This morning we woke at 6am to go rowing - yay
After a pretty long drive we reached the Open Water Rowing Club, Sausalito. In a huge boat bay were tens of brand new sculls, specially designed by a company acros the bay for stability on the open water. I was give a novice shell, not disimilar to a bath tub with a rigger each side, and pushed off to join in the early morning 'clinic'. As well as amazing views of the bay and mountains in the background, I also saw various bay seals and a cormorant. And one of the club members rows for Durham Univeristy!
After some time slobbing at home we went off to meet Mike Fennelly, boatman to 'Cal' (UC Berkeley) since 1981. Fresh back from HRR, we had lots of Henley chat. He also showed us around the brand new Cal boathouse, built complete with equally sized men's and women's changing facilities even though the women never actually train there. Some ridiculously rich guy who owned an ice cream company funded most of the project, complete with an erg room of 30+ ergs to be used 'in case they decide not to go
Me by the marina
Apologies for the lycra, Rach
out after all' (never happens). The main erg room on campus has over 100 ergs - surely hell on earth. He also said that Title IX had killed off men's novice rowing, and gave lots of examples where the women are much better equipped than the men.
A minor detour on the way home took us to the Tidewater Boating Centre, home of Oakland Strokes rowing club. This was built in a deprived area of Oakland with grant money on the condition that they would encourage rowing for disadvantaged children. However, like I saw at the Marin Club yesterday, it has been flooded with upper middle class girls (70 girls in total) whose parents drive them in from over 1hr away in the hope that this is the free ticket to college places.
I took the rest of the afternoon to explore the main campus of UC Berkeley, which is truly lovely with lots of green spaces and even a small stream running through the campus. It did make me laugh, though, that everwhere proclaimed how proud they were to be 'Est. 1862'.
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