On the Waterfront
A seawothy view of San Francisco, the bridges, and skyline from the bay wins any beauty contest, oars down.
Fellow Dolphin Club member Nanda Palmieri shared these images from a recent rowing outing in the club’s handcrafted wooden boats. It was one of the bay’s calmer days, no big swells or fierce wind gusts. They had encounters with big vessels in their shipping lane, a gull’s eye view of the city skyline and the Marin Headlands—it doesn’t get much more serene and gratifying.
Truly a rower’s delight and “see-worthy” indeed was the scenery. Rowers get a full body workout—the venerable 1877 club requires members to take a course, not only in rowing, but also in how to care for the precious boats, some of which have been around longer than the club’s longest surviving members.
If you are a regular to the Fort Point area you can see instantly what’s different in the above photo, right—no wet-suited surfers flipping their boards. No surf, no wave-catching this low-key winter’s day.
As a twenty-one-year member of the club, I have been mostly a swimmer, a fair-weather swimmer, unlike the many fearless members who swim year-round without wetsuits. Nanda’s images make me want to refresh my rowing lessons and get out on the bay, especially since the pandemic has closed down access to our club’s sauna.
The wooden boats are works of art built and maintained by artisan boat builders and club members. Watch a short video homage to the Whitehall — one of the classic wooden rowboats. It is a design that might date from the 1500s, and its progeny are still rowed on the San Francisco Bay.
When the pandemic restrictions end (some day), boat night at the club, Tuesdays, 6pm–9pm, is open to volunteers from the public. Dinner follows the work. For information on becoming a Dolphin member, visit the website.
Near a coast not far from here as the seagull flies, violent riots, insurrections, killings and all manner of destructive behavior have recently taken place. Ah, but here, on the Left Coast, calm seas, collegiality, peaceful gatherings, and health-giving activities soothe the mind and body and cultivate a civilized gentry.