If you can’t ride, then row

The end of my cycling career is essentially sealed now that I have sent the insurance settlement check for my old bike (The Viktor Rapinski Team Saturn LeMond) onto New York University so my eldest can become Martin Scorcese.

That means getting on my other exercise vehicle, my Empacher T18R training scull, and logging some meters around Grand Island here on Cape Cod.

I rowed in high school and college, gave it up after I graduated, then returned to it in 1995 after writing The Book of Rowing for Overlook Press. I bought my scull in 1997, named it the Arsch Clown in honor of Michael Bolton, Office Space, and the boat’s German origin, and have raced it a couple times in the Head of the Charles and the Green Mountain Regatta.


Here I am in the HOCR. I later hit a bridge abutment,  but managed not to capsize despite the exhortations to do so by drunken Harvard students. That would have been more than embarassing.

I carry the boat on my head down the hill to the harbor, launch off of the beach, and row approximately 9,000 meters around Grand Island. Here’s a link to the route.

It’s a great workout on some of the most beautiful sculling water in the Northeast — maybe a little less fun than cranking around on a racing bicycle, but infinitely safer and a better overall bang for my exercise buck.

Cotuit Skiff Scantling Plans

This is painted on the floor of my boatshop — probably painted by my grandmother who was the type of person who could pull off this type of work.

I believe these are called “scantlings” — essentially full-scale plans that boat builders referred to as a template for cutting planks. I don’t fully understand how they were used, and when in the boat building process, but it’s pretty cool they’re still there after 60 years.

Cotuit Skiff Scantling Plans

Originally uploaded by dchurbuck.

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