Have you ever wanted to learn to row, but were intimidated by the long, narrow rowing shells? Consider learning traditional rowing in a historic style boat like a Whitehall gig! Rowing instructor Nelsie Aybar-Grau can tell you more:
Excerpt from My Row Around Manhattan, September 11, 2021
By Nelsie Aybar-Grau
In the early nineteenth century, Whitehall rowboats were the choice of crimps (who would entrap men to work in shipping), boarding house runners (men who persuade sailors to leave a ship for better jobs that never materialize), and of anyone who required reliable and speedy transportation from one part of the harbor to another – pilots, ship’s crews, brokers, ship chandlers, newspaper reporters, insurance agents, doctors, police and many others.
I have been rowing for 12 years, give or take. I row the Rondout Creek and Hudson River from Kingston, New York. I learned to row crew boats (the long, skinny, carbon fiber boats) with the Rondout Rowing Club. I was the president of the club for four years (2014 - 2017). The club would do an annual excursion from Kingston to Norrie Point, south of the Esopus Lighthouse and back. There we would meet up with rowers from the Mid-Hudson Rowing Association of Poughkeepsie.
A few years ago the Hudson River Maritime Museum asked me to teach rowing to teens who were participating in the museum’s YouthBoat Project. While learning woodworking they were given the opportunity to row a Whitehall in the Rondout Creek. Most had never been on the water, and some did not know how to swim. But within minutes many got the hang of rowing and because, as cox I could compensate for those unable to keep up, we still managed to navigate the creek reasonably well. That is when I realized that the Whitehall is probably the best boat to use to teach anyone how to row. It is perfect for beginners and pros alike.
For more of Nelsie's adventure, keep reading...
Want to Learn to Row?
Enjoy the historic Rondout Creek the way our ancestors did. Rowing has been pivotal to all working waterfronts for as long as people have taken to the water. Only last century was rowing replaced with motors as the main way to move people and goods around harbors and ports. Join us as we return to this tradition with a fun row on the creek. The museum's Rowing School offers several evening and afternoon classes in traditional rowing
Did you know? HRMM members get discounts on all classes! Join today. Interested in learning more? Check out some of the classes and programs we offer below, for all ages and all experience levels.
Hudson River Maritime Museum
50 Rondout Landing
Kingston, NY 12401
The Hudson River Maritime Museum is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of the maritime history of the Hudson River, its tributaries, and related industries.
Become a member and receive benefits like unlimited free museum admission, discounts on classes, programs, and in the museum store, plus invitations to members-only events.
The Hudson River Maritime Museum receives no federal, state, or municipal funding except through competitive, project-based grants. Your donation helps support our mission of education and preservation.