From "Molly" via "Vancouver" and Uncertainty back to "Molly" again!
A New Era for Henley Whalers . An Uncertain Future . Vancouver wins "Gold" in first competition !. A New Era, but a familiar boat .. So Long Vancouver, Hello Molly! (again) . The Henley Standard - "Molly's Back in Town" .
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A New Era for Henley Whalers (6/10/06)

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 New Year.

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 river.

Essential criteria are:-
· Must support up to 8 rowers, 10 would be nice
· Fixed seats, no outriggers (to qualify for Great River Race)
· 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.

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Vancouver 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 "Fastest Whaler".
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 role.
*("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.
Please tell me
what you expect, and I will aim to deliver.

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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 the weekend.

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!

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So Long Vancouver, Hello Molly! (again)
Steve Morton, 6th December 2006

Saturday 25th 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.

However, once 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.

We 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 downstream.

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!

Huge thanks 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?

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Here's what "The Henley Standard" said about us - 22nd December 2006

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With thanks to "The Henley Standard"

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See "Who are we now?"
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