Photograph: Werner Schmidt

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Home International Regatta 2013

What is harder than rock or softer than water? Yet hard rock is hollowed out by soft water. Only Persevere.  ~ Ovid.

 HTBS’s Greg Denieffe writes,

Overlooking the course at Holme Pierrepont, Nottingham, is the above artistic structure consisting of eight crossed oars bound together with a winding river on which the above quotation appears.

Normally this is a metaphor for those of us who have witnessed the National Watersports Centre when the wind blows, which it does a lot, or so it seems, when the course plays host to some of the biggest regattas in the calendar. On Saturday, 27 July, the 51st Home International Regatta was held there in glorious sunshine, and what little breeze that did blow only served to cool the thirsty spectators who were left wondering if the bar would ever open!

As for the rowing, England dominated even more than they normally do, winning all four team events and 26 of the 34 races actually contested. Wales won four events with Scotland and Ireland sharing the remaining four. All the results are available here.

If Ovid could pick a single rower that encompasses all that the above quotation is, then that person would be Claire Connon. Selected for the England team in the WAS1x, she found that none of the other countries had entered and that she would have to row-over to claim victory. On Saturday morning her specially adapted car broke down and she had to take a taxi from her home in Cambridgeshire to Nottingham to compete. It was no surprise that she received the day’s warmest round of applause as she crossed the finish line in the last race before lunch.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

To Row With Him

To Row With Him

The whispering of the rushes
thick by the river
caught his attention.
There was not wind.  There was
not even a breeze to speak of.

Still the whispering
caught hold his attention
as he eased his shell out
onto the water.

'A young egret,' he thought,
as he positioned his oars.
'Perhaps a water rat?',
were the cause,

though he knew neither were,
the cause of the rushes whispering
but the ghost of the rower
come haunting the morning,

to whom he extended
an oar in invitation
to row with him.

Philip Kuepper
(15 June, 2013)

Monday, July 29, 2013

Is the Mystery Man the Champion Sculler Guiseppe Sinigaglia?

A photo from the 1912 Holland Beker, which was won by Bernhard von Gaza, who is standing behind the table with the cups, wearing a hat and a victory sash. Johan ten Berg writes that ‘the little man seen on the right next to von Gaza is Gerhard Nunninghof, Kölner Club für Wassersport. Nunninghof's partner in the double scull, Paul Rosskath, is further to the right with his hands in his pockets. I suspect that the man between the two women on the right might be Georg Voth, Rostocker Ruder Club, Rostock’. The 'mystery' person in this picture is the man second on the left from von Gaza. Is this the Italian renown sculler Guiseppe Sinigaglia, the 1911 two-time European champion and later the winner of the Diamonds? (Click on the picture to enlarge it.)

Editor Johan ten Berg of the Netherlands, one of HTBS many friends, sent an e-mail with an interesting photograph from the 1912 Holland Beker, which was won by the German sculler Bernhard von Gaza (who HTBS has written about before, as an author of rowing books and as the winner of the 1911 Holland Beker, where the runner-up was the Cambridge sculler Eric Fairbairn).

The German sculler was killed during the First World War (as was Eric Fairbairn), but ‘in the 1912 picture there is possibly another rower that was killed during the War’, writes Johan. He continues, ‘the man happens to be Guiseppe Sinigaglia (S.C. Lario, Como)’ from Italy. Johan writes that he is not certain, but surfing around on the internet, finding some photographs of the Italian sculler, it might well be him in the picture. Johan writes that Sinigaglia ‘is mentioned as one of the entries [in the 1912 Holland Beker], but as he isn’t mentioned in the results in the newspapers, he may not have started’. In another article it states that Gerhard Nunninghof, Kölner Club für Wassersport, won a heat on walk-over as Sinigaglia did not show up at the start.

Is this Guiseppe Sinigaglia, asks Johan ten Berg?

Maybe a reader in Italy can help us to answer the question if the man in the photograph above is the famous Italian sculler Sinigaglia?

Guiseppe Sinigaglia might not have won the Holland Beker, but he was a very successful oarsman. In his hometown of Como, he became the 1911 European Champion first in the double scull (with Teodore Mariani) and then in the single scull, where he was described as ‘outstanding elegant’ and ‘much admired, even by his opponents’. Sinigaglia did not compete at the Olympic rowing regatta in Stockholm in July 1912, but a month later, he did race in the single scull at the European Championships in Geneva, coming second after the Belgian sculler Polydore Veirman, who had taken the Olympic silver medal in the Swedish capital, being beaten by the Scotsman Wally Kinnear. Veirman was a very good all-round oarsman who had become European champion already in 1901 in the eight.

The 1913 European Championships were held on Veirman’s homewater in Ghent. The single scull final proved to be a total fiasco: the umpire stopped the race twice and ordered two re-starts. In the end he disqualified Sinigaglia and the French sculler Peresselenzeff (of Russian origin), and as Veirman capsized, the victory went to the only sculler still afloat, Frederich Graf, the first German to become European champion. It has to be mentioned, though, that Graf, who was self-taught and never had a trainer or coach during his sculling career, had been in the lead throughout all three starts. The First World War put a stop to the 1914 European Championships, but the Italian sculler took the Diamond Challenge Cup at Henley that year, beating C.M. Stuart of Trinity Hall, Cambridge.

Wanting to serve his country, Sinigaglia signed up in the Royal Italian Army, where he in 1916 advanced to the rank of lieutenant. On 9 August 1916, he led his men in a charge at Monte San Michele. At the attack Sinigaglia was hit by Austrian fire and, badly wounded, he died the following day, 32 years old. He was awarded the Silver Medal of Military Valor, and later the stadium in Como was named after him, Stadio Giuseppe Sinigalia.

Read more about Giuseppe Sinigalia on Wikipedia, in Italian or in English.

In a newspaper on 18 February, 1915, was a report that von Gaza had been injured in his left arm by a grenade. A year later, in March 1916, the German sculler was awarded the Iron Cross. On 19 December the same year, a newspaper reported that von Gaza had died on the western front a few days earlier.

Many thanks to Johan ten Berg for sending the photographs and giving information about Sinigalia.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Under-23 Championships - Day V & Final Day

Today was the fifth and final day of the Under-23 Championships regatta at Linz in Austria. Read FISA's report from the races today, here. Please note: in time of posting this, in the FISA report, the American Andrew Campbell (on the right), who won gold in the Lightweight men's single sculls, is named Alan Campbell (who, of course, is the British sculler who is not an 'under-23' competitor)

Photo: USRowing

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Under-23 Championships - Day IV

Today was the fourth day of the five-day Under-23 Championships regatta at Linz in Austria. Read FISA's report from the hot races here.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Under-23 Championships - Day III

Today was the third day of the five-day Under-23 Championships regatta at Linz in Austria. Read FISA's report from the races today, here. Due to weather issues on Sunday, the schedule for the finals have been altered, read more here.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Under-23 Championships - Day II

Today was the second day of the five-day Under-23 Championships regatta at Linz in Austria. Read FISA's report from the races today, here.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Under-23 Championships at Linz

Today the Under-23 Championships started at Linz, Austria. Here is FISA's report from the first day of this five-day regatta. Report here. Regatta web site here.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Reminder: Rowing History Dinner & Forum in October

HTBS would like to remind you about the Rowing History Dinner on 11 October at Leander Club and the Forum on 12 October at RRM in Henley-on-Thames, at 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Boris Rankov of the Trireme Trust and author Peter Mallory head the speakers at the all-day Rowing History Forum at the River & Rowing Museum on Saturday, 12 October. Professor Rankov will give a talk on Hellenistic warships which are thought to be the largest oared vessels ever built. Peter Mallory, author of the four-volume epic The Sport of Rowing, analyses the portrait of Tyneside professional oarsman Edward Hawks, added to the RRM’s collection recently.

Bobbie Prentice, Master of the Watermen's Company, on the legacy of his three attempts to row the Atlantic. Rob van Mesdag on the exclusive brotherhoods of Dutch university clubs and their influence on rowing in the Netherlands.  

The forum is organised by the RRM together with Friends of Rowing History and the American Friends of the RRM. Curators at the museum will talk on recent additions to the collections, including prototype oars and equipment, the cartoons of Keith Ticehurst, items of clothing, books and maps and various London 2012 items.

Tickets are £50 and includes morning and afternoon tea & coffee and a delicious buffet lunch.

Reservations to +44 (0)1491 415600.

History Dinner at Leander Club, Friday, 11 October. Speaker: Sir George Cox, “From Janousek to Rio”. Reservations to Sheila Harrington

Monday, July 22, 2013

It's a Wet-Bob!

HTBS is happy to report that a son to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge was born today ~ may he be an Eton wet-bob!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Ceremonial Row

Ceremonial Row

I imagine a ring of rowers
round the Charles W. Morgan*
as she makes her rechristening
voyage down Mystic River

into the Sound,
hence into the Atlantic,
the rowers round her
like a ring,

a ring signifying
a renewal of her vows,
her wedding vows
to the ocean.

Philip Kuepper
(July 2013)

*Today, after almost a five-year restoration, the last surviving wooden whaleship in the world, the Charles W. Morgan, will be launched at 2 p.m. in the Henry B. duPont Preservation Shipyard at Mystic Seaport in Mystic, Connecticut. Wherever you are in the world, you will be able to watch the launch, more details here. In May next year, the Museum plans to take her to sea again, on her 38th Voyage to visit some of the New England ports where she anchored during her whaling heydays.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Tim Koch: A Doggie Bag of Henley Leftovers

Tim Koch’s final Henley piece for this year.

Whenever I take photographs at Henley Royal Regatta I inevitably end up with many pictures I like but which I do not eventually use to illustrate my reports for Hear The Boat Sing. These are just some of them from 2013......

Hats, caps and millinery

Jolly boatering weather.

A Wyfold hat and accessory.

Old hat, new hat.

Shelter in sun and rain!

Style and substance – a ‘fascinator’ and a Panama on Temple Island.

Blazers to hide in

If you keep still while wearing a Cambridge Archetypals blazer, people think that you are a deckchair.

The (British) Army Rowing Club blazer is made from desert camouflage material (‘1991 two-colour variant’). This is cooler than the usual wool jackets plus it could enable the wearer to hide when it is his turn to buy a round of Pimm’s (though not in the case of this officer and gentleman I am sure). In military speak, ‘camouflage’ is called DPM or Disruptive Pattern Material.

People and places

Aleksandar Aleksandrov and Mahé Drysdale. On Friday, the little one on the left beat the big one on the right on his way to winning the Diamond Sculls.

Miroslava Knapkova, winner of the Princess Royal, looks after Aleksandrov’s Pineapple Cup while he takes a call.

Students from Delftsche Studenten Roeivereeniging Laga celebrate winning the Temple Challenge Cup. The Netherlands is very flat so this is one of the ways the Dutch use to get a feeling of height.

A sought after picnic spot along the course.

Henley’s Sanctum Sanctorum. The ‘Committee Lawn’ is situated between the Stewards’ Enclosure and the boat tents and is fronted by the docking area for the umpires’ launches. The most civilised part of the entire site, only the sixty Stewards and their guests plus other officials of the Regatta may enter.

The bar on the Committee Lawn is decorated with copies of Vanity Fair ‘Spy’ prints of eminent Victorian oarsmen. I disagree, however, with one of their choices. The picture on the far left is of EJH Smith who was an enthusiastic but undistinguished oarsman. He is certainly outshone in the company of (left to right) Dr Warre, Walter Crum, WAL Fletcher, Guy Nickalls and Sir Harcourt Gilbey Gold.

The End. The boat tent area, Sunday, 6 p.m.

© Photographs Tim Koch

Friday, July 19, 2013

The Story of the Martini Achter

Last Sunday, World Cup III ended in Lucerne, Switzerland. Following is the story of a special boat that was used by a U.S. crew to take the 1974 World Championships at Rotsee in Lucerne.

When visitors to Mystic Seaport – the Museum of America and the Sea, located in the village of Mystic, Connecticut, walk through the doors of the Visitors Reception Center at the Main Gate, the first thing they see, if they look up, is a magnificent racing shell hanging from the ceiling. This eight, the Martini Achter, is not only an indicator that the NRF’s National Rowing Hall of Fame is housed at Mystic Seaport, it is also on display because it has a remarkable place in the history of American rowing.

In 1973, after having raced at the European Championships in Moscow, a U.S. crew went to compete at the Heidelberg International Regatta in what was then West Germany. At Heidelberg, the Americans were short of one man in the eight race, the “Martini Achter Race”, where first prize was a brand new wooden eight which was built by the famous German boat builder Empacher in Eberbach. Joining the American oarsmen, Larry Gluckman, Calvin Coffey, Mike Vespoli, Hugh Stevenson, Terry Adams, Tim Mickelson, Ken Brown and Paul Hoffman, was the British rower Hugh Matheson (known to HTBS readers from entries about Chris Dodd’s brilliant book Pieces of Eight, published in 2012).

At the 1973 Heidelberg International Regatta, United States was the winner of the Martini Achter: Bow Larry Gluckman, 2 Calvin Coffey, 3 Hugh Matheson(GBR), 4 Mike Vespoli, 5 Hugh Stevenson, 6 Terry Adams, 7 Tim Mickelson, Stroke Ken Brown and Cox Paul Hoffman. Coach Steve Gladstone. From Peter Mallory's The Sport of Rowing.

In Peter Mallory’s splendid book The Sport of Rowing (2011), Gluckman is quoted saying that ‘Everybody wanted to win this beautiful Empacher wooden boat. It was like a piece of furniture.’ Norway entered a boat, too, and after the Americans had won the race, and the boat, Gluckman continued, ‘the Norwegians said, “Good row, America... and God Bless the Queen” because they knew one of our borrowed rowers, Hugh Matheson, was a Brit.’The Martini Achter stayed in Europe and came to belong to the NRF's fleet.

The following year, 1974, a slightly different U.S. crew went to compete at the World Championships in Lucerne, Switzerland, using the Martini Achter. The crew were: Bow Timothy Mickelson, 2 Kenneth Brown, 3 John Everett, 4 Mike Vespoli, 5 Mark Norelius, 6 Richard Cashin, 7 Hugh Stevenson, Stroke Alan Shealy and Cox David Weinberg, and Coach was Allen Rosenberg.

Here is a 3-minute film showing the eight practicing in the early summer of 1974 on Candlewood Lake in Connecticut before moving on to another training camp at Princeton, and then to Lucerne.

On the Rotsee, in an extremely tough race, which came to be known as “The Race of the Century,” the U.S. eight competed in the final against the world’s best rowing nations at that time, East Germany, Soviet Union, New Zealand, Great Britain and West Germany. New Zealand was in the lead for the first 1,800 metres, but then the crew in the Martini Achter put on a spurt which gave the Americans a slight lead. They managed to hold on to it and crossed the finish line as the World Champions. Another remarkable crew were the British who took a silver medal, despite having been dead last for most of the race. New Zealand came in third, East Germany forth, the Soviets fifth and West Germany sixth.

The Martini Achter was afterward used by the men’s varsity eight from Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut, to win the 1976 Ladies’ Challenge Plate at the Henley Royal Regatta, and by the University of Washington men’s varsity eight to take the 1977 Grand Challenge Cup, also at Henley. Later the boat was sold to a club in England.

In an e-mail to HTBS, Mike Vespoli writes, that some English oarsmen

...rowed it over a submerged shopping cart and tore a big hole in it. It sat in rack at the Thames Tradesmen Rowing Club where I found it and bought it for 500 British pounds and brought it back to the U.S. I contacted my boat mates from the ‘74 crew and we all chipped in to get the boat restored so that we could take a row in 1999 at the world champs in St. Catherines, Ontario, Canada to celebrate our 25th anniversary. The restoration cost four times the original sale price!

The Martini Achter was restored by boat builder Graeme King in Putney, Vermont. He spent around 200 hours restoring the shell to its former beauty, he has told HTBS. It took 420 hours to build it originally and then the hull was formed by vacuum with three layers of Spanish cedar veneer over a mold. After that, the framework was fitted in. When restoring the shell, King used 3/32” plywood, then laminated on a sheet of 1/32” African mahogany veneer.

Here is some data of the Martini Achter:
Builder: Empacher boat builder, Eberbach, Germany.
Length: 57 feet
Weight: 250 lbs (boat), 8 oars, total 60 lb.
Top Speed: Over 3 miles, 18 feet/second; in a sprint, 22 feet/second

The last words go to Mike Vespoli:

If Mystic Seaport ever decides to remove the shell from public display then we [the ’74 crew] would take possession of it. It was also agreed that we could use this shell in 2024 to celebrate our 50th!

If this ever happens, HTBS promises to be there taking a picture.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Never Give Up!

In March 2011, HTBS received an e-mail from an oarsman, Fred, in Florida. For a long time, he had been looking for a short story that he once heard on the radio about an older fellow sculling on the Charles in Boston, who suddenly finds himself sculling against a much younger sculler ‘with an attitude’. On 21 March, 2011, I posted Fred’s question on HTBS to see if there was anyone out there who knew the author of the story, or its title, as I had no idea. I received no replies, and not even the otherwise clever rowing historians that I know were able to help. To be honest I was feeling sad that I was not able to help Fred as the story seemed to have a special meaning to him.

Then, the other day I literally stumbled over the story, “Palais de Justice” by Mark Helprin (up on the right). It is in his collection of short stories called Ellis Island and other Stories, published in 2005. I immediately fired off an e-mail to Fred to tell him of my discovery. A couple of days later I got a nice e-mail from Fred, starting, ‘Göran, oh, for heaven’s sake!! ….’ And a day later Fred wrote, ‘I downloaded the story, and it is better than I remembered.’

You are able to download this short story and listen to it here (cost $2.99).

Here at HTBS we never give up!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

More Doggett’s...

Gary Anness (winner in 1982) who provided the commentary for the 2013 Race.

Tim Koch writes from London,

There are some nice images of the 299th Doggett’s Coat and Badge now online.

YouTube has a lovely video, which captures some of the spirit of the race:

The British Pathe archive has film of the last Royal visitor before this year. The Duke of Edinburgh, the Princess Royal’s Father, saw the race in 1951. The newsreel has a particularly ill informed commentary on the ‘Cap and Badge’ (sic).

There are some nice pictures on Flicker, with a page here and individual posts here, here, and here.

The official site was kind enough to link to my HTBS report.

Like Henley, the Doggett’s is one of those events where it is difficult to point a camera and not get a good picture.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Tim Koch: Henley 2013 - The Prizewinners, Part II

A panoramic view of a grandstand set up for the prize giving.

Part I showed the winners of the Men’s and Women’s Open Events. Part II covers those victorious in the events for Intermediate Men, Club Men, Student Men, Junior Men and Junior Women.

The Ladies’ Challenge Plate (IM8+).

Leander Club and Molesey Boat Club beat Northeastern University ‘A’, USA, by a canvas in an event record time of 5 minutes and 58 seconds.

The Visitors’ Challenge Cup (IM4-).

Another victory for the late Harry Parker. An all Harvard final and rowed in an event record time. The winning ‘A’ crew is standing at the back, the second placed ‘B’ crew is kneeling in the front. Harvard University ‘A’, USA, beat Harvard University ‘B’, USA, by three lengths in an event record time of 6 minutes and 33 seconds.

The Prince of Wales Challenge Cup (IM4x).

Herregud! The bowman of the quad from the Norwegian composite makes the mistake of looking up the course from the start. Many experienced Henley competitors will not do this. Some say you can see the curve of the earth.

Leander win a new hat. Leander Club ‘A’ beat Aalesunds Roklub and Moss Roklub, Norway, by 4 1/2 lengths in an event record time of 6 minutes and 23 seconds.

The Thames Challenge Cup (CM8+).

Griffen Boat Club (Abingdon School Alumni) beat Upper Thames Rowing Club ‘A’ by 1 length in a time of 6 minutes and 17 seconds.

The Wyfold Challenge Cup (CM4-).

Tyrian Club (University of London Alumni) beat Rob Roy Boat Club by a canvas in a time of 6 minutes and 40 seconds.

The Britannia Challenge Cup (CM4+).

Taurus Boat Club ‘A’ (Oxford Brooks University Alumni) beat Union Boat Club, USA, by 1 length in a time of 6 minutes and 54 seconds.

Temple Challenge Cup (SM8+).

Laga treated the prize giving to a rendition of their club song. It was in Dutch (naturally) and had quite a few verses but, as can be seen by the reaction of Dame Di Ellis on the left, it went down well. Delftsche Studenten Roeivereeniging Laga, Holland, beat Harvard University, USA, by 2 1/4 lengths in a time of 6 minutes and 14 seconds.

The Prince Albert Challenge Cup (SM4+).

Imperial College London ‘A’ beat Isis Boat Club by 3 lengths in a time of 7 minutes.

The Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cup (JM8+).

Abingdon School beat St. Edward’s School by 1/2 a length in an event record time of 6 minutes and 17 seconds.

The Fawley Challenge Cup (JM4x).

Marlow Rowing Club ‘A’ beat Sir William Borlase’s Grammar School by 1/2 length in an event record time of 6 minutes and 39 seconds.

The Junior Women's Quadruple Sculls (JW4x).

Latymer on their way to the start.

I’m so happy! Latymer Upper School beat Headington School by 4 1/4 lengths in an event record time of 7 minutes and 26 seconds.

© Photographs Tim Koch