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Today is the perfect day to pull out some great rowing poetry to sooth a travelling rower’s soul. In this collection, we promise nostalgic rowing references with a father, a poem about how taxing rowing can be, a twist on an old nursery rhyme, and Ruth’s own haiku. Oh no.

But first, and closely related, a video on the poetry of rowing. This video captures something many of us can relate to whether in a crew or not – the struggle to awake in the early morn, followed by the incredible calm and beauty of moving over the water as the sun shifts the colour of the sky.

Crew Life: The Poetry Of Rowing - YouTube

One can argue that penning a haiku is the easiest form of poetry, but the simple message and tightness of the haiku make it challenging. An ancient and traditional form of Japanese poetry, a haiku consists of three lines that rarely rhyme. The first and last lines have five syllables and the middle line has seven syllables.

On this website, there are more than two dozen  haikus about rowing, all along the lines of this one, which we found poignant.

Sunrise on river
Sweet surprise of clear blue skies
Reflects in puddles

On a Rowing The World trip in Ireland, the group put together limericks, the equivalent of haiku in Ireland. Read the fine compilation in this blog post prosaically named Rowing Limericks from Ireland.

We love this next poem because it is about the urge to row in different places, what ultimately soothes a rowing traveller’s soul and motivates us at Rowing The World to create rowing trips in so many destinations. Philip Kuepper has a number of rowing poems. If you like this one, check out HeartheBoatSing for more.

To Simply Row Away

The urge to row,
mornings, that summer,
was about denial.
He did not want
life at university to be over.
He did not want
to enter the workforce.
He would take the year off
before he began
the long climb upward,
to what?
He still hadn’t decided
beyond rowing
after the morning he made
the decision to travel,
to test the waters of distant rivers.
He would row those rivers
he liked the sounds of the names of:
The Tallahatchie, the Guadalquivir, the Indus.
He had come too late
to row the Meander.
He would avoid the Styx,
as long as possible.
The “Street” would have to wait.
His blood ran rivers.

Philip Kuepper

www.heartheboatsing.com

Here’s one by Gallimaufry that received praise in the comments for his twist on an old nursery rhyme. Enjoy:

Row, Row, Row, Row,
Your boat,
Row, Row, Row, Row,
Row, Row, Row, Row,
Your boat, your boat.
Row, Row, Row, Row, Ro-Row.
Gently,
Gently,
Down.
Row, Row, Row,
Or forever you will be stuck on a body of water, never to step on dry land again or feel the touch of a loving body against your own.

www.allpoetry.com/poems/about/rowing

G-o-lik in his poem below, called “effort,” also from the same website, says “this poem was not written with an intended deeper meaning—it is about rowing, very, very taxing.” Read on to see if you agree.

effort

port, starboard
right, left
the blisters of my palm
sting as they burst
pushing, pulling
heaving, huffing
i peer around the hull
it rocks with every turn
tearful, worked
breathless, wheezing
the fire of my tendons
it burns my eyes
stopping, staring
trying, failing
glimpse the future
as i defy the rules
flying, trying
failing, failing
the bow calls “starboard”
and i weep my obedience

The following poem by Gary Brocks tells of a moment between father and son.

A Dream of my Father

I hear the carve of oars,
I see your palms enfold the wood,
as shards of stars shred
a back and glistening wave.

I hear the carve of oars,
the shore is breached,
we reach dank granite stairs, climb
a tower in moon gritty light.

I hear the carve of oars,
you speak, your turgid cheek
blue-steel-gray, your gaze grates,
my salt raged eyes summon waves and stars.

I hear the carve of oars,
waves rattle a candle’s flame,
chill the bed frame, the wet stony room ––
the door closes, it scrapes.

I hear the carve of oars,
I know your lurching gate,
the clank as both oar lock’s turn,
you slip the shore,
I hear the carve of oars

Copyright © 2002 Gary Brocks

www.hellopoetry.com

Just a little light fare, rowing poetry to soothe a travelling rower’s soul and balance the taxingness of rowing. To end, we give you Ruth’s own haiku, inspired by her recent trip on the Clarence River in Australia, which was so wonderful it will definitely be repeated.

Clarence, winding long.

River, fine, to row. Away.

Ergo, no erg. Go.

Hope you’re feeling soothed.

The post Poetry to soothe a travelling rower’s soul appeared first on Rowing The World & The Rowing Concierge.

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Going through one of the locks on the Lot River trip: Ruth in cox, then the Ladies of York—Lydia Brear, Holly Read, Sharon Clements and Wendy Iles

To continue with our series of getting to know rowers who row with us, we’d like to introduce the Ladies of York!

On a Rowing The World trip on the Lot River, a group of women who have been rowing together for years joined us. They all learned to row as adults through York City Rowing Club. Together, Holly Read, Lydia Brear, Wendy Iles and Sharon Clements epitomize how friendships flourish when rowing friends go on holidays for women who row.

The Sulkava Rowing Race in Finland pits crews in large church boats over two days and 70 kilometres. Photo credit Juhani Kosonen.

They have been rowing for anywhere from five to 10 years and in that time have trained, raced and, over the last few years, have gone on rowing adventures together. As a team, they have all participated in the Traversée de Paris more than once. Last year, they had a fun and fantastic experience on the Sulkava Rowing Race, a two-day 70-km event in Finland, that involved rowing around an island in a church boat.

“It included a crew of 14 rowers and a cox and was a fabulous few days meeting people from Russia, Finland and other countries,” says Wendy Iles, 58, from Yorkshire, who has been rowing since 2008. “We came third overall and were the first all-women crew over the finish line.”

Wearing our new Aviron Cadurcien shirts from left to right, Wendy, Lydia, Holly and Sharon.

Another happy memory is the first race they won in the Tees regatta. “We felt such elation as a crew when we realized we had won, having had to go through repecharge and two other rounds,” she adds.

But, not all memories are so joyful. For Wendy, one particular heads race in York stands out.

“Our boat had every possible problem you could endure. It was a particularly cold day in February so we got very cold waiting at the start. Then, the cox box failed and the steering broke. A boat tried to overtake us in an area that was too narrow, so that boat’s blades clashed with one of ours. A blade broke and hit me in the head, and after the finish that same boat bumped into us again and broke off our bow ball. We limped to the boathouse looking a real sorry crew.”

All we can say is we’re glad that didn’t happen on one of our trips!

So, what about combining rowing and travelling. What’s that like?

“Combining a holiday with rowing absolutely works,” says Holly Read, who enjoys training and racing but also cherishes enjoying the outdoors from a river. “I don’t think any of us would enjoy a holiday sitting on a beach doing nothing—so why not combine an activity we all love with travelling to a beautiful part of the world and meeting new friends?”

Wendy agrees. “You get to see interesting places with people you love, meet people from all over, and do something you enjoy. What’s not to like?”

Read another Rowing Your World post here, this one on Kathy Berezin.

Because Rowing The World works with clubs in various countries, meeting new friends is exactly what happens.

Saint-Cirq-Lapopie. Credit: Sasha Martin

It didn’t hurt that they kept a plentiful supply of “champagne soup” flowing aprés-row.

“The members of Aviron Cadurcien, the French club that hosted us on the Lot River were amazing, friendly and fun,” says Read. “Besides the highlight of travelling with old friends and meeting new ones, rowing under Saint-Cirq-Lapopie as it rose out of the early morning mist was sublime.”

Other highlights included going through the locks, and having picnics along the banks surrounded by the beautiful French countryside of the Lot Valley.

“It is hard to express the fun and pleasure we encountered on our Lot trip,” says Wendy. “The other guests we rowed with were wonderful. Our French hosts and Ruth worked very hard to ensure we all had an amazing experience. We’ll definitely be joining Rowing The World again.”

Sharon Clements, another of the “Ladies of York,” is a born organizer.  She initiated the push for the “Ladies” to do the Lot River trip. On that trip, she invited Ruth Marr, President of Rowing The World, to get in touch if she was ever in York. Ruth followed up, and Sharon organized a row, followed by two meet & greets, and invited Ruth to stay with her. On top of that, fellow lady Wendy hosted a dinner for Ruth, inviting the rest of the ladies to get together for the first time since their Lot River trip.

We call this series Rowing Your World for a reason. Holidays for women who row bond old friends and present the opportunity to meet new ones.

The post Rowing Your World: Ladies of York appeared first on Rowing The World & The Rowing Concierge.

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Rowing in Ireland with Rowing The World means being open to exploring different rivers. In short, go with the flow while rowing in Ireland.

The southeast of Ireland has a little bit of everything that Ireland is famous for, and more. If you like pastoral places, you’ll find the towns and villages here lovely and picturesque. Verdant forests and pastures flank beautiful rivers. If you like history and culture, you’ll be surprised to hear the drama of the Vikings and the modern traditional mix that is Kilkenny. Towns and cities have a long fishing and shipping heritage. Plus, sunny skies, the friendliest of locals, and great cheese, such as cheddar from Wexford and Triskel goat cheese from Waterford make rowing in Ireland sublime.

On our Ireland: Four Rivers trip, we know we will row four rivers but decisions on which ones are made on the conditions of the day. We will row the River Barrow, River Nore, and the River Blackwater. Whether we row the River Liffey or the River Suir is a planned surprise, as in surprise!–the wind blew up. Talk about going with the flow.

The May trip happens to be our second women-only trip, a tradition we started in Italy.

Having exceptional rowing rivers in close proximity is heaven. That those rivers happen to flow through the most explorable counties in Ireland is superb. The Liffey packs a lot of history in the County of Wicklow, starting at Blessington Lakes and flowing down to the sea in Dublin. River Blackwater is firmly in the County of Waterford, offering big vistas and crystal shops. River Barrow is a delightful twisting river touching the borders of three counties. The Nore is the little sister to the Barrow, an intimate rowing experience.

Here’s a little about each of them.

Though no lock is pictured on the River Barrow here, the river from Graignamanagh to New Ross passes through four locks before arriving in lovely St. Mullins.

River Barrow

The River Barrow from Graignamanagh to New Ross passes through four locks before arriving in lovely St. Mullins. To the first lock at St. Mullins, the winding river is lined with the towpath on one side and flows past low hills, reedy shores and oak forests.  Soon, the nature of the river changes, as hills dip straight down into the water with no trace of towpath, nor people; simply wild woods. Eventually the water widens out, and New Ross appears. New Ross is famous for the Dunbrody Famine Ship, a replica of the “coffin ships” that were part of the huge emigration to America and Canada during the famine years in the second half of the 1800s. Traditional music may be playing in the local pubs.

On the River Nore explore Graigenamanagh’s Duiske Abbey, woolen mill and crystal studio, where contemporary and traditional crystal designs may be found.

On the River Nore explore Graigenamanagh’s Duiske Abbey, woolen mill and crystal studio, where contemporary and traditional crystal designs may be found.

River Nore

To reach the River Nore, a brief row heads up the Barrow from New Ross. The River Nore is the most intimate of rivers, as it cuts its narrow winding route among high green hills. The destination is charming Inistioge, a village so picture perfect that it has been the set for several films. Après-row, Inistioge is great to stroll around, or take a vigorous walk over Brandon Hill to return to explore Graigenamanagh’s Duiske Abbey, woolen mill and crystal studio. When done exploring, quaff a refreshing ale in a charming pub, which is also a hardware store. Why not?

Graignamanagh, meaning “village of the monks” is home to Duiske Abbey, the largest of the thirty-four medieval Cistercian abbeys in Ireland as well as a pub that also serves as a hardware store.

Kilkenny is also situated on the River Nore. With a castle, ambient pubs, top-notch restaurants in a labyrinth of medieval lanes, Kilkenny is one of Ireland’s top destinations. The city is best explored on foot or bicycle, with stops at the cathedral and a wander among the colourful shops.

River Liffey or River Suir or more River Barrow

The weather and tides determine our destination on the Ireland: Four Rivers trip.  Likely we will head north to the county of Wicklow and Blessington Lake, a reservoir created by the damming of the River Liffey. The Liffey has several arms, and we will choose our route and length of the row based on water conditions that day. Or, we may explore a different section of the Barrow upstream of Graigenamanagh. Alternately, we could row the River Suir in the county of Waterford, which flows to Waterford—yes, that of Waterford Crystal. Not only is it known for its crystal, but Waterford, Ireland’s oldest city, carries a blend of Viking, Norman and Georgian history and architecture.

The River Blackwater, one of Ireland’s most beautiful rivers, was once the waterway of the region, when barges and sailing ships plied the river pre-railway, bringing merchandise from Youghal and returning with the valley produce.

River Blackwater

This river is the most tidal and the tide will determine if we row upriver from near the sea at Youghal or downriver  from Cappoquin. The launch near the sea at Youghal is a seaweed-laden beach on a broad stretch bordered by low green hills. The start by Cappoquin, conversely, is on a narrower stretch, with the Knockmealdown Mountains forming a backdrop.

Castles, ruined abbeys and manor houses grace the shores of this river, famous for its salmon and trout fishing. Ballynatray Estate, a fine example of an 18th century country castle house set on 800 acres at a bend along the river, offers activities such as fishing, snooker or a simulated or full-on pheasant shoot. The lands and Georgian buildings combine to give rowers a stately row in the sunny southeast of Ireland.

Read more about Rowing in Ireland:

How to Choose: Italy or Ireland?

The Rower and Other Important Place Names in Ireland

Four Rivers in Ireland – River Blackwater

Four Rivers in Ireland – River Slaney cots

The post Go With the Flow While Rowing in Ireland appeared first on Rowing The World & The Rowing Concierge.

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Rowing The World by Cathy Senecal - 3M ago

If you’re like us, you like to delve into books before heading to a destination or once you’ve arrived. Reading takes you to a place before you arrive, and while there, sets the scene from another time. The storied River Thames, especially, has inspired poetry, historic narratives and literature. With so many books about the Thames River, we have selected a few of our favourites.

2019 will be Rowing The World’s sixth year on the Classic River Thames. To celebrate the longest flowing river in England, and its 346 kilometres through 45 locks from Thames Head to the sea, we’ve collected a few great reads.

Enjoy wonderful books about the Thames as you plan to row Classic River Thames

We mentioned some classics to try out in an earlier post, Best Rowing Literature – River Thames, and would be remiss not to list them again:

  • Three Men in a Boat, Jerome K. Jerome, published in 1889, chronicles the adventures of three men who row between Kingston and Oxford with a dog who does not like the water. Hilarity ensues.
  • Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens begins with a daughter rowing her father between Southwark Bridge and London Bridge while, ahem, looking for corpses.
  • Dreams Do Come True, an autobiography by Olympian Katherine Granger in 2012, includes lovely descriptions of rowing near Marlow.

Beyond these, here are a few more books about the Thames that we hope may inspire you:

Thames – Sacred River

Thames – Sacred River is a thorough compendium of the river’s history from prehistoric to current times.

If you love history and incredible tidbits, you’ll enjoy Peter Ackroyd’s Thames – Sacred River, which covers the river’s history from prehistoric to current times, as well as its smells and colours, magic and myths, trade and weather. Tales of hauntings and suicides, floods and tides, locks and bridges will also be revealed, including when the river was 14 feet shallower than it is now, making it feasible for Caesar and his legions to cross the Thames and defeat the British tribes.

I Never Knew That About the Thames

Christoper Winn’s book is filled with interesting gems and whimsical line drawings of the Thames.

If you like books filled with drawings, fascinating facts and folklore, you’ll love Christopher Winn’s I Never Knew That About the Thames. The author takes readers on a trivia-laden journey out of London along the banks of the River Thames to discover the secrets and tales of England’s most famous waterway, including an island where Magna Carter was signed, and Henley-on-Thames, where the first Oxford and Cambridge boat races were held.

There are many general books about the Thames, such as the ones listed above, but if your interests are more specific, those exist too for just about everything from ghosts, to disasters, to paths and pubs on the Thames.

Other Ways to Enjoy the Thames or How to Read While Someone Else Punts

Is the Thames Male or Female?

Best Books About the Thames including The Frozen Thames

Writing The Thames

Christina’s Hardyment’s beautifully illustrated Writing the Thames covers snippets from the plethora of books about the Thames, offering an overview to delve further along specific interests, or a chapter on boats for us “on the water” types.

Beautifully illustrated with seventy full-color illustrations, Writing The Thames tells the river’s remarkable story through art, poetry, and prose, while celebrating the writers who helped form its enduring legacy. Amazon summarizes Writing the Thames:

“From Arthur Conan Doyle to Charles Dickens, Colin Dexter to Kenneth Grahame, writers and artists have often taken inspiration from the Thames. Gathering poetry, artwork, and short excerpts from longer prose, Writing the Thames includes chapters on topics that dominate in literary and artistic depictions of the Thames, from historical events like Julius Caesar’s crossing in 55 BCE and Elizabeth I’s stand against the Spanish at Tilbury to the explorations of the topographers who mapped and drew the river to the many authors, including Thomas More, Francis Bacon, William Morris, and Henry James, who enjoyed riverside retreats. A chapter on boats features the frenetic rowers from Zuleika Dobson, a camping tale from Three Men in a Boat, and the story of William Hogarth’s impulsive five-day trip down the river with four inebriated friends.”

Some of the best-loved children’s literature has also been inspired by the Thames, including The Wind in the Willows.”  When in Henley-on-Thames during our tour, be sure to pop into the Wind in the Willows Gallery at the River and Rowing Museum.

Enjoy and let us know what books about the Thames you have read.

The post Tomes on the Thames appeared first on Rowing The World & The Rowing Concierge.

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Credit TaliskerWhiskyAtlanticChallenge.com. Women in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge cross the Atlantic between Spain and Antigua in 2017.

“Each rower is expected to use 800 sheets of toilet paper during their crossing.”

“The 2013 winning Team Locura arrived in Antigua with a blue marlin beak pierced through the hull of the boat.”

 A couple of rowing facts from the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge

How Long Does It Take to Row Across the Atlantic?

A new year is around the corner, marking a time to set new challenges, and embark upon new adventures to push yourself. We’re excited about lots of challenges here at Rowing The World—including new initiatives and new rowing trips. This is the kind of stuff that makes us innovative, and changes us, in big and small ways.

What is challenging to one rower may not be challenging to the next. For some, training for and joining us on one of our rowing trips can be a challenge and an opportunity to become able to row longer than usual distances for multiple days. For others, our trips are a row in the park – sometimes literally. For many, ocean rowing can be a challenge, while for others, endurance is the thing. Combine the two? You get the idea – there is always a bigger challenge.

Colin Angus rowed around Vancouver Island. Daryl Farmer took 96 days to cross the Atlantic solo. We love to see what new challenges friends like Guin Batten come up with next. She holds the record for crossing the English Channel in a single and has set records rowing the North Atlantic.

5 Women Rowers You Don’t Know You Want to Know

Credit TaliskerWhiskyAtlanticChallenge.com. Two men celebrate at the completion of the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge crossing the Atlantic between Spain and Antigua in 2017.

Really Tough Rowing Challenges

The Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge is called the world’s toughest row, in a race that goes more than 3000 miles west from San Sebastian in La Gomera, Canary Islands, Spain to Nelson’s Dockyard, English Harbour, Antigua & Barbuda. Up to 30 teams participate from around the world, and start off with an electric atmosphere as people help each other prepare for the challenge of crossing the Atlantic Ocean in a rowing boat.

Here are some compelling rowing facts:

Each team will row in excess of 1.5 million oar strokes over a race.

Rowers will row for 2 hours, and sleep for 2 hours, constantly, 24 hours a day.

More people have climbed Everest than rowed an ocean.

The waves the rowers will experience can measure up to 20ft high.

Each rower loses on average 12kg crossing the Atlantic.

In the 2016 race, solo rower Daryl Farmer arrived in Antigua after 96 days, rowing without a rudder to steer with for nearly 1200 miles in 40 days. But, a quick look at the 2017 Leaderboard reveals other amazing stats for the fastest team to row across the Atlantic, the first sisters to row any ocean together, the youngest person to row any ocean and the first Type 1 Diabetic to row across the Atlantic.

Shoreseeker is an open water adventure rowing company designed to bring the incredible experience of ocean rowing to a wider audience, no prior experience required.

For a challenge of a shorter duration, Shoreseeker is an open water adventure rowing company designed to bring the experience of ocean rowing to a wider audience. They will train you, equip you and team you up with like-minded adventurers. After training, rowers choose from a series of week-long challenges. The experience is depicted here in a fun UK Adventure Rowing Race Series infographic.

A Swell Adventure to Test Your Mettle – Row the Open Ocean

The Prague to Hamburg Rowing Race is an epic challenge of 850 kilometres across Europe. Photo by Praguehamburgrowingrace.com

Undoubtedly, the Prague to Hamburg Rowing Race, an 850-km row for 12 straight days between Prague and Hamburg, is a challenge of the epic sort. Completed in October, 2018, the scullers had challenges within the challenge, such as powerful currents or trying to grab a few winks with high winds on the river. Read more about it in this article Extreme Row Across Europe on the World Rowing site. But we understand if you choose to admire these challenges from Afar.

There are fewer worries with waves while coastal rowing, here with a view from the stroke seat in Hong Kong on the South China Sea.

Row Coastal

For those of you who row still rivers and placid lakes, going coastal may be a challenge you’d like to try, especially because it’s a sport that is growing rapidly. What exactly is coastal rowing? Apparently, everything but the movement of the stroke is different.

How Different, Exactly, is Coastal Rowing?

Why All Rowers Should Care about Coastal Rowing

Coastal rowing is the mountain biking of rowing. It’s wilder, and typically over different terrain, and there may be more surprises. Simply put, you need to relax but constantly adapt to wind, waves and current. Have a soft catch and apply power mid-stroke. Row more upright. Ensure a clean release. When rough, get about 20 cm of horizontal hand separation. Keep rowing or you’re really in trouble. Does that sound fun? Challenging?

Monster the Loch 2018 by RowTours - YouTube

The next Monster the Loch 2019 rowing challenge in Scotland will be held September 28. Credit: Rowtours.com

More Approachable Rowing Challenges

Monster the Loch is a new event, and the first mass participation boat race on perhaps the world’s most famous lake, Loch Ness. All human powered boat types are invited to race The Loch, which is 22.7 miles long. On September 28, 2019, 100 boats will be spread across the entire Loch at the start line. Organizers are hoping for the right conditions to see some world records broken. The current rowing record is 2:28.09.

In Australia, the Flying Doctor Rowathon, on the Murray River, is not a race but is a major draw. Watch the site for next year’s row, an annual one-day marathon row held at Wentworth, New South Wales. The row raises funds for the Royal Flying Doctor Service, that has been saving lives and assisting people in the outback and remote communities for 90 years.

The 2018 course of 90 kilometres—in recognition of 90 years—will be rowed on the Darling and Murray rivers. Rowers can complete the full distance or row one of four equal stages. At least one of Rowing The World’s new trips in Australia will be on a stretch of the Murray River but we will definitely not row 90 kilometres in one day.

Whether rowing across an ocean, a lake, or the river through town, choosing a challenge is also a challenge, nor is it always the right thing to do.

Whether rowing across an ocean, a lake, or the river through town, choosing a challenge is also a challenge.

Choose wisely, have fun and good luck! You’ll change yourself and perhaps the world in the process.

The post Rowing Challenges To Try or Admire From Afar appeared first on Rowing The World & The Rowing Concierge.

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Cradle Mountain is one of Tasmania’s many protected areas which cover 42% of the islands.

How can one not be intrigued by a place that was populated by more than 70,000 convicts, has a town called Nowhere Else, and is home to a night-marauding carnivore named after the devil? The tagline for Tourism Tasmania is “a curious island at the edge of the world.” From what was once a penal colony on one of the world’s most beautiful islands, a fascinating, somewhat quirky, destination has evolved, now with half a million people living in a place the size of Switzerland.

Rowing The World is hepped about Tasmania because that’s where our very first Australian rowing trip, Touring & Rowing Tasmania, will be in 2019, AND we have other Australian trips coming up as well. Stay tuned.

Tasmania is known for its vast, rugged wilderness areas, encompassing six national parks rich in alpine terrain, lakes, mountains and rainforest. It is also rich in history and culture. On the Tasman Peninsula, the 19th-century Port Arthur penal settlement—now an open-air museum—creates immersed and empathetic visitors by providing them with a prisoner’s identity as they explore. In Hobart, the port capital, the Museum of Old and New Art—MONA—has a contemporary edge in an underground setting accessible by ferry or road.

Huon River in Tasmania is considered one of the best places to row in all of Australia.

The Devil is in the Details

A few favourite details—or highlights—on our Tasmania trip will include the Huon River, considered one of the best places to row in Australia; the Wooden Boat Centre at Franklin; and Lake Barrington, an international rowing centre in the heart of the island; and plenty of time to meet local rowers through their clubs, all of which hold great interest for rowing and rowers.

Beyond that, we’ll also visit Heritage Highway, built by convicts in the early 1800s; the hills of the Tamar Valley, the island’s premier wine producing area; and a walk around Dove Lake, with a chance—albeit slim—to spot your own Tasmanian Devil.

Bite of the Tasmanian Devil | National Geographic - YouTube

The real Tasmanian Devil is a nocturnal marsupial and is hard to spot.

The Devil You Know

We here at Rowing The World love wildlife, as well as a laugh. The Tasmanian Devil is so-called because it is Tasmania’s top carnivore, known to emit fierce snarls, high-pitched screams, foul odors and violent sneezes. Lovely. While many may not know exactly where Tasmania is, they’ve heard of the Tasmanian Devil, the real one, made famous by an animated character in the Bugs Bunny cartoons of the 60s and that is the rendition we prefer to share. Check out Looney Tunes animated Tasmanian Devil, Claude, depicted in this short cartoon with Bugs Bunny in Bedevilled Rabbit.

What Goes with Wallaby?

To the north of this isolated island, the aforementioned Tamar Valley Wine Route takes in more than 30 vineyards. Tasmanian pinots are considered among the best in the world. Pinot noirs, pinot grigios and sparkling wine tempt the taste buds from vineyards whose names are as wonderful as their wines:  Stargazer, Goaty Hill, Sailor Seeks Horse, Shiny Wines, Bay of Fires Wines and Bream Creek – the Tasmanian Winery Company of 2018.

And yes, the food! Tasmania is surrounded by ocean, so fresh oysters, seafood and scallops—in scallop pie!—will come as no surprise. But, lamb and ethical pork is very popular and Tasmania is known for pure milk, making for smooth blue cheeses, bries and camemberts. Harvesting wallaby, the ‘veal of kangaroo,’ is unique to Tassie, therefore the freshest fare is found here. It’s mild, delicate flavour, rich dark colour and tender texture has made it a staple on many high-end menus. According to one source, a light-bodied, silky pinot noir or dry rosé pairs well with delicate flavour of lean wallaby steak.

One can sample food in restaurants or hotels as well as some of the popular local farmers’ markets. Salamanca Market on Saturday in Hobart is considered one of the top sights of Tasmania. Regulars and travellers alike stop in here to sample sourdough doughnuts, wasabi cheese, locally roasted coffee and other treats.

Tasmania promises stunning rows, friendly Taswegians (yep, that’s what residents call themselves!), and, great food and wine. We know the wealth of quirky wonders means anyone planning a trip to Tassie can have a devil-may-care attitude. We’d love if you joined us this year or next.

The post Wallaby and Other Wonders in Tasmania appeared first on Rowing The World & The Rowing Concierge.

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After “why”, the next logical question is “how”. Our blog post on Going the Distance: Why Train for a Rowing Tour, garnered lots of interest. If we have convinced you of the why, the next step is to figure out the how. Here are our top tips plus the opportunity to access a brand new rowing tour training program.

Undertaking a rowing tour training program makes you happy during the trip!

Mental Preparation

Perhaps the first thing to think about is, well, thinking. Get the mindset of an athlete. Coach Reba Knickerbocker of Bend The Blade told us:

One has to think of themselves within that context in order to develop the desire to push themselves towards a particular goal. People have all kinds of stereotypes about what or who an athlete is, when in actuality an athlete is anyone who trains in a specific way for a specific endeavor.  Your tours are just that! A specific endeavor.

Check out her blog post that explores thinking like an athlete when you are a masters rower. Now you are ready to start training.

Think of It as a Marathon

Your club coach could help create a program that will best suit you. We are happy to talk to you about the difficulty level of any of our rowing trips. But there is other good information available too. For example, Rachel Freedman of RowSource posted a training program for an erg half marathon. As she points out:

A half marathon is 21,097m. Your Rowing The World tour will cover that distance and more each day. For a week. Would you attempt to run (or even walk) a half marathon day after day for several days without any training? Probably not. You’ll want to spend some time sculling and/or erging for several weeks leading up to your tour.

She notes that longer rows will help build physical stamina and, just as importantly, mental strength to keep going when the body fatigues.

Rachel discusses the importance of fuelling your body well when training – which typically is not a problem during the tours!

As you build to longer 15k and 20k workouts you’ll need energy, provided by carbohydrates (60%), protein (17%), and fats (23%). Before each training session, eat a small amount of low (apples, butter/navy/kidney beans, lentils) to moderate (white pasta, oatmeal, peas) glycemic food to provide energy at the right time.

The more that you prepare, the more that you will enjoy the tour, such as to St. Petersburg Russia

Training Program Specific for Masters

We have had some excellent discussions with Marlene Royle of Roylerow Performance Training Programs and Faster Masters Rowing. In our first post she indicated that rowing tour preparation needs to include building stamina so that you can recover quicker and can row day after day, as well as enhancing basic fitness for injury prevention. There are physical demands associated with long duration rowing, and you need to develop fatigue resistance. And she would know. She has trained people for the Corvallis to Portland row, spanning 100 km in two days, and also developed a three month program for racers to prepare for the World Rowing Masters Regatta.

At our request, Marlene is developing a rowing tour training program which will be available beginning February 2019.

This is a training program designed to help you build up your endurance to row a tour with distances of 20 or more kilometers per day. The a 3-month program by expert coach Marlene Royle gives you the specifics to train well for a successful and enjoyable tour with rowing workouts that can be done on the water or rowing machine, as well as, strength exercises. The plan is adjustable whether you train 6 times per week or 4 times per week. You can adapt it to fit your schedule to build endurance and strength to get the most out of your trip.

Sample session might be:

Session: 2 x 30’

Rest between: 3’

Rating/Pace: Every 5’ alternate 5’ @ stroke rate 20 and 5’ @ stroke rate 22.

The cost for the program will be $75 USD. You can purchase it through PayPal by sending funds to roylerow@gmail.com or email Marlene at roylerow@gmail.com to request a secure invoice.

And don’t forget technique. You also need a level of skill to keep rowing well even when tired and also to row with blended boats of rowers you don’t know. Marlene added this tip: If training on the water:

Focus on keeping blades off the water. Press the handle down to release the blade; as the hands come away from the body press the handle down again to set the height off the water by the time the follow through is complete. From then on the blade should remain parallel to the water until the entry.

If you feel your technique needs a tune-up, we encourage you to check out the sculling programs at both Craftsbury Outdoor Center in the summer or Florida Rowing Center in the winter. If you are lucky, Marlene might be your coach.

The Last Word

I am not a coach, but I will share my secret winter training tip (shhh, don’t tell Marlene). Periodically ditch the erg and get outside! Remember you need to be motivated to keep going. Nothing like a fabulous cross-country ski in beautiful surroundings or even a brisk, long walk to instill pleasure and variety in your rowing tour training program. See you on the water, fit and ready to row and enjoy your tour.

Cross-country skiing in Manitoba – the best rowing tour training program!

The post Top Tips for a Rowing Tour Training Program appeared first on Rowing The World & The Rowing Concierge.

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On a rowing tour you might row different types of boats under diverse conditions

The concept of training seems obvious, especially for rowers who need to master technique as well as build fitness in order to enjoy and grow in our sport. So why do some guests, who have signed up for a trip, not do any rowing tour preparation and training? Why would people think that they can go from rowing perhaps 6 – 10 km two or three times a week at their home club, fly to Italy or wherever, and not be tired when they need to row 20+ km every day for six days? Some guests do prepare, knowing  that more preparation equals more enjoyment. Let’s explore why you need to go the distance and train for a rowing trip.

My story of rowing tour preparation

At the stage when Rowing The World was still just an idea, I had the chance to be a replacement rower on the 2012 FISA World Rowing Tour held in Canada. It was last minute, and I somewhat panicked when I reread the tour description and realized that we would be rowing 30 to 35 km every day! I did not know what it would be like to row that far even once, let alone repeatedly. It seemed that I would not only risk life or at least injury, but would also embarrass myself in front of the 59 other rowers from around the world. I needed to prepare!

Luckily my doubles partner was happy to row more and had a flexible schedule, so in the few weeks before the trip we significantly increased our distances and frequency of rows. It was fantastic. We got to parts of the river that we had never rowed before and we just enjoyed all the extra time in the boat in the summer sunshine. Every once in a while in subsequent years we have repeated those long rows, and enjoy it every single time.

Rowing on the World Rowing Tour 2012 in Canada

The rowing tour preparation paid off. When I got to northern Ontario, I found that I could manage the daily distances. It did help that the stroke rates were typically lower than I had been training at, and we took frequent breaks. I learned that one of the bigger challenges is being able to sit on a hard seat that long – that was the summer that I discovered seat pads. But I was prepared and really was able to enjoy the full experience.

What’s the problem? Why don’t people train and prepare?

I wish that I knew the answer to this question, and I welcome any explanations. Could it be:

  • Not really reading the trip description and materials plus not thinking about the implications?
  • An over-confidence bias, as suggested to me by one coach?
  • Thinking that training to race suffices?
Okay, you are convinced – how to start your rowing tour preparation?

Training in Thessaloniki Greece

Given that you are a master rower at age 27, the question is really what is a masters rowing training program for a tour? Even if you compete and train to race, preparing for a tour is more like preparing for a running marathon instead of a sprint event. As Marlene Royle  of Roylerow Performance Training Programs and Faster Masters Rowing tells me, rowing tour preparation needs to include building stamina so you can recover quicker and can row day after day, as well as enhancing basic fitness for injury prevention. There are physical demands associated with long duration rowing, and you need to develop fatigue resistance.

That is the “why”. In future blog posts we will discuss the “how”. A tour is great overall training whether you are a recreational or competitive rower, so let’s get training for rowing travel!

The post Going The Distance: Why Train for a Rowing Tour? appeared first on Rowing The World & The Rowing Concierge.

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Cross-country skiing in Manitoba – the best rowing tour training program!

Rowing is absolutely not an option right now in Winnipeg.  They are driving trucks on the river, it is frozen so hard.  But don’t despair.  As much as we might live to row, there is something quite magical about winter.  When you can’t row you can:

  • Cross-country ski – we have hundreds of km of groomed trails within a few hour’s drive of the city and night time skiing right in the city.  Skiing is the perfect winter training for rowing.  Let’s stride and glide …
  • Become a voyageur.  Festival du Voyageur is a huge celebration of winter and the French and Métis culture in Manitoba.  In 2019 Festival celebrates 50 years. Over two weeks of fun, you can meet Fort Gibraltar”s historical character, admire snow sculptures created by international artists, dance to lively music, taste delicious French-Canadian food and And generally celebrate winter. HéHo!
  • Brave the elements on your bike. A few years ago Winnipeg hosted the International Winter Cycling Congress and now snow bikes or fat bikes are seen more and more, with special trails in a nearby provincial park. Bundle up!
  • Stay inside, drink Fort Garry Ale, and cheer for the Winnipeg Jets. Winnipeg is hockey mad – get ready for a white-out!
  • Winnipeg Rowing Club had a winter training program involving “snow quidditch“.  Curious?
  • Best of all, get out on the water, even if it is frozen.  Winnipeg is famous for the world’s longest skating rink.  Architects from around the world compete in our annual warming hut competition , featured in the photos below.  Weird, wacky and often delightful, who would have thought that this was part of the river scene.  We also have pop-up restaurants, serving breakfast and dinners right on the ice.  Sidle in on your skates to the coolest restaurant in Winnipeg  35 chefs from around the globe are coming to cook on the ice – sorry reservations already sold out.
  • Apparently the Finns have mastered rowing on ice, something that we have yet to see on the Red River: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MZfDWukFh9I

Maybe it’s not such a bad thing that we can’t row right now -even if these photos were taken when the temperature with the wind chill was -30oC.

The post When you can’t row … appeared first on Rowing The World & The Rowing Concierge.

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