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Clippings rummage in newspaper archives always turns up some interesting stuff. BOAT RACE For ex a mple, here’s one t hat appeared in the Easton Gazette on Saturday, August 19, 1826. It’s a simple announcement about a boat race coming up in about three weeks. It reads: BOAT R ACE at Easton Point, Talbot county ~ On Thursday the 31st day of August precisely at the hour of 11 o’clock, in the morning, the General Freeman and the Lady of the Lake, will start from Easton Point and run three miles ~ one & a half miles down Tread Haven and return to the starting pole ~ The wager to be a fish party for one hundred friends. The Boats are to be manned with a Cockswain and four Oarsmen each ~ The General Freeman is dressed in white ~ The Lady of the Lake white bot tom with blue gunwales. Gentlemen and Ladies are invited to witness this beautiful contest of skill and taste. Judges to be selected on the day of race. I found this notewor thy for a couple of reasons. First, it sounded like it was to be an unusually highclass affair; after all, a party for a hundred guests is quite a prize. Both gentlemen and ladies were invited to

watch. As an “out-and-back” race, those watching from Easton Point would be able to witness both the start and the finish. Possibly there would be various vantage points at homes along the river, and maybe lawn parties. Sounds like fun. Sorry, I have no idea who won. But what re a l ly c aug ht my e ye was the descriptions of the boats themselves. It sounds (to me) as if the writer expects the public to be familiar with the General Freeman and the Lady of the Lake. Perhaps they appeared often in local regattas? Moreover, as four-man boats with a coxswain, almost certainly they were designed specifically for racing. Each man would have one “sweep oar,” as in a racing shell, rather than two “scull oars,” as in a rowboat. These boats may have been similar to the Pioneer ~ the first racing boat purchased by some Harvard students in 1843 for $26.50. Pio-

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Profile for Tidewater Times

Tidewater Times  

January 2019

Tidewater Times  

January 2019