A New Era for Henley
In September 2006
Henley Whalers entered a new era. The Trevelyans moved away from the Henley
area in August and Molly left her mooring on the Thames for the last time
to compete in the Great River Race on 16th September. After the race we
said our fond farewells and returned to Henley with a different boat -
Vancouver, kindly loaned to us by Richard (Dick) Wynn.
The following Wednesday, after an onshore inspection, we launched Vancouver
in Henley for a delivery voyage under Henley bridge, down river to Temple
Island and back to mooring. A dry evening and quite warm, an auspicious
start we hope, and we successfully put on her tent-like cover in the dark
for the first time.
Rowing Vancouver seems heavy after the light touch of Molly, but we are
rediscovering those muscles we had not used so much since saying goodbye
to Collingwood [our whaler which had preceded Molly]. So that we don't feel too discouraged by our performance,
new benchmarks are being set for our regular "set piece" focus
sectors from the cut at Fawley Court to the white posts and past Phyllis
Court Club to the flagpole.
On the mooring
Click to enlarge
Vancouver is a splendid Montagu whaler, well maintained and original with
much varnished wood and brass; we are fortunate indeed to have the use
of her for six months through the winter. We are looking forward to rowing
her on Wednesdays and hopefully arranging one sailing outing in her around
An Uncertain Future (6/10/06)
Having Vancouver in
Henley for the winter is only a temporary arrangement, so the hunt is
on for a longer-term replacement. In the absence of another committed
single owner we are trying for a boat under collective ownership - but
so far our
ambition for a whaler to row and sail is beyond our funds if we can't
raise more money. Thus we are searching for a boat that we can afford
to buy and which will allow us to continue Wednesday night rowing on the
Essential criteria are:-
· Must support up to 8 rowers, 10
would be nice
· Fixed seats, no outriggers (to qualify for Great River
· Modern materials for low maintenance
· Traditional style of boat, whaler type preferred
Several of us like to sail as well, so a capability for estuary and coastal
sailing is desirable; but this is a significant factor in the cost of
a boat, so reluctantly we may have to forego that ambition if we cannot
raise significantly more money.
So the hunt continues! Until we find what we require the future of the
Henley Whalers is uncertain. Time is limited because Vancouver will go
to her new home at Greenwich Yacht Club at the end of March 2007. If someone
reading this knows of a suitable boat for sale, please contact us using
the email link.
wins "Gold" in first competition!
The Annual Phyllis Court Time Trail, all the warmer for
being a few weeks earlier than last year, saw Vancouver winning gongs for
Rowers, Helmsgirls, and passenger all received "Gold" medals for
this precedent-setting result. (See
here you disbelievers!)
Do we now have a standard by which to judge future improvement?
(Report supplied by Ton G Ueincheek)
Help The Skipper
Define his Job
Honoured by being elected (first)* "Skipper"
of our new vessel, I wonder if you each have your own expectations of my
*("One" could be voted out!)
From purely nautical point of view, I am totally confident of overseeing
the safe operation of the ship.
An area in which I would prefer to defer to others, is that of technique
and style of oar-handling, i.e. the most efficient use of oars. We've got real rowers for that.
me what you expect, and I will aim to
A New Era,
but a familiar boat
Steve Morton, 20th November 2006
After our previous uncertainty, November has been a hectic month!
We had in October sadly realised that a new build whaler would probably
be out of our reach and had started to look at smaller alternatives.
Then we learned that George had decided to sell Molly, preparatory to
buying a different boat more suited to his future sailing plans.
We also learned that
Geoff had always been so impressed with Molly's sailing ability and this
coupled with his desire to see THW keep going meant that he was willing
to buy her! This
was good news, because even second hand Molly would cost more than our
members had been willing to put forward to a collective ownership; we
were therefore in no position to make an offer as a group.
So, following some swift negotiation and acceptance of an offer Geoff
found himself becoming the proud owner of one lovingly-used American whaleboat
complete with sailing rig. George then brought Molly back to Henley at
For the moment she remains on her trailer, pending some seasonal maintenance.
Our next move has to be returning Vancouver eastwards once Dick has been
able to organise her new berth, a little earlier than was planned. After
that we expect to return Molly to the Thames and resume rowing her.
Thus the Henley Whalers
are looking forward to a future with a familiar boat but a new owner and
a new agenda!
Geoff has told us he is mainly interested in sailing Molly and taking
her to both rowing and sailing events - he has plenty of rowing in Henley
with his other interests. He is currently compiling a list of potential
events for 2007, including old favourites such as the Great River Race
and Sail Caledonia (aka the Great Glen Raid). Watch the Henley Whalers
calendar and signup page for news. However he also wants Molly to be regularly
used and THW rowing mid-week will be a big part of that.
For the moment we will continue Wednesday nights but other options are
up for discussion, such as weekend daylight rowing. That will be strange
to some of us, having become used to not seeing the blades entering the
water for six months of the year! But this will especially be important
as we aim to recruit a few more regular members. The Thames is surprisingly
pleasant on a winter's evening, but to newcomers a row in the dark can
be rather daunting.
Hopefully the next news item here will be the re-launch of Molly and return
of Vancouver to Dick in Greenwich. We've enjoyed rowing her during these
past few weeks, no doubt her next crew will do so too; and we'll be pleased
to see her alongside at future events. But for now we are looking forward
to rowing and sailing Molly again!
Long Vancouver, Hello Molly! (again)
Steve Morton, 6th December 2006
November saw our last row with Vancouver - a boat-change exercise
to collect all her gear, take her to the slip and onto a trailer,
with the reverse manoeuvre for Molly.
On board Molly again
Collecting Vancouver's sailing rig
We could not
have picked a wetter hour in which to do this! Added to which the
Thames was flowing strongly after recent rain, making for an energetic
trip up river.
we had collected the outboard motor our life was easier for the
final stretch under Henley bridge and up river to Hobbs.
Colin had already
launched Molly when we arrived and a few minutes work saw Vancouver
safely onto the trailer in her place.
then boarded Molly for an inaugural row under her new owner - including
a very welcome coffee provided by Carson (thanks from all).
By the time
we rowed downriver again the weather had improved - if only we had
waited! It certainly felt very light rowing Molly again, especially
We then spent
an hour or so washing down Vancouver as a "so long, and thanks
gesture - and in fact Geoff and Lynn followed up with a coat of
anti-fouling paint a few days later. To quote Dick, "beyond
the call of duty", but much appreciated nevertheless.
Now Molly is
back in her accustomed spot, Vancouver has returned to Greenwich
and planning for 2007 is under way!
to all involved in the work, especially Colin for generous use of
his time, trailer and Land Rover - without which none of this would
have been possible!
Wash n Scrub in progress - How did we manage before
wet-and-dry vacuum cleaners?