I am making a fresh start on multiple fronts this week in rowing, which marks the biggest change for me in the sport in over 10 years. It’s a little scary but also a great opportunity:
1. I have a completely new “rig” since my boat disaster of a few weeks ago. I picked up a beautiful green 2008 Fluidesign 95kg boat from a Mercyhurst rower who injured his shoulder and can’t scull anymore. Thanks to the family and friends who helped make this happen quickly – you know who you are. Also a big thanks to Leonard Insurance (former Undine guys) who were a dream to deal with. It’s a weird feeling being in a single-skin boat with a bow-mounted rigger, but honestly it didn’t take me long to pick it up. The boat is definitely lighter than my Hudson was, and does not require backstays due to the bow-mounted rigger. The hull design seems more forgiving. It also has 5kg more capacity than did my old boat, and let’s be honest in that it’s harder to stay at 195lbs. now that I’m older. I also have a pair of Croker S4 Superlights, which are top-of-the-line sculls and better than the ones I had previously. They will be great, if unforgiving, so I’d better get my technique in line fast. I have less than 30 days until the Alumni Sprints regatta.
2. I have moved my training location from the Passaic River to Overpeck Park. This means trading decent facilities, dirty water, and powerful tides for no facilities but beautiful, non-tidal, protected water. In many ways it is a “back to basics” approach, similar to my situation 10 years ago in Petaluma, California. Given the Passaic’s increasing propensity for floods and the fact that the state will be doing Superfund dredging on the best rowable section of the river this summer, I decided that a “trial separation” was in order. I now have a vacant lot, a 40-foot shipping container, a dock, and 3000 meters of straight, flat water with a marked 2K course on the northern end. Frankly, Overpeck is probably the best rowing water in New Jersey, rivaling Cooper River, and it’s hard to believe it’s not jam packed with rowers, kayakers, paddleboarders, etc.
3. I will be racing independently for Ever Green Boat Club, the Dartmouth Alumni virtual club. The advantages are that I will likely get on the water much more frequently, and will easily be able to benchmark times on a measured course. For now it’s just me, some elite kayakers, one bald eagle with an aerie on the other side of the water, and Coach Clemens at the Teaneck docks on the other end. Anybody want to join us?
The new rig:
The new water (video):