Sea Shadow—all set to leave for Mystic first thing tomorrow morning.
For the past couple of weeks Sea Shadow has been docked in Prinyers Cove, an idyllic spot to row. Not having to trailer the boat each time we went out made it very convenient to get out for practices and also a great opportunity to introduce rowing to family and friends. Stewart Bates, our coach, joined us for three days and gave us his expert guidance. We have been extremely fortunate to have someone so qualified offer to help us with the technical aspects of rowing this type of boat.
After today’s outing, we loaded the boat on the trailer for the trip to Mystic Seaport where we will be participating in the Wooden Boat Show and North American St Ayles Championships from June 28 to 30. We’re looking forward to meeting Alec Jordan of Jordan Boats and Gardner Pickering of Hewes and Company at the show.
It’s been a damp June so far, especially on the days we planned to row. After an outing this morning, we went for lunch and returned to find 4″ of water in the bottom of the boat, well above the floorboards. Despite the weather we had a chance to test out some alterations to the boat. The oars for seats #2 and #3 were lengthened by 10″ to 13.5 feet. We also added removable seat risers for a better working height. The rower in the bow seat especially benefited from this. I guess you could consider these sliding seats however they slide from side to side, not fore and aft.
For the first couple of rows we only had one footstretcher installed, a prototype to check the angle and the lateral positioning. We quickly discovered how much easier and comfortable it was to row with your feet pushing against something. This also allowed the legs to be an integral part of the stroke. Three more were made, one the same as the prototype and two with slight alterations to allow them to be positioned as far outboard as possible.
The stretchers were made with scraps of 9mm plywood left over from the planking. After assembly and painting, a non-slip finish was applied to the front surface and loose fitting straps were added. No fear of anyone going down with the ship, feet slip out easily. The stretchers are fastened with bolts that pass through the gaps in the floorboards and then into a strip of hardwood. Loosening the bolts allows us to move the stretchers fore and aft.
With a forecast calling for thunderstorms, family and friends gathered on the shores of Picton Bay to christen and launch “Sea Shadow”, Canada’s first St. Ayles skiff. This celebration marked the culmination of a five month “labour of love” project.
With bag pipes playing, a wreath of white oak and ash branches on her bow to ensure safe returns, “Sea Shadow” was carried into the water and taken for her inaugural row. Mother Nature was kind, and held off for the two hour celebration so everyone could eat, drink and be merry!
Thank you to this posting’s photographers, Jane, Tony and Linda