 2010 pictures two of the Dwan brothers, Nicholas and Robert. The Dwans have the most living Doggett’s winners in one family. The boys’ father, Ken, won in 1971 and their uncle, John, won in 1979. A cousin will race in 2011. Ken Dwan was Britain’s best single sculler in the late 1960s and early 1970s.”

Thank you Tim for correcting my errors!

Monday, October 11, 2010

A Family Affair

[Information here given seems to be slightly wrong about the Silvester brothers and when they won their Doggett's races, please see 12 October 2010 for corrections.] Here is a nice photograph from August 1932 when H.T. Silvester won the Doggett’s Coat and Badge Race. He is seen in the middle, raising a jug, looking happy. To celebrate with him is his father, Henry ‘Harry’ Silvester (on the right), who won the race in 1905. The 1905 race seems to have been a fascinating one, according to contemporary reports. One account is given in T.A. Cook’s and Guy Nickalls’s Thomas Doggett Deceased – A Famous Comedian (1908; pp. 141-42), and it reads as follows:

“Henry Silvester, of Hammersmith, won Doggett’s Coat and Badge this year after one of the most interesting races ever seen for this historic trophy. He wore red colours, and drew the fifth station at the start. Among the spectators were members of the European Statistical Society, respresenting ten different nations, who were entertained to lunch in the Fishmongers’ Hall, and followed the race on board the steamer Queen Elizabeth, which started from the Old Swan Pier soon after two o’clock. Some delay was caused by a false start, but at length Pocock, the Company’s bargemaster, got them all away on a tide which was flowing up rather slowly. Silvester took the lead on the Surrey side, which proved a great advantage. He was followed across by all the others expect Moss of Bermondsey, who lost way by having to go round some barges. At Blackfriars, however, he was close to the leader, with Peasley of Richmond a good third, the rest distanced so far that the steamer had to wait, and interest centred in the fight for four place. Johnson of Lambeth overhauled Jones of Bankside, but could not catch Reuben Webb of Woolwich, who raced hard to keep him off past the terrace of the House of Commons, where a number of Members were looking on. Johnson was soon afterwards nearly upset by the wash of a steam tug, but struggled on and finished fourth, after beating Webb very gravely on the post. Silvester won fairly easily in 32 min. 8 seconds.”

The Doggett’s Coat and Badge Race must be the sporting event that has most fathers, sons, brothers, nephews competing for the same honour, truly keeping it a family affair.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Enthusiastic Rowing Poems

I was off from work on Friday and as it was a nice, sunny day, I decided to drive to Niantic, a small town on the Connecticut shoreline. My thought to go to Niantic was not a random act to visit the town for some sightseeing, no, I was on a mission, and a very pleasant one, too, I might add. I wanted to go to The Book Barn, which is one of the greatest booksellers of used books in New England. It is said that they have more than 350,000 books on their premises; at the ‘barn’, which is located in the north end of Niantic, there are actually several buildings with books, while there is also a shop in the downtown area.

The bookseller has books on all kinds of subjects and topics, and of course I started by having a look among the sport books if there was anything on rowing this time (during several previous visits I have found rowing books). But, no, not this time. Well, that is, I had the few ones I found on the shelves. So, I browsed around in the other buildings and houses, and to my surprise when I was eyeing through the poetry section, I found a ‘rowing book’, that is, an entire book with rowing poems, Upon the River by Holly Stone.

Stone self-published a first edition of the book in 1996. A second edition, hardcover, came out in 1997, which I found at the Book Barn, and for which I paid $5. Whether it is the Preface, Epilogue, any of the close to thirty poems, or the short essay about rivers, or the text that explains the rowing stroke, all the texts are imbued with her love for rowing and being out on the river: “Row upon me with love / and I will exhilarate you /Whether or not your timing is comical!” (From "Novice Women Rowing Upon The River").

I must say that I appreciate Stone’s attempt to raise the awareness of rowing as a sport, but I believe that her enthusiasm in doing so is higher than the poems' literary quality. This being said, I would like to paraphrase, just like Tim Koch did the other day, Dr. Johnson who said it’s not that it’s done well, but that it’s done at all. And after all, that is far more important, I think.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Movies With Tenuous Rowing Connections

HTBS special correspondent in London, Tim Koch writes:

The Social Network may be the most recent example of films that have a small rowing connection. The now defunct ‘Tideway Slug’ has listed many here.

I recently saw a film (not on the slug’s list as it shows no images of rowing) that contains two things of aquatic note. Firstly, the only rowing song of any fame or merit, the Eton Boating Song, and, secondly, my favourite definition of Henley Regatta.

North West Frontier is a 1959 British production set in India under British rule. Typically for a film of this period, the British are either heroic (Kenneth Moore, an army captain) or lovable (Wilfrid Hyde-White playing himself, as usual) while the ‘foreigners’ are either sinister (Herbert Lom, made up to appear half Indian) or comical (I.S. Johar, who played Gupta, the faithful Indian train driver). Lauren Bacall, playing an American nanny, was excused the sinister / comical rule on account of her glamour. The plot centres around the attempt to get a young Indian Prince to safety on an old steam train while perused by rebellious tribesmen. Gupta is hurt and Moore gives him a lady’s parasol to shelter under. “Here you are old Gupta, you are ready for Henley Regatta” he jokes. Gupta is puzzled. “Please sahib (a respectful form of address for a European man), who is Henry Regatta?” Moore laughs. “It’s not a ‘who’ Gupta, it’s a ‘what’. The most sahib sahibs in England put on a lot of silly little hats and row them selves up and down a river.” Gupta is amused. “That is very funny sahib, why do they do that?” Moore is a little weary. “I’m not sure, it’s one of the things I left England to get away from… but there is a rather nice little song that goes with it…..” He proceeds to sing part of the ‘Eton Boating Song’ while getting sympathetic looks from Gupta.

Jolly boating weather,
And a hay harvest breeze,
Blade on the feather,
Shade off the trees,
Swing, swing together,
With your bodies between your knees,
Swing, swing together,
With your bodies between your knees.

The song was composed for Eton’s ‘Fourth of June’ Celebrations (see HTBS 11th May 2010) in 1863. The full lyrics are here.

You can hear an Eton College choir sing it here.

Hugh Laurie (Old Etonian and Cambridge Blue) calls it “a bizarre homoerotic anthem” but sings the first verse here.

The song is ripe for parody. Most recently a satirical TV programme produced the Eton Voting Song which also contains some nice archive of the inscrutable Eton Wall Game.

If you are so inclined, a simple internet search will find many obscene versions, notably ‘The Sexual Life of a Camel’.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Boyne On Shooting 'The Social Network' 2 & 3

Here Dan Boyne of Harvard University continues his story, published on Row2k, how he helped the film crew of The Social Network to find suitable locations for the rowing scenes. Part 1 of the article was posted on HTBS yesterday.

Part 2

Part 3

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Chris Dodd On Tony Fox

Anyone interested in British rowing during the 1950s, and especially Tony Fox of London RC, should read Chris Dodd's eminent obituary on Fox which was published in The Guardian on 4 October. To read the whole article, please click here.

Boyne On Shooting 'The Social Network' 1

Dan Boyne, Coach of Recreational Sculling at Harvard University and author of the acclaimed rowing books Essential Sculling, The Red Rose Crew, and Kelly: A Father, A Son, An American Quest, was involved in the research work for suitable rowing locations to shot for the movie The Social Network that opened on last Friday. In an article published on Row2k, he writes, “Woven into the film are three scenes that will delight oarsmen and non-oarsmen alike. The clips are beautifully staged, including a Harvard varsity pairs practice on the Charles River in the late fall; an indoor tanks scene; and a Henley racing scene between Harvard and the Dutch National Team, circa. 2003.”

To read Part 1 of the article, please click here.

Above photograph is showing Dan Boyne (on the right) talking to another rowing historian, Peter Mallory, at the Rowing History Forum, held at Mystic Seaport Museum in March 2008.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

“We Row: The Women of Canadian Rowing”

In an effort to raise money for training and living expenses, the female rowers who are aspiring to represent Canada at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England have made a calendar. The money raised by selling this calendar will go directly to the rowers. Of course, this is not a new idea. Athletes, both men and women, in different sports have done this for many years. However, the new trick with this calendar is that the women are keeping their clothes on!

The 2011 calendar, which has the title “We Row: The Women of Canadian Rowing”, features Canada’s top female rowers. The calendar is C$20 and can be ordered by clicking here (where you also will get more information about these rowers).

Below is a little video about the making of the calendar – hot stuff!

Monday, October 4, 2010

History Of Australian Rowing

In an e-mail earlier today, Sam Golding in Melbourne kindly reminds me about Andrew Guerin’s and Margot Foster’s History of Australian Rowing. He writes that Guerin and Foster “set out historical Australian results and world and Olympic race results with brief descriptions of races. It is fantastic as a resource.”

I certainly agree. They have done a tremendous work, and I am ashamed to say that their eminent rowing history site had slipped my mind. From now on, the HTBS readers will find a link to History of Australian Rowing on the right under ‘Good Rowing Links’. My thanks to Sam Golding ‘Down Under’ for pointing it out.

Portuguese Rowing History

I have come to understand that blogs on rowing history are a rare thing. If you google ‘blogs’ and ‘rowing history’, you will come up with only a few, and some of them are old and had their last entries in 2008 or 2009. Therefore, I was very pleased to find an active blog, Remo Historia [Rowing History], which is run by Carlos Henriques in Lisbon, Portugal. It has some very nice old photographs of oarsmen, crews, and prizes, etc. From now on, you will find a link on the right to Remo Historia. If your Portuguese is a little rusty, like mine, Google has a translation ‘box’ that would give you a rough translation of what Carlos is writing.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Boy, Me, And 'Captain Hook'

It was the boy, me, and Captain Hook and we… no, no, let’s start from the beginning…

After some days with rain, finally we had a lovely Saturday, yesterday. My daughter Ingrid wanted to go to the roller rink to try out her new roller skates that she got for her birthday. My dear wife was willing to take her, so it was left for me to come up with an idea to entertain her little brother Anders, 5 years old, for a couple of hours.

Unbelievably as it sounds, this summer I have been too busy to go for an outing in one of the rowing boats they have at the Boat House at Mystic Seaport Museum, so I thought that might be something for us to do. I did not have to do a lot of persuading, Anders was ready and out the door before I even was done with the sentence: “How about we go rowing on the river this afternoon, dear boy?”

At the Boat House, two nice ladies suggested a fine looking, sleek ‘skiff’ with the name Captain Hook. Anders immediately liked the name, being interested in pirates and recognising the name from Peter Pan. I put Anders on the stern thwart, put the rowlocks in the holes of the gunwales, the oars, without buttons, (collars), went in the rowlocks, and we were all set. One of the ladies gave us a gentle push and we were out on the Mystic River. It was really a nice day, and I was surprised by how few boats were out on the river. After a while I even got used to sitting still, having no sliding seat to help me get longer strokes. Anders was a good look-out and told me ahead of time when the steamboat Sabino was approaching her dock after she had been downriver by the drawbridge in downtown Mystic.

We rowed along the Shipyard area, downriver, till we came to see the mighty barque C.W. Morgan, the last wooden whaling vessel in the world. She was built in New Bedford in 1841, and she is now being restored by the skillful shipwrights at Mystic Seaport. She is a ‘must-see’ if you ever are in this corner of New England. The Morgan is resting in a dry-dock, but museum visitors are still welcome to go aboard her, but although Anders has been onboard her several times, he looked at her with big eyes, as we now saw her from an unusual angle, from a rowing boat on the river.

I turned the boat around, and started to row upriver. We passed the visiting vessel Amazon, with homeport in Malta, went round the Lighthouse bend to get a closer look at the Joseph Conrad, another vessel in the museum’s collection of slightly more than 500 watercraft. The Joseph Conrad is a little full-rigged ship, built in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1882. Then, her name was George Stage, a training vessel for Danish cadets in the Merchant Marine. In 1934, she was bought by the Australian seaman and writer Alan Villiers, who gave her a new name after his favorite British-Polish author, Joseph Conrad.

I steered Captain Hook’s bow towards the Boat House, where we were received by the dock attendances. Anders threw the line in his best cowboy style, and while the ladies were kind and tied up the little boat, Anders and I were happy being back on the dock again. “That was fun, Pappa,” he said, “Let us do it all over again, next Saturday.”

Saturday, October 2, 2010

The Winklevoss & Facebook, Again...

Yesterday was the premier for the movie The Social Network in the States, a film that has been mentioned here on HTBS in three entries before, The Winklevosses to Face Cambridge, 2 April; Facebook and Rowing, and Filming for the Facebook Movie, both on 23 July (Facebook and Rowing has a movie trailer).

The news of the film release has also reached across the pond, and in a comment HTBS London correspondent Tim Koch writes:

“The feature film about the founding of the ‘Facebook’ phenomenon, The Social Network, discussed in HTBS on 2 April and 23 July, is now on general release in the United States and has received enthusiastic reviews. The rowing interest surrounds the Winklevoss twins who rowed for Harvard and the United States National Team and who had a long running intellectual property lawsuit against Facebook. I have not yet seen the film and so do not know how much of the rowing action shot on the Charles River and at Henley made the final edit. Ivy League athletic restrictions do not allow current athletes to work as film extras so former Harvard and Northeastern University rowers were used. Even Harry Parker (the long serving and highly successful Harvard coach) is played by an actor.”

Tim continues, “I will be surprised if the on the water action pleases any of us who know one end of a boat from another but, to paraphrase Dr. Johnson, it’s not that it’s done well, but that it’s done at all. Guest of a Guest (the Los Angeles society blog co-founded by Cameron Winklevoss) has pictures of the filming at Henley - to see them, please click here.”

That there is an interest for The Social Network, HTBS has drastically been aware of too. Since almost a week back the visitation of HTBS has tripled, and ‘everyone’ is viewing the entries with the Winklevoss brothers.

By the way, as the filmmakers could not find a pair of twins to play Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, they sort of used two actors Josh Pence and Armie Hammer; ‘sort of’ because they used the bodies of Pence and Hammer to play the Winklevosses, but only used Hammer’s face. How it was done? Read an article in The Washington Post by clicking here.

And as we are talking about it - NO, there are no plans to indroduce HTBS on Facebook, or Twitter!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Tony Fox: An Extraodinary British Sculler

Two months ago, 31 July, Thomas Anthony Fox died, at 82 years old. In the beginning of the 1950s and onward, in a time when British rowing was struggling, Fox rose to the occasion to defend his country’s colours in the single scull and the double scull.

Tony Fox, born on 27 July 1928 on Guernsey, began to row as a young boy, and while he followed in his father’s footsteps to become a doctor, he greatly disappointed him by concentrating more on his rowing than his medicine studies at Pembroke College, Cambridge.

Sculling for his college in the Diamond Challenge Sculls at Henley in 1951, Fox defeated Aage Ernst Larsen of Denmark in the final. Three years earlier, Larsen, together with Ebbe Parsner, had taken the Olympic silver medal in the double scull behind Bert Bushnell and Dickie Burnell. 1951 became a great year for the young Pembroke student as he also won the Wingfield Sculls and the London Cup at the Metropolitan Regatta – to take the British triple crown was, and still is, a remarkable achievement. Added to this is also a silver medal in the single at the 1951 European Championships in Macon, France. At a time when there was no World Rowing Championships, the world’s best oarsmen were battling for the medals at the European Championships instead.

Strangely enough, Fox was never picked to row in the Cambridge Blue Boat.

Tony Fox joined the London RC which, among its members during the 1950s, had Great Britain’s best oarsmen: ‘Farn’ Carpmael (Wingfields 1948, 1949), John Marsden (Wingfields 1956), John Pinches (Grand 1938; Silver Goblet 1947 with), Edward Sturges (Silver Goblet 1947; Wingfields 1950), and Doug Melvin (Wingfields 1955, 1958).

In the colours of London RC, Tony Fox made it to the final in the Diamonds in 1952, but was beaten by the Australian policeman Mervyn Wood, the 1948 Olympic gold medalist. Fox was thereafter sent to the Olympic rowing event in Helsinki where he came fourth (defeating Wood in a heat to the final). Many years later, Fox would remember his Olympic adventure in Finland. “I was completely out of my depth,” he would say. He was the only sculler without a coach that could give him assistance and advice. Even to this day his accomplishment has yet to be achieved by a British sculler. (For example, Sir Steve Redgrave’s best result in the single scull at the World Championships was a 12th place, and Alan Campbell’s best result in the 2008 Olympic Games was a fifth place.)

Fox did also take the Wingfields in 1952, as in 1953. The latter year, he also overpowered R. George of Belgium to take his second title in the Diamonds.

The following year, Tony Fox and his fellow Londoner, John Marsden, had a go in the double scull at Henley. To everyone’s surprise, they creamed the Russian double, Georgiy Zhylin and Ihor Yemchuk, who had taken the Olympic silver in Helsinki. Nevertheless, Fox and Marsden lost the next heat to previous year’s winner in the double and European champions, the Swiss, E. Schiever and P. Stebler, who would eventually be the winners of the 1954 Double Sculls Challenge Cup. Later that year, the British double again met the Swiss double in the European Championships on Bosbaan, Amsterdam. In the final, Schiever and Stebler looked like easy winners, but they were passed just in front of the finish line by the young Germans, Schneider and Haege. Fox and Marsden ended up on a fourth place.*

One more time, Fox would have a go at the Diamonds. In 1956, he worked his way through the heats, but in the final there was not much he could do against the Pole Tedor Kocerka, who took his second Diamonds title. The same year, Fox finished ninth in the Olympic single event on Lake Wendouree, Ballarat in Australia.

In 2002, Tony Fox was elected an Honorary Member of the London RC.

Below is a newsreel showing Fox winning the Diamonds in 1951 (the newsreel starts with golf, but after 2 minutes it goes over to Henley Royal Regatta.)


* Some websites and obituaries state that Fox and Marsden took the European Championships/ World Championships/ in the double in Amsterdam in 1954, but that was not the case!