I think I may have written about rowboats before, and if I have, I apologize for repeating myself. There is something perfect about a rowboat at the cottage. I believe that no cottage, and in particular, no cottage kid should be without one…
Rowboats are generally fairly stable, and therefore, in controlled conditions a great way for kids to learn something about boats and in all likelyhood develop a lifelong interest in them. I believe they are safer than canoes, because of the stabilty factor. At the same time, rowing is a great form of exercise for all ages.
There are also organized rowing events, usually races, that can be great team building experiences as well as a lot of fun. The first type is called “crew” or “sweep oar” which involve crews of two, four or eight members. Everyone uses two hands to pull on one of the oars and in some cases a coxswain sits in the stern, steering the boat and encouraging the racers to “pull.”
The second form of rowboat racing is called “sculling” and is usually in one, two or four rowers who each use two oars. This is a little closer to traditional rowboat rowing although with much greater speed.
People have been rowing boats for a long, long time. Just think of the Vikings for example, who rowed in a style that would be the eqivalent to the “crew” racing I mentioned, the difference is they rowed more for transportation than for racing. But racing is not the only form of rowing. People row to fish, for exercise, or to get ashore when their outboard motor breaks down, and in the romantic days of old, men used to row women around on leisurly Sunday afternoons.
A rowboat around the cottage can provide you and your kids with endless hours of entertainment, combined with a great form of exercise. Not to mention it’s lack of impact on the water and animals. Rowing is quiet, and relaxing, or if you prefer, it can be a little noiser as you up the exercise level, row faster and increase the benefits to your health. It can give you a low impact workout, which will improve your overall body conditioning, as well as help lower your blood pressure, relieve stress, and may even help you drop a few pounds. Here is where I am supposed to say consult a health professional before starting any exercise program…..there I said it.
My own little rowboat is a wooden one, called a “Little Rambler” and made by my Dad some 50 years ago. Yes, I said 50 years ago. It has stood up to the ravages of time wonderfully, although I say tearfully it has started to succumb to the effects of water and wind and sun and is slowing getting pretty soft. I painted it with fibreglass resin a year or two ago to keep it going a little longer, which seemed to work, although it needs it again now.
I guess because my father built it, I loathe the day when I have to burn it up, but I know that the day will soon come. It carried Dad and his buddy through many a successful fishing trip, then Dad and my Mother and I, and then me, and my stepson, and finally my own two daughters who learned to row in the little boat. It’s a long history, not one to be taken lightly.
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