Regatting on the Schuylkill

This weekend the ‘Head of the Schuylkill Regatta’ was held here in Philadelphia – one of the largest in the country. We’d never seen a regatta and with it conveniently taking place so close by, we biked over to check it out. The regattas are held nearby on the Schuylkill River near Boathouse Row running along Fairmount Park. Global warming worries me, but it was a perfect summery day for a ride with the beautiful fall colors as a backdrop.


The river race is 2.5 miles and thousands of rowers were everywhere getting a work out. What seemed like hundreds of ultra-thin water-dynamic boats waited on the grass along the river.


I knew they must not be called ordinary ‘rowboats,’ and sure enough, they are called ‘shells.’ And shells with scullers (rowers with two oars) in the shell are called sculls. So there are single sculls, double sculls, and even quadruple sculls. Sculls are shells, but shells aren’t always sculls. Confused? You aren’t the only one.

img_2716               Eight oarsmen/rowers so a ‘quad scull shell.’ Not racing here, rowing back. The person facing them is the coach aka coxswain.

Moving on, the final race called the Gold Cup, included competitors from the Rio Olympics. This event was over before we got there, but I heard the Norwegians won the men’s Gold Cup Challenge, and Australians won the women’s Gold Cup. Luckily no one disputed the results. Congrats to all the participants not just the winners!

img_2730                              A flock of double scull shells. 

I’ll leave you with a quote by the French Philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre and thought for the day: “Only the guy who isn’t rowing has time to rock the boat.”

img_2739                              A motor boat giving instructions to a double scull shell. Just maybe.

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