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Update - May 17, 2018 by Rich Whelan

Giants - 

I was asked to look at an oarlock this morning because it looked like it needed a spacer but the spacer wouldn't fit.  The first thought is, it needs a half spacer.  When I looked at it, I knew exactly why the spacer wasn't fitting....the bushing had moved out of the oarlock.

What's a bushing?  A very simple explanation is the bushing is an insert into an oarlock that sets the pitch of the oar.  (We'll skip the pitch explanation for now.)  There is a bushing inserted in the top and bottom of the oar lock  When a spacer falls out during a row, these can slide out a little which makes putting a spacer in difficult or impossible.  

Why would a spacer fall out during a row?  The likely reason is the spacer is worn out a bit from being moved for different sized rowers.  The plastic does stretch a bit from the repeated moving and it may not snap in completely.  This is why each cox kit has 3 or 4 spacers in them.  You can row with a missing spacer if you need to, but make sure to put a spacer in after that practice.

How do you fix this?  The bushings can be tight so sometimes you need to take the oarlock out and tap the bushing back in.  However, most times if you simply move the oarlock up and down while it's on the rigger so the bushings come into contact with the other spacers, usually, the bushing will slide back into place.

To review...when you think you need a spacer, you should first check the top nut...is it loose?  Then check the bushings.  Are they sticking out at all - they should be flush with the oarlock.  Please do not simply "jam" a spacer in without checking.  If there's still an issue, ask a coach, myself, or note it on the log.

Any questions, please let me know.

Rich

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Update - May 16, 2018 by Rich Whelan

Giants - 

I realized that we have a number of new faces - which is AWESOME - and everyone may not know what to do when something breaks.  (Not that anything will break...ever!)  I'll give you a few choices as to what to do....

  1. Pretend it never happened.
  2. Look at whatever broke, raise your hands in the air, and say, "oh rowing Gods...you are powerful and just.  Please fix this through your divine influence."
  3. Point at the rower next to you and scream, "WHY DID YOU DO THAT???"
  4. Duct Tape
  5. More Duct Tape
  6. Put it in a position so it looks OK, so the next person using that equipment will then have to deal with it.
  7. Throw it in the Mystic and never speak of it again.
  8. Look at whatever broke and yell, "THANKS OBAMA!"
  9. Did I mention Duct Tape?
  10. Write it on the Repair Log as soon as you can so I will be made aware of it and can fix it.

If you guessed "Writing on the Repair Log", Congratulations, you're a smart cookie!  

Seriously, if I don't know about it, I can't fix it.  Please remember to write down when something breaks or is not working properly on the repair log which is hanging by the wood shelves where you hang your keys.  If you forget to note it, that's fine.  You may simply email me.  Never assume that someone else already has or someone else will.  I'd rather receive 4 emails telling me that something needs to be addressed than receive no notifications.

When you do note it, remember to give me more details than "the shoes in the Esther Rachel are outta whack".  I need to know what shoes and how are they "outta whack".   

If you have any questions, please let me know.

Thanks for you help!

Rich

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Update - May 16, 2018 by Rich Whelan

Giants -

As you know, Learn to Row Day is Saturday, June 2nd.   This is an important day on our schedule because not only does it help to get people on the water, but it also demonstrates our desire to be an active part of the Somerville community.

Attached you will find a PDF flyer to post and share.  Also, please talk about the event on Social Media - invite friends and family to come down.  We will have...

  • Land based rowing instruction on ergs
  • Organized groups headed out on the Mystic in our barge and hulls
  • Free Food 
  • Free Entertainment - we'll actually have a band!

We'll also need your help at various positions for this event...

  • Coxing
  • Rowing
  • Welcome Table
  • Erg Instruction 
  • Waiver Signing
  • Launch Driving
  • Asst Grill Master

Please sign up to volunteer!

Any questions, feel free to ask.

Thanks!

Rich

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Update - May 15, 2018 by Rich Whelan

Giants - 

Now is the time to sign up for racing!  Some of you are attending the Hamburger Cup at MIT on Saturday - Good Luck!  Hope you win some races and have some tasty non-vegetarian and vegetarian burgers!

Matt Walker edited our sign up sheets for these races and did an awesome job.  Please remember to fill out ALL the columns.  This is an important step in signing up.  It saves the coaches time and effort in tracking down other information.

This is an email you will want to save in a GGRC Folder in your inbox.  That way you will be able to find it easily. 

The races are....

6/16 - Saturday - Lawrence Celebration Regatta

7/28 - Saturday - Methuen City Sprints

Before signing up, check your calendars to make sure your schedule is clear.  All rowers that sign up will need to be present for the de-rig the evening prior to the race - We'll start de-rigging at 6pm.  And the re-rig will happen when the trailer arrives back at the boatyard.  I won't be able to tell you that until the race schedule is set and that typically happens the day before the race.

If you look at the race schedules online, you'll see a lot of events that take up a lot of the day.  Our experience with these races is the schedule ends up being condensed which will change start times.  As I mentioned above, the accurate race schedule will not be available until a day or two prior to the race.   

What are the race fees for these?  I don't know yet.  I won't know until the week before the race because it depends on how many rowers are attending and the events we are rowing in.  Generally, the race fees will be between $30 and $40 per rower.

Here are the sign ups....

6/16 - Lawrence"

Please refer to email sent to you for sign up link

7/28 - Methuen

Please refer to email sent to you for sign up link

Any questions, please let me know.

Go Giants!

Rich

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Update - May 15, 2018 by Rich Whelan

Giants - 

It's time for your reminder about plugging in the Cox Boxes into the hulls.

The plug in the Tim & Sylvia is in need of replacement.  This is happening due to the plug being pushed into the Cox Box incorrectly.  I have ordered a replacement cable and will install it as soon as I receive it.  (Our HS rowers have 2 races this weekend and will be rowing the hull a few times...fingers crossed it gets here in time.)

When plugging in a Cox Box, it should take YOUR FINGER AND THUMB to push the plug in.  The plug has grips on it for your finger and thumb which makes it easy.  I have lubricated the connections on each Cox Box and the plugs slide right in.  There is no reason to push the plug in by pushing down on the top of the plug with your hand or thumb.  This bends the cable and pulls the wiring away from the connectors - which is one possible reason you suddenly hear crackling over the speakers in a boat no matter what Cox Box you use.  (There are other possibilities as well.)

We should not need to replace these cables as often as we do - some clubs never have to replace them.  I have shown the HS coxswains how to do it.  I will show each session tomorrow how to do it.  The replacement cable is $60 plus shipping.  Over the last few years, we've needed to replace several of these and they add up fast.

If you have questions, please ask.  I will be happy to answer them.

Thanks!

Rich

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Update - May 7 2018 by Rich Whelan

Giants - 

Just a quick update on a couple items.

Please wipe the boats down after use!  We started in April and were pretty good about it but the practice of wiping boats after practice has drifted.  The towels are clean and are in the bin marked "clean towels".  Hang them over the ergs to dry after use.  We can use a towel 2-3 times depending on how dirty the hull is.  (Look at the towel...if it's more Mystic River "ick" color, put it in the bin labeled, "dirty towels".)

Doubles now go on specific sides!  We moved the small boat racks this weekend so the hulls will fit better.  Here's the deal...one side goes in stern first and the other goes in bow first.  How to tell?  If the double you're rowing has RED tape on it, it goes on the left or parking lot side of the boatyard.  (Red for Port...just like the oars)  If the double you're rowing has GREEN tape on it, it goes on the right or river side of the boatyard.  (Green for Starboard, just like the oars.)  Where is the tape located?  It's the tape on the side of the hull that tells you to line up the boat with the rack.  There is also green and red tape on the boat rack so you'll know if you're on the correct side.  If you have a suggestion to help you remember which side of the rack the double goes on, please let me know.

Thanks!

Rich

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Update - May 6, 2018 by Rich Whelan

Giants - 

Hope you're having a great weekend.

I received a call from our HS coaches about the skeg on the Esther Rachel.  It's bent.  And by the way it's bent, it appears that the some crews rowing this hull have been dragging the skeg on the edge of the dock when the boat is being put in or being taken out of the water - this bend would only occur if the contact had happened more than a few times.  We will need to replace the skeg and as a result, the Esther Rachel will not be rowable until Monday afternoon at the earliest.  (I will replace the skeg tomorrow morning - weather permitting.)

It's impossible to determine which group - AM, PM, or HS - are responsible for this.  It is not a novice or learn to row crew as they have not touched the Esther Rachel.  After talking to the coaches, we're going to use this as a teaching moment and have each group practice putting the boat in and taking it out of the water.  Here's how it will work....

  • When you carry boats to the water tomorrow, you'll put the boat in as usual.  Then you'll pick it up, and take it out of the water, and put it back in.  This will be done to make sure you understand that you need to "push" the boat out, away from the dock when putting it in the water.  No part of the hull should come into contact with the dock.
  • From now on, the coaches will observe you putting the boat in and out of the water.  Should the skeg come into contact with the dock.  That crew will pick up the boat, bring it back to the rack, place it on the rack, and then bring it back down to the water.  (The rowers who have been with us since about 2006 will remember this being done when the hull came into contact with the boathouse.  Long story...we carried the boats to the water much differently than we do now.  If the skeg touches the dock a 2nd time the rowers in that boat will be on ergs for that practice.

Boat handling is very important and we need to make sure we're not doing anything that may damage the hull.  If we damage the hulls, we won't have hulls to row.

Any questions on this, please let me know.  Thank you in advance for your help.

Rich

 


 

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Update - May 4, 2018 by Rich Whelan

 

Giants - 

I hope you're all enjoying our July in May....

I forgot to add the MIT Hamburger Cup on May 19th to the list of races.  

For this one, you sign up on your own and pay the fee you choose - spectator, competitor, competitor with food and t-shirt, etc.  They will boat you - mixed lineups for all races.

MIT does a great job with this and we'll see them at the Pineapple in August.  Please sign up via the link below.

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/hamburger-cup-2018-tickets-45070185137#individual

Rich

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Update - May 3, 2018 by Rich Whelan

Giants - 

The Race Committee met and came up with the below list of regattas we'll be going to.  A number of factors went into deciding where to go including cost based on past attendance, the interest of rowers, and level of competition.

You may not be aware of who is on the Race Committee.  It's comprised of Deena Nieuwenhuis, Laura Pedone, Judith Perlstein, Judy Siegel, Rachel LaBella, Matt Walker, and myself.  

I will send out an email that will have links to sign up sheets.  This email will not be listed in the FB groups or the website.  We ask you for contact information - including date of birth - and I don't want that to be in a public space. I strongly suggest creating a folder for GGRC Regattas in your inbox so you may easily find these sheets.

Here are the regattas we plan to attend in 2018

  • 6/16 - Lawrence Celebration Regatta
  • 7/28 - Methuen City Sprints
  • 8/4 - GGRC's Pineapple Regatta
  • 9/15 - CRI Fall Classic
  • 9/29 - Textile River Regatta
  • 10/13 - NH Championships
  • 10/20-10/21 - Head of the Charles *Entries via random drawing
  • 10/27 - Head of the Schuylkill Regatta *Will require boat rental, rower transportation, & hotel.

There are other regattas happening in our area as well.  Should rowers wish to attend those regattas, please let me know.  If we have rowers that wish to compete, we will do our best to arrange a hull for you at those regattas.  To find them, go to Regatta Central.  

For the Head of the Charles, it's important to note that all of our entries will be decided by random drawing.  We could have 6 entries or we could have 1.  It's all up to the random drawing as we have no automatic entries form a top half finish in 2017.  Some rowers also chose to do the Director's Challenge events.  These have a higher cost associated with them as a large portion of the registration fees go towards the charities that the Head of the Charles Regatta supports.  Should you wish to row in this, you will need to recruit rowers for a boat.  We'll do our best to give you time in the lineup prior to race day.

Should you have any questions, feel free to let me know.

Rich

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Update - April 30, 2018 by Rich Whelan

Rowers - 

Now that we are getting to weather that doesn't make the coaches and launch passengers wear the Safety Suits for warmth...well...most of the time anyway...I wanted to remind you that GGRC does have a policy regarding the wearing of flotation devices.

All passengers in a launch - including the driver - MUST wear a flotation device and it MUST be secured properly.  This means it must be buckled.  If it's not buckled and you fall out of the launch and are injured, the vest could float off you.  If you are wearing a Safety Suit, that doubles as a flotation device.

There are 4 kinds of Personal Flotation Devices in the boathouse.

  • Safety Suits
  • Inflatable Vests - One size fits all and are hanging by the stairs to the patio.
  • Kayak Style Vests - They're one size fits all and are hanging with the Inflatable Vests by the stairs to the patio.
  • Orange Life Vests - The ones to wear/sit on while coxing are hanging under the stairs by the patio.  DO NOT TAKE ANY LIFE JACKETS FROM THE BAGS TO SIT ON OR TO USE AS A LIFE VEST FOR A LAUNCH PASSENGER.  The bags have 10 vests in them - One for each rower in an 8, one for the cox, and one for the coach.  Often vests are borrowed from the bags and not returned or returned to the incorrect bag.  (Last year, a couple times I checked the bags to find one had 6-7 jackets and one had 12-13.)

Please let me know if you have any questions on this. This policy is in place for your safety.

Thanks!

Rich

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Update - April 26, 2018 by Rich Whelan

Coaches & Rowers...

A couple times this month the launch keys have found their way into a pocket and gone home with a rower or coach.   I do have back ups to the keys...usually. 

One set for the Duo went for a swim - oops...I did it.  Keys fell in the river when the floater broke because the lock was jammed.  So right now, I'm heading out to pick up another key for the Duo so it can be used tonight and tomorrow.  (Had planned on picking them up tomorrow morning...)

From now on, please do not put any launch keys in your pockets.   Please keep them in your hand so they are not forgotten.  Stuff happens but it's happened too many times in one month.

Thank you.

Rich

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UPDATE - April 26, 2018 by Rich Whelan

Giants -

I need some help on Saturday am to rig doubles.  Should be a calm weather morning - sun and temps in the 50's...5mph wind.  

I mention the weather because if you want to come down to help rig them, we should test the rigging as well by taking them out for a row, right?

Let me know if you'd like to come down.  You will need to know how to scull to do this.  If you're a novice sculler - you've done it before but you're slightly nervous about it - we can put on the pontoons.  If you've never sculled before....sorry.  Not this time.

We'll meet up at 7:30am to rig with a row to follow right after.  

8 seats up for grabs!

Rich

UPDATE - April 17, 2018 by Rich Whelan

 

Giants -

We thought we'd be proactive and talk about how we approach safety when it comes to a storm like the one we just had and how the runoff from the rain water impacts the rivers we row.

The Mystic River Watershed, who has years of data on different bacteria levels after several storms, have come up with predictions of what we can expect in terms of bacteria levels in the water.  And these predictions assist us in how we approach rowing on the Mystic and Malden Rivers.

With a significant rain event - like the one we just had - bacteria levels do rise in different areas of the river which coordinates with where the overflow runoff discharge pipes are located.  It takes roughly 24-48 hours for the levels to drop down to "normal" levels for the Mystic and Malden Rivers.  The transition is slower on the Malden River as that body of water has a much slower current than the Mystic. 

What this means is, the water on the Mystic River is still safe for boating but the water on the Malden River may not be.  So based on all the data accumulated over the years by the Mystic River Watershed, after a rain event like the one we just had, we will stay off the Malden River until Thursday morning as a precaution.  All the coaches are aware of this protocol and will be following it for Wednesday's practices. 

The other impact we see after a storm like this is debris in the river.  Keep an extra eye out for large logs and other items.  Remember that something that looks like a branch floating in the water, could be much bigger underneath.  We will be clearing those out of the river as they appear.  

Any questions, please let me know.

Rich 

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UPDATE - April 15, 2018 - By Rich Whelan

Giants - 

Our Friends at MITRC are hosting a friendly regatta on May 19th and they've extended an invite to us!  A couple other crews will be attending as well.  I am aware of invites to Greater Lawrence Rowing and another club.

I'm confirming details now but here's what I know...

  • We'll row out of the MIT Boathouse on the Charles River
  • They will provide all the equipment!
  • The cost is $10 - $35 depending on if you want to row, watch, and/or want a t-shirt.

I will be sending out more details this week.  It's a fun event that is open to all.

Any questions, let me know.

Rich

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UPDATE - April 15, 2018 - By Rich Whelan

 

Giants -

Each year, Groundworks Somerville runs a clean up around the boathouse for Earth Day.  Needless to say, this improves the environment we row in.  Weather right now for this should be perfect - Sunny and mid 50's.  There is a BBQ lunch after the clean up.

I strongly encourage each of you to attend this.  The clean up is on Saturday, April 21st from 10am-12pm, with a BBQ at 12pm.  When you attend, please wear GGRC shirts/jackets so we stand out.

They'll not only pick up trash, but they always plant flowers in the flower beds.

Please plan to attend the clean up if you can.  You'll also receive a T-shirt!

Thank you.

Rich

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UPDATE - April 10, 2018 - By Rich Whelan

 

Giants - 

Just a quick note to let you know where to put gas cans.  The gas locker is actually organized.  I'll double check to make sure the shelves are still labeled. 

  • Top Shelf - All GGRC Gas Cans should go here.  You can stack them on top of each other.
  • Middle Shelf - All Wentworth Gas Cans go here.
  • Bottom Shelf - On the left side are the GGRC storage cans.  On the right side are the Wentworth storage cans.

So far, twice this month gas cans have been placed on the incorrect shelf and coaches have called me to determine the location of it.  I know we have some new rowers who are not used to putting the cans away, so no worries!  Please make sure the gas cans go in the correct locations.

Also, you can feed the hose through the handle so we don't have tangled or hanging gas hoses.  I can show you how to do it, just ask!

Thanks & Happy Rowing!

Rich

  UPDATE - April 1, 2018 - By Rich Whelan

UPDATE - April 1, 2018 - By Rich Whelan

 

Giants - 

For new rowers to GGRC and to Novice rowers from last year that are joining the Masters programs, WELCOME!

It's been an interesting winter...and Spring is here and we hit the water tomorrow!  Here's some things you need to know for tomorrow...this is a little long but please read it all.

  • The bathrooms are closed and will be open at some point next week.  BUT, there is a port-a-john to the right of the front door of the boathouse.  There is a combination lock and the code is 200. (numbers line up on the side of the lock)  Please make sure you lock it after use.  (Request from the city.)
  • The Connect-a-Dock should be going in this week.
  • We bought a new motor for the Solo and the gas can that came with it is a biggun!  It's filled and is currently locked in the launch.  When we fill it, we will need to take it from the launch.  I'll post the combination for that lock in the cox box locker near the keys. 
  • The boathouse is about 95% ready for us.  Minor re-org items to do.  If you use something, please put it back.
  • The brooms/shovels are in the office area.  We will not be keeping them in the garage.  I'm working on a final location for them now.
  • The First Aid kit has been moved to the stairwell to the patio.  
  • We will be getting some new barrels from the city in the near future.
  • Docking...this one is an important reminder.  Come in a PADDLE PRESSURE by a pair.  The buoys are not in yet - water was too rough to place them but I will be putting them in this week.  For a landmark when docking at the wood dock, use the boathouse to line up with.  When you're coming in, line up with the garage door wall.  At night, this will be tricky as it is dark, but you can use the light on the patio for reference.  DO NOT HUG THE SHORE LINE!  It will put you in a HORRIBLE position to dock.  Remember to stop at least 2-3 boat lengths from the dock and wait for the coach to meet you.  If you drift closer, back it down to maintain your distance.  The current and winds can make docking difficult and it's very easy to underestimate what to do.  Coming in slowly and following instructions of the coach on the dock is important!  Based on conditions, the coach may ask you to row with more than a pair of rowers.  That's up to their interpretation of the conditions.
  • When coming from Medford towards the boathouse, remember to turn WIDE when approaching the single lane bridge.  The buoys that were there last year are not out yet and willb e this week.  Do not hug that corner as it could put you in the travel lane for boats coming from the single lane bridge!
  • At the MBTA bridge, the middle arch is off limits.  When you come towards the bridge from the single lane bridge, target the boats at the marina and go through the right arch.  When coming from Malden, the center arch is still off limits.  Make a wide right turn to the arch on the right - it's the first one that has water at both abutments. Keep your right turn as you proceed through the bridge until you can start a slight left turn to line up with the single lane bridge.
  • If at any point while coxing, you're not sure of your line, you think you see something in the river, or you think you may hit an abutment, you can tell the rowers to check it down.
  • Although you can row through the arches at speed, there will be times the coaches will determine that it's safer to row through at a different pace.  They will make that call based on the conditions of that practice.

That's it!  I'll see you tomorrow morning at about 5:15am or 6:15pm depending on your practice time!

 

Looking forward to it!

 

Rich


  UPDATE - March 29, 2018 - By Rich Whelan

UPDATE - March 29, 2018 - By Rich Whelan

 

Giants -

As we get ready to start the season on Monday - something I cannot wait to do, I thought I'd send out an email that had some dates you'll want to note on your calendar now.  These are special events that we will be taking part in.  Race dates will be decided soon so they're not on this list. 

Also, I'm looking for help on Saturday morning to finish up the clean up of the house.  There's one item that will need two people - putting the barge together.  I'll be there from about 8am-11am and if two or three of you are available, we can finish everything up and get ready for the start of the season on Monday!  Just reply to this email and let me know if you are available.

As to the dates...here's what you'll need to put on your calendar...

  • 3/31 Looking for help this Saturday morning!
  • 4/2 - Start of the rowing season.
  • 4/5 - Discussion happening on the re-development of the park in front of the boathouse.  It's taking place at 6:30pm at the Mystic River Housing Complex which is across Mystic Avenue from the Boathouse.
  • 4/21 - Earth Day Clean Up at the Boathouse from 9am - 1pm.  BBQ Lunch at Noon.
  • 5/5 - Sculling Saturdays Begin.  This year, you can register for the individual weeks - you do not need to commit to one full month.  These sessions are already listed on the site - price per session is $25.  We've invested in a 3rd set of pontoons for the novice scullers!  (It is a requirement that you've completed at least one month of learn to row before attending a sculling Saturday workout.)
  • 5/19 Herring Run and Paddle at Blessing of the Bay - GGRC is a sponsor and will need a couple people to talk about how awesome rowing on the Mystic is.
  • 5/20 - Moose on the Malden Regatta - GGRC is a supporter of the local HS rowing teams and this event always needs some extra hands to be a dock master, drive launches, manage the ramp traffic...it's a great event for the schools and we're happy to be a part of it.
  • 6/2 - US Rowing Learn to Row Day - It's when we promote rowing to the community at large!  We'll be using the barge and our hulls to show non-rowers how to row.  It's a fun day!

That's all for now...if you haven't registered yet, please do so via the below link.  The coaches have already started planning for Monday's practice!

http://www.gentlegiantrowing.org/sign-up/

Any questions, please let me know.

Go Giants Go!

Rich