Wednesday, April 18, 2012

And Now, Back To Our Usually Scheduled Cheery Babble: Training Day for the NYU Poly Concrete Canoe Team at Sebago!

OK, enough of making life difficult for friends who I didn't realize were involved in things I was being critical of. Back to cheery paddle babble (ha, "cheery paddle babble"! - say that five times fast and tell me how it went in the comments, OK? hee hee) with lots! of! exclamation points! (Do I recall making a New Year's Resolution to stop abusing exclamation points? FAIL!)

Fun weekend last weekend. Saturday I thought I was going to go help out the Sebago Sailing Committee with the Spring dinghy cleaning and prep but at the last last last minute I ended up helping PortSide NewYork to their great new office space (open to the public! woohoo!) at 145 Columbia Street. I was a little slow on the uptake, somehow I'd mixed this move up with another day that turned out to have been cancelled but eventually I figured out that Carolina's repeated "I really need help tomorrow!" messages on Facebook actually meant that SHE REALLY NEEDED HELP. Duh. Figured it out in time to go have what really turned out to be a fun day of moving maritime artifacts (all quite cool & all for sale - need an awesome knot board or three matching nameboards from the Majestic Star? Go see Carolina!) - more pictures later but for now, here's PortSide NewYork's founder Carolina, curator Peter and IT guy Dan out in front of the office, with the artifact that I decided was a "Steam Punk Fern Stand" (extra credit to the first person who can correctly identify the thing), discussing signage (or maybe buoyage - they were thinking a big mooring ball could be hung from the fire escape or something).

And oops, I've already gone on way longer than I meant to - I'd really just started out with the intent of sharing some pictures from Sunday that I'd already uploaded to the Sebago blog for Andy to use.

Sunday's fun was a training session for the NYU Poly Concrete Canoe Team. Yep, you read it right, concrete canoe! Ever heard of the Concrete Canoe Competition? It's an annual competition among engineering students from all over the country. Their challenge? To design, build, and race a concrete canoe. I've known about this competition for a long time, but I learned a whole lot of fascinating details about it on Sunday when Sebago hosted Brooklyn's own NYU Poly team. Fascinating stuff - they don't just go buy some bags of Sakrete at home depot like the average person would if told to make a canoe out of concrete - no no no, formulating and mixing concrete particularly suited for the task of being a canoe is half the battle. They design the boat, they pour the boat, they unmold the boat, they decorate the boat (and again, they can't just hit Home Depot for some paint, the decoration is done with special concrete stains and the artwork can be beautiful if the students want to go that way) and then they race the boat.

And the last piece is where we came in. Andy Novick has been following the NYU Poly teams for years. Every year they build a great boat, they win prizes for designs & papers & all the intellectual stuff, but then they get in this great boat that they built and they haven't got the slightest clue of how to actually move it through the water. Andy's been extending invitations to come to Sebago to learn for ages - this year, we finally had takers!

And a nice bunch of young engineers-in-training they were, too.

I was mostly there as a safety boat & picture taker - they didn't need any help, but here are the pix!

Dry-land intro:

Bring out the war canoe!

Down the ramp...

and onto the water

And they're off!

Out in the basin...1,2,3,4, you're beautiful, number 5, you're killin' me here - seriously, though, they really did make a lot of progress in a not much time, there were plenty of good stretches where they were all in sync & moving the canoe well.

Back on shore

Watching videos of paddlers with great technique

Unfortunately the 2nd spin in the canoe had to be called off as it was getting too breezy to work well.

The team gets a few quick pointers from Joe "World-Famous Joe Glickman" Glickman (we're all kidding him a little bit after his success with Fearless, his recent book about Freya Hoffmeister)

Want to learn more about the Concrete Canoe Competition? Click here to visit the official Concrete Canoe website.

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