The Tall Ships' Cadet Row

The Tall Ships visited New London Harbor this July and the members of the John Gardner Traditional Small Craft Association (JGTSCA) wanted to take part. The JGTSCA owns two gigs. The John Gardner is a 25 foot gig built seven years ago by a community boat building progam called Floating The Apple. This was the first boat built in downtown Manhattan in an old store front with total volunteer effort. There are now over 20 such boats in existence built by different schools and organizations. Floating the Apple donated the gig to the John Gardner Traditional Small Craft Association. Several JGTSCA members also brought rowing boats and Chip Eichorn brought two boats he had built for use by life guards. Chip builds and sells these very unique boats in New Jersey and beyond.

The JGTSCA has been given the use of a chapter building on the Avery Point Campus of the University of Connecticut. Avery Point is located on a point on Long Island Sound. Just around the corner is the Thames river that leads up to New London Connecticut. As you can see below, the site has a small beach, a building and yard.

Getting cadets from two of the tall ships to our site proved a little confusing and time consuming, but eventually we got quite a crowd of cadets from the Sagres of Portugal and the Esmeraldo of Argentina. We had enough boats and worked out which people were to row in which boats despite some language difficulties.

The boats traveled up the Thames River to the Interstate 95 bridge around all of the Tall Ships and back. When the boats got to the Esmeraldo the cadets from that ship had to get back to duty on their ship. It wasn't all bad, they dropped six packs of refreshment down to those in the row boats. This meant we had less rowers than we had begun with, but it all worked out fine. The group from the Sagres rowed back with us and joined us in a picnic. They got permission from their Captain to stay until fairly late in the evening. It turned out to be quite an enjoyable event!

Russell Smith checks the collection of rowing craft as he waits for the cadets to show up.

Rob Pittaway directs some of the boat traffic.

The boats are ready and here come the cadets.

Russell's crew of cadets try to get the idea of rowing as a team at the beginning of the row. That's Russell at the back in the "Cleopatra seat".

Members of the Connecticut River Oar and Paddle Club take off toward the Thames River.

Another crew of cadets starts the trip up the Thames River and around the Tall Ships

This is one of the boats coming back from the trip. The crews were very different on the way home because the crew of one of the ships got off in New London.

Here Russell comes back with one crew member in the gig, pulling an extra boat. Impressive rowing of the gig with only two people as crew.

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