Following a gruelling ten hour drive to Kingston and back with another ten canoes for Frontenac Outfitters (left Tavistock 3:45am, dropped boats Kingston 8:15am, returned 1:30pm), I returned to the H20 Composites Inc. World Headquarters in Tavistock to help Jeff with a racing boat destined for a customer in Western Canada, and to put together the Mission Racing Offshore 21 rowing shell for myself. It was a scramble to get everything together, get the kids, and then pack everything up, but I finally made it to Toronto for dinner at 7, and then the cottage the following day.
I drove up with Uncle John, Rudi and Alexander, and after unpacking and cracking open a couple of beers, I fitted the rigger and oars to the shell, and John and I got the boat on the water. I knew that there would be no chance of me actually figuring out how to use one of these without a bit of instruction, but I gave it a go anyway. Falling out of the boat about twenty times, and not making it further than about a boat length proved me right, so I finally gave up. Katherine's sisters instruction the following day proved invaluable, when as I went out to embarrass myself, she yelled out 'Use the oars flat to keep your balance!' ('you dummy' being implied!) That was the secret! As soon as I flattened the oars on the water, I could immediately control the side to side pitch of the boat (the yaw, maybe?) and keep from tipping over. Soon after that I was cruising along, working on my stroke, and actually getting well out into the lake!
This boat is a demonstrator, and will be made available for sale to anyone interested at the end of the summer. The regular price is $3995 plus taxes excluding oars, but this one can be had for a bit less than that, depending on the type of oars, foot stretcher, rigger, and seat finally fitted (right now it has some really basic used stuff in it just to try it out). If anyone is interested in trying this or a similar rowing shell out, I will probably be having a couple of demonstration days at the cottage this summer. Look for additional postings with details!