Originally published in The Weekly Packet, October 11, 2019
Fledgling rowing group to end season
The Blue Hill Community Rowing St. Ayles Skiff is about to head out of the harbor. Rowers are at the “Toss Oars” command, which is used both to get the oars out of the way, and as a salute to another boat. Pictured, from left, are Mark Baldwin, coxswain, Muriel Curtis, Carol Roberts, Deborah Evans, Chris Guinness.
Blue Hill Community Rowing will wind up its first season in October when the docks come out at the Kolledgewidgok Yacht Club, but the membership will continue building throughout the winter.
The program, open to members and non-members of the yacht club, officially started when the boat Audacity was rowed to the Blue Hill Maritime Heritage Festival on August 17. Since then there have been at least two or three rows every week, and the roster usually has been filled within an hour or two of the announcements, according to a news release.
The plan is for Blue Hill Community Rowing to operate from spring to fall, when the docks are in and the harbor is free of ice. Rows are usually for 60 to 90 minutes, but there will be some longer trips next year.
Audacity is a seaworthy 22-foot Scottish St. Ayles Skiff with a crew of four rowers sitting on fixed (not sliding) seats, each with one oar. The fifth seat is the coxswain, who is the captain of the boat for that row, responsible for safety and boat handling. Carol Roberts and Mark Baldwin of Surry started the program. So far, either Baldwin or Roberts have been the coxes, but they are training anyone interested to do the job. The hope is that there will be a roster of rowers capable of holding that seat.
The Blue Hill rows have concentrated on technique and teamwork. “It’s easy. People of all levels of skill and strength can do it,” Baldwin said in the news release. “Next year we plan to sort out the rows into recreational-exercise, power-exercise, and race training.” Roberts said, “For some entertaining videos, look up ‘Scottish Rowing’ or ‘St. Ayles Skiff’ on YouTube. The kits for the St. Ayles, by the way, are made at Hewes and Co. in Blue Hill.”
For information on the program, email email@example.com.