I took the Vespoli Matrix out for a row and managed to overturn on a northbound run back up Wyandotte Lake. My right leg decided to cramp up at that catch. . . recovery. square blades. drop. catch. . . wait massive right leg cramp. loss of balance. (thee overturn ensues). Not having a lot of experience overturning a single, let alone re-mounting from the water, made for a learning experience.

I was fortunate to have a member, Al Hupp, from Kansas City Rowing Club (www.kcrowing.com) give instruction on how to get back into the boat. For anyone interested, Al gave instruction relevant to this reference at : http://www.eriecanalrowingclub.com (Florida Rowing Center)

Demonstrating how to get back into an overturned single shell.

Rowing of the Shell. . . with caution not to be hit by the rigging or oars.

Carefully reaching across, grabbing for the rigor on the opposite side of the shell, and slowly turning to let the water out.

Slowly turning the shell right back-up.

Now it’s time to re-position the oars extended outward back into the oar locks.

She then positions the oar handls on her site, into the rigging on the other site, to position it for an easy reach when she swims to the other side.

Now for the challenging mount. . . Depending on which side you’re on you will maintain, with one hand, both oar handles and using the other hand to hold a firm part of the rowing shell.

Then you want to paddle your legs towards the service so your body is almost flat on or near the top of the water’s surface.

Now that you’re in position, pull yourself to the top of the shell, and shortly after you’re on the shell, rotate your body into the seat

Now use your hand(s) on the oars, use them to balance the shell while you bring your feed back into the shell

And that’s how you get back into an overturned single shell


Nebraska Furniture Mart (NFM), the nation’s most comprehensive home furnishings store located in Omaha, Kansas City, and Des Moines. A one-stop destination for all your needs for home furnishings, electronics, entertainment, and more.

I was informed by a Nebraska native that if you are in shopping at NFM and you’re looking to pay less than the sticker price for an item, to look at the cents value of the sticker. If you find an item with the value of 88 cents on the end of a price, it’s a hidden flag for a salesmen that the price is final and non-negotiable.

So if you’re looking for a flat-screen television and you find one priced at $736.88, its a non-negotiable sticker price. However, if you find it for a value like $745.98 then you’re odds to negotiate may be in favor. I’ve yet to negotiate the price, but it would have been nice to know for my previous purchases. I don’t know how reasonable of a negotiation you can make, but you have nothing to lose.

As for a testament of this story, this native went to the Kansas City location to buy bar stools. At list price of 99.99 he offered the salesmen $75.00 per Bar stool. The salesmen played the I don’t know what you mean card, and he said in Omaha nobody pays the sticker price for anything. She ended up saying how they aren’t suppose to talk about that at the Kansas City branch, and then sold him the stools for $75.00 each.

Just a thought on your next visit. Look for the 88 cents and negotiate the negotiable.

Backsplash Catch

April 16, 2009

It’s a struggling start to the 2009 rowing season. Not quite like the riding a bicycle; You do forget what you’re doing. So it’s a practice gig. We’ve been on the water a couple times now? It’s been a wobbly start.

Blade depth. Hands together. Timing. Oars Sky High. It’s everything.

Tonight, Coach Jenn reminds us to take the row at an slow, steady pace; Keeping those hands together from the drive thru the recovery – all the time!  The most helpful advice was progressive rowing. . .giving time for us to work as a team and coordinate the catch and release cycles together. Hear those oar locks engage and disengage!

Progressive Row :

  1. Arms & Back (20 Strokes)
  2. 1/4 Slide (20)
  3. 1/2 Slide (20)
  4. Full Slide (20)

In pace, we then focused on rolling those oars to into a square position earlier into the recovery. As we take a few strokes, Jenn pushed us to raise our hands (lowering our oars to the water), contributing a stronger sense of balance. Our hands tend to dive in the recovery cycle as we square which diminishes our center-of-gravity and creating the unstable behavior.

A useful analogy I like to remember is to imagine you’re taking a tabasco bottle and rolling it on a table. Starting with the bottle in the palm of you’re hand, rolling it forward into your finger tips, and you’re thumb nested at the base of the bottle, then try to pick-up the bottle with your fingers and thumb. It helps you understand the roll technique, and the upward motion you have with your hands when you drop you’re oars into the water at the catch (the blades drop, the oar handles rise).

If you find yourself at a restaurant with tabasco bottles at the table, I encourage you to try.

A sense of progress this evening, but we still have a bit to work on. It’s only our second practice, but we have much more to contribute on the water in weeks to come. If Dave will just get his Captain’s key from the coaches, we can hit up the lake 3-4 times a week.


To set in motion. . .

March 23, 2009

Over the weekend I discovered a unique Latin phrase described by an individual who recently returned from a (2) years in Germany with ROTC Airforce and then another year in London serving as a parishioner for a Catholic Church in the area (I forget the name of the parish). She (Jenn) described the experience moving as she spent time understanding the theological anatomy and philosophy of the Catholicism. I couldn’t question the enjoyment she had from the experience as her delivery of the topic came with overwhelming amounts of joy, excitement, and a memorable smile.

So as we began to review her journey and become better introduced to a mere friend of Jeff’s, I reconciled how I would like to be more reflective on my journey(s) and share the same amount of detail with those I meet or catch-up with. And so I’m taking her inspirational, well technically Pope John Paul II’s, to begin the deep dive into Fides et Ratio. (Latin: Faith and Reason). It’s meant to describe that Faith and Reason are not only compatible, but essential together.

Faith witout reason leads to superstition. Reason without faith, leads to life without meaning. So I want to be mindful of my experiences, learn from them, and share to those who may read.

And so it begins. . .

A cursory glance into the history of the rowing sport. What is it? Where did it come from?

The history of the sport is that it wasn’t a sport at all. Originating as a mean of transporation in the ancient culture of Egypt, Greece, and Rome. Used in the time for wafare as well.

In the 1700s, rowing evolved into a sport through competition among the watermen that provided ferry and taxi services along the River Thames in London, England. Prices for wager races were encouraged by trade unions, a cartels,  secret societies, and/or trade associations.

Der Hamburger und Germania Rudr Club was founded in 1836 is one of the oldest rowing clubs in the world, an marked the beginning of the organized sport in Germany, which is second to Leander Club (Establishe in 1818) is the world’s oldest public rowing club.

Racing boats (Shells) are long, narrow, and broadly semi-circular in cross-section in design to reduce drag, the phenomenon of resistance to motion through a fluid. A fin located on the under-side, near the rear helps prevent the tendency o roll and yaw and to assist the rudder.

Materials began with wood, but today almost always shells are made from composit material like a carbon-fiber with reinforced plastic. Together use to acquire strength and weight advantages.

In rowing you have numbers of 1, 2, 4, or 8. You may have heard of coxswains, one who is charged with navigating and steering the shell. Cox that literally means “boat servant”. Ship also known as a swain. Boats are either coxless (aka “straight”), bow-coxed (aka “bowloaders”) or stern-coxed.

Sculling and Sweeping are nearly identical, but slightly different. Similar in terms of the possible number(s) of rowers. It’s the rigger configuration that differs.  Sweep rowing puts ONLY (1) oar into the rower’s hands. Alternating the riggers, for example with an 8, you would have eight rowers with (4) riggers on port and (4) riggers on starboard; Alternating provides a symetric # of oars per side.

So the configurations are as follows :

Sweep: straight pair (or coxless pair) (2-), coxed pair (2+), straight four (or coxless four) (4-), coxed four (4+), eight (8+) (always coxed)

Sculling: single (scull) (1x), double (scull) (2x), triple (scull) (3x) (very rare), quad (or quadruple) (scull) (4x), octuple (scull) (8x) (always coxed, and mainly for juniors and exhibition)

Sweep/Sculling: Queep, 2 scullers and 2 sweepers (very rare)

That’s a good review of the sport’s equipment and general history. More to review soon.