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Row, Row, Row Your Boat

Human power on the water.

Tuition: $825

Note: This is a five-day course ending Friday evening.

Rowing boat photo

This new course will give students the opportunity to get out on the water in fine style at low cost. Recreational rowing in traditional craft is making a strong comeback these days. Instructor Havilah Hawkins, a lifelong waterman, will use a variety of human-powered boats to take students across open water to coves, creeks, and islands out back of nowhere, exploring places where large sailboats and powerboats dare not go. Along the way you’ll learn healthful (and potentially life-saving) skills that will increase one’s strength and endurance, yet will prove gentle to joints and muscles. Anyone who can get in a boat can learn to row. This week you’ll learn how to row correctly.

Rowing boat photo

You’ll row fine traditional pulling boats, dories, prams, peapods, flat-bottomed skiffs, and try out other designs. No matter what previous experience you bring to the course, technique can always be improved. You’ll learn to keep as comfortable as possible since rowing is supposed to be fun. A variety of rowing and paddling strokes will be covered and practiced, including the art of sculling—that is, how to propel a boat by working a single oar over the transom. We’ll also look at safety equipment, tides and wind, simple navigation and charts.

Havilah will cover the history and evolution of rowing craft and designs. Students will have access to the WoodenBoat Research Library where your instructor will explain how to read and understand hull-lines drawings. What makes a suitable boat? How does one choose proper oars, oarlocks, and accessories? How is thwart placement determined?

Rowing boat photo

There are a lot of folks out there who think of rowing as “work,” to be avoided if at all possible. This week with Havilah Hawkins will be enlightening and enjoyable as we debunk that myth and discover the joys of messing about in small boats.