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The Challenges of Lake Rowing

The Challenges of Lake Rowing

You might think that high winds or huge waves are the greatest challenge facing lake rowers. But there’s little wind and few waves on the little New Hampshire lake where I row in summer. In fact,  Eastman Lake doesn’t even suffer from motorboat wakes, which are not allowed.  
The biggest possible catastrophe is crashing into a swimmer. This is very different from the Schuylkill River along Philly’s Boathouse Row, where floating logs are the greatest threat for the unwary sculler and where water cleanliness, while no longer an issue, has historically made swimming unpalatable. Flipping a boat is the only cause for a dip.  But at Eastman Lake, about a half mile across, swimmers can be found almost anywhere. 
Stephen Haase, whom I interviewed for a story on rowing here, told me:
“We look back every few strokes, but it’s next to impossible to see directly behind us. And it’s tricky to stop quickly in a racing single. We would love for other boaters or swimmers to shout at us, but they seem to be willing to just let us run into them.”

Betty and Andy Kargacos transport their boat from a home garage. Photo by Fred Orkin

There are  other challenges, especially for older rowers who have to car-top their boats to the water because there is no sculling dock. Instead, they must step into their boat directly from the water. 
But that doesn’t stop the intrepid.
One of the particular pleasures of rowing on our lake, says Shaun Kronnenwetter, is the chance to spot a loon.
I own a clunky Alden Ocean shell up here, which is so sturdy any newbie rower can try it out. I can also transport a grandchild, as in the photo at the top of this blog post. 

Shaun Kronenwetter on Eastman Lake. Photo by Fred Orkin

Here’s the story I wrote for Eastman Living Magazine about lake rowing.