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58km Sulkava rowing race in a coastal double

First time

Finland's biggest rowing event the Sulkava Rowing Race was organized for the 51st time this weekend. Sulkava gathers together thousands of Finnish rowers racing in a variety of traditional wooden boats. The Quiske crew have been taking part in the Sulkava race in mixed wooden double boats in the past years but this year we decided to venture the 58km route in a coastal 2x.

Hakovirta bridge is the starting point for the Sulkava race

Our target was to row the course in 6 hours and in spite of some challenges we managed to beat that time by 9 minutes.

What were the challenges?

The coastal boat is a new type of boat for us and we got it just a few weeks before the race. It arrived without a fin and our first lesson was that without a fin the coastal is absolutely impossible to row straight, instead you go just in circles. We found fins to try out in a local surf shop which solved the problem. We also had to learn how to carry and transport the boat. Some customization to our boat trailer allowed fitting the coastal double under a wooden single:

boat trailer for coastal and wooden boat

When arriving at Sulkava we successfully offloaded the boat from the trailer, but our van decided to go swimming and we were really fortunate to find people who helped us pull her out from the lake:

Preparing for the race we also would have needed more mileage than the 40km that we managed to squeeze in before the race. Therefore we set the target at the rather conservative 6hours. The weather forecast promised wind and rain for the entire duration but we felt decently ready and confident. The morning of the race revealed a much better weather than forecasted:

The start went well. Below a picture taken by Ari Ilola at about 2km into the race.

The coastal 2X and bi-stroke rowing boats at the start of the race. Picture by Ari Ilola

We did the first 20km at around 11.5km/h speed until a screw fell out from one oar, making the handle come loose. Fortunately a fellow rower in a wooden boat, who we had been overtaking offered us tape on the fly, so we could continue the race:

Without this piece of tape we would have been forced to interrupt the race, which would have been a huge disappointment for us.

The last 40km of the race went without any surprises but there was a bit of pain in the back of the bow rower (she's not used to long distances with big blades) and the stroke rower did suffer from blisters in his hands:

Still our crew had some spare energy and were able to increase the speed during the final kilometers. Arriving at the Sulkava rowing stadium after 58km of endurance rowing gives a very good feeling. Highly recommend it to anyone.

Afterwords

The crew and the boat survived, made it to the finish, and are happy. There has never been a coastal 2x at Sulkava before and so we did set a course record, which we hope someone will break next year. ;-) The 58km course around the Partala island is suitable for coastal boats. Many people were interested in our boat and maybe we will see many coastal boats at this event in the future.

It was great to learn that some Finnish rowers used the RowP App during their race to measure speed, pace and distance. The RowP system including the pod is not designed to be used during races, but of course the RowP App without the pod can be used as a free speedometer, an alternative to SpeedCoach or the Coxmate GPS.

What's next?

Our next event is the Masters Regatta in Muenchen. We will demonstrate and sell our RowP system as well as give a sneak preview of our upcoming new release of the Rowp App. Hope to see you there in a few weeks!

Happy rowing,

Quiske crew

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