Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Row, Row, Row Your Boat

I've long had an affinity for boating/canoing and prefer the rowed, paddled and sailed to motor boats (although they can be fun...). This might be a bit of why. You see the little blonde haired boy next to that 50-something year old woman in the boat? That's me, age 5, and that's my Grandmother F and the boat is Winona late of Lake George in New York and now a resident of the Mystic Seaport Museum. However, Winona is on vacation here and on Barnegat Bay, New Jersey. Grandma F was teaching me to row and that was the beginning. We weren't far off-shore, close enough for Grandpa F to take the picture but it was fun and I often remember that day(what I can remember) as GREAT fun.

The boat, Winona, was built about 1888 by George Bartlett of Sabbath Day Point on Lake George for my Great, Great, Great, Grandfather van Cott. It was one of a pair of boats but the other has long since gone to boat heaven. This boat has been rowed (as seen here but with oars in leathers), sailed (with leeboards), motored (with a 3 horse Envinrude), and rowed and sailed some more. She has two rowing stations, a stern seat backrest and (at least she had) a rudder. Many family members have spent many hours in bliss on board this 16 foot boat.

I thought it great fun to row in the bow, my sister in the middle and Grandma in the stern. Sometimes Grandma would use the rudder and sometimes she'd lounge on the backrest. Sometimes her beloved Collie, Lady, would ride with us.

With such a grand introduction, is it any wonder I so love the water? Now, I have an Old Town Pack canoe. Only 13 feet long, it is plenty for me as Mrs. Hobie doesn't much like to get on the water in something so tippy. I've been thinking that I like the old style/traditional boats so much (but appreciate new materials like Kevlar as well) that I should get a boat that my dear wife would enjoy with me.

The Adirondack Guide Boat is my choice but funds simply aren't available. Oh, well, perhaps someday... I'd love to be able to hook up the RV, load the boat on the back of the truck with the bikes and head out to see how many bodies of water can wet her hull and how many miles of logging road we can ride.

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