UPDATE - June 20, 2019 by Rich Whelan

Giants -

Please read this email as it's VERY important for your safety.

While coxing, some of us need to sit on something for various reasons such as not fitting in the seat, add some padding for our backs, or something to prevent us from going all the way into the bow of a 4+. Typically, we use the orange life jackets and they work great. However, I've noticed that some folks are grabbing life jackets from the bags again. If you did this and didn't know you shouldn't, that's OK. No need to apologize, I should have reminded everyone so it's my fault.

So we're clear on this, do NOT take a life jacket out of the life jacket bags for any reason other than someone is in the water and needs one. There should be 10 life jackets in each bag. Why 10? 8 for rowers, 1 for cox, and 1 for coach. I do check them from time to time and have found that one bag will have 12, another 14, and another 7. This is one of the reasons why you do not take a life jacket out of the life jacket bags - you may not put them back in the correct bag. Also, should you take one or two out of a bag and put the bag back, a coach - or someone who is borrowing them - could take the bag that is short a couple. If they have an emergency and need them, that's a major issue. We need to make sure there are 10 orange life jackets in those bags AT ALL TIMES!

What do you use if you need one for coxing? Inside the cabinet by the stairs, there are about 10 or so. You may take them from there. However, please remember to put them back neatly and if they did get wet, hang them up to dry - outside the cabinet - so we can prevent the cabinet from smelling "ripe". If you do not know where this is or have questions, ask me! I'll be happy to show you.

Once again to drive the point home...NEVER take a life jacket out of a life jacket bag unless someone is in the water and needs one. They're used for emergencies and we need to make sure we have the correct number of jackets in the bags at all times.

Thank you for your help with this!


UPDATE - April 17, 2019 by Rich Whelan

Giants -

This afternoon, the high school team took out the Friends of GGRC for practice and had an accident while docking.  By the pictures sent to me, it appears to be minor and something we can address at our convenience.  BUT...I will need to confirm that the boat is OK.  More importantly, no one was injured. 

What happened?  While they were docking, a rigger bolt on port side caught on the dock.  (There was no rigger at that seat, just the bolts.)  From what I'm told, the bolts bent slightly and there looks to be some damage to the hull - crushed hull - that will need to be addressed.  I will be looking at the rib tonight to make sure there was no damage there.

How did it happen?  From what I'm told, the rowers were not listening and not paying attention when docking.  A command was given and the rowers didn't respond.

This was an accident that could have been prevented and the extent of the damage is TBD.  I'm looking at the hull tonight when I get out of work.

Because we're early in the season, I felt a note to all our rowers reminding you to listen to the coxswain at all times.  When docking, the coach on the dock will give you commands and you should listen for them.  This is why we stress that there should be no talking in the boat when we dock.  Listen for your seat number and do what you're told to do right away.  Also, your hands should be out to push the hull away from the dock.

Luckily, the damage was limited to the hull.  In situations like this, rowers may also be injured and that's something I never want to see happen.  I can fix minor hull damage and Vespoli can turn around a repair generally in good time.  But when it comes to broken rowers, they take longer to fix.

Please remember to listen to your coaches and coxswains and do what they tell you to do, when they tell you to do it.  Docking at Blessing of the Bay can be tricky.

If you have any questions, please let me know.



UPDATE - April 10, 2019 by Rich Whelan

Giants -

We're halfway through our second week and I've noticed a few items and I wanted to make sure we have good habits of doing things.  I know there is still some organizing to be done in the boathouse but we're getting there!  I hope to be mostly done within a week or so.

  • Goose Buckets with posts - The new system should be in place this weekend but before then, I wanted to talk about the system on the wood dock.  There are 3 buckets with posts in them.  They're for lanterns which serve 2 purposes.  In the morning and evening, they give light to the dock to make it safer for rowers to walk on - seeing where you're walking is important.  And it gives coxswains at night a target for docking.  Please make sure there's always one at either end of the dock and one in the middle.  

  • Goose Buckets Placement - This is something that happens from time to time.  It's minor but it gives the geese a path to get on the dock.  Sometimes when the buckets are put out, there is a space left where the two docks meet.  Then we swing the dock away from shore and we have a space that acts like a door for the geese.  Please make sure that there is no space left.  (I'll go over the new system with everyone once it is in place.)

  • Safety Suits - I removed the cabinet the suits were in so after use they do not need to be hung on ergs to dry.  We can hang them up on the rack where they go.  Also, it may seem minor but please put them on the hangers that reflect their size.  It makes it easy to grab the one you need if the size of the suit matches the size indicated on the hanger.  That way we don't need to go through all 7 suits to find the one you need - it's right on the hanger.

  • Yellow Paddles - There is a new spot for these now.  It's behind the motors close to the stairs.  There are two brackets on the all with a small bungee acting as a gate.  Please put the paddles here so we can find them and remember to close the gate so they stay put.  Some have ended up in a few places including on one of Wentworth's motor racks.  Why can't we put them there?  Because if Wentworth needs that rack, then they need to move paddles.  Please put them in their new home.

  • Cox Boxes - After use, please plug them in.  If they are unplugged, that's done by me.  Why?  I unplug them when they batteries are full to prevent over charging.  

  • Cox Box Headsets - Please make sure they're hung up correctly.  I will demonstrate for each group.  It's very simple to do.  This prevents damage to the headsets.  Each year, we send out 3 or 4 to be repaired.  It's most annoying when you're at a regatta and the headset is crackling because of damage.  

  • Cox Box Cabinet Lights - These are motion lights.  There's no need to shut them off.  They turn off on their own after 30ish seconds of no motion.

  • Launch Keys - Sometimes we breakdown the launches for the coaches.  Please put the keys on the assigned hooks.  My fear is that someone will try and start a launch with the wrong key and they'll break the key in the ignition.  

All of these items are minor but can cause minor and major headaches to your teammates and coaches.  If you have any questions or comments on any of these, I'm all ears.

Thank you in advance for your help!



 UPDATE - April 3, 2019 by Rich Whelan

Giants -

The weather this first week has not been kind but looks to be settling for the end of the week.  We're looking forward to some good rowing this season.  This update is long....Here's what's going on...

  • Still time to sign up and row in April! - Did you forget to sign up or want to start rowing next week or the week after?  The only prorating we'll do for registration fees is if you start late!  So there's still time to sign up to row!  Email me if you want to start now.

  • Rowing in May - Please sign up early if you are.  This way the coaches can plan on you attending!

  • If you use it, put it back - This seems  pretty straight forward but it's one thing that tends to happen.  Someone uses a tool or something and then leaves it out.  Please put it back where it goes.  I installed a rack for the brooms and shovels behind the oar racks.  Each rack is labeled for the tool to put in that spot.  Why?  So they'll all fit!

  • Introduction to Rowing - This is a new program at GGRC!  Have a friend that wants to try rowing but isn't sure?  Each month, we'll hold an "Introduction to Rowing" class on a Saturday.  Times are 8am-11am on different Saturdays throughout the season - 4/20, 5/25, 6/22, & 7/27.  The cost is $40 for the class and the Membership Fee is waived.  Also...there will be a Groupon for this class!  Details on that to follow.

  • Other Changes in the Boathouse - We have moved some things around in preparation for the install of a new oar rack.  The set up by the stairs has also changed - new shelves and new place for the life jackets to be hung up after use.  Although...if they are wet, do NOT put them in the cabinet.  Please hang them up with the Safety Suits which are now no longer in a cabinet.  This will allow them to air out to dry and not make the cabinet smell a little "ripe".  I'm going through the process of labeling where things go.  It will take time so if you're not sure where something goes...ask!  (I'm aware that there's a pile of "stuff" in a corner of the boathouse...I'm working on it.)  

  • Paddles for Coaching Launches - These have never had a home...they do now!  Behind the outboard motors, there are 2 brackets close together on the wall - under the riggers for the doubles/pairs.  There's a bungee acting as a gate.  Please stand up the paddles with the handle between these two brackets and then close the "gate" by hooking the bungee on the bracket.  

  • Changes to the Goose Defense System - On the plastic dock, we will not use buckets this year.  I'm changing it to PVC pipes and will have it installed within a week or so.  They're lighter than the buckets.  You'll be able to see where the hole in the dock you insert the PVC pipes in, and it should work to keep the geese off the dock - the geese figured out that if they pulled and pushed the fence, they could end up moving things to be able to jump on the dock.  Because the circumference of the PVC pipe is MUCH smaller than the bucket, they can pull on it all they want, it won't move the way the buckets did.  (Why yes, I do spend spare time thinking about this....and no, I'm not telling you how much!)  I'm thinking about a similar system for the wood dock.  Also, on the wood dock, 3 of the buckets have a PVC post sticking out of them.  That is for the lanterns to hang from.  This makes docking easier at night and launching easier in the morning.  They need to be spaced out - one on the ends and one where the 2 dock sections connect.

  • Work on the Wood Dock - I will be working on the dock in the upcoming weeks.  There are boards that will be replaced.  We are working on a grant to replace this dock as well.  It's important that you know that the wood dock IS SAFE!  It may dip down a bit when we're all standing on one side and that doesn't mean the dock is not safe, it's normal.  Part of that is due to the added buckets on the dock - more weight due to the water in the buckets - shorter lengths keep the fence from moving and the geese off!  Let me know if you want to bang some nails.

  • US Rowing Safety Video - If you have not watched it yet...Please do so.  There's information in here that is valuable for YOUR safety.  Things like what you should do if the boat flips are covered.  https://youtu.be/Rx5SUe_RdgQ 

  • New Boat in the Fleet - We have a new small hull 4+ that's been added to the fleet.  The dedication for this hull is TBD but will happen this Spring - likely in May.

  • Check your hardware! - When you get in the hulls, check the hardware around your seat.  You should do this each time you row.  Why?  Nuts get loose and taking the 20 seconds to verify that everything is tight prevents damage to you or the boats.  Remember that on the wing rigger boats, you should check the nut UNDER the gunwale.  Not sure where that is?  Please ask.  If you check the bolt on top, that could be tight but the nut for that bolt underneath could be loose!

  • Equipment Repair Log - This will be hanging in it's usual spot as of tonight.  Please note when things are in need of repair.  Please do not assume that I know about it.  I'm trying to turn around repairs within 24 hours of finding out about them.  If I don't know about it...I can't fix it.  Your help in logging issues informs me of it.  Please be specific on what's wrong - telling me that there is no sound in the Friends isn't enough.  Please also tell me which cox box and headset you used as the problem may not be with the speakers in the boat but might be with the cox box or headset.  

  • Dock Installation - The dock is scheduled to go in tomorrow.

  • Bathrooms at Blessing of the Bay - They are still closed and should open up in about 2 weeks.  The city wants to make sure that weather is consistently above freezing before turning it on.  There is a portajohn.  Code for that is 200.  Please remember to lock it after use.

  • What to do with Logs/Branches pulled from the river - We've been leaving them on the dock.  This is a safety hazard.  From now on, they should carried off the dock and placed by the light post at the end of the parking lot - on the grass.  It's where we put the trash to be emptied and near where I park the truck when I'm working in the boathouse during the week.  Please ask if you're not sure.  These should be moved at the end of each practice.  The exception to this is if we pull out a very large log and it's on one of the docks floating on the river.  It's OK to wait a day or two for it to dry out a bit - it'll be lighter to carry.

  • Discarded Needles - Occasionally, we do find hypodermic needles near the boathouse - sometimes they're in the water or they wash up on the dock.  If you see one, DO NOT TOUCH IT.  Call the City of Somerville, 617-666-3311.  Tell them where you are, you found a needle, and the exact location of the needle.  They'll send the police down to pick it up.  Again, DO NOT TOUCH IT! 

  • Sculling Saturdays - These will be in Regatta Central Soon!  Pretty straight forward when this happens.  Keep in mind that you do need rowing experience to take part. 

  • Race Information - We'll be posting the races we plan to attend soon.  Stay tuned on this as well...

That's all for now.  Not very exciting stuff but all stuff we need to let you know about.  If you have any questions, please let me know.



UPDATE - January 2, 2019 by Rich Whelan

Giants - 

Happy 2019!  We're looking forward to an exciting year of growth and quality strokes on the Mighty Mystic River!  Here's your first update of things to think about and what we have planned...

  • THANK YOU! - Thank you to each of you who donated for #GivingTuesday or for our end of year push.  Your generosity allows us to do more programming!

  • New Launch - Yup!  We'll have another Stillwater Duo at the start of the season.  That will bring our fleet of Stillwaters to 4 launches.  The 4th is being acquired via a grant from Blue Cross Blue Shield.  We can't wait to give them a river tour in the launch!  We may need to start naming them!  Suggestions?

  • Other Grants - We've been typing up grants to purchase some other equipment including a dock to replace our wood dock.  These grants are currently in the review phase and we won't know for a while if we will receive them.  But if you hear of grants that could apply to us, please let us know! 

  • Deck Calendars - As you likely noticed, we didn't do a wall calendar this year.  That's because we thought of something different.  A smaller desk calendar that we will include items like race dates and deadlines so you'll know when you need to do things.  We don't have them yet because all the dates we need to put on it are not available.  We do anticipate this to be ready for the start of our season.  They will be available for purchase for $10.  I'll have an update on this in late Feb.

  • Northeast Erg Challenge - This will take place on Jan 26th.  Put your Winter Training workouts to the test!  It's a fun event that GGRC has competed at the past couple of years.  We've won some medals there and look forward to winning more!  For all the erg races, you must register  yourself.  For this race...follow this link: http://www.northeastergsprints.org/ 

  • GGRC Erg Challenge - Our erg race is coming up as well!  We're confirming dates for space but it will be at the end of March.  Great way to see how your Winter Training went!  Details will go out as soon as we have them!

  • CRASH-B's - This year, the World Indoor Rowing Championships will take place on February 17th at BU.  There is a location change - it will take place in the Track and Field Center (which is located near Walter Brown Arena).  Sign up and pull hard for GGRC!  https://www.crash-b.org/  Every rower should do this race at least once.  

  • Winter Training - It may be January, but there's still time to sign up and take part in Winter Training!  The Morning Session is divided into 2 groups - 5:30am-6:30am and 6:30am-7:30am - Mon, Wed, Fri.  The Evening Session runs from 6:30pm - 7:30pm - Mon, Wed, Thurs.  Sign up here: http://www.gentlegiantrowing.org/sign-up/

  • Mystic River Watershed Benefit @ Flatbread - Our friends at Mystic River Watershed will be having a benefit night on Tuesday, January 22nd.  Same format as the one we held...so, who's up for a GGRC January event on Jan 22nd for some pizza?

  • Who is on the GGRC Board of Directors? - We get this question from time to time...here's the link to the list.  If you think you know someone who would be interested in helping the board, let us know.  We are an "Administrative Board" in that we each do various jobs to keep the club going - organize races, marketing, grant writing, etc.  Here's the link to our current Board...  http://www.gentlegiantrowing.org/board-of-directors/  Do you want to do more to help GGRC but don't want the commitment of being on the Board?  Let us know...there are various tasks that we're always looking for help with.

  • Boathouse re-org - I've been spending time in the garage re-organizing things.  We needed to create space for another oar rack and with the scaffolding removed, new shelves will go up which will allow us to be compliant with the 3 feet of travel space needed between the stairs and the shelves.  This means in 2019, some items will have new homes.  I plan on labeling everything so we all know where everything goes.

Any questions on anything, please let me know.  We're looking forward to a fun 2019 and we're happy your a part of our family!

Go Giants!