Another year, another coxswain training. It was a busy Memorial Day at the boathouse with some spectacular line tosses, some tricky man-overboard drills and hopefully a bit of learning.
Congratulations to our new Coxswains!
Remember that coxswain training is just the first step in a long process of learning. Our new coxswains will take the lead on boats, giving commands and making decisions, but with more experienced hands keeping a close watch and providing guidance.
Big thank you to Sally, Dave, Wendy, Frank and Rebecca for keeping the hungry masses fed, Pablo for handling all the little things that needed to be done throughout the day and Barbara, Andrew, Michael, Elizabeth, Michelle, Deborah, David, and Jackie for doing a wonderful job with the on-water training.
Today we wrapped our gig in the warm embrace of 1″ manila hemp. This will serve to protect it from bumps and bangs once we launch it out into the harbor. It was one of the last tasks in this project which began last August.
We had a very full crew in the boathouse today, more hands than were needed for this job, but we took turns with the clamps and caulk guns and screw guns and made short work of the task. Then some of us brushed another coat of paint on the thole pin blocks and another coat of varnish on the floor boards. And Elys prepared a mock-up of some different options for the stretchers.
We got some unexpected help from a couple of young women who stopped in for the first time and took over the job of “whipping” one of the rope ends. I’m sorry, but I did not get their emails. Thanks Kailyn and Lucy! One of the pleasures of Sunday boatbuilding is that almost every week a newcomer stops in, looks on, lends a hand, tells a story, and adds to the camaraderie of the shared building project.
That is just about to come to an end now. There will be no Wednesday session this week, and next Sunday will be our last boatbuilding for a while. Next Sunday we will flip our gig over in order to varnish the bottom. Maybe we will also gather for a group shot and pop a bottle of bubbly. If you have had anything to do with this project be sure to sign your name to the bottom of the cox seat. (Not the cox’s seat, silly; the wooden seat they perch on.)
Over the last month the VCB boatbuilders have been busy working on all the inside details of our new gig. Installing the fore and aft decks which have a gentle camber (thank you, Marcel) was a challenge. The floors are in and the floorboards (which sit on the floors) are half finished. The thole pin blocks (which will hold the rowing pins) are painted and oiled. The stretchers (which will hold the dowel you push against when you row) are fabricated and ready for paint. The special cox seat with its mounting brackets is complete.
And the final varnishing is under way. The fiberglass on the hull needs several coats of varnish to protect it from the sun’s UV rays. Several means four or five. Once we finish coating the inside we will flip the gig over and varnish the outside.
We are down to punchlist items like a mount for the flag, a holder for the drain plug, the mast step, the rudder mounts. Also…names of everyone who had a hand in the building of this gig: to be written on the bottom of the cox seat for the enlightenment of future generations who ask, “Who was responsible for this beautiful boat?”
If for any reason you don’t feel like rowing on Sunday afternoon, join us in back for some finishing-touches boatbuilding.Boatbuilding
VCB sent two crews to the the 43rd annual Snow Row, a gathering and celebration of traditional rowing craft and rowers. The race was a 3 3/4 mile triangular course around a few islands and sand spits in Hull Bay. VCB’s youth crew rowing Warrior, a cox-4 Dory, finished, the race in 39.43 minutes. They were rewarded with golden clamshells for finishing first in their category (Youth Cox-4). The adult crew, rowing Whitehall Gig Pete Seeger finished the race with a time of 47.07 minutes
Youth Crew: Michelle Huang (coxswain), Jonathan Valdez, Mehmet Colak, Daniel Elliot & Daniel St. John
Adult Crew: Jackie Chen, Aminah Walton, Elizabeth Argiro, Cindy Lin & Dave Clayton (Coxswain)