16 December 2020
By Göran R Buckhorn
As HTBS announced the other day, the fourth volume of Rowing Tales has been published.
Auckland-based Rebecca Caroe has kept herself busy with the publishing arm of her business and has now, December 2020, published her fourth volume of Rowing Tales in the same number of years. I was a happy and proud contributor in her first volume, in 2017.
In the fourth volume, Caroe follows her winning concept from the previous three volumes and has collected different voices from around the rowing world and asked them to put pen to paper. The multi-talented Caroe – she calls herself a ‘rowing entrepreneur’ – acquired Rowperfect UK and made it into one of the most popular rowing websites in the world before she sold it in 2018. The other year, Caroe, together with Marlene Royle, founded Faster Masters Rowing to coach and guide master rowers with subscription programmes. Many of the writers in the 2020 Rowing Tales have been Caroe’s guests at her weekly live podcast, which is published on www.rowing.chat.
In this year’s anthology, slightly more than 50 contributors have written shorter or longer stories and anecdotes to fill the 161-page book. The texts lean towards the shorter ones (one to one and a half book pages), while 20 of them are longer than two pages. As always in an anthology, the texts reach different ‘literary qualities’ some being lighter, but they are all entertaining whether it is a famous Olympian, like Oliver Zeidler or John Nunn at the keyboard or a ‘rowing mum’ like Arnaz Mehta, rowing on the Yarra, or an umpire, cox or coach.
Of course, there are the stories we expect to read: an oarsman rowing at Henley Royal while his wife is at the hospital having a baby – yup, Colin Greenaway made it just in time to be handed his boy when he went in through the doors of the delivery room. One of my rowing buddies in Sweden did not make it in time…
I was happy to find Liz Wray’s contribution on how she founded the gossip website “The Tideway Slug” in the late 1990s. I was entertained by the story penned by Penny Johnstone, U.S. team member at the 1987 Worlds outside Copenhagen, how she refused to scull back to the dock when an armed Danish military launch showed up by her side demanding her to return to the dock, claiming she had stolen the boat. (I was there, too, at Bagsværd. On the final day, I watched the terrible races with the fairness’ problems. I was sitting in the Regatta Pavilion having smørrebrød helped down with aqua vitae, which seemed to be the right thing to do at the time as the weather was awful.)
A scoop in Rowing Tales is a letter by the now ‘the boys in the boat’-famed Joe Rantz, who in June 2007 wrote to University of Washington rowing coach Bob Ernst and his crew to congratulate them on their victory at the National Championships. Rantz died three months later.
Now, hurry up to order your copy of 2020 Rowing Tales!
Right now, Rebecca Caroe has a special offer – buy all four Rowing Tales books (2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020) for a 50% discount. £35.00 plus £12.50 shipping pay via PayPal to firstname.lastname@example.org include your postal address.